Lead Generation

77 Ways to Generate Leads for Your Small Business

Lead generation is the single most essential process required for any business to maximize opportunities for growth. It is a results-driven process. It is also the most challenging marketing activity faced by most small businesses.

Here are 77 proven ways to generate high quality leads for your business:

#1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is a system of techniques and strategies that are applied to various pages of a website with the goal of increasing the site’s organic search ranking so that it is highly visible to users who are actively searching for information, products or services related to the website online. It is also the most powerful way to generate free, qualified leads from the search engines.

#2. Google Ads

Google Ads is Google’s keyword-driven advertising service. It is the most complex, powerful and customizable advertising system on the internet, and allows advertisers to generate qualified leads by featuring text ads at the top and bottom of the Google search results page (also known as the SERP). $80 billion in revenue is generated annually from AdWords activity.

#3. Facebook Ads

Facebook advertising is a unique and revolutionary advertising platform that can be leveraged to generate qualified leads for all kinds of businesses. Facebook advertising has been proven to work extremely well and produces steady and consistent results for different sets of advertisers. What makes the platform so unique is that Facebook allows you to be laser-focused in terms of the people that see your ads.

#4. Twitter Marketing

Twitter is an open platform with more than 330 million monthly active users sending over 500 million tweets daily. According to a Twitter study:

  • 66% of people have discovered a new business on Twitter.
  • 94% are planning to buy something from businesses they follow on Twitter.
  • 69% of people have bought something as a result of a tweet.

Whatever type of business you run, you can leverage Twitter to build long-term business relationships with a targeted community of individuals (and companies) who are interested in what you have to say, your business and your industry.

#5. LinkedIn Recommendations

LinkedIn recommendations are professional testimonials from colleagues and previous customers that attest to your credibility as a competent and reputable professional. Genuine and well-written recommendations and endorsements by past employers and co-workers offer independent personal and professional feedback about your skills and validate your experience and credibility. Recommendations also provide more ways for you to be found through profile searches, service provider directory searches, and other LinkedIn members’ profiles who have recommended and endorsed you for specific skills.

#6. Facebook Messenger

Facebook Messenger is one of the most powerful tools offered by Facebook to generate qualified leads and build relationships with your target audience. And the reason Messenger is so powerful is because the app enables businesses to establish personal, one-on-one collaborative conversations with customers and prospects with personalized messaging and conversational selling techniques.

#7. Facebook Groups

Facebook groups are very effective when used as a central hub to connect like-minded individuals who are already passionate about a specific industry. With the right strategy, you can use groups to increase brand awareness, build authority and generate qualified leads for your business.

#8. Bing Ads

When it comes to PPC advertising for leads, Google AdWords is what the majority of business owners tend to think about first. However, Bing Ads offers numerous advantages over AdWords including cheaper costs per clicks, lack of competition and better ad placement. In fact, research shows that users who advertise on both Google and Bing experience 33.5% cheaper CPC on Bing.

#9. Live Video Streaming

Live video streaming simply involves streaming video footage live as opposed to pre-recording footage and uploading it. It is one of the most genuine ways to connect with an audience because it allows video to be streamed publicly.

Live video is such a fantastic tool for local businesses because it allows you to stream events, interviews and Q&A sessions and promote them through social media to generate qualified leads. This will also help you build more brand visibility and trust with your existing fans. Examples of live video streaming apps include Facebook Live, Periscope, Blab, YouTube Live and Meerkat. Note that these are smartphone apps which means the footage will be filmed on a smartphone.

#10. Instagram ads

Instagram has over 600 million monthly active users and only 1 million advertisers, compared to over 5 million Facebook advertisers. It is a highly visual social platform that revolves around photos and videos. Instagram is about building your brand and nurturing your leads by being personal keeping your prospects up-to-date with your activities. Studies show that Instagram users are 18 times more engaged than Facebook users, which means that your posts are more likely to see more interaction on the platform.

