98 Lead Generation Strategies To Grow Your Business

In the new sales and marketing paradigm individuals, consultants, entrepreneurs and small businesses can play on a level playing field with the big boys. Anyone can embrace the power of the internet, couple this with a powerful sales and marketing strategy and bootstrap their way to success on minimal expenditure.

In fact, minimal budgets, far from being a barrier to success, can actually focus your mind on what you really need to do to get more sales. Minimal budgets make you ask the question all of the time, “What will get me the best sales results?” Minimal budgets don’t lure you down the the tempting path of spend, spend, spend!

I had a friend who used to run a small business. He complained a lot. Mostly about lack of funds. “If only I had the funds to spend on advertising I could compete with the big boys.” he used to say.

He didn’t and he went bust.

Since then he has set up a new business with a budget of  £0. He even had to use someone else’s credit card to pay the £4.99 per month for his webspace!

His business is flying. Lack of cash focused his mind.

But in today’s new selling paradigm, lead generation is key. If you don’t know how to generate leads then you’re not playing the game properly. Most small business owners and professionals I speak to employ less than 5 methods of lead generation regularly. They rarely review or change their tactics. The average number that people employ is 2 or 3.

This is not enough.

If you want a successful business you need to utilise as many methods of lead generation as you can. You need to monitor the success of these lead generation methods, measure their results and tweak your strategies until you find a mix of 7+ minimum methods that work.

Once you have this mix you need to keep on shaking it up and trying other methods as well.

Here is a list to get you started. I am not saying that all of these will work for you or be practicable in your business or industry because every situation is different. B what they will do is set you off on the right track, get you thinking creatively about lead generation and, perhaps most importantly, they will remove the biggest blocker to your sucess, “But I don’t know what to do!”

Please comment and let me know other ways that have been successful for you and which are your favourite methods out of the ones below. I will share my top 7 with you another day but for now… and in no particular order,  here are 98 lead generation strategies to help you grow your business…

  1. Sales letters to decision makers
  2. Classified advertisements
  3. Catalogues in venues
  4. Flyers
  5. Leaflet dispensers at tageted locations
  6. Special reports
  7. Online catalogues
  8. Telemarketing
  9. E-Newsletters
  10. Traditional newsletters
  11. Viral marketing
  12. Ebooks
  13. Magazine and paper inserts
  14. Associates and affiliates
  15. Introducers
  16. My top 100
  17. Family and friends
  18. Joint ventures
  19. Radio ads
  20. TV ads
  21. Position yourself / your company as an expert
  22. Internet adverts (PPC)
  23. Press releases
  24. Yellow pages
  25. Toastmasters
  26. Sponsor an award
  27. Fax marketing
  28. Business cards
  29. Chamber of Commerce
  30. Public relations (PR)
  31. Attend industry seminars
  32. Gather and use testimonials
  33. Offer a free consultation
  34. Offer a free trial
  35. Organise an open day
  36. Promote an industry event
  37. Give endorsements to prominent people
  38. Set up a Squidoo lens
  39. Write articles online
  40. Form alliances with your peer group
  41. Create a give away e.g. calendars, mugs, posters…
  42. Write for the local newspaper
  43. Syndicate a column
  44. Write letters to industry magazines
  45. Conduct industry research
  46. Send articles to clients
  47. Advertise on buses, bill boards, cabs
  48. Speak at the local college
  49. Panel at professional seminars
  50. Write a how-to pamphlet
  51. Offer a finder’s fee
  52. Do pro bono work for charity with industry links
  53. Sign your car
  54. Make up t-shirts
  55. Do a stunt (e.g. Richard Branson)
  56. Cross-promote with other businesses
  57. Enter a contest
  58. Create a contest
  59. Direct mail new clients
  60. Post card promotions
  61. Business cards
  62. Networking offline
  63. Networking online
  64. Trade shows
  65. Referrals
  66. Speeches
  67. Cold calling – foot
  68. BNI
  69. IOD
  70. Trade shows
  71. Franchise shows
  72. Blogging
  73. Social networking sites
  74. Christmas cards
  75. Birthday cards
  76. Thank you cards
  77. Add value notes / paper cuttings
  78. Promotions
  79. Article writing
  80. Online forums
  81. Bill boards
  82. Freebie pens / t-shirts / mugs
  83. Teach a class
  84. Send letters to papers as expert
  85. Local radio interviews
  86. Loss leaders
  87. Free teleclassses
  88. 3-foot rule
  89. Podcasting
  90. Youtube
  91. Ebay
  92. Mini-courses
  93. Two-step paper ad
  94. Rotary
  95. Church
  96. Masons
  97. Golf club
  98. Press release

 

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Comments

  1. Jon P. says

    Good stuff Gavin.

