Growing your business means generating leads.
A lot of them. Over and over and over again.
To do it consistently, and to attract high-quality leads who are likely to buy what you’re selling, you need to follow proven lead generation strategies.
We say “proven” because there are plenty of strategies out there…
But many of them don’t work.
Or are outdated.
The list we’ve put together is full of strategies that successful online businesses are practicing right now and will continue practicing because they work.
If you want more leads, implement the following strategies.
12 (Proven) Outbound and Inbound Lead Generation Strategies
1. Build a User-Friendly, Mobile-Optimized Website
If you want to generate leads online you need to create a user-friendly, mobile-optimized website.
Most of the other lead generation strategies on this list require you to have an up-to-date website designed to persuade leads and capture their contact information.
It has to be user-friendly because a website that is difficult to navigate, that looks ugly, that’s slow or doesn’t function properly (broken links, forms, webpages) will turn interested visitors into disinterested strangers, never to return again.
Similarly, but even more importantly, your website must be mobile-optimized.
Meaning, someone should be able to access your website from their phone and be able to see and navigate your website easily even though it’s displayed on such a small screen.
Many websites still look and function like crap on mobile phones.
And Google flat out said they are prioritizing websites that are mobile-optimized in their search engine, which means your SEO efforts (a strategy we’ll cover momentarily) won’t be as effective with an unoptimized site.
2. Start a Blog and Post Regularly
Starting a blog is an online business basic first step for getting people to visit your website, sign up to your email list, and buy your products or services.
It’s a tried and true lead generation strategy.
Blogging is part of a larger SEO strategy you can use to create content that matches the keywords potential leads enter into search engines like Google - driving them to your website instead of someone else’s.
It’s also a way to demonstrate your authority and expertise in your niche.
And blog posts can and should be shared across all of your social media channels - a strategy we’ll also discuss later.
The blog posts your audience will love (and that will generate a lot of leads) are those that cover topics your target market care about in-depth, are easy and fun to read, and display a clear call-to-action (CTA) at the end of them.
3. Use Search Engine Optimization (SEO) on Your Website
Blogging is a great way to use SEO
Other forms of content marketing help as well, which we’ll get into in the next section
But SEO also matters for your website itself
Search engine optimization (SEO) is all about crafting your web presence and content to rank highly in the results pages on Google and other search engines, while also delivering information people want to consume.
15 years ago you could create a webpage and stuff it with a bunch of keywords and get it ranked on the first page of Google.
Today, it’s much harder to get on the first page of Google.
You’ll need to implement a variety of SEO strategies to outrank your competition and provide better content for higher-quality leads.
4. Publish and Promote Excellent Content
Creating engaging and valuable content should be one of your top lead generation strategies.
Consumers are content-oriented and use it to make buying decisions. Publishing and promoting your own content will help you stand out from the competition, create trust, and put your leads into a “buying mood.”
Plus, producing content is a key part of SEO.
You can also use this strategy to create sales enablement content.
The main types of content we suggest creating besides blog posts are:
- Case studies
- White papers
- Social media posts
- Knowledge base articles
Each piece of content you create should engage your audience and encourage sharing it on social media to get word-of-mouth marketing.
5. Create Landing Pages to Get More Email Subscribers
The usual pages on your website will be home, about, services, contact, and blog. They’re typically written for anyone who lands there - meaning, they’re not targeted at anyone specific.
But if you want to generate a lot of excellent leads, you need to create targeted landing pages that are meant to convert strangers into leads.
A landing page only has a few elements:
- Headline and perhaps a subheadline.
- Interesting and engaging content.
- An offer of some kind (typically something free like an ebook, video course, or consultation).
- And a call-to-action (like entering name and email address or calling a number).
If all those elements match your audience’s desires or solves your audience’s problems, however small or large, you’ll generate a lot of leads.
But they can’t be targeted at everybody.
The goal of the page is to convert as many people who land on it into leads, which means it needs to be geared toward the people you’re expecting to land on it and should speak directly to their wants, needs, pains, and fears.
The most common use for landing pages is building your email list.
6. Connect to Your Subscribers Through Email Marketing
Gaining email subscribers is one of the best lead generation strategies on this list.
According to Copyblogger, “for every $1 spent on email marketing, you get $44 in return...Plus, email remains 40 times better at converting people than social media.”
Think about it:
Social media is like a party, so when you post a message on any of your platforms, you’re basically just shouting into a crowd. Some people will listen, most will ignore you.
