22 Lead Generation Ideas (and Strategies) for 2022: Our 300,000+ Lead Playbook

22 Lead Generation Ideas (and Strategies) for 2022: Our 300,000+ Lead Playbook

Without a reliable source of new leads for your product or service, your business is dead in the water and stuck with no consistent customer growth. Enter: Our guide of actionable lead generation ideas you can execute on today.

If your sales funnel isn’t overflowing with leads, that makes the lead generation ideas and strategies you choose to pursue today, incredibly important to the future of your company.

Marketing and sales teams spend an absurd amount of time and financial resources on lead generation—from creating in-depth blog content to launching ad campaigns, prospecting on LinkedIn, producing videos, hosting webinars, speaking at conferences, and so much more.

But at the end of the day, you don’t have an unlimited budget of time and money to pursue every lead generation idea that tickles your fancy. You need results now.

So, to help you cut through all the noise on this topic, we’re digging deep into the most effective lead generation tactics we’ve actually used to grow an audience of more than 300,000 leads over the course of the last few years.

We’ve broken down this guide to lead generation ideas for startups into a few major categories that reflect different organizational priorities and core competencies, and into groupings that tend to work very well together when creating a menu of regular lead generation tactics to lean upon.

But first off…

What is Lead Generation?

Leads are individuals or companies that like what you sell and may turn into customers. Lead generation is the process of finding those people, getting their attention, and looking for signs that they could become successful customers in the future.

In most cases, lead gen falls into the hands of the marketing team, and can take the form of using SEO to get more traffic to your website, creating a lead magnet for website visitors, setting up email marketing, and guiding these new potential leads through the sales funnel.

Content Marketing Lead Generation Ideas

Content Marketing Lead Generation Ideas

These B2B lead generation ideas are primarily focused on using content marketing to create a steady stream of inbound leads that discover the content you’re creating—whether that’s written, video, audio, or through another content medium. We’re exploring them all.

1. High-Quality Blog Content

The content we publish here on the Close blog has been the backbone of our lead generation strategy ever since 2013, and it's been filling up our sales pipeline with high-quality leads ever since.

We’ve learned a lot since our very first post that featured just a simple embed of an MVP video demo of Close. Fast forward to today, and we’re regularly publishing pieces like:

  • A 17,000-word guide to sales pipelines with examples, infographics, and templates
  • Case study breakdowns of the most effective selling strategies at work in top B2B SaaS startups
  • Detailed takeaways from how several early-stage startups are using cold calling to generate millions in sales

Your content can also include testimonials, whitepapers, and other long-form content.

That said, investing thousands of hours (like we’ve done) into creating this level of frequent, in-depth content doesn’t equate to guaranteed success. In fact, although 84% of businesses in one survey said they have a content marketing strategy, only 11% considered their strategy to be an excellent one.

What’s the primary goal of your content?

The foundation of your content marketing strategy needs to rest on building relationships with the right people—ones who are likely to convert into becoming leads and eventually customers for your business.

So, before deciding what type of content to post, pause to determine exactly what your motivations are for investing in content as a lead generation idea in the first place, and how that’ll be translated into execution. Answer crucial questions like:

  • Which problems can we solve for our target customers through free content?
  • How can we out-teach the competition and differentiate ourselves on these topics?
  • Where do our target customers spend time online? Do they read blogs? Participate in LinkedIn groups? Search on Google? Look for solutions on Quora?
  • Would we rather have 100 readers that are all in our target market, or 1,000 readers and only a handful of target customers in that audience? This will greatly inform which topics you should write about.
  • Which content medium do our target customers prefer to consume content in?
  • Do we have the core competencies to produce high-quality content? If not, how can we attract and leverage the right people?

At the end of the day, if you don’t care deeply about helping your customers solve real pain points in their business, and your main motivation is just selling more subscriptions to anyone with a credit card, that’s going to result in pretty shitty content.

Obviously, transactional content that asks readers to buy in the first sentence doesn’t sell.

