10 Most Effective Lead Generation Tactics
You want to generate more leads because you want to grow your business, but you have limited time and budget to do it. Any lead generation tactics or strategies you implement have to bring you the biggest bang for your buck, plus be relatively easy to manage.
So what should you do? Which lead generation tactics are most effective (and is there enough proof to convince your boss)?
We’ve done the research, talked to experts, and have tried dozens of tactics at Text Request. They aren’t ranked—because how effective they are changes based on your business, market, average customer value, and more—but these are our top 10 most effective lead generation tactics.
We’ll break down why each is so effective, and how to do them properly.
A few things you should know about lead generation first.
1. There’s no silver bullet.
The best lead gen results come from using several effective tactics at once. They play off each other throughout the customer journey to convert more people. You may have to slowly build up to using several tactics, but it will be worth it.
2. You don’t have to spend money to make money, but there’s often a trade-off.
You can spend time generating leads, or you can put money behind those efforts to get your time back. You should be able to bring in new leads for free before throwing fuel on that fire.
3. Lead generation is a multi-touch process.
Leads will interact with your brand in several, maybe a dozen ways before converting. Tracking that across channels and devices is tough. Proper attribution tends to be marketing professionals’ biggest challenge.
How can you tell if a lead gen strategy is working?
You’ll have to make the call, but there are a few metrics to focus on and a simple formula to help.
Cost per lead: How much are you spending on that channel or tactic to bring in one person interested in buying from you? If it only costs time, we typically chalk that up to “free.”
Source: Linchpin SEO
Lead quality: What is the percentage likelihood this contact is going to purchase from you? If 1 in 10 contacts you generate from that channel go on to purchase from you, then your lead quality is 10%.
Cost per click: For paid digital ads, how much do you have to pay to get one person to click your ad so they visit your website?
Click-through rate: Of all the people you send a message or show an ad to, what percent of them click through to your website?
Cost per acquisition: Usually seen as cost to acquire a customer (CAC), this is how much you spend to get one new purchase.
Average customer/contract value: How much is a customer going to spend with you?
A simple formula to see how well a tactic is working is “(cost per lead / conversion rate) / average customer value = X”
If X is less than 1, the tactic is profitable. If it’s higher, you’re losing money. Then you can determine how profitable you need a tactic to be to call it “successful.” Example:
Let’s say it costs $100 to earn a lead, 20% of them purchase, and they’ll pay you $1,000 on average. The math is ($100 / .20) / $1,000 = 0.5. That’s a profitable tactic.
10 Best Tactics for Generating Leads
1. Speak at educational events.
No one wants to be sold to, but most people want to learn. Speaking at events gives you the opportunity to flex your expertise, build trust, and prime your target audience. This tactic tends to work better for higher ticket products and services, but it can work well for all types, whether you’re speaking at a big association or a small local lunch and learn. A few tips to make it work:
Focus on the problem, problem, problem.
Your audience is trying to accomplish a goal, but something’s holding them back. Build that problem up to be a huge monster destroying their chances at achievement (because it is). Harp on the ins and outs of the problem, and what nuances are going on.
By the end, you’ll have spent so much time talking about the problem that the audience knows you understand their situation, and are craving a solution. Then you touch on the solution your company provides, and your audience will be hooked.
For more tips on telling a compelling story, check out the Storybrand keynote framework.
Add lead capture opportunities into your slides.
Whenever we present, we add “Text [event name] to get these slides.” Attendees text the word, then get an auto-reply message with a Google Slides link to the deck. Then we follow up with who texted in. It offers them value while increasing engagement.
You might also have attendees complete forms or surveys, either physical or virtual, to increase engagement and gauge their interest in working with you.
Follow up with everyone.
You should be able to get an attendee list from any event you speak at. Ask if needed. Then reach out to attendees recapping your session and asking them to take the next step. Share a video of your talk or your slide deck.
But before you leave the event, network for as long as you can. Answer one-on-one questions, hang around, offer advice, set up meetings and calls. Make the most of the opportunity.
2. Send cold emails with social proof.
Most people do still check their email nearly 80 times a day. They’re looking for work, partnerships, and things to make their life better. But we all ignore 85% of the emails we get. So what gives?
The main problem is people can quickly see they aren’t going to gain value from your email (or that it would be too much work to make anything of it). So here’s what you need to do:
- Point out the problem they’re dealing with
- Promise you’ll fix it and give them a taste of how
- Provide a simple action step to turn them from contact to lead (like book a call)
- Share a visual, like a customer review or case study video
- Use a subject line that reads like a personal conversation, not a promotion
- Keep your whole email to 50 words or fewer (people tune out quickly)
Here’s an example of a cold email that works:
Now that you’ve nailed your pitch, how do you find the contacts?
First you’ve got to know who your target is. What’s the industry, type of company, position, and other details? Use our guide to creating and targeting custom buyer personas, if you’d like help ironing that out.
