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Understanding the benefits and challenges of lead generation


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Jennifer Szczepaniak Sloane
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Lead generation refers to the process of attracting and converting potential customers or leads into prospects for businesses. It is an essential part of any marketing strategy as it helps businesses identify and engage with their target audience. The goal of lead generation is to capture the interest of potential customers and guide them through the sales funnel, eventually converting them into paying customers. Through various techniques, businesses can generate high-quality leads that have a high chance of becoming loyal customers. Lead generation often involves collecting contact information, such as email addresses, through capture forms or gated content, allowing businesses to nurture and market to these leads effectively. Overall, lead generation is vital for the growth and success of businesses, as they expand their customer base and increase the sales revenue.

Top 16 lead generation ideas

There are numerous ways of conducting lead generation to drive highly targeted leads to you. Implementing lead generation ideas can significantly enhance your marketing strategy and generate a steady stream of qualified leads. By combining creative methods, valuable information and a targeted lead generation strategy, you can optimise your marketing campaigns and convert leads into loyal customers.

1. Use thought-leaders to share success stories

To provide unique value to your audience, sharing success stories or secrets from thought leaders is a powerful strategy. Thought leaders are industry experts who have achieved significant success and have invaluable insights to share. By uncovering their secrets and sharing them with your audience, you can offer exclusive content that sets you apart.

One effective way to uncover these success secrets is by reaching out and interviewing thought leaders in your industry or company. Conducting an interview allows you to directly tap into their knowledge and experience, giving your content an authoritative edge. Ask thought-provoking questions that delve into their strategies, mindset and techniques and encourage them to share their unique perspectives.

An excellent example of this approach is Groove’s focus on interviewing successful founders and including actionable takeaways in its content. By conducting these interviews, Groove provides its audience with practical advice and actionable insights that they can implement in their own businesses.

When sharing these success stories, make sure to clearly outline the key takeaways and provide actionable steps for your audience to follow. This ensures that your content not only inspires but also empowers your readers to apply the knowledge and achieve similar success.

2. Educate prospects and solve pain points through video

Creating helpful and educational videos to solve issues for prospects is a powerful lead generation strategy. By providing valuable content and solutions through videos, businesses can establish themselves as industry experts and build trust with their target audience.

The benefits of this strategy are numerous. Firstly, helpful videos resonate with your prospects as it shows you understand their pain points. It shows your commitments to solving their problems too – builds up loyalty. When potential customers see that you are genuinely interested in helping them, they are more likely to engage with your brand and consider your products or services.

Additionally, videos have the potential to reach a wider audience and generate more leads. With the popularity of video content on social media platforms and the opportunity to optimise videos for organic search, businesses can increase their visibility and attract a larger number of potential customers.

To optimise videos for organic search, businesses should focus on using relevant keywords in the video titles, descriptions and tags. This will help search engines understand the content of the video and rank it higher in search results.

Similarly, videos should be shareable on social media platforms to maximise their reach. By creating engaging and informative videos that resonate with viewers, businesses can encourage social sharing, increasing the likelihood of lead generation.


3. Create customer testimonials and spread via SEO

One effective way to leverage the SEO power in the lead generation process is by using customer reviews. Customer reviews not only provide valuable feedback and social proof for your business, but they also have a significant impact on search engine rankings.

By encouraging and showcasing customer reviews on review platforms with strong SEO presence, such as Google, businesses can gain recognition from search engines. These platforms have high domain authority and are often favoured by search engine algorithms, which means that businesses with positive reviews are more likely to appear higher in search results.

Furthermore, incorporating customer reviews into your website’s SEO strategy can help attract targeted leads. When potential customers search for products or services related to your business, positive reviews can help increase visibility and credibility, making them more likely to click and convert.

To leverage the SEO power of customer reviews effectively, it’s essential to conduct competitor analysis and incorporate relevant keywords in review responses and website content. Understanding how competitors are using customer reviews and implementing SEO strategies can help businesses stay ahead in the lead generation game.

4. Make interactive assets

Creating an interactive quiz or tool offers multiple benefits and can help gather valuable information about website visitors, while also capturing their contact information.

By designing an interactive quiz or tool, businesses can engage their target audience in a fun and interactive way. This not only increases the time spent on the website, but also creates a personalised experience for each visitor. A University selection quiz is a great example of this. Prospective students could take the quiz to determine the best course for them, providing valuable insight and guidance.