You need to be a teacher—one that’s invested in the future of your students (customers).

How does content get discovered?

How you promote your content is just as important as how you create it. You’ll only drive positive results for your business if your target customers discover what you’ve written for them.

While PPC and other paid methods can drive traffic, they’re harder to get started with for small companies. For us, organic search drives the lion’s share of traffic to our blog. That’s when someone searches for something like, “sales strategies” on Google, and they see this:

Lead Generation Ideas - Organic Search Rankings for Sales Strategies.jpg

We now create mostly evergreen content that’s intentionally designed to rank well in organic search results for keywords like this, because we learned early on that many of our customers were discovering us from searching for sales-related advice on Google.

Climbing to the top of search rankings is an arduous journey that takes a combination of time, an accumulation of backlinks from high domain-authority websites (achieved from tactics like guest posting, link outreach, and syndication partnerships), social shares on the major networks, and a slew of other factors.

Whether you're selling software, wholesale merchandise, consulting, or real estate attorney services, organic search can be a powerful source of new leads.

Aside from just increasing the organic rankings for your content over the course of days, weeks, and months, you can proactively go out and find potential readers in several ways.

Try engaging in online communities where your target customers spend time, recording simple videos (like ours) for the video search engine YouTube, leveraging your connections to amplify social sharing to the right audiences, and pitching other sites with a similar audience to take a related guest post from you.

Getting your content noticed will take hustle.

2. Educational or Instructional Videos

The majority of our written content here on the Close blog actually begins life as an educational video, filmed in just 10 to 20 minutes, but in order to produce a huge amount of versatile videos, you need creative automation.

Videos for Lead Generation Ideas

This process of first recording a video works great for a writer on our team to quickly transcribe the core principles & takeaways into a comprehensive written post that can be published in tandem with the video on our blog.

However, on top of streamlining our content production process, we also experience immense benefits from uploading each new video to YouTube twice a week.

Since 2013, we’ve uploaded nearly hundreds of videos and they’ve been viewed over 2.5 million times.

These results came without any direct promotion, and zero paid ads driving traffic to get people to watch. While most of our videos now end up getting around 1,000 views, many end up climbing well into the tens of thousands, simply because YouTube’s ranking algorithm rewards them for a number of different reasons.

Consistency is key to getting traction from your video content. Put in the work, show up every day with a strong message, and you’ll start to see what’s gaining momentum.

Combine video with your written content and you’ll be doing two things at once: adding a new acquisition channel for your audience to discover your content, and offering your readers the option to consume the content over video, rather than just text.

3. Offer a Free, On-Demand Product Demo

Most SaaS companies have you sign up to chat with a sales rep to eventually get on a customized product demo. While this does work for some people, others simply want to see the product in action in the moment to help them decide if it’s really what they’re looking for.

Enter the on-demand demo. This is a powerful lead generation tool that brings potential customers with high intent.

Curious what an on-demand demo should look like? Check out the Close demo landing page to see one in action:

CHECK OUT OUR ON-DEMAND DEMO →

Explain in depth the problems your product can solve, show off the user experience, and maybe even give some social proof. This will help you build trust in your product as you generate new leads.

4. Audio Content (Podcasts and Audiobooks)

Do you listen to podcasts? If so, it’s not a stretch to begin releasing your own that is geared toward building an audience and helping that community solve challenges in their business.

Even if you already have a sizable audience, giving your readers the chance to engage with you on an even deeper level—through the speakers on their daily commute, during lunch, or at the gym—will help you create more meaningful relationships that transcend just the lessons learned from reading your blog content.

Recent studies have shown that 104 million Americans alone listen to podcasts regularly, and 80 million listen to podcasts on a weekly basis.

In the first three years of hosting The Startup Chat with Hiten Shah, we had over 700,000 downloads. As we tackled pressing topics for a major segment of the Close audience—startup founders—we developed more dynamic relationships with people who were are target customers.

