Creative Lead Generation Ideas to Kickstart Your Marketing

Without a few creative lead generation ideas, generating enough hot leads to keep your business going can be tough. Cold outreach, PPC campaigns and social media ads can only take you so far. Many marketers identify lead generation as their number one challenge, and as more and more marketers pick up on inbound techniques, things are only going to get more difficult. The first few pages of Google are already saturated with self-promotional lead magnets masquerading as helpful content.  

There are already millions of free resources available online, competing for attention. Customers are also quickly catching onto the fact that these “Ultimate Guides to Making Money from Home” may not be worth parting with their personal information for.

Because of this, many lead generation ideas and how-to’s you’ll find online may not work as well as they once have. Which is why, we’ve compiled a great list of lead generation tools which really work, and actually add value for your prospects.

Below, we’ve detailed six great lead generation methods to help grow your brand.

Six Modern Lead Generation Ideas

1. Collect and Share Tidbits from Industry Thought Leaders

One good way to provide unique value is by reaching out to thought leaders within your industry for shareable info. By interviewing industry experts to reveal their secrets and methods, you prove to any potential customers that you’re dedicated to providing good advice, and not just making sales. 

Interviews

For example, the good people over at Groove frequently interview successful founders, asking specific questions that their audience can really learn from. They then share these interviews with potential customers on their blog. Their interviews are full of actionable-takeaways, lessons and quotes, and some even feature an “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) section with the interviewee in the comment section. These AMAs help to further Groove’s reputation as a source for expert information.  

lead generation ideas

Guest Blogging

Another way to implement this is guest blogging. Many brands use blogging as one of their main sources of lead generation. This makes sense. Each time you publish an article, you create an opportunity for new people to find your site, discover your brand and opt-in for additional communication. 

Of course, it’s good to step outside your own organization for content every now and then. Guest bloggers can provide a fresh perspective, and can be a great way to bring in a new audience. 

An example of this lead generation idea is  brought to us by Aaron Orendorff, Content Strategist for iconiContent. Aaron interviewed a high-profile expert in the industry to assist Shopify Plus in ranking for valuable keywords like “ecommerce replatforming.”

According to Aaron, “Rather than a heavy-handed sales pitch, the piece is an interview with Paul Rogers—one of the brightest and most respected leaders in ecommerce … That objectivity—and framing the article as an honest conversation about a ‘dirty word’—is highlighted throughout.” 

So how do you generate leads with interviews or blog posts? What Aaron did was to pepper the article with lead gen CTAs, giving visitors downloadable content upgrades related to the interview’s topic. 

2. Make Help Videos to Solve an Issue Prospects May Have

Help videos are excellent lead generation ideas, as they can solve real problems that customers are having, in an entertaining and easily digestible format. Video analytics and hosting company Wistia has created an entire series of help videos for companies who want to shoot video. They’ve then compiled these into a useful learning center. 

Because Wistia is a video hosting platform, if they only published content about how to use their own product, it would limit their audience to those who were already customers. They instead post help videos that are relevant for anyone who wants to shoot video. This helps their brand to create value for consumers who may not even be aware of Wistia. Once they learn something useful, though, they’re more likely to come back for more information – and possibly even to purchase a subscription.

Because Wistia is a video hosting platform, publishing content strictly about how to use its product would only apply to people who were already customers. Videos like the one above, relevant to anyone who has an iPhone, help the brand create value for people who may not even be familiar with Wistia. If they learn something useful from Wistia once, they’re more likely to do it again, and may eventually come to the site ready to purchase a subscription.

3. Embed Your Lead Gen Forms in Videos

At some point in their life, every marketer faces the dilemma of whether or not to gate their content. Once you have a truly amazing piece of content, you have two choices. You can give it away for free as a way to attract organic traffic, or you can gate it and use it as a lead generation magnet. 

lead generation ideas

Content Strategist for Zaius, Cara Hogan, considered both options and decided that ‘both’ was the best option. Within their Marketing Unboxed series, they took a hybrid approach to gating. They embedded lead forms into each video as you watched them, rather than locking them away behind a lead gen form. 