Furthermore, interactive quizzes or tools allow businesses to obtain the contact information of their visitors. In exchange for participating in the quiz or using the tool, visitors are often required to provide their email address or other contact details. This enables businesses to continue nurturing the relationship with these potential leads through email marketing campaigns and follow-ups.

A successful example of this approach is HubSpot’s Website Grader tool. By offering a valuable resource to businesses and website owners, the tool not only helps them evaluate the performance of their website, but also requires them to submit their contact information to receive the detailed analysis. This strategy not only generates leads, but also positions HubSpot as an authority and valuable resource in the industry.

5. Gated content can capture valuable info

Gated content refers to valuable resources such as white papers, eBooks, checklists and templates that are offered in exchange for contact information. By creating high-quality content and using it as a gatekeeper, businesses can generate leads and establish themselves as industry authorities.

When implementing gated content, it is important to follow best practices. First and foremost, the content must be valuable and relevant to your target market. By offering something of value, you encourage visitors to provide their contact information in exchange.

It is also crucial to create a smooth and user-friendly experience. The gated content should be easily accessible through a lead generation form or capture form. It is recommended to keep the form simple, asking for only essential information such as name and email address. The more information you require, the less likely visitors are to complete the form.

Additionally, it is important to promote your gated content through various marketing channels, such as social media platforms, email marketing campaigns and blog content. This helps drive traffic to your website and increases the chances of capturing leads.

Gated offers have several benefits beyond lead generation. By providing valuable content, you can nurture leads and build trust with your audience. This positions your brand as a reliable source of information and boosts brand awareness. Moreover, gated content allows you to segment and categorise leads based on their specific interests and needs, enabling more targeted and personalised marketing campaigns.


6. Share your success stories

Showing potential customers what is working for your company helps your credibility within your target audience. By providing transparent insights and sharing success and failure stories, you can establish trust and inspire others in the industry.

For example, Classy, a fundraising platform, published a blog post about its blogging strategy and its evolution over the course of 1,000 posts. In the post, they shared the challenges they faced, the tactics that worked and the mistakes they made. This level of transparency not only highlights their expertise in the field but also serves as a valuable resource for others looking to improve their own blogging strategies.

Sharing these insights and stories benefits potential leads in multiple ways. First, it inspires them by showcasing real-life experiences and success. It helps them see what is possible and motivates them to take similar actions. Second, it allows them to learn from your failures and avoid making the same mistakes. By understanding the challenges and pitfalls, they can make more informed decisions and save time and resources.


7. Create spreadsheet templates

Creating a useful spreadsheet can be an effective lead generation tactic, offering both benefits and downsides. Heinz Marketing and HubSpot have successfully done this strategy, providing valuable insights into its potential.

One of the key benefits of creating a useful spreadsheet is the ability to make information easily accessible. By compiling relevant data or simplifying complex processes, businesses can attract a specific audience looking for solutions or insights in a particular field. This targeted approach helps filter out unqualified leads and focuses on prospects with high potential.

Furthermore, a well-designed worksheet that simplifies a process can create a mutually positive relationship with prospects. By providing a practical tool that saves time and effort, businesses establish themselves as reliable resources and experts in their industry. This value exchange fosters trust and increases the likelihood of prospects engaging further with the business’s offerings.

However, there are also downsides to consider. Developing a useful spreadsheet requires time and expertise. Maintaining it regularly can be demanding, particularly if changes or updates are necessary. Additionally, there is a possibility that competitors may replicate or improve upon the spreadsheet, diluting its uniqueness and reducing its impact as a lead generation tactic.


8. Offer detailed answers for tough industry questions

Another lead generation idea is to offer in-depth answers for tough questions that your target audience are seeking answers to. By addressing a specific pain point or challenge that your prospects are facing, you can position yourself as an expert and valuable resource.

The process begins by identifying a tough question that is relevant to your industry or niche. This question should be something that your target audience is actively searching for answers to. Once you have the question, you can create an in-depth, step-by-step article that provides valuable information and solutions.

By offering a comprehensive answer, you can attract prospects who are actively looking for information and solutions related to the tough question. Not only does this help generate leads, but it also establishes your credibility and expertise in the field.

For example, Interact, a quiz platform, created a blog post titled “How to Use Quizzes to Build an Email List.” This deep-dive article provided step-by-step instructions on leveraging quizzes as a lead generation tool. By offering valuable insights on a specific topic, Interact was able to attract prospects interested in using quizzes for lead generation and grow their email list.