Lead Generation Podcast Startup Chat.png

And while naturally, not every listener was a true lead for Close, we took the long-term outlook that anyone listening to a show about growing a startup is at least interested in building a business of their own one day—and as a listener, our CRM for startups is more likely to be top of mind when they are ready.

I even have a personal podcast where I share my very own, personal inner work journey.

Podcast recordings also make for great content to repurpose over to your blog. When an episode does particularly well with your listeners, create a written version for your audience to read.

If you want to get even more creative, try taking your highest-performing blog posts and recording an audio version of them, made available for free right on the blog post, as author Mark Manson does over on his blog.

Lead Generation Idea Audio Version of Blog Posts.png

Then, as an additional lead generation tactic, you can offer your readers themed bundle downloads of audio versions of your best blog content—that way they can listen to the good stuff whenever they want.

5. Books and eBooks

The books and eBooks we've written have been some of our most successful lead generation ideas over the past few years, responsible for tens of thousands of new leads.

From keeping our existing readers topped off with fresh new content for growing sales at their startups, to leveraging the lead generation power of launching our books on startup-focused sites like Producthunt, they’re a win-win for us.

Lead Generation Strategy Producthunt Launch.png

Sitting at over 760 upvotes on Producthunt, our book Your Growth Hacks Aren’t Working: Now Pick Up The Phone And Get Customers!, has been one of our most successful lead generation book campaigns—bringing in more than 3,300 new leads soon after launch.

In addition to launching our books on external communities where our audience spends their time online, we also use them for lead generation throughout our blog.

We’ll include regular calls-to-action, asking readers to go and download our book, The Follow Up Formula, throughout our high-trafficked blog posts on everything related to creating a follow-up plan, how to perfect your follow-up emails, scripts for follow-up phone calls, and other topics that are expanded upon in the book.

After launching the book on a handful of online communities (for new lead generation), we’ll promote it to our existing audience as a way to keep delivering relevant value to our community—and ask them to share it with others who could benefit from reading it.

6. Downloadable Guides

When it comes to lead generation, we treat our multi-page guides a little differently than books.

These in-depth guides take lots of thought, research, and expert opinion to complete. They are a whole, well-rounded explanation of a topic.

But here’s the catch: they’re available for free, ungated, on our website.

So, how does this generate leads?

Well, as readers scroll through the guide, they’ll realize it’s a bit long. When they’re about to navigate away from the page, they’ll see an exit-intent popup inviting them to get the downloadable version of the guide and read it later. This kind of marketing automation can take your lead generation to the next level.

Lead Generation Ideas With Downloadable Guides

Once you have a few different lead generation resources at your disposal, you can start grouping them together as we do with our Complete Sales Library—a compilation of all our best guides, books, and courses that can be picked up for free.

7. Copy & Paste Templates

In the B2B world, everyone loves using successful templates as a starting point when learning a new skill, experimenting with different tactics, or looking for inspiration, making them a fantastic lead generation idea.

To date, our cold email templates have been our single most-downloaded resource, fueled largely by our article on the most effective cold emails.

These templates alone have generated nearly 25,000 leads for our CRM, that’s naturally closely connected to helping customers send better cold emails to their prospects.

These templates perform very well because they’re so closely connected to solving a problem that our customers (and prospects) have.

However, if we offered templates for something like planning out your content marketing calendar, we’d be attracting leads that aren’t necessarily working in sales—and even more importantly, they’re unlikely to be decision-makers or stakeholders on the task of becoming more effective at selling within the organization.

Determining the right kinds of copy & paste templates you should create as a part of your lead generation strategy, is pretty simple actually…

Talk (and actually listen) to your customers and prospects.

They’ll tell you exactly where they need the most help if you listen carefully.

  • Dig into their biggest organizational challenges and individual struggles
  • Uncover the small, yet influential steps your prospects take to accomplish their goals.
  • Ask about the places where they get hung up most when doing their jobs.

For us, the vast majority of our customers get a ton of value from our CRM’s calling functionality—and it’s built around the actual workflow of a salesperson’s daily life to help them be more effective and efficient (and we know because we are salespeople).

