13 Successful Lead Generation Strategies to Grow Your Business in 2021

A steady stream of inbound leads is the backbone of every successful business, which is why we compiled this list of successful lead generation strategies that you can use to grow your business in 2021.

It doesn’t matter what your business model is, what your sales cycle looks like, or what your lifetime customer value looks like. You’re always going to need new customers and that means you need to have a solid lead generation pipeline.

Generating qualified leads isn’t easy. It’s not surprising that most businesses struggle with it and their campaigns end up failing. Don’t make the same mistakes they did. Go with proven strategies that work!

List of Successful Lead Generation Strategies

  1. Build out email marketing campaigns
  2. Host a webinar
  3. Offer a coupon or discount
  4. Hold a raffle
  5. Offer a limited time free trial
  6. Put targeted content behind a signup wall
  7. Host a seminar or networking event
  8. Build a customer referral program
  9. Give away a freebie
  10. Created targeted content that solves problems
  11. Build a marketing funnel
  12. Create an email drip marketing campaign
  13. Reach out to idle customers with a re-engagement email campaign

13 Successful Lead Generation Strategies That Will Generate New Business

Now, these aren’t CRO tips and tricks being paraded around as lead gen strategies. We aren’t going to tell you to optimize your CTAs or to AB test your landing pages. (Though you should already be doing both of those things anyways.)

These are actual, proven lead generation strategies that will help take your business to the next level.

Let’s get right to it.

1. Build out email marketing campaigns

There’s far more to email marketing these days than the traditional batch-and-blast sales and monthly newsletter emails. Email platforms have made some groundbreaking advancements in the last 10 years and given businesses a phenomenal set of tools to turn visitors into lifelong customers.

That’s made email marketing one of the most versatile and scalable ways to reach your target audience. As a marketing channel, it checks all the boxes.

Benefits of Email Marketing

  • Market to new, potential, and existing customers.
  • Create manual or automated email campaigns.
  • Can generate up-front and long-term leads and sales.
  • Controlled means of communicating your brand messaging.
  • Seamlessly scales in step with your company’s growth.
  • Becomes an even more effective tool the more it’s used.
  • Low comparative cost with higher engagement.

There’s a reason why 80% of marketers say that email marketing drives lead and customer acquisition. That’s because it works.

Types of Email Campaigns That Generate Leads & Sales

  • Welcome Email: Give new sign ups a discount or some other freebie to thank them for signing up and to welcome them to your list.
  • Shopping Cart Abandonment: The average Ecommerce conversion rate is 1-2%. Re-engaging with non-converters is a great way to capture sales you wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.
  • Drip Campaigns: Brand awareness is a huge component of the buying process. These campaigns trickle out content to contacts in your list so you stay on your customers minds. (More on this in Section 12.)
  • Re-Engagement Campaigns: Sometimes your contacts will go idle for a while. Reaching out to these people after 3 / 6 / 9 / 12 months of inactivity is a great way to kickstart a new conversation and get them back in your sales funnel. (More on this in Section 13.)
  • Automated Campaigns: Use precise targeting and criteria based behavioral triggers to put the right content in front of the right person’s inbox at the right time.

And to get the most out of your email marketing pipeline, be sure to invest the time to build a solid opt-in strategy. Creating irresistible offers will give your prospects no other choice except to hand over their email addresses.

This reliable, recurring opt-in stream will keep feeding new prospects into your sales funnels and give you a steady stream of fresh leads to help build up your bottom line.

2. Host a webinar

Webinars are an incredibly powerful marketing tool to generate leads, teach your audience about a topic, and have direct communication with your viewers when they ask questions during the presentation.

Many businesses try to use webinars as a sales tool, but people can smell a half-baked sales pitch from a mile away. If they came to learn something and get sold to instead, they’re going to bail.

webinar successful lead generation strategies

Your primary goal should always be to educate your potential customer about a particular subject. You can teach them about:

  • What it is that you do or how you do it.
  • Why your prospects need to do business with you.
  • Your industry and your company’s place in it.
  • Problems or hurdles your prospects are facing.
  • What makes you different than the competition.