Email marketing plays a crucial role in lead generation, and by providing valuable content, such as an in-depth article, you can capture email addresses and nurture leads through targeted email campaigns. This strategy allows you to build a relationship with potential customers and guide them through the sales process.


9. Develop simplified process worksheets

Creating a worksheet that simplifies a process can bring numerous benefits to your lead generation efforts. By providing a step-by-step guide or template, you showcase your understanding of your target audience’s needs and position yourself as an expert in your industry. This not only increases brand awareness but also builds trust and credibility.

The process of creating a worksheet involves identifying a complex process that your target audience struggles with and breaking it down into manageable steps. You can then design a worksheet that guides them through each step, providing them with the structure and clarity they need.

This interactive content not only engages your audience but also serves as a valuable resource that prospects can refer back to, increasing the likelihood of prospects sharing it with others. By offering a practical tool that solves their problem, you demonstrate your commitment to helping prospects and establish your brand as a reliable source of information.

Examples of interactive content that can further engage your audience include calculators and infographics. These visually appealing tools simplify complex concepts, making them easier to understand and apply. They also encourage users to actively participate, increasing their level of engagement and making it more likely for them to leave their contact information or engage with your lead generation forms.


10. Glossary, guides and useful resources

There are many types of useful resources, here is a summary of the top ones often used and that can bring about lots of success.

  1. E-books: Offer comprehensive guides or how-to manuals that provide valuable insights and knowledge related to your industry or niche. This informative resource can attract potential customers looking for in-depth information and establish your brand as an authority in the field
  2. Templates and checklists: Provide customisable templates and checklists that simplify complex processes or tasks. These tools save time and effort for your target audience while offering them a practical solution they can directly apply to their work or personal life
  3. Webinars: Conduct live or recorded webinars on topics that align with your business and target market’s interests. Webinars offer a more interactive and engaging experience, allowing potential customers to learn from industry experts and ask questions in real-time
  4. Industry reports: Create and share industry reports that analyse market trends, key insights and future predictions. These reports showcase your expertise and provide valuable information that potential customers can use to make informed decisions
  5. Online assessments or quizzes: Develop interactive assessments or quizzes that help potential customers evaluate their knowledge or identify areas for improvement. Offer personalised recommendations or insights based on their answers, creating a customised experience that adds value to their journey
  6. Podcasts: Produce regular audio content in the form of podcasts that cover relevant topics and feature industry experts. Podcasts provide a convenient and accessible way for potential customers to stay informed and engaged with your brand
  7. Video tutorials: Create video tutorials that demonstrate how to use your product or service effectively or provide useful tips and tricks. Video content is highly engaging and can effectively showcase your expertise
  8. Case studies: Share real-life success stories and case studies that highlight how your product or service has helped previous customers solve their challenges. Case studies offer social proof and demonstrate the value you provide
  9. Online courses or training: Develop comprehensive online courses or training programs that educate potential customers on specific topics or skills. These resources offer a deeper level of knowledge and position your brand as a trusted resource for continuous learning
  10. Exclusive content or memberships: Offer exclusive access to premium content, early product releases, or a members-only community to potential customers who provide their contact information. This creates a sense of exclusivity and encourages them to engage with your brand on a deeper level


11. Real examples with tangible actions

In the B2B space, several brands have successfully implemented lead generation strategies through their content marketing efforts. Let’s take a look at a few real-life examples and the actionable takeaways they offer:

  1. HubSpot: HubSpot offers valuable content through their blog, whitepapers and webinars. They provide in-depth knowledge on various marketing topics, which attracts potential customers looking for solutions. Actionable takeaway: Focus on creating valuable and educational content that addresses your target audience’s pain points
  2. Salesforce: Salesforce effectively uses gated content like e-books, research reports and guides to capture leads. They offer these resources in exchange for contact information, building their email list and nurturing potential customers. Actionable takeaway: Use gated content to provide value and convert visitors into leads
  3. Buffer: Buffer uses social media platforms to generate leads. They provide valuable social media insights and tips through their blog and email newsletters, attracting their target audience. Actionable takeaway: Leverage social media platforms to engage with your audience and share valuable content
  4. Moz: Moz offers a free SEO course to educate potential customers on search engine optimisation. By providing valuable training, they position themselves as experts in their field and attract high-quality leads. Actionable takeaway: Develop online courses or training programs to establish your brand as a trusted resource

These examples demonstrate the effectiveness of content marketing in driving prospects to opt-in. By focusing on providing valuable and educational content, using gated content, leveraging social media platforms and offering training programs, brands can attract and convert high-quality leads in the B2B space.