Then Google search for those companies in a given city. Go to their websites and pull their email addresses using a tool like Hunter.io. Run any addresses you get through a “cleaner” like Neverbounce or Unbounce, and send your pitches.
3. Create and promote engaging video content.
Video is not the entire future of marketing or of content, as was recently the popular opinion. But video content does work well on the portion of any market you would rather watch than read, who’d rather be passive consumers than active.
Video also gives you the power to pack a ton of value into a small space of time, and there are several ways it helps you generate leads.
“Gate” content for product demos and live events.
You have something people want to see, and they’re willing to trade you their contact details to get it. So “gate” that content, by adding a contact form to the beginning that viewers have to complete before they can watch.
It’s especially effective for product demos, because you can create one 10-minute to use over and over again. Then have your sales team follow up with all the leads who come in. Tools like Wistia and Vimeo (among others) offer gated content on business plans.
Shoot short custom videos for each prospect.
Text, email, or social media message me a 60-second video that says “Hi Kenneth” in the thumbnail, and there’s a 9-in-10 chance I respond to you. These can be quick, one-take shots using your computer’s camera and a browser tool like Wistia’s Soapbox.
A custom video should tell prospects (a) who you are, (b) why you’re reaching out, or how you can help, and (c) what step you need them to take (book a call, check your website, reply to your message, etc.).
This might seem time consuming, but it accomplishes the #1 rule of marketing and advertising—grab their attention.
Share customers’ two cents.
Videos of your customers saying how great you are, are powerful tools for turning strangers into quality leads. High production value videos with big name execs sharing the problem they have may seem fancy (and out of reach).
But what’s just as effective, and below budget, is asking any customer you have to shoot a quick selfie video on their phone where they share what problem they had, how you helped, and how you were to work with.
4. Hit up cold leads in their DMs.
One of the toughest parts of lead generation is connecting with your ideal targets. For less than the cost of direct mail, you can get your message in the inbox of those targets. And with the right message, you can earn 30-50% click through rates, keeping your cost per click to $1 or less.
For these messages to work, they have to be empathetic and casual, show you can offer real value, and fit entirely inside the target’s message box without making them scroll. Address a problem, tell them you can help, and have a simple action step.
5. Use lead magnets to pull in prospects.
Lead magnets are freebies you offer website viewers or window shoppers to encourage them to buy something else. Even if they don’t buy immediately, this gets them into your lead funnel.
A retailer might offer 20% off your first purchase in exchange for contact details they can use to send you texts, emails, and retargeting ads later. A cybersecurity firm might offer a free audit of all your systems and then suggest a plan, which would be hard to say “no” to if they found anything that needed fixing.
The lead magnet removes the barrier to entry (cost) for becoming a lead while also offering something the lead finds valuable. Lead magnets work well across industries, in-person and online.
You can offer a free small product, discounts on purchases made same-day, free consultations or trials, and more. Just make sure a substantial number of the leads you bring in do go on to purchase from you. You can’t give away things for free to people who’ll never pay you.
6. Create “10X” blog posts with interactive content.
People are searching online for insights related to the products and services you offer. They might not be ready to buy yet, but they’re interested in learning more. Blogging is perhaps the best way to capture this interest.
But you can’t throw up a few hundred words pitching your company every now and then and generate leads. The websites that rank on the first page of search results provide the most relevant, helpful, and engaging content to address each specific search.
So if your content is middle of the pack, you will rank middle of the pack, which means no one will ever see your page. You need to create “10X content” to combat this—content created with the intent of being 10X better than anything else out there on that topic.
When your content’s the best—the most relevant, helpful, and engaging—you’ll rank at the top of search results, bring in organic traffic, and generate more leads. Your blog posts need:
1. In-depth discussion of a specific topic using keyword variations throughout the post (like “texting for healthcare,” “texting patients,” “doctors messaging with patients,” etc.). Typically longer posts (a couple thousand words) perform better.
2. Engaging multi-media content, like videos, graphics, quizzes, and forms. Engagement metrics like time spend on page, on-page clicks, and bounce rate affect rankings.
3. Backlinks from other reputable sites, which tells search engines you can be trusted.
These three points are crucial to ranking well in search, but interactive content in particular (like dynamic maps, embedded quizzes, gated videos, and more) are particularly helpful for turning viewers into leads.
They provide simple actions to get into your lead funnel without having to personally talk to anyone. One example of ours:
7. Host educational webinars and product demos.
As you do well in creating demand for your products and services, potential leads will want to (a) learn more from you, and (b) learn more about you. That makes webinars and virtual demos natural fits for lead generation.
Webinars are multi-attendee presentations or discussions on topics you have expertise in, typically topics your business has solutions for. For instance, Text Request might host a webinar on text message lead generation, and show you how to do it well, then present our product as the platform with which to do it.