#11. Snapchat

Snapchat is underutilized as a traffic source. Over 700 million photos and videos are shared on the platform every day, and it generates a large amount of engagement. As long as you’re able to configure your account properly, you can leverage stories to build a targeted network and use Snapchat’s paid traffic system to increase engagement and drive targeted traffic to your site.

#12. Help a reporter

Help a Reporter (also known as HARO) is a powerful online platform that connects news sources with journalists. With more than 350,000 journalists, it is a resource that you can use to get daily PR leads to your inbox 5 days a week from journalists and bloggers who are looking for credible sources to share their tips, knowledge and expertise.

#13. Influencer marketing

Influencer marketing has grown increasingly popular as a lead generation tactic in recent years. It basically involves leveraging people with a topical connection to your industry and a large following on social media to expose your brand to thousands of potential customers for a relatively small investment.

#14. Remarketing

Remarketing is a powerful tool that allows you to show your ads to specific individuals with whom you already have some kind of connection. For example, if certain people have visited specific pages on your website in the past or subscribed to your email list, Facebook allows you to show your ads to only those individuals whenever they logon to Facebook.

#15. Guest Blogging

Guest blogging allows you to establish authority and build trust and credibility with your brand. If you’re publishing quality content using keywords in the right way, people in your target audience will discover your content much more easily on the search engines. This will allow you to establish trust and credibility, and generate qualified leads for your business.

#16. YouTube videos

Regardless of your industry, video can do wonders for your lead generation efforts. More than half of industry experts say that videos yield the highest ROI compared to other types of content. Creating a YouTube channel allows you to showcase your knowledge and expertise, build an engaged audience and attract more qualified leads for your business.

#17. Reddit Marketing

With 330 million monthly active users, Reddit — the self-proclaimed “Front Page of the Internet” — is the most engaged and most influential community online. The platform provides a discussion forum for numerous viral topics. Reddit caters to almost every possible interest or category. With thousands of diverse communities, you can find your exact audience on Reddit.

#18. Infographics

Infographics have been one of the most popular pieces of content over the past few years because they allow you to transform boring data-heavy statistics into something that is clear and easily digestible for the reader. This is why they are shared and liked 3x more than any other type of content. You can generate qualified leads for your business by putting your infographics in front of the most likely customers for your brand.

#19. Networking events

In today’s world, having a well-established network has become an important part of our lives. Attending conferences and networking events are a great way to increase awareness, build trust and credibility and generate qualified leads for your business.

20. Word of mouth marketing

Word of mouth marketing is one of the most effective ways to generate leads by posting interesting content that is shared with friends and friends of friends in a news feed. By leveraging viral content and friends of friends, your marketing message can spread like wildfire generating hundreds, sometimes thousands of potential leads.

#21. Direct Mail

Direct mail is a form of advertising in which a particular company sends letters, postcards or other promotional materials to past, current or potential customers with a view to generating qualified leads.

#22. PR and publicity

Editorial outreach is all about influencing people to take specific action, and is what makes PR a great lead generation tool. Getting featured in a magazine, newspaper, radio or TV program can make targeted audiences take notice of your company, product or service, and lead to increased phone calls and website traffic.

#23. Advertorials

Advertorials are actually adverts disguised as editorial content. They involve presenting your product or service in such a way that it is seen as a factual and objective article by readers.

#24. Leaflet drops

Leaflet drops are a very old fashioned way of making your presence known directly to a local customer by delivering leaflets door to door in your local area. It may be a costly way to generate leads, but for certain products and services, this could be a very effective way to advertise your local business.

#25. Exhibitions and trade shows

81% of trade show attendees have buying authority. This means that more than 4 out of 5 people who attend conferences are potential customers. Before you attend a particular trade show however, you need to make sure that the show’s audience matches the target audience of your business.

#26. Competitor intelligence

Identifying and understanding your most successful competitors, particularly the marketing strategies they are currently using to generate leads and acquire customers will give you the opportunity to match their strategy or better it.