Email is like having intimate one-on-one conversations with many people at the same time. It’s much easier to talk with them for a long time, across days, months, and years - giving you the time and opportunity to close a lot of leads long-term.
Creating a regular email newsletter can go a long way in staying relevant, developing a deeper relationship with your leads, proving your authority in your industry, and giving leads one good reason after another to buy from you.
7. Post Daily on Social Media
Posting regularly on social media works hand in hand with many of the other strategies on this list.
It lets you share blog posts and other content, put out invitations to get an offer from your landing page, and get people to visit your website which boosts your SEO.
But ultimately, the goal of posting on social media is to generate interest in your brand, your products or services, and your business’s personality.
People want to interact with you on social media. That means you need to interact with them, respond to their comments, listen to their suggestions, and even provide customer service directly through your platforms.
Social media doesn’t generally close leads, but it exposes you to tens or hundreds of thousands of potential leads. With the right content, this can be a highly effective lead generation strategy and will help you grow a loyal audience.
8. Run Paid Ads
The previous lead generation strategies regarding content and social media are all considered “inbound” lead generation strategies, which means they’re put out for people to find on their own, instead of forcing the message in front of people.
But putting out content for someone to click even though they didn’t search for it can be very effective. These are called paid ads.
Paid ads almost always work together with landing pages.
The ad is there to capture attention and direct that attention to an irresistible offer located on your landing page. The goal with the offer is to capture a reader’s information and turn them into a lead.
9. Host Webinars
Webinars are online seminars that can work wonders in generating a ton of leads, not least of which because people stay so engaged during webinars.
According to Adobe, the average attendance duration for a 60-minute webinar is 54 minutes.
Webinars are relatively simple and low-cost to create.
All you need to do is choose a topic that your audience cares about and teach them something valuable about it for 30-60 minutes (which is the average time for webinars).
Most webinars have a chat feature where you can solicit questions and conduct a kind of conversation with your audience.
Just like in offline seminars, a webinar makes you appear like a true expert in your field. And if people listen to you talk for an hour, they’re way more likely to become hot leads. So webinars also qualify leads for you.
This is one lead generation strategy you should start using right away
10. Try Direct Mail
Direct mail may be old-school but for many businesses, especially local or specialty shops that have an online and offline presence, this outbound lead generation strategy is worth trying.
Simply mailing your postcard to a list of addresses, writing on there “To Current Resident”, you’ll probably get some kind of response.
The typical things businesses send out are flyers with a special offer, coupons, limited time discounts for in-store purchases, or a free trial.
It can also be used to drive people to your website to redeem an offer or to get their special deal sent to their email.
If you’re targeting an older market or need to drive traffic into your brick-and-mortar business, then direct mail is a solid strategy.
11. Offer Deals and Discounts
Deals and discounts turn strangers into leads or customers better than almost anything else. So while you can mail them directly to people, like in the last strategy, you can also advertise them on your website, email them to your subscribers, or announce them on social media.
And now, there are whole business models dedicated to disseminating deals and discounts, like Groupon, that hosts your offer so strangers can stumble upon it naturally.
You can also advertise deals and discounts to drive people to subscribe to your email list to get them.
Some businesses will even send out a deal or discount if they had a lead who stopped engaging with them.
This lead generation strategy is evergreen and can be used for different reasons at different times.
12. Add Live Chat to Your Website
Live chat is a tiny chat feature that sits on the homepage of your website, generally, or on other pages, and allows visitors to chat with a real person.
According to Inc., “44% of online consumers say that having questions answered by a live person during an online purchase is one of the most important features a website can offer.”
Inc. also reports that:
- 92% of customers feel satisfied when they use the live chat feature.
- 51% of customers prefer live chat for multitasking purposes, with another 21% preferring live chat so they can shop while they work.
- 42% of consumers say that they prefer live chat functions because they don't have to wait on hold.
All of which points to live chat being a winning lead generation strategy.
Making Lead Generation More Effective with Visual Communication
Once you’ve captured leads, you can send some of them to sales management and let your salespeople take over.
Or keep fostering them through marketing.
Either way, you’re going to be communicating more with them directly. And customers prefer visual communication over any others.
So one great way to move leads closer to becoming customers is to shoot webcam videos that create a more personal connection with the viewer, record screen walkthroughs, annotated screenshots or CloudApp's snipping tool for Windows to help them overcome some problem.
We can help you do it through CloudApp.
We’ve been ranked by G2 Crowd as one of the top sales enablement tools.
Our software is easy to use and simple to share.
See how CloudApp assists other lead generation strategies today.