Taking that simple tidbit of knowledge we have about our ideal customers, we’ve constructed several different templates that help prospects become better at selling over the phone, and they’ve been high-performing lead generation ideas for us.

From our objection management template to the call review checklist, and sales interview question matrix, each of these copy & paste templates and scripts have helped us forge new meaningful relationships based around providing true value, to people who identify as having a core problem that our product solves for.

And that, my friends, is the ultimate goal with any lead generation strategy.

8. Joint Webinars

Hosting webinars with related (non-competing) brands who share a similar audience as ours, is a brand new lead generation idea we’re employing that’s already paying huge dividends for us.

Over the years, we’ve hosted or participated in several webinars fit for our audience.

Lead Generation Ideas Joint Webinars Combined Images.jpg

Two of our most successful webinars had just under 2,000 people register to attend (each), with about 1,000 of those attendees coming from the partners who co-hosted with us.

By hosting two webinars in one month, we generated an additional 2,000 targeted new leads, with comparatively low effort and at no cost since these leads came from our partners who promoted the events to their audiences via email and social media.

You can watch the recording of our webinars on cold emailing right here and the one on using data to enhance your sales process right here.

We also use webinars to generate more BOFU leads and to increase the conversion rate of leads who have started a free trial. Our weekly Close for Newbies webinar allows us to directly answer questions and walk new users through the product.

BOFU Lead Generation Ideas

9. Online Courses

Online courses offer multiple content delivery formats, giving you more ways to connect with your audience and share value.

A few years ago we launched a Startup Sales Negotiation Crash Course. It was a combination of video lectures, written content, templates, activities that call you to take action, and links to supplemental related materials like blog posts, podcast episodes, and videos on our YouTube channel.

Lead Generation Ideas Sales Negotiation Course.png

With the proliferation of hosting platforms like Teachable (what we used), you can skip the complicated challenge of building custom pages on your website for course material, creating forms for gating the course, and workflows to deliver the content.

No idea what to do a course about? Then you’re doing something wrong.

Just like all of the other lead generation tactics we’re discussing, determining the right topic should be as simple as knowing your audience.

Run a digital marketing agency? Create a course about writing blog posts. Selling a CRM for startups? Teach a course for founders on how to do sales.

At the end of the day, you need to create a course that seizes upon this opportunity to help your target customers solve those most pressing problems themselves.

And then, you’ll be right there if and when they decide they’d rather get a little help or outsource the entire project to you.

That said, courses aren’t right for every audience or use case. We decided to discontinue our course because it wasn’t giving enough value to our audience. So, pay attention to how your audience reacts to these different content formats.

10. Host a Virtual Summit

During the fall of 2017, we hosted The Inside Sales Summit, our very first virtual summit.

Lead Generation Ideas Virtual Summit.png

We recorded 55 video interviews with sales experts, leaders, bestselling authors, and practitioners out in the field—for an epic week of content that dug into every possible facet of what it takes to be successful in the world of inside sales.

Throughout the week we were “live” with the virtual summit, we generated a grand total of 7,827 new signups with this lead generation idea. A massive return in one week!

In this detailed guide, we break down everything we learned while hosting the summit (and offer up our steps to organizing your own virtual summit in less than 2 months).

We clocked more than 23,000 web sessions and the videos were viewed over 7,000 times.

Lead Generation Idea Virtual Summit Traffic.png

53 of the leads we generated from the summit became trial users of Close within the first month after the event concluded.

Of those trial signups, 2 became paying customers within two months of launching the summit, translating into $2,328 in annual contract value for our CRM product.

While it took a significant amount of time (~3 months) and money (upwards of $25,000) to put this together, the results were not bad for a first attempt.

Summit success depends upon partner (and speaker) promotion.

If you’re planning to launch a virtual summit as a lead generation idea, my biggest piece of advice is to get as many high-quality partner brands and speakers as possible, on board to promote the event to their audiences. And incentivize them.