#27. Contests and sweepstakes

Running contests and sweepstakes is one of the most effective ways to increase brand awareness and generate qualified leads for your business. The more out-of-the-box you get with the campaigns, the better the results you’ll likely see. It is however recommended that you offer a prize that is only likely to appeal to your industry and target audience. Doing this will ensure that users who sign up are more likely to be potential customers rather than random individuals who don’t care about your industry.

#28. Webinars

Webinars are a powerful and effective way to build trust and credibility and generate leads and sales for your business. The reason webinars work so well is because of the interactivity and level of engagement that the question and answer sessions provide. Attendees are able to get real-time information in ways that most other forms of media simply do not do. For the best results, you’ll want to solve a specific problem in your niche to increase trust in your brand.

#29. SlideShare

SlideShare is a powerful social platform and lead generation tool that you can use to share highly informative presentations and showcase your expertise in your industry. The platform is owned by LinkedIn, which means that the platforms work seamlessly together.

Slideshare also allows you to upload video content which you can use to engage your target audience on the platform with webinars and company videos. You can also collect the emails of users who download your presentations.

#30. Coupons and Discount Offers

Everybody likes to save a bit of money. This is why coupons, discounts and special offers are the most popular lead generation tools that you can use to attract your target audience and convert them into customers.

#31. Reddit Advertising

Reddit ads are also known as Promoted Posts and look pretty much the same as regular user-submitted posts on Reddit with the exception of a light blue background. They are also marked with a “Promoted” label. Reddit ads are so powerful because the community is remarkably interactive and engaged. The platform also allows you to target your audience which is why the platform can so effective at generating highly qualified leads for your business.

#32. StumbleUpon Marketing

According to statcounter, StumbleUpon refers morereferral traffic than other social bookmarking sites such as Reddit and Digg. Like other social networks, the main secret to success on the platform is great content.

#33. Social Media Monitoring

One of the most effective ways to generate leads is use an online monitoring tool such as Google alerts to listen to what people in your target audience are saying on sites like Twitter. For example, if you’re selling a coaching course aimed at helping people become better golfers, some of the keywords you could search for and monitor include phrases like “improve my swing”, “fix my slice” or “how do you hit a golf ball straight?”.

#34. Podcasting

Using podcasts as a lead generation tool has been proven to work, and the world’s most successful podcasters use their podcasts as a powerful lead generation tool. Studies show that email subscribers that come from podcasts are more likely to open emails, click links through them and follow through with calls to action.

#35. Internet Radio Advertising

Every week, over 90% of Americans listen to the radio, and there are several great online radio options such as Pandora and Spotify, with highly segmented audiences that you can leverage to generate qualified leads for your business.

#36. Native Gmail Ads

With over 1 billion monthly active users, there is a high probability that your clients and prospects are active on Gmail. Gmail ads are unobtrusive ads that provide the opportunity to get into the inboxes of your target audience who are not currently on your email list. Ads can be targeted by domain or by audiences (demographics, location, website, topic and interests, etc.)

#37. Newsjacking

Newsjacking involves capitalizing on the popularity of a particular news story in your industry to generate awareness for your business while the story is still fresh in people’s minds. For example, whenever Google releases a new algorithm update, blog posts that discuss the update in the first few weeks of the algorithm’s release often get an upsurge in targeted traffic.

#38. LinkedIn Pulse

LinkedIn Pulse is LinkedIn’s publishing platform, and whenever you publish articles on the platform, it helps build authority for your brand and increase the visibility of your content. Each time you publish an article on LinkedIn pulse, your entire network is notified, which gives you a wide audience of new readers by showing up in your followers’ news feeds. You can cature leads with an opt-in offer by directing readers to your website.

#39. Email Marketing

Email marketing remains the most effective way to nurture leads over time by leveraging it to deliver relevant content to prospects in a timely, non-intrusive manner .