By successfully teaching them, the leads / sales will happen naturally. Informed visitors make informed decisions and your webinar is a way to educate them and break down barriers to conversion.

If you look at the common barriers to purchase, they all boil down to a lack of education. Use your webinars as an opportunity to defuse these objections early on, smooth out the buying process, and start bringing in those leads and sales.

3. Offer a coupon or discount

Everyone loves discounts and many people will buy something simply because it’s on sale or they have a coupon for it.

Leveraging this offer so it can be used on a future order is a great way to build your contact list and turn those contacts into leads.

In fact, coupon codes are one of the most common ways that businesses get people to sign up to their newsletters. “Subscribe to our newsletter and get x% off your next order!”

newsletter sign up modal

It’s quick, simple, easy to implement, and can be used by nearly any business in any vertical.

All you have to do is:

  • Create and configure a 1 time use coupon code
  • Set up an automated “Welcome” email campaign
  • Put a sign up form / modal on your website
  • And that’s it!

You can use email marketing platforms like MailChimp, Active Campaign, and Constant Contact to make this happen.

With a couple hours of work, you can build a recurring stream of opt-ins to your email list, and some sales on the back end.

4. Hold a raffle

Leveraged properly, a raffle is an excellent marketing strategy since it’s able to achieve multiple goals simultaneously.

They raise brand awareness in your target audience, are social sharing friendly, and every entry is a lead that can be followed up on, or kicked into a marketing funnel (more on that in Section 11).

But let’s also be honest with ourselves here. The odds of anyone winning a relatively popular raffle are incredibly low and they get lower and lower the more popular it gets. I know that, you know that, and even they know that.

To make people forget that, or at least overlook it, you’ll need to give away a prize that truly resonates with your target audience. Something that they want to have and is too good of an opportunity to let pass them by.

raffle lead generation

The magic of a raffle is that the people who are on the fence about converting may get the gentle nudge they need by seeing that they could win just by doing a thing.

Those are the people you’re targeting.

Another way to improve the effectiveness of this lead generation strategy is to have more than one prize. You definitely need to have a very desirable grand prize, but having prizes for runner ups, or multiple tiers of runner ups, can move the needle even further.

AND you can have multiple winners for each of the lesser prizes can move it even further.

If you’re able to create a raffle that resonates with your target audience, you’ll be able to generate leads at a fraction of their usual cost.

5. Offer a Limited Time Free Trial

Everybody loves free stuff and trying something before they buy it. Smoosh those two together and you have a 1-2 punch to generate new leads for your business.

The beauty of a free trial is that it gets your foot in the door while defusing a common barrier to purchase.

Your prospect is able to get their hands on the thing that they want and see how it can help them streamline their operations, reduce redundancies, or any number of other things. They get a taste of what to expect and before they know it, the trial’s over.

free trial example

If you have an SaaS business model, you absolutely need to offer a limited time trial of your software for free.

But not every company can offer a free trial. There’s still hope if your product / service isn’t built for it. Another option is to give your prospects a free demo so they can have a preview before they buy.

This has been a game changing tool for many of our clients. So much so that we’ve helped a number of them shift their customer acquisition model from generating traditional leads to scheduling free demos, but that’s another story for another time.

6. Put Targeted Content Behind a Signup Wall

Qualified leads can be hard to come by since they’re some of the highest value and highest converting ones you can generate. However, if you “lock” a piece of precisely targeted and imminently relevant content behind an opt-in form, you just created a lead magnet!

lead magnet sign up modal example

Lead magnets are any sort of offer on a landing page that the user can get in exchange for submitting their contact information.

Examples of Lead Magnets

  • White papers
  • Case studies
  • Checklists
  • Webinars
  • Educational courses

While this is an effective way to generate leads, keep in mind that you can’t put just any content behind a form and call it a lead magnet. You have to create genuinely compelling, unique content that resonates with your audience AND answers a question / solves a problem of theirs.

lead magnet email sign up example

Using a piece of generic content that can be found elsewhere for free is not going to move the needle, at all.