You’ll promote a webinar across your subscriber lists, social media, and your website to drive registrations. You’ll follow up with those registrants with reminders and other details, hold the webinar, and then follow up afterwards to prompt those leads to purchase.
Product demos, on the other hand, are typically one-to-one, or maybe one-to-one-team, and focus specifically on how your product helps that person or organization achieve their goals.
Why are these so effective for lead generation? Because they create opportunities to build personal connections with your target market on your terms.
8. Speed up your website.
How is this a lead generation tactic? 40% of people leave a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. So if you’re not fast enough, you’re automatically losing 40% of your opportunities.
Worse, search engines prioritize sites that load faster and punish sites that don’t. Why would Google and others send their users to websites that will just frustrate them? Having a slow website puts you in a deep hole very quickly.
So what happens if you speed up your website?
Case studies show conversion improvements of 15-50% (depending on where you started and other factors), and increases in sales of anywhere from thousands to hundreds of thousands every month.
Increasing page speed also has cascading effects on search engine optimization and lead generation over time. You seem more reliable and on top of things when your website consistently offers good experiences.
9. Drive leads and conversions with inbound text messaging.
You want people reaching out, and 9 in 10 would rather text you for sales and service than to call or leave a note (especially after hours). So give website viewers the option to text you from your site.
Offering texting is shown to increase lead generation by 30-100%, and—more importantly—has shown to increase the rate leads convert into sales by 100-600%!
Since using Text Request’s SMS Chat feature, our number of inbound conversations has doubled (compared to the online chat option we were using before). That’s been great for sales! - Steven, Signature Bail Bonds of Tulsa
You’ve got two main options for inbound text messaging from your website. You can say “Text us at [your number]” wherever you want people to engage with you (like in your website header or on your contact page).
You might also say “Text or call us at [your number].” This is open ended, but can be helpful. It makes you feel more human, and gives them the option they’ve been looking for anyway.
Option 2 is to use SMS Chat. SMS Chat is like a live chat widget, except every message comes in as a text, and your replies also send as text messages to that contact’s cell phone. So they start the chat with you on your site, and then it quickly moves to their cell phone’s text messages.
That’s one reason there’s a such a high conversion rate—you get a direct line to their #1 channel. It also keeps people from having to wait on your site to get a response, which makes them happier while freeing up your team. And it’s a personal conversation instead of a bot, which makes customers happier, too.
It’s a win-win. You can even send and receive texts using your current business phone numbers, so you and your team can say “Text or call us” with the same business number you’ve had for ages.
Check your number below to see if it’s eligible.
10. Buckle down on search engine optimization.
The better your SEO, the more people you'll bring to your website, and, with a good conversion tool in place, the more people you’ll convert into leads. There are over 200 proven factors that determine how search engines rank pages, but you'll find plenty of success by focusing on just a few.
Use keyword variations conversationally.
Search engine algorithms aren’t magical, but they read the words on your pages to see how relevant and helpful they are to specific search terms. That’s why picking a keyword to rank for (like “business texting”) and then using variations of that phrase throughout your page (“texting for business,” “business text messaging,” “messaging solutions”) helps you rank higher.
Note URLs, headers, and meta.
Your URLs should be short and include the keyword you want to rank for. Your pages should also have defined H1 and H2 headers that include keyword variations, as should your meta description.
There’s still the myth floating around that meta keywords are helpful. They aren’t. They can actually harm your site because they look like keyword “stuffing.”
Improve your page load times.
See point eight—faster sites generate more leads and rank higher in search results.
Update your website regularly.
Search engines are looking for relevance, and one way they identify how relevant you are is by how frequently you update your website. Posting new blog posts and creating new landing pages are great (and typically easy) to add.
But you still need to update existing pages regularly, too. Pages have a search shelf life of two years, so make sure you circle back and update them enough.
Make your site easier to navigate.
Websites that are helpful to users are easy to navigate. That’s why search engines look at how clear your website navigation is. If someone’s on your homepage, for instance, how easy is it for them to get to another page they need? And so on.
Your top pages typically need to link to each other, and it’s helpful when your header and footer navigations clearly lay out all the options people can view by category. Check out ours as an example.
Earn high quality backlinks.
Google’s search algorithm was modeled on academic research. In academics, you gauge how valuable a given paper is by how many times others cite it in their own research. Websites work the same way—you get points every time another reputable site links back to yours.
For specifics, check out our guide to earning high quality backlinks.
How do you start generating more leads?
There are plenty of tactics to implement here, and the more you use the better you’ll do. But if you’re just starting, start small. Pick one tactic, work on it without spending more than your time, monitor progress, and then move on to the next tactic.
It’s possible your home run hitter is on this list—most business’s are. But great lead generation comes from grabbing people’s attention across channels and showing them how you can solve their problems. For more help, download our free lead generation ebook.