#40. Databases

You can find potential leads for your business using databases such as Data.com which maintains a comprehensive list of companies with accurate contact information that you can tap into. For example, if you want to get inside a particular company but don’t know the right person to contact, Data.com will give you the job title and up-to-date contact details of each individual inside the company.

#41. Guest Blogging

Guest blogging on other sites in your niche increases your exposure and helps to build trust and credibility for your brand. For example, if you guest post on a blog in your industry that gets 10,000 daily readers, even if only 2,000 people read your blog post it means you’ve been exposed to 2,000 new people which could translate into visits to your site from a new audience and this may ultimately lead to new subscribers to your list.

#42. Blog Commenting

Leaving useful comments on blogs in your niche is an effective way to generate leads for your business. Usually, people who leave comments on articles are often trying to find solutions and answers to questions that weren’t fully addressed in the article. By adding value to the blog in the form of helpful comments, you’ll be generating targeted traffic to your site in the process.

#43. Solo Ads

Solo ads are one of the fastest ways to get targeted traffic for your business. In this instance, you’re buying traffic from someone who has an existing email list of subscribers. You pay them to send an email to their established list promoting your product, which is usually a free product being offered on a squeeze page.

#44. Google Advanced Search

Google’s advanced search tool allows you to get more granular with your search. This tool will help you find lead sources and indepth information that is not available when using Google’s regular search function.

#45. Forum Marketing

Industry-related forums are heavily frequented by potential leads. These users are generally net savvy and looking for answers and solutions to existing problems. So if you’re able to add real value to the conversation by making valuable and useful contributions to the community over time, you’ll increase trust and credibility for your brand and generate strong leads and targeted traffic to your website.

#46. Software Tools

Creating a software tool on your site that your visitors can use freely is a great way to generate qualified leads on autopilot. This is commonly used in the SEO industry where websites offer free site auditing tools that allows their visitors to audit their websites using these tools. For example, internet marketer Neil Patel offers a free website analyzer on his site QuickSprout.com.

#47. Quora

Quora is one of the most heavily trafficked question and answer sites on the web with over 100 million monthly active users worldwide. It allows you to engage with your customers and prospects by answering questions and communicating with them. It is a quick and effective way to generate brand awareness and attract targeted traffic to your website.

#48. Sales Funnel

Creating a sales funnel allows you to build trust and credibility with your target audience by nurturing them with content that is useful and relevant to them.

#49. Content Marketing

If you want to generate qualified leads on a consistent basis, you need to get into the habit of creating, publishing and distributing engaging and high quality content that is informative and targeted to your niche. The more useful and actionable your content, the higher the trust and credibility you’ll be able to build for your brand. Ultimately, this will lead to more qualified leads for your business.

#50. Local Chambers of Commerce

Local chambers of commnerce are business networks that are formed by business owners in specific towns and cities to help businesses by providing critical business advice. Every chamber of commerce has a directory of businesses that you can mine for leads. The best thing about these directories is that they have the most up-to-date contact information of registered businesses in the local area you’re interested in.

#51. Press releases

A press release is a written communication specifically directed to the media. You can use press releases to generate leads in two ways. The first is through the use of keywords that will help to rank the release in the search engines, and the second is through the favorable publicity for your business that it generates. It needs to be newsworthy and written as well as possible to ensure it will be effective, and will grab the attention of journalists.

#52. WhatsApp

WhatsApp is a multi-platform instant messaging internet app that enables users to make unlimited free calls and send unlimited free text messages to other users across the globe. Today, the app is used by over 1.5 billion monthly active users. You can upload contact numbers of users you wish to communicate with and broadcast targeted text messages to those users in which you introduce your services and engage with users.

#53. Online Reviews

Online reviews are testimonials provided by consumers based on their experience with a particular business. Reviews are powerful because shoppers tend to take the word of previous customers over the business owner’s

Lots of positive testimonials are powerful social proof and impact local search. They also play a large part in the development of a business’s online reputation. Reviews are often the main source of a company’s online reputation management and crisis management issues, because a single negative review in certain circumstances is sufficient to jeopardize the online reputation of a local business.