We measured the success of our summit by the number of new leads we acquired, which means people that weren’t already on our email list—but they had to come from somewhere.

For this reason, we very thoughtfully chose the people we reached out to for interviews. Big influencers in the sales space like Grant Cardone, Jill Konrath, Max Altschuler, and others who agreed in advance to promote the event to their email lists in exchange for a 1-to-1 list share on the backend—meaning if they drove 500 signups, we’d reciprocate with giving them 500 fresh leads from the summit after it was over.

Structuring this as a win-win for our speakers with large personal brands to promote, was instrumental to the success of the summit. Next time, we’re going to involve more sales-related brands, as they tend to have larger audiences than individuals.

11. Launch a Creative Side Project

Side projects can come in many different shapes and forms. Even without a ton of technical resources, you can still do something creative that generates attention and leads.

A few years ago, the ad agency Cummins & Partners wanted to sell out their first live conference, Creative Fuel. They had a limited budget, so they utilized next to nothing aside from a dash of creativity to launch a YouTube video and blog post titled: “The World’s First Crowd-Sourced 3D-Printed QR Code Live Streamed Via GoPro To A Smartphone Or Tablet Device Drone Delivery Ticket System Project.”

Lead Generation Ideas Creative Side Project YouTube Video.png

If it sounds ridiculous, that’s because it was intended to be.

The agency’s satirical interpretation of its technologically-obsessed industry got a ton of press coverage from marketing blogs and publications around the world. Their video has received over 188,000 views on YouTube since its release.

If you want to provide something valuable for your audience, why not create a free tool they can use? We did this by creating SalesTable, the free spreadsheet CRM. It’s a core lead generation tool for us because it fills a specific need for a key piece of our target audience.

Here’s one more (side project) lead generation idea that took no technical skills whatsoever to put together.

Back in 2017, Ryan launched a public challenge on his blog to validate a random business idea that his readers chose for him, in less than 30 days. The goal: show how simple it can be to build the foundation of a business.

The challenge attracted tens of thousands of new readers, several thousand new email subscribers, and hundreds of comments. After it was over, Ryan took his learnings and compiled them into an online course that dug deeper into the topic. This course have 250 signups from the original challenge and netted a positive return on a lead generation idea that essentially cost him nothing.

Side projects can come in many different shapes and forms too—from building a mobile app, to hosting a live event or conference, launching a small (free) software tool that's designed to generate leads for your greater product, or otherwise.

Social Media Driven Lead Generation Ideas

Social Media-Driven Lead Generation Ideas

Each of these lead generation ideas are based primarily on using one or more major social networks to find prospects and turn them into qualified leads.

12. Optimize (and Scale) Outbound Connection Requests on LinkedIn

LinkedIn can be a great lead generation platform—if you use it wisely and avoid sending spammy, irrelevant, generic messages (I’ll bet you have some of those in your inbox right now).

When you approach LinkedIn lead generation the right way, it still represents a massive opportunity for B2B sellers.

“Using Linkedin as a form of outreach is great because it’s complementary to cold email and hits your prospects on a different channel that might be less crowded than their inbox,” says my friend, Jake Jorgovan. He runs the done-for-you LinkedIn prospecting company, Lead Cookie.

“While a cold email is a much more direct sales pitch, a LinkedIn engagement is much more of a conversation,” he adds. “With LinkedIn, people use the chat feature just like they would Facebook Messenger or texting. Many people even have the LinkedIn app on their phone which sends push notifications directly to their mobile device. This makes outreach via LinkedIn its own separate channel that is worthwhile for any B2B sales team to explore.”

Jake’s process for scaling LinkedIn lead generation for his clients is simple:

  • First, optimize your LinkedIn profile to convert profile views into conversations
  • Start sending 100 outbound connection requests daily to narrowly defined target customers
  • Use a drip series of custom messages to these new connections to start conversations that convert to booked meetings
  • Finally, use tools like Dux-Soup to visit the profiles of other LinkedIn members in your target market, which in turn ramps up traffic back to your Linkedin profile—creating interest in your optimized offering near the top of your profile.

