Lead generation is key to the marketing funnel. Though there are still very strong traditional strategies, those like TV ads and print are going out the door. But there are a growing number of inbound lead generation strategies that do the trick. These include search engine marketing, lead magnets, and events. In this cheat sheet, we’ll go through the nine ultimate ways to generate leads.

Who Is Your Customer?

When putting these lead generation ideas to the test, keep your buyer persona on hand. Having a specific buyer in mind will give you a better idea of who you’re talking to. This will help you identify relevant phrases, communities, and content to create.

What Is Your Sales Funnel?

Often, it’s the marketing funnel that causes interest in a brand’s products and services, while it’s the sales funnel that converts them into buyers. A huge part of lead generation is creating effective calls to action. Which means you need to work with your sales team to understand their goals and expectations. Define exactly what you'd like customers to do before attracting them.

What Is Inbound Lead Generation?

Inbound lead generation attracts customers to you. It’s creating value upfront. Inbound builds brand awareness and shows leads you can help them. This differs from outbound lead generation, where you’re going to the customer. Think of print flyers in a bookstore or radio advertisements. Instead of finding sources your customer frequents, you become that source.

The Ultimate Cheat Sheet of Inbound Lead Generation Strategies:

Below are nine inbound lead generation strategies you can put to good use in your marketing. Try them, and test out a few to see what works best for your company!

Content – Content marketing is the lead generation king. Blog posts, YouTube videos and podcasts are a few examples. All offer leads some kind of value in exchange for their email or contact information. Optimize these for SEO, with terms and phrases relevant to your customers.

Online Advertising - Online advertising includes PPC, or Pay-Per-Click, advertising and direct advertising. Advertising on platforms such as Google, Facebook and LinkedIn all fall under PPC. Every time a user clicks on your advertisement, you pay. Direct advertising is static ads displayed on websites. Ever seen an ad for a restaurant you were searching for? That's an example of direct advertising. You might see one of these ads pop up on an article you’re reading or while surfing a different web page.

Search Engine Marketing – Search engine marketing is a powerful tool for lead generation. Brands with positive customer reviews, for example, are getting higher SEO rankings. The trick to generating leads with search engine marketing is to make sure your website data is up to date. If you can, get the help of a professional UX or website designer. They can walk you through the key elements of technical SEO.
Website – Beyond optimizing for search engines, your website also needs to capture leads. The advertising company, Taboola, explains why. “One key purpose of some of your online lead generation efforts is to grab people’s attention so they visit your website or landing page and become part of your lead generation funnel.” How can customers become part of your lead generation funnel? Include a form to sign up for your newsletter or a popup that asks for their email.
Lead Magnets – Webinars, eBooks and white papers are all examples of lead magnets you can offer. These are downloadable or gated content that you can exchange for an email address. Lead magnets usually provide more in-depth information. They cover very specific topics and are generally longer in length than a blog, video or podcast.
Email Marketing – Email is a direct form of communication, which is why it’s an ideal way to generate leads. Email lets you provide tailored products and services to prospective customers. Use email marketing to get feedback from customers, pre-launch a product or test a new type of content.
Influencer Marketing – Influencers stand at the heavenly gates of peer-to-peer communication. They include celebrities, industry experts, thought leaders, bloggers and content creators. There are two ways to use influencers in your marketing. One is user-generated content (UGC). With the help of a hashtag or a campaign, encourage followers to create posts and feature them. The second is to collaborate with an individual to create sponsored and branded content.
Content Syndication & Guest Blogging – Got a stellar blog post? You can partner with other brands and companies to syndicate it. With content syndication, another company reprints content you’ve already created. Guest blogging is when you create new content for a third-party site. Both provide a link back to your site and extend the reach of your content, generating greater leads.
Events – Customers love one-on-one interactions with brands and businesses. That’s why social media has created such a big boom in the marketing world. Events provide similar opportunities. “Conferences and tradeshows give buyers a chance to connect and communicate with the providers directly,” explains the AI job board, Cleverism. Events are great for meeting new leads and giving warm leads a chance to test products and services. Find a few in your area or host your own!

Lead generation can be a lot of fun when you experiment with a few methods and find what works best for your brand. At the center of all your efforts will be your customers, their issues and challenges. You can use lead generation to answer their questions and even get personal. Test strategies over a period of three to six months to see which ones generate the most leads. You may find that there are some that work better than expected! That’s the true gift of maximizing on your marketing.