Lead magnets take more work than your average lead generation campaign, but if you do them well, you’ll more than make up for it on the back end.

7. Host a Seminar or Networking Event

They say that it’s not about what you know, but who you know.

Growing your business in the early days before you have a brand reputation to rely upon can be rather difficult. Networking and expanding your circle of contacts will open doors that you wouldn’t have access to otherwise and help get you in front of potential clients.

Holding a seminar, hosting a networking event, going to networking events, bringing clients in for training, and other similar events are great ways to do just that.

And don’t feel like it needs to be some big thing. You don’t have to rent out a fancy hotel ballroom or try to fill a stadium like some of the bigger seminar conferences out there.

Start small.

Your networking event can be something simple and informal as a block party for the businesses in your building. Bring a grill to work, cook up some good food, have some laughs, and just talk to people. Find out more what they do, who they do it for, and have some conversations about it.

The goal isn’t to bring these people on as clients. It’s to make new contacts that can possibly open up their list of customers to you and your services.

You’ll be very surprised to find out how many untapped opportunities there are within a stone’s throw of you.

8. Build a Customer Referral Program

Word of mouth is such an overlooked form of marketing. Many businesses push it to the backburner and hope that the universe figures it out for them.

That apathy is why they don’t get that many recommendations.

When one of your customers recommends you to their friends and family, the inherent trust of that relationship is projected onto your brand. You can’t recreate that level of trust.

It’s absolutely priceless.

If you can tap into that and scale it out, it will not only multiply the effectiveness of your marketing efforts, it will broaden your reach by orders of magnitudes.

When a person buys from you, you didn’t just earn a customer. You got a foothold into their social network. This transaction opened up the possibility of being shared with their friends, their family, and their coworkers.

You should be focused on providing the highest quality shopping experience possible so your business earns its recommendations on its own merits. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case.

Sometimes your customers need a little motivation to spread the word.

customer referral program example

Building out a customer referral program that rewards your customer and their referral will grow your business at almost zero additional cost to you.

All you have to do is built it and let them know it exists so they can use it.

An excellent way to leverage this program is to build an automated email campaign that lets your customers know about it ‘x’ amount of days post-purchase.

Remember, one good turn deserves another and be sure to pay it forward. Don’t leave your customers hanging.

9. Give away a freebie

Like we said about raffles earlier, everybody loves free stuff. Where giving away a freebie differs is that everyone gets it all the time.

The best way to leverage freebies is on your blog articles. People who visit these pages have already demonstrated interest in what you’re offering.

Now all you have to do is give them something related to their interests.

Look at your blogs that rank well and get traffic, but aren’t converting. Brainstorm a free piece of relevant content that you could create that supplements what the visitor just read.

For instance, let’s say that you run a financial company and you have a blog about teaching people how to get out of debt. Your freebie for that blog could be a free monthly budget template that your readers could use to log and track their finances.

It stands to reason that if someone is trying to get out of debt that they probably need to create and live on a budget. Providing a free tool for them to do just that is a great way to generate new leads.

The cost of the freebie itself is irrelevant. Think of it like a loss leader. The real goal here is to get your foot in the door and kick off a conversation.

Whether that’s through automated email campaigns or by your sales team depends on you and you run your business.

10. Create targeted content that solves problems

Your customers are actively looking for you. They have a problem and they’re trying to find a solution.

So many businesses get caught up in chasing keyword volume, jumping from “hack” to “hack”, or covering topical issues that they forget about their fundamental purpose. Providing a solution to a problem.

Creating content that tightly focuses on specific problems your customers are facing shows them that you’re an expert in your field and you are worthy of earning their business.

You are providing value by solving their problem. That value manifests itself in the form of gratitude which can be leveraged into generating a lead.

You can find out which topics you need to cover by talking to your sales team, sending your customers a survey, and doing competitive analysis to see what the competition is doing among many others.

Don’t be content with being another face in the crowd. Invest the time and resources to become an authority in your space and the leads will start rolling in.