First, they’ll optimize your Linkedin profile so it’s designed to convert profile views into conversations.

For a more scalable, DIY approach to generating leads on LinkedIn, you can also use tools like ReachHub, which enable you to add prospects to an email campaign with just one click directly from LinkedIn via a simple Chrome extension.

13. Answer Questions on Online Communities

The common thread with online communities like Quora is that they’re destinations where your target market may already exist and be actively seeking solutions to problems you can help them solve.

Lead Generation Ideas Quora Answers.png

A couple of years ago, we invested heavily in answering questions like this one, related to inside sales and startups (two topics our target market cares most about) on Quora.

While this example answer has performed extremely well, netting more than 255,000 views and over 1,000 upvotes since I answered it back in 2016, it’s an outlier in our experience. Most of our answers draw a couple thousand views and 10 to 25 upvotes over the course of the first year the answer is live.

The average Quora answer I submit typically takes anywhere from 20 to 60 minutes to write—with a finished product ranging from 500-1,000+ words in length, including a relevant image, some key data, and helpful links to authoritative resources backing up our philosophy.

Depending upon how much demand there is for the topic and question you’re answering—and of course the depth & creativity of your answer—you can replicate some of our most successful Quora answers by observing the general format we answer in.

Aside from the benefits of (tastefully) being able to link to your website where Quorans can click through to learn more, within your answers, answering questions in this community is a long-term strategy.

If you dedicate 30 minutes each day to writing a thoughtful answer to an important question in your niche, after a year you’ll undoubtedly have some traction. From there, the  network effects should amplify your reach as your follower count grows and the positive effects of new answers compound over time.

14. Share Long-Form Updates on LinkedIn

Long-form updates are all the rage, but they’re also a surprisingly effective lead generation idea.

Lead Generation Ideas LinkedIn Long Form Updates-1.jpg

Scan your feed and chances are high you’ll see a few of these updates that have dozens of likes and comments.

These posts are thoughtfully crafted to drive engagement, which in turn surfaces your update to other users.

Here are some quick tips to create your own LinkedIn updates:

  • Start with a short hook to draw readers in
  • Transition from that hook into a story
  • Break each sentence or two into its own line to make the update visually appealing
  • To get more engagement, add a link in the first comment instead of in the actual update
  • Make your update authentic, value-driven, and engaging

Once you've built an engaged audience on the platform, you can start employing other lead gen tools that'll help you convert more of your growing audience into leads for your business.

15. Social Listening and Groups on Social Media Platforms

If you know the key terms and phrases associated with your target customers, social listening can be a very powerful lead generation idea for your business.

From searching for hashtags and topics on Twitter to interact with and drive discussion around, you can also get much more granular with your social listening strategy by specifically following and engaging with people who self-identify as affiliating themselves with terms your business is also related to.

Here’s how easy it is to filter by Twitter users who talk about or list “inside sales” in their bios.

Lead Generation Ideas Twitter Social Listening.png

On Facebook, groups are still the best destination for finding prospects that you can engage in meaningful discussions with.

Lead Generation Ideas Facebook Groups.png

Find and join groups where members are clearly active and rallied around a particular subject matter that’ll allow you to regularly weigh in with your expertise (as related to your product or service).

Like with all groups on your social channels, work hard to avoid being overly self-promotional about your offering by sharing tons of links or talking about your product. Allow genuine interest & appreciation to be the driving factor in starting one-on-one conversations with group members, and those will more naturally lead to authentic relationships that could blossom into new-found customers.

Instagram can also afford you many opportunities to build close relationships with other influential people in your space—giving you the ability to forge partnerships that can help ramp up your Instagram growth and get your offer in front of more leads.

These social media lead generation ideas can be used in harmony with retargeting lead generation campaigns.

16. Leverage Niche Online Communities

Just about every niche has an actively managed online community or two that can be used for relationship-building (and, if you’re very careful, lead generation).

