9 Outside the Box Lead Generation Tactics That Work

Lead generation is a constant battle for the modern marketer—mainly because there’s no such thing as too many leads. Even after a successful campaign, there’s still more work to be done. It can be downright exhausting. In fact, 61% of marketers say generating high quality leads is their biggest challenge (source).

When it comes to lead generation, several strategies immediately come to mind-- web forms, email marketing programs, content creation, event marketing, etc. But, if you’ve worked in marketing for any amount of time, you’ve already adopted and mastered these strategies. So what’s next?

If you’re looking for more creative lead generation tactics, keep reading! Today we give you 9 ways to get creative with your lead generation strategy.

1. Leverage the power of video

No matter what industry you work in, one thing is certain, videos have proven to be one of the most effective forms of marketing content. Consider these statistics (source):

  • 51% of marketers worldwide agree that, out of all content types, video has the best ROI.
  • Marketers who use video grow revenue 49% faster than those who don’t use video.
  • 59% of executives agree that if both text and video are available on the same topic, they’re more likely to choose video.

If you find that your marketing campaigns effectively drive traffic to your lead generation landing pages—but your conversion rate is still struggling, consider investing in video. A product demo or overview video might be just what you need to convert more visitors into viable leads.

Before jumping head first into video, keep these three best practices in mind:

  • Keep it brief: The goal of your video is to show the visitor what your product looks like and how it’s going to help them. Limit your video to those two goals or risk losing the attention of your audience.
  • Evoke emotion: With video you have much more freedom to tell a story and evoke emotion—two contributing factors to an effective marketing campaign. Avoid boring voiceovers and focus on telling a story your ideal customer can relate to. Yes, even B2B product videos can be exciting.
  • Include a post-video call-to-action: Don’t let your video end without telling the viewer what to do next. Your CTA should be short and clear—fill out a form, submit a free trial request, contact sales, etc.

2. Capitalize on personal connections

You may be hesitant to mix your work and personal life. However, reaching out to your personal networks can be a great way to find leads. If any of your friends or family work in business, they may know plenty of people who could potentially be a good fit for your products and services.

We’re not saying you should pester your friends and family to buy from you. But always keep your eye out for potential leads—that goes for dinner parties, holiday get-togethers, school events, etc. Keep your business card handy in case an opportunity to connect presents itself. Here are a few other ways to leverage personal connections:

  • Regularly post on LinkedIn—LinkedIn is the most professional of all social networks, but that doesn’t mean your personal connections won’t add you and read your content. Build up your network and make an effort to post high-quality content regularly. You never know who your posts are going to reach.
  • Contact former colleagues - Whether it’s someone who used to work at your current company or someone you knew from a previous job, these individuals will be quick to trust you and easy to engage with.
  • Referrals— If you’ve worked in sales or marketing for any amount of time, you have a real, genuine connection with your customers. If and when it’s appropriate, don’t be afraid to ask for a referral. If someone is seeing success with your product, they’ll be happy to connect you with others who might have the same success.

3. Revisit lost opportunities

When a sale falls through, all you can do is move on to bigger and brighter opportunities – at least, in the short-term. But, it’s important to remember that a lost prospect isn’t necessarily gone forever. A lot can change in a short amount of time – perhaps they’re not happy with the solution they chose or maybe they have new management.

Whatever it may be, it’s important not to lose touch with former prospects. When the timing is right, revisit those relationships. You may be surprised by how many old leads turn into new buyers.

Start by looking into old contacts within your corporate contact database or CRM—is there anyone who looks like they might be worth reaching out to?

4. Practice social listening

Social media is an effective tool to generate leads, but only if you use it correctly. You can’t simply be active on social media and expect leads to come to you. Sometimes, you need to go out and find them.

Social listening, or the process of tracking online conversations that mention certain keywords, topics, brands or industries, can be an extremely effective way to identify new prospects.