11. Build a marketing funnel

You can’t always go for the hard sell.

There are a handful of industries that can, but most of your potential customers will need roughly 7 interactions with your brand on average before they’ll do business with you.

Now, there are two things that every struggling business has in common. 1) They don’t know how many touch points it takes for their customers to convert, and 2) they haven’t built out a marketing funnel.

A marketing funnel covers the entirety of the customer’s buying process from the discovery of your business to the purchase of your product or service.

online marketing funnel stages

Building a funnel lets you curate your prospect’s experience with your brand. It brings order to the chaos. It allows you to show them the right content in the right order at the right time.

Many lead generation strategies end up failing because the customer is being shown the wrong content for where they are in the buying process. For instance, there are, essentially, 3 types of content for every marketing funnel.

Marketing Funnel Content Stages

  • Top of funnel (Attract): Content that attracts people to your website by identifying and educating them on a problem or pain point they’re facing.
  • Middle of funnel (Engage): Content that is meant to get more granular and in-depth to explain how you provide the solution to their problems.
  • Bottom of funnel (Convert): Content that’s designed to convert your prospects into paying customers.

Structuring your content in such a way lets you to leverage opt-in forms and sign ups where they will be most effective. This leads to significantly higher conversion rates for qualified leads.

12. Create an email drip marketing campaign

Drip campaigns are an easy, affordable, and scalable way to stay in touch with your prospects once they’ve given you their email address.

They’re also an excellent way to leverage long term lead generation by segmenting your contact list into silos and sending them highly targeted automated email campaigns.

People don’t like having their time wasted or being sent offers that aren’t relevant to them. Properly segmented drip campaigns let you put offers in front of your customers offers that they’ve already demonstrated interest in and want to see.

This level of hyper-focused targeting will cause your conversion rates to skyrocket.

Drip campaigns also help you maintain a forward brand presence to keep your company on your customers’ minds. With 80% of customers forgetting about branded content after 3 days, you need to keep putting your company out there or risk being forgotten.

Use this email automation to set the pace of the conversation, create a more personal connection, and use story telling to promote your business. And don’t forget, the more targeted your message, the more effective your marketing can be.

13. Reach out to idle customers with a re-engagement email campaign

Customers go idle for any number of reasons, but the important distinction here is that “idle” is not the same thing as gone.

These customers have simply drifted off course and need someone to give them a nudge in the right direction.

re-engagement campaign example

No matter what industry you’re in, what your business model is, or what your sales cycle looks like, there’s no better person for you to target with your marketing than someone who’s already bought from you. You’ve already done the leg work to earn their trust and their business, you might as well capitalize on their unrealized potential.

Re-engagement campaigns bring those idle customers back into the fray by kickstarting a brand new conversation and dropping them into one of your marketing funnels.

When you reach out to these customers, be sure to have an offer or goal in mind. You don’t want to create an “Are you still there?” campaign that doesn’t remind your customer why they did business with you in the first place.

re-engagement campaign example

We always recommend that our clients make their re-engagement campaign as personalized as possible.

You can also build a re-engagement campaigns in preparation for seasonal. Tax season for accountants / financial firms / CPAs / etc. or servicing HVAC units before Winter / Summer is in full swing.

Recap

Building out a lead generation campaign relies on you having a solid core strategy in place. CTA location, CRO tips, and so on are irrelevant if you aren’t working off of a solid foundation.

Using one of these successful lead generation strategies will help ensure your fundamentals are sound and put you on the path to success.

We hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as we enjoyed putting this together.

Now I want to hear from you. Do you have any lead gen campaigns in place? How are they doing? Are you struggling to get conversions?

Let me know how things are going in the comments section below and I’ll be happy to help answer your questions!

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Kenny is a digital marketing specialist with over 10 years of online marketing experience, and Founder of Rank Boss Digital Marketing Agency. With 1M+ leads and countless dollars generated through his targeted strategies, he'll help unlock new traffic and revenue streams that take your business to the next level.

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