Communities like Product Hunt, Hacker News, and Indie Hackers can be incredibly insightful destinations for uncovering targeted prospects who’ve expressed interest in similar products or services as what you have to offer—by either upvoting, liking, commenting, or sharing a competitor’s product.

Take this example of another sales CRM product that was recently on Product Hunt, below.

Lead Generation Idea Product Hunt Outreach.png

You can click into the list of users who’ve upvoted the product (showing an interest in it or support of it) and click through to visit their individual profiles.

Lead Generation Strategy Product Hunt Twitter Outreach.png

Most Product Hunt members have a link to their website and Twitter account in their bio, making it relatively easy to reach out and get in touch.

While this lead generation idea is hardly scalable at this granular of a level, you can outsource the legwork by hiring an affordable virtual assistant to visit the profiles of every user who’s upvoted a competitor’s product, and have them build a spreadsheet with relevant contact information to then begin your more targeted outreach.

If you’re a marketer, communities like GrowthHackers may be more your speed.

Offline Lead Generation Ideas

Offline Lead Generation Ideas

Not all lead generation efforts need to be driven by online campaigns.

17. Speak at Industry Events and Conferences

One of the best ways to build your personal brand and elevate your thought leadership within your industry, is speaking at local events all the way up to international conferences.

Since day one here at Close, this has been a core lead generation strategy of ours because it regularly gets us in front of hundreds (or thousands) of people in our target market for a presentation where we get to impart some of our sales expertise.

Before the pandemic, I was speaking at 10 to 20 conferences per year that were well-attended by startup founders, sales leaders, and practitioners—about topics mostly related to scaling your startup sales process.

Lead Generation Ideas Steli Efti Speaking at Conferences.jpg

While it’s difficult to calculate the exact financial return we get from an individual conference or local event, it’s clear that there are always spikes in traffic, email subscriptions, and trial signups during a conference I’m speaking at.

Over the years, we’ve gotten very good at optimizing these in-person event opportunities to attract sign-ups and product trials by ending the presentation with a clear call to action for everyone interested in learning more about what we do.

I also share my personal email address on the final slide of the presentation, encouraging people to reach out with a specific question—or to shoot me a quick email right then and there in order to get a free copy of our recent book. QR codes also act as a quick call to action in the physical world, with the underlying advantage that the traction you get can be measured.

I know, I know… who doesn’t want to be featured on Forbes, Fast Company, and TechCrunch?

While it can be a tough equation to crack on a regular basis, we’ve been able to strategically position ourselves as an authoritative source for tactical advice on all things startups + sales through the hundreds of in-depth blog posts, videos and talks Steli has given.

This content we’ve invested so heavily in has now made me a thought leader and go-to expert for getting bylines and quotes featured on most of the major business and tech publications.

Lead Generation Ideas Fast Company Article.png

If you’re able to build a relationship with an editor at some of these publications, and successfully pitch yourself as becoming a regular contributor, then that gives you a clear channel for (tastefully without overt self-promotion) sharing your advice, tactics, and techniques to publications where your target audience likely spends time online.

Then, when readers want to learn more about you and the product or service you offer along the lines of what you regularly write about, it’s easy to bridge that gap—making this a potentially lucrative lead generation idea if you’re not afraid to put in the work.

19. Create a Customer Referral Program

B2B marketers, salespeople, and business owners alike will all tell you that their highest quality leads come from the referrals they get from current customers.

When you have a great product or service and work hard to create a fantastic customer experience, it becomes much easier to ask if your happy customers have a referral to share, a potential client or customer who may be interested in your solution.

Since new referrals already come with trust in the person who referred them and a pain point that needs to be solved, this really can be one of the best lead generation ideas you can pursue.

20. Be Interviewed on Relevant Podcasts and Radio Shows

If you didn’t originally discover us from content here on the blog, chances are high that you first heard of me on a top startup podcast. I've done hundreds of interviews.