    Question: Do you find that companies of 3-4 employees might have trouble implementing 7+ techniques? I would think that you need to be cautious not to overstretch yourself and thus only do a so-so job in each instance. Thoughts?

  2. says

    Wonderful list. Lots of great sources to experiment with to see what works and what doesn't. I think businesses ten to stick to one or two, when their target markets lie beyond those marketing channels.

  3. says

    Jon

    Most people do have trouble implementing 7 lead generation strategies. Not surprising really given most people struggle to implement 5 and some even less than that!

    The secret is to find the ones that work for you whilst remaining flexible to the other options that are out there. Changing markets mean changing strategies are required. Some strategies work well in some markets and some situations and not others.

    Some of the ideas on this list I have not used personally and I could never see myself using either… but I know people who do, and successfully too.

    The right strategies for you will not only depend upon your product, your target market and your business sector but also on you and what suits your approach, style and business model.

    If you split your business into on and off line strategies we are only talking about 3.5 strategies for each here. Add to that the fact that many very effective strategies are quite low maintenance and you're onto a winner…

    Let's say for example that you decided to adopt online strategies of sending e-newsletters, creating a free downloadable resource, PPC and blogging – that's 4 already!

    If you then focused on networking, creating a referral process and employing direct mail that would be your 7!

    PPC and the downloadable resource are low maintenance. Once they are set up there is very little to do. For an example of a free resource join my newsletter and get the free audio.

    Your networking strategy might be go to a handful of targeted industry events per month (or one good one!). You're probably at these anyway so little effort there!

    One person could look after the direct mail and someone else the blogging and e-newsletter…

    That would leave someone to focus on referrals… and once you have a process in place you could automate this online and build it into your existing face to face process offline.

    So in answer, yes I think you could make it very hard but you could also make it relatively painless too. I guess the question has to be, how would your business benefit if you did?

    Hope that helps.

    Gavin

  4. says

    Hi Gavin,

    A lot if interesting ideas. I wonder, are business cards so important they are on there twice :)

    Seriously though, what would you say is the best lead generation strategy for a one man band with zero (almost) budget?

  5. Automated Leads Onli says

    Wow… that's quite an exhaustive list! I think you've pretty much covered it. If people would stop whining about the recession long enough to implement some of these strategies, there would be no recession!

    Aaron

    • says

      William. No, I don’t think that you did! Well spotted.

      I did have enewsletters and sending articles though… both of which I prefer. Shows how things move on doesn’t it as I mentioned online networking but I did not specifically mention Twitter or Facebook.

      I actually wrote this list as part of a seminar some time before I posted it online.. I do have an updated list that I use as part of one of my programmes where I talk about the 20% of activities that actually produce 80% of the results…

      :-)

  6. says

    To continue with the “Lead Generation” theme: (Nice blog spot here by the way)

    I don’t know if the rest of you agree but, the obvious difference between a lead generation program and an appointment setting campaign is that a lead generation program stops one step short of setting a qualified appointment. Some clients, involved in a complex sale that requires a vast knowledge of the industry or strong knowledge capital, prefer us to qualify the lead and then hand it over to the client to have an in-depth business discussion and qualify the lead more thoroughly before they actually set a qualified appointment.

    What you have to do is Select Target Campaigns: Some of our clients (Tech Company Lead Generation) request that we focus our cold calling to set qualified appointments on a short list of select targets. The Select Target campaign involves calling multiple times collecting information and escalating the qualification process until we set a qualified appointment. For enterprise targets involving a complex sale we can contact multiple decision makers and influencers to schedule a qualified appointment with each executive. All B2B appointment setting campaigns are customized to meet your needs.

