How to generate leads in 2020: from basic to beast mode

Tried all the basic ways to generate leads? Feel like you need some inspiration to fill your email list with hot leads? Well, look no further. Here are our top tips to get more leads (with expert opinions!)

If you work in marketing, you probably already know what lead generation is. Or if you don’t, you frantically Googled and stumbled upon this page half-way through the marketing weekly. Hi.

Long story short, there’s an infinite amount of ways to get more leads and signups. And every year this list gets longer. This article will cover the old-school lead gen tips, as well as some extra-special, expert-approved lead gen tricks. Exciting stuff.

How to generate leads: cheat sheet

  • Create a winning inbound marketing strategy

  • Focus on your social media channels

  • Put conversion rate optimization at the top of your to-dos

  • Embrace personalization

  • Give away value for email addresses

  • Use interactive content—like a quiz

  • Level-up your customer reviews

  • Test winning tactics on new channels

  • Use 'versus' queries to capture leads

  • Use interactive content to make marketing fun

Let's dive into them in a bit more detail...

The essential ways to generate leads

Lead generation is simply getting people’s details who might be interested in your product. Then over time, you can convince them why you'd make their life easier—and why they should hand over their dollars.

So what are some tried and tested ways to generate more leads?

  • Develop a customer-centric mindset. Research what your potential customers want to know about, then fill your website with this. Serve up the solution to all their problems on a silver platter—a landing page or a blog. Then let them know there's more where that came from if they leave their email address.

  • Own your social media channels. We spend hours of our day on social media—both actively and passively. So go after your customers there. Whether they’re looking for a helping hand or a fun quiz—post engaging content on the regular. LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram. Be there.

  • Test everything. Whether it’s the color of your homepage CTA button, or an entire rewrite of the Product page—give it a go. You don’t know what works until you try, right? Don’t settle until your conversion rate is 100%.

  • Embrace personalization. Learn someone’s name and info—then use it. Not in a creepy way, but where it's appropriate—like in chatbots or pop-ups. Give users special deals on their birthday or on SMB Saturday if they work in that industry. Then watch the leads roll in.

  • Give freebies (in exchange for emails, obviously). Whitepapers, webinars, conference tickets, podcasts—you name it. Give your audience something of value for a direct line to their inbox. They’ll think of your brand in a more positive way if they have a great interaction with you.

  • Use interactive content to engage your fans. Ever thought about using an in-article chatbot to get email addresses from your audience? Put a smile on someone's face and they'll be more likely to give you their details—in exchange for finding out what dinosaur they would be, of course.

Expert-approved ways to generate leads

So, you’ve mastered Facebook ads, nailed your content marketing, and got a smashing lead generation strategy? Welcome to pro-town. 

Still, there’s always room for improvement.

To find some fresh ways to generate more leads—and to stop bothering my colleagues for quotes—I asked some industry experts for their best tips to get new leads. And yes, I’ll be using them too. In fact, right now:

Create a customer review machine

Three stars might be the ultimate goal for a Michelin chef—but anything less than a trio of gold stars on a Trustpilot review, and alarm bells start ringing. 

According to Podium, 3.3 is the minimum star rating that most business consumers will engage with. 

So, are you using your reviews to show off your brand—and generate leads for your biz?

“One of my favorite ways to generate leads at Whisbi is leveraging the SEO power of customer reviews. Review platforms have a strong presence in organic search, which means marketers have a great opportunity for their brand to get noticed by potential customers.”

Urska Blagojevic, Marketing Director, Whisbi

So if you’ve got a Trustpilot or G2 account—optimize your profile.

These are the sites people check to make sure your company is legit, and not funded by badger-hunting schemes in Kyrgyzstan. You’ve got a bunch of hot leads here, so make sure your page gives people no reason to doubt your brand—these people are on the home-run to buying.

Our top tips for getting more leads with review sites:

  1. Make it easy for your current customers to leave reviews. Send an email asking for their opinion on how you’re doing. Even better, if you’ve got some budget available—offer them an Amazon voucher as an incentive.

  2. Show off your badges. Most review sites offer an embeddable badge for your site. So put it pride of place on your website.

  3. Shout out on social. Ask people for reviews here—especially if they’ve been loyal fans. Also, you can create tweets and social posts out of your best reviews. 

  4. Optimize your review profiles to the max. Fill in every field you can. Upload photos, fill in your office address, provide pricing info. The more information you provide—the better you’ll perform on the search engines. Plus, you’ll look legit.

Another reason you should optimize your review sites: they have super high domain ratings. 

“Over 70% of B2B searches start with a generic keyword phrase like ‘best conversational marketing platform.’ You can really outsmart competitors in high-value keyword searches with these pages.”

Urska Blagojevic, Marketing Director, Whisbi

Get ready to dominate the search engines.

Test winning tactics on new channels

It’s 16:00 on a Friday afternoon and the Spotify fatigue is real. Around this time I find myself going back to songs I listened to when I was at school. And it really gets me energized for those last few hours. Today it’s Gwen Stefani—because I know it works.

Wait, but what have Gwen Stefani and her bananas got to do with marketing? Here’s Renny Chan on how old tricks can work on new channels:

“To grow in a scalable fashion, we wanted to find new channels that would work for us. So we looked at the data we had on existing channels and campaigns, then we took those ideas and applied them to channels that we've never tried before. What's old is new!”

Renny Chan, Head of Acquisition, Miro

Look to your best performing campaigns on Facebook before you try out Instagram Stories. Then dip your toe into the new channel with your best foot forward. Your target audience is out there—go find them.

Get versed in versus

  • iPhone 11 vs. iPhone XR

  • Spotify vs. Apple Music 

  • Adidas vs. Nike

How many versus queries have you searched for recently? I did the iPhone comparison the other day to see how much I’d be forking out. 

Think about what you’re searching for. You’re looking for that final bit of convincing that tells you “yup, this is for me.” 

Does your brand make use of versus pages? Over to Nigel from Organic Growth Marketing.

“My lead gen tip is to create content targeted to people who are comparing your product or service to competitors. Then, and this is key: actually mention your competitors.”

Nigel Stevens, CEO, Organic Growth Marketing

*Gasps* wait, what? Isn’t mentioning your competitor a cardinal sin of digital marketing? On par with saying ‘Voldemort’ at Hogwarts?

Well, no. Not quite. 

“When you shout out your competitors, it makes the content more credible and more likely to rank in Google search. When people search ‘best [anything]’ they expect to see a thoughtful comparison—and Google knows that. So instead of just writing about yourself, publish an article that frames you versus your competitors in a clever and advantageous way."”

Nigel Stevens, CEO, Organic Growth Marketing

So use these pages to your advantage to get ahead of the curve, and start collecting highly qualified leads with little effort. 

Embrace the bots

I wrote about this at the beginning of the year. Chatbots are here to stay and it’s time to bring them into your marketing plan. Come on now, they won’t bite.

A great way to start experimenting with chatbots is by replacing mundane steps in your marketing flow with them. Turn a boring experience that has a high drop off rate into an interactive brand experience—and grow your email list while you’re at it.

Check out what Deborah from The Content Technologist has to say about them.

“Instead of three website pop-ups: the cookies acceptance, a chatbot, and the giant email sign-up form—I think that marketers should have one personal, chat-style lead form. Add a tiny bit of character and gamification to lead gen.”

Deborah Carver, Independent Consultant and Content Technologist

Now it's over to you—what will you be doing to generate more leads?

Answer the VideoAsk below and let me know. The best answers will be added to this article, along with a link to your site.

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