Lead Generation Ideas Steli Efti Interviews on Podcasts and Radio.jpg

And the beautiful thing about doing podcast interviews? Other podcast hosts will hear your interviews and want to grab you to explore a different angle for their audience of thousands (or more) weekly listeners. There’s an echo-chamber effect.

That makes my show a good lead generation platform for the right kind of product or service that’s built for my audience of freelancers and side hustlers.

To find the right podcasts and radio shows you should be pitching on interviews, start with the roundup lists like this one that you’ll find from a quick Google search. If you’re not already a podcast or regular radio show listener, ask around and probe other people in your industry to get a sense of which shows they listen to—or have been interviewed on before.

21. Host Regular Meetup Events

Meetup events, whether primarily for existing customers or as a lead generation idea that’s designed to drum up interest for your product with a community that shares a common interest, can work incredibly well.

Lead Generation Ideas Customer Meetup Event Close

We’ve long been avid proponents of running customer meetups with the goal of continuing to build a community with (and for) our own users, while also inviting them to bring others to the event that’d be interested in learning more about scaling their sales process.

What’s important with meetup events for prospects, is that you’re delivering actual value to everyone who takes the time out of their busy schedules to attend—be that in the form of an educational presentation, a collaborative workshop, or otherwise.

Don’t just do a product demo, unless you’ve clearly stipulated that’s the topic of the event.

You can easily organize your meetup event through platforms like Meetup and Eventbrite, or keep track of RSVPs and send reminder emails internally.

Need an idea for a topic to host a meetup around? Well…

  • If your product is a sales CRM for startups, then an event that’s structured around a collaborative workshop on how to build a startup sales process from the ground up might work well for you.
  • If you offer digital marketing consulting for restaurants, try hosting a meetup that runs through the basics of how restaurants should go about launching their first marketing campaigns—actually teach them, and then offer your help as support.
  • If your product is a social media scheduling tool, host a series of meetup events around social media best practices, emerging trends, and clever tactics.
  • If your service offering is law firm marketing, then structure the meeting in a way that showcases their law firm. Give them tips and best practices on how they should go about their marketing strategies. Compare how other firms handle their marketing, then show how your service is better than others.

Beyond just the obvious benefits of exposing new people to your business through meetups, these in-person events also help create community intimacy, foster brand loyalty and give you the opportunity to problem-solve for your most motivated members.

22.  Go on Local (or National) Television

It’s safe to say that sitting on the couch with Ellen or being a featured guest on CNBC’s Squawk Box would drive some serious attention to your website the day the show airs.

Lead Generation Ideas Lewis Howes Ellen.jpg

But short of landing a major interview like that, what’s the lead generation potential of local television?

While some local television outlets will ask you to pay to play if you pitch them on being a guest for one of their segments, it’s not too difficult to become the person everyone wants to interview if you’ve built somewhat of a reputation for yourself as an authority within your space.

However, this will be a very relationship-driven lead generation strategy.

Get started with these simple steps:

  • Network at face-to-face events where media decision-makers are present
  • Seek out the low-hanging fruit first with podcast and radio interviews
  • Connect with and regularly share the content that key local journalists publish
  • Most importantly… do or create something remarkably newsworthy

At the end of the day, there’s no replacement for doing something truly unique (as related to your business) that places you in high-demand for interviews by local stations. It’s better to pick and choose your television appearances from a steady stream of inquiries than to be tirelessly pitching yourself day in and day out.

Build a Solid Lead Generation Process for Your Business

We’ve discussed quite a few different lead generation methods in this article today—some standard, some a bit out-of-the-box.

But you won’t use all of these methods for your lead generation campaigns. You need to choose the ones that work best for your audience and your business.

How will you know? Track the right metrics, especially conversion rates. Build a lead nurturing sequence to keep up with new leads you generate, and watch the close rate for different methods.

As you develop a lead generation process for your business, you’ll need a place to track, engage with, and ultimately close those new leads. With Close, you can easily import new leads from your favorite lead generation tools, and work smarter to turn them into successful customers.

START YOUR FREE TRIAL →