If you only monitor your brand’s mentions and comments, you’re missing out on a large portion of the conversation surrounding your products and industry. Instead, consider setting up alerts and tracking keywords related to the following topics:

  • Customer pain points/complaints
  • Competitors’ brand names and products
  • Industry-related keywords
  • Job titles related to the ones you serve
  • Industry news
  • Common questions

Doing so will lead you to prospects who may not know about your brand and can open the door for a conversation about your products and services.

5. Calculators, assessments, or consultations

Let’s face it, your prospects don’t always want to fill out your web forms. Many times, this is because they don’t see the value they’ll gain from doing so. We say, instead of a vague web form, offer your visitors something of substance.

Depending on your particular offering, it might make sense to offer a free consultation, some type of calculator, or an assessment. Think about what your prospects are truly interested in and tailor your offer from there. Once you gain their trust, it will be much easier to convert these prospects into paying customers.

6. Host contests and giveaways

People love free offers. But, as we explored in the previous point, it helps to get more creative than the standard free trial. Instead, try running a contest or giveaway. Using this tactic, people enter their contact information in exchange for the chance to win a prize. This type of promotion is common among B2C brands, but it can be just as effective for B2B lead generation.

Here are few things to keep in mind when executing this tactic:

  • Choose a prize that only your target audience will be interested in winning. Lunch with an industry expert, a book or seminar related to your industry, or even a free trip to a conference or tradeshow. This will prevent unqualified leads from entering the sweepstakes.
  • Have specific giveaway rules and conditions. Not only will this protect you, but it can also help weed out contestants who don’t match your target audience.
  • Measure ROI ahead of time. What we mean here is, don’t spend more on your prize than you’ll receive in return. Remember, the goal is to generate more business for your company.

7. Offer an online training course

Generate leads by offering an online training course on a subject of your choosing. Remember: the best way to generate leads is to offer something of value, and few things are more valuable than free education about a relevant business topic.

For example: say you’ve conducted significant research about sales and marketing alignment. You decide to repackage this research in a new way, and create a ten-day online course called Sales and Marketing Alignment 101.

This will allow you to connect with an audience that’s already interested in the products and services you have to offer and it also gives you an excellent opportunity to explain how your product or service impacts whatever the subject matter may be. In our example, the company may offer lead scoring services that have been proved to facilitate sales and marketing alignment.

8. Gated content

Let’s say you’ve written a blog post titled, “10 Ways to Optimize Your Landing Pages.” Someone reads your blog and finds it useful. Maybe they visit your site to learn more, or maybe they move on.

Fortunately, there’s a way to encourage them to stick around – and to give you their contact information. At the end of a blog post, offer a downloadable piece of content that builds off the original topic. Using the above example, you could offer “5 Great Examples of Successful Landing Pages.” After someone reads a blog post they like, they’ll be more likely to provide their contact information in exchange for additional, exclusive content.

9. Use question and answer sites

Question and answer sites like Quora have seen a massive boom in popularity. And, believe it or not, these sites can be a goldmine for finding high-quality leads.

Create an account and search for people asking questions relevant to your business or industry. When you identify an appropriate question, provide a thoughtful answer and link to relevant branded content that addresses their needs further. This is a great form of networking that goes beyond the quick interactions you have on social media, and has proven to be a major lead-generator.

Key Takeaways

The most common lead generation practices are common for a reason– they work. But we know how easy it is to get stuck in a lead generation rut and feel like you’re not making significant strides to find new leads.

In those cases, creativity may be the answer. The above tactics are just a start – there are plenty of unique ways to find leads, some of which may depend on your particular company or industry. Don’t be afraid to experiment with unconventional lead generation methods.

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About the Author

Sam Holzman is the content marketing specialist at ZoomInfo, where he writes for their B2B sales and marketing blog. ZoomInfo is a leading B2B contact database that helps organizations accelerate growth and profitability. In his free time Sam enjoys writing about sports.