We created the Marketing Unboxed video series as a top-of-funnel piece of content designed to engage our target audience of B2C and commerce marketers. By including a lead gen form within the video itself, we encourage people to subscribe, but we don’t require it.

Rather than obscuring the content, it slides off to the side when you move your mouse off the screen – popping back on when you come back. According to Cara, this method has driven serious results. 

We’ve generated hundreds of net new leads from this video series so far. We’ve only published 10 total episodes, and older episodes continue to earn subscribers over time. Some of these subscribers have since been nurtured to become new Zaius customers.

4. Provide Best Practices for a Challenging Tactic

When exploring a tactic in an ebook or blog post, it’s important to know what others are doing to ensure success with the same method. You can compile these best practices into a list, which is useful for others looking to get started in that area. 

As an example, HubSpot has created a comprehensive list of SEO best practices, with advice for a variety of experts. This list helps HubSpot’s target audience to achieve higher ROI on their content marketing, which furthers HubSpot’s brand as an industry authority. 

Alternatively, create a worksheet that simplifies a process

Another method is to create a downloadable worksheet. In every industry, there are complicated tasks which can be improved by using a worksheet. Providing a simple template for people to follow, or a worksheet to fill out, gives people a good solution to their problems, furthering your reputation as an authority. You can also trade this worksheet for an opt-in, creating a mutually beneficial relationship.

A good example of this is GoDaddy, who created a website review template, focussed on design and content. The accompanying blog post also provides valuable information, and gives readers the opportunity to share the info in exchange for the download. These lead generation ideas convert because they are helpful, giving users really valuable information. 

5. Share a Customer Experience to Spark Brand Searches

According to Andrew Davis, keynote speaker and best-selling author, most video testimonials are extremely dry. Full of talking heads of nervous customers who, more often than not, sound like really bad amateur actors, most testimonials aren’t exactly effective. 

This is not always the case though. Some really do tell the whole consumer story. Though more difficult to produce, they are a good source of indirect lead generation for a business. An example of this is Vance’s Incredible 365-day Transformation. With over 31 million views, the video went viral with more than 50,000 comments on YouTube.

Shot in real time, the video is unlike other video testimonials. Compelling and emotional, it also doesn’t have a single call to action. Rather, throughout the video, Vance speaks about the exercise and diet program he is following to lose the weight. While the references start out subtle, they eventually become one of the main focuses of the video. This is what’s called an ‘implied CTA’, which generates leads through inspiration. 

Great testimonial videos shouldn’t need a call to action. They should create an inspiring moment which encourages viewers to take the next step. Rather than using a button, they should invite inspired viewers to check things out for themselves. 

To utilize this lead generation idea, think of ways that you can frame your customer stories as actual stories. Try to connect with viewers on an emotional and personal level, teasing out the results to encourage them to get curious to learn more. 

6. Show What’s Working for You

Transparent posts which highlight the methods that have netted you success can provide value to potential customers. Classy, for example, created an analysis of how its blogging strategy had evolved, and lessons learned over the course of 1 000 posts. This provided an insightful resource for potential customers. Helpful for bloggers in any industry, the post went further, offering a downloadable strategy guide as a final CTA.

In conclusion

Lead generation is constantly evolving, and it is important to constantly be adapting and trying new things. These lead generation ideas can help you to kick-start your strategy.

Without a few creative lead generation ideas, generating enough hot leads to keep your business going can be tough. Cold outreach, PPC campaigns and social media ads can only take you so far. Many marketers identify lead generation as their number one challenge, and as more and more marketers pick up on inbound techniques, things are only going to get more difficult. The first few pages of Google are already saturated with self-promotional lead magnets masquerading as helpful content.  

There are already millions of free resources available online, competing for attention. Customers are also quickly catching onto the fact that these “Ultimate Guides to Making Money from Home” may not be worth parting with their personal information for.

Because of this, many lead generation ideas and how-to’s you’ll find online may not work as well as they once have. Which is why, we’ve compiled a great list of lead generation tools which really work, and actually add value for your prospects.

Below, we’ve detailed six great lead generation methods to help grow your brand.