Reviews are highly regarded as a major asset for online businesses, and this is especially true for local search. 70% of global customers trust online reviews. The more positive reviews your business is able to get, the more prominent your business listing will be in local searches on search engines like Google, Google My Business, LinkedIn, Yelp, Trip Advisor, CitySearch, etc.

#54. Facebook Graph Search

Facebook Graph Search is an advanced Facebook tool that allows you to perform focused searches for people, businesses and more using specific keywords. It allows you to uncover really valuable and actionable insights that you can use to get a better understanding of the prospects or companies that you reach out to. This is important because you can use these insights to create the type of content that will resonate with prospects you decide to reach out to.

#55. LinkedIn Advanced Search

As the largest social network for professionals, LinkedIn is one of the most powerful sources of leads for businesses of all sizes. LinkedIn’s advanced search tool allows you to explore the LinkedIn database to search for exactly the right people to connect with in order to pursue opportunities. Note that the more people you have as first-degree connections, the larger your total network (which consists of your 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree connections) will be and the more prospects you’ll be able to search for.

#56. Twitter Ads

Twitter ads are geared towards small businesses. Through Twitter advertising, you can promote a single tweet with targeted keywords. In order to get the most from Twitter advertising however, you need to be able to create value-driven tweets that will encourage clicks to the landing page that you’re driving traffic to.

#57. YouTube Ads

According to a study by Prweb, consumers are 27 times more likely to click through online video ads rather than a standard banner. However, in order to be an effective lead generation tool for your business, it is important that your video ad is shown to users who are actively interested in the advertised product.

#58. Pinterest Ads

You can setup a Pinterest advertising campaign to promote a pin that has already gained some traction on Pinterest with saves, repins or comments.

#59. Pinterest Marketing

Pinterest is a powerful visual search engine. This means by understanding how your target audience searches for the products and services you sell, you can optimize your Pinterest profile to be found by potential buyers who are actively searching for what you’re selling.

#60. Google+

Google gives its social media site some preferential treatment in the organic search results, so establishing a profile on Google+ is a no-brainer.

#61. Google Local Pack

The Google local pack is always featured above the organic search results, and is one of the most prominent features that has been stealing away local traffic from the organic search results for years. This really emphasizes the value of a Google My Business page and effectively demonstrates why a Google My Business page is currently the most powerful source of free, qualified leads for local business.

#62. Bing Places for Business

Bing Places for Business is a Bing portal that allows local business owners to add a listing for their business on Bing. Just like a Google My Business page, getting listed on Bing gives your business a local presence on the search engine and enables potential customers to locate your business on the platform.

#63. Pinterest Rich Pins

Pinterest rich pins are enhanced pins that add more information than regular pins to make them more helpful and more powerful for businesses. This extra information is automatically pull3ed from your website and included on the pin itself. These pins provide free email notifications and highlight additional information which can be displayed in the Pinterest pin feed underneath the pin itself. Consequently, they drive more targeted traffic than regular pins, and will often result in significant increases in sales.

#64. Telemarketing

Telemarketing is one of the oldest and most successful ways to generate leads. Even though it traditionally gets a bad rap, it is still one of the most effective ways to generate leads and build relationships. It is also one of the most difficult ways to generate leads, so if you’re not great over the phone, you might find it easier to outsource the actual process to a professional on Fiverr.

#65. Yahoo Answers

Yahoo Answers is a great site where users can post questions on just about any topic imaginable, and then other registered users will respond with their best answers. If your answer is selected as the best answer by the person who originally posted the question, you can generate massive amounts of qualified traffic to your site because Yahoo allows you to post your website link in the answers.