    The Bottom Line. Would sales increase if your salespeople and agents spent more time with qualified prospects and less time trying to find them? Appointment setting isn’t just a necessity – it’s an essential resource to help capture market share, build your business and achieve your revenue goals.

    Here is what we offer, what do you people think in here about this?

    * Decision Maker appointments
    * You receive every email and communication with prospects (audio recordings)
    * (No Shows for you = 0%)
    * We have lists of over 25,000 potential prospects in the U.S.
    * We can use your CRM list if requested
    * Unlike most Lead Gen firms, you can directly call our Bus. Dev. people anytime
    * Your account status is done DAILY by Phone not email like our competition
    * Fast turnaround of your project
    * Cost savings and revenue increase
    * Significant improvement in the quality and productivity of your business
    * RESULTS

    Honestly, every post that you see on the web describes the next BIG methodology when it comes to B2B Lead Generation. At my company Partner Source, which is located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, we approach the Lead Generation subject with science, as it is our business.

    You have to have values that you stand by as an organization, Partner Source Values: Our principles define us. We stand for: Qualified appointments, results, performance and quality above all else. Outstanding Client Service is our dedication to responsiveness, consistent and effective communication with no surprises, and always meeting deadlines. Absolute honesty and integrity. Continuous Self-Improvement – the spirit of mastery. Making a difference with each person, every minute, every call, every day. We are dedicated to our client’s total satisfaction.

    Glenn Wright
    Partner Source Minnesota (B2B Lead Generation)

  7. says

    Hi Ben.

    Business start ups could really make use of the benefits of lead generation. Yes, I do agree to you that we are living in the new era. Lack of Money for advertising use doesn’t matter anymore. You could actually make use of the latest marketing and advertising tool. I guess being resourceful is the key in order to make your business going.

    Great list. Business owners who wants to see great results in their lead generation campaign could actually utilize as many of these mentioned lead generation strategies.

  8. Cherise says

    Great list – Thanks for the tips.

    Just noticed that Business Cards are listed twice… How would you recommend using these for lead generation? Everyone in our business has business cards, but they are usually only used by the sales team when they first go to a customer appointment or are passed out at seminars to contacts.

    I was wondering if you could expand on the list item ‘My top 100′. I assume this means put together a top 10 best, or top 100 tips (much like this article?). Would you recommend posting that as an article on the website or emailing, or both?

    Also, you have listed Rotary, Masons, gold club and church as separate entries, but I imagine these all perform pretty much the same function of targeted networking?

    Thanks again for the advice.

    Cherise

    • Gavin Ingham says

      Cherise.

      Thanks for dropping by. There are a couple of repetitions, you are right. I noticed after I posted the list but decided to leave them to see who else would notice!!

      The “my top 100″ thing was actually about making a list of 100 influential people that you know and thinking about how you could approach them in a way that would add value for them and give them a way to help you too. But your interpretation of it is equally powerful and reminds me that this list is about to be revamped!!

      I agree that the groups are all examples of networking. I could have listed loads of these but decided to just list a few to get people thinking.

      Regarding business cards, perhaps I will write an article on how to use business cards in the future but apart from the obvious such as having them with you always and handing them out to people, I always think about what you can put on your business card that makes it stand out. A couple of questions that you might ask yourself to get started… What can I put on my business cards that will help people I have met to remember who I am when they pull it out of their pocket in 6 months time? What can I put on my card that will encourage people to keep it / want it?

      Have a great day :-).

  9. DNA_Identity says

    Great informative blog! I love the list that you gave, it shows the endless possibilities of having no excuse to why you can’t get up there with the “BIG BOYS.” Thank You!

    • Gavin Ingham says

      You’re right! There are lots of reasons for not succeeding but all they are in the end are excuses. If you want something, go out and get it!

  10. says

    Awesome list of ideas , thanks for sharing this :)

    But i would like to add Google ad campaigns.The reason is Google Pay per Click Ads (PPC) are one of the fastest and effective lead generation tool, currently available in web. But due to its huge success, the keywords are highly competitive and it is very difficult to get the user to reach our website, as the resellers or other affiliates advertise for the same brand as well.And the second thing i would like add in that list is Call to action buttons.I have seen in couple of websites , a visitor can call customer care for free from the website itself.Its a new technology and find its very brilliant.

    Francis

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