#66. Cold Emails

The ability to craft compelling email copy that motivates your subscribers to open your emails and take action is a powerful skill that can help you generate more leads and easily turn those prospects into sales. You’ll need to understand how to use power words that are designed to motivate people to take action.

#67. App Search Optimization

App Search Optimization describes the process of improving the visibility of a mobile app in app stores like Google Play, App Store and Amazon so that it is easily found by your target audience. Creating and optimizing an app for your business or industry that your target audience finds useful will help build trust and credibility for your business and help to generate qualified leads.

#68. Your Email Signature

You can turn your email signature into a lead generator by embedding a link that redirects the reader to content that is relevant to them. This link can be a free trial or content that the user can download. Since it is the last thing the user sees before they close the message, adding a relevant call-to-action at that point can be very effective.

#69. Business cards

If you will be attending networking events, you will need to hand out your business card. To increase the number of pick-ups and the likelihood that a prospect will remember who you are, it is important to make sure that your business cards are clear and consistent, engaging, eye-catching and unique.

#70. Google Hangouts

Google Hangouts is a versatile communication channel on the Google search engine which includes tools like video chat, messaging, SMS and VOIP. You’re able to share images, send documents, introduce new products or services, and make a video or audio call to users in your circles without having to spend any money. There are numerous applications available which are designed specifically for business to improve their users’ experience. You can record promotional videos, video conferencing, Q & A sessions, host webinars and hold meetings.

#71. Voice Search

With more and more people preferring to use the convenience of their voice to search for information, voice search is revolutionizing the way users search for content. In fact, industry experts believe that by 2020, 50 percent of all searches will be made by voice. Since voice search is 3 times more likely to be used for local-based queries, it has become necessary for small, local businesses in to optimize for voice search.

#72. Status Updates

According to Forbes, 78% of consumers say that the posts made by companies on social media influence their purchases. If there’s one thing that will determine your success with online marketing, it is your ability to understand your target audience. If you know exactly what is really important to them, what interests them, what their challenges and problems are, what their hopes and aspirations are, then you’ll know how to engage with them in ways they’ll listen to and take action on.

When you understand your clients, you know:

  • What type of messages will resonate with them.
  • What will motivate potential clients to read status updates from you.
  • How to communicate with your target audience (potential clients) in language that will resonate with them.
  • The simplest and most effective way to build this deep level of understanding of your target audience is to develop one or more target client personas.

#73. Twitter Advanced Search

Twitter advanced search is a powerful tool that allows you to quickly find and follow targeted leads for your business. If you’re interested in finding people that have been searching for topics in your niche, you can simply enter niche-relevant keywords into Twitter Advanced Search. For example, if you want to find people who have been asking for help with weight loss, you can simply type in related keywords such as lose weight, diet, weight loss, nutrition, healthy eating, etc. Twitter will show you accounts of people who have been searching for related keywords.

#74. Local and National Industry Associations

There’s an association for just about any profession you can think of. Examples include accounting associations, trucking associations, dental associations, etc. If you want to generate leads in a particular industry, going through the association for that industry would give you credibility, and joining that association is the most effective way to build relationships with your target audience. However, if you’re only looking for contact information, you could do a search for the association’s directory online which usually contains the contact information for members of that association.

#75. County Assessors

No matter where you live, you’re going to have a county assessor for your area, and you can find both residential and commercial leads on the website of most county assessors. These websites will provide up-to-date details and contact information of both commercial and residential consumers who have recently made specific purchases.

#76. Skyping

Skype is a powerful marketing tool with over 300 million monthly active users in its database. Having Skype on your smartphone will create a virtual office that will allow you to reach out to and build relationships with your target audience on Skype.

#77. Craigslist

Craigslist is one of the simplest, but most effective tools you can use to generate leads for your business. If you go through the jobs section, you’ll find listings for all types of jobs available. Narrow your search to recent ads for businesses that are going to be “opening soon” within your specific area, and you’ll be able to generate hot leads of newly formed businesses that searching for specific products or services.

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