12. Create valuable email courses

Creating a valuable email course can be a highly effective lead generation strategy with numerous benefits. Brands like Buffer and Outfunnel have successfully leveraged this tactic to attract and engage their target audience.

Buffer offers a popular social media strategies course, where they provide valuable insights and tips on how to effectively use social media platforms. By offering this course, they not only attract potential customers interested in social media marketing but also position themselves as industry experts.

Outfunnel, on the other hand, offers a comprehensive B2B email marketing course. This course provides valuable knowledge and practical advice on improving email marketing strategies. By offering this course, Outfunnel not only generates new leads but also establishes themselves as trusted resources in the B2B marketing industry.

The process of creating a valuable email course involves developing educational content that addresses your target audience’s pain points and offering it in a structured course format. This could include written content, videos, or audio content delivered over a series of emails.

The benefits of creating a valuable email course are numerous. Firstly, it helps generate new leads as interested individuals sign up to access the course content. Secondly, it offers a chance to engage with these leads over email, nurturing them and building a relationship. Finally, it increases brand awareness as the course establishes your brand as a valuable resource in the industry.


13. Competitions or giveaways

Hosting a giveaway can be an effective lead generation strategy that not only attracts potential customers but also helps in building a loyal audience. When hosting a giveaway, it is important to offer a desirable prize that aligns with the interests of your target audience.

Collecting email subscriptions during the giveaway is crucial for lead generation. Interested participants are required to provide their email address to enter the giveaway, allowing you to build an email list of potential customers. This email list can then be used to send targeted content, promotions and nurture the leads for conversion.

Alongside email collection, encouraging social media engagement is another way to maximise the impact of the giveaway. Participants can be asked to follow or share the giveaway on social media platforms. This not only increases the reach and visibility of the giveaway but also helps in engaging with participants and building a community around your brand.

Hosting a giveaway not only generates short-term leads, but also offers long-term benefits. By growing an email list through giveaways, businesses have the opportunity to expand their customer base and establish lasting relationships. Moreover, the collected email addresses can be used for future targeted marketing campaigns, ensuring that the content reaches the right audience.

14. Templates for simplifying everyday tasks

Creating a template to simplify an everyday task can save time and effort for both individuals and businesses. The process involves identifying the specific task that needs to be streamlined, analysing the steps involved, and designing a standardised format that can be easily replicated. Templates can be created for various purposes, such as project management, content creation, financial planning and more.

Offering personalised and interactive templates adds value to your audience and can significantly contribute to lead generation. Personalisation allows users to tailor the template to their specific needs, making it more relevant and useful. Interactive templates, such as fillable forms or calculators, enhance user experience and engagement.

The value exchange is created when users provide their contact information in exchange for accessing or downloading the template. This information can then be used to nurture leads and guide them through the sales process.

Successful examples of templates include HubSpot’s marketing budget templates, which offer a comprehensive and customisable framework for planning and tracking marketing expenses. Shopify’s Free Privacy Policy Generator is another example that simplifies the creation of a privacy policy document by providing a step-by-step template.

By offering personalised and interactive templates, businesses can engage their audience, provide valuable resources and generate leads for their products or services.


15. Free trials for products or services

Offering a free trial can be a highly effective lead generation strategy with both benefits and downsides.

One major benefit of offering a free trial is that it allows potential customers to experience the product or service firsthand and showcase its value. By giving users a taste of what the product can do, it helps build trust and credibility, making it more likely for them to convert into paying customers. Additionally, a free trial can act as a powerful marketing tool, as satisfied users are more likely to share their positive experiences with others. This could potentially result in word-of-mouth advertising, expanding the reach and visibility of the product.

Another advantage of offering a free trial is that it attracts high-quality leads. People who are genuinely interested in the product or service are more likely to sign up for a free trial. This means that the leads generated from a free trial are more likely to convert into paying customers, boosting sales and revenue.

However, there are downsides to offering a free trial as well. One potential downside is the risk of attracting customers who may not convert into paid users. Some people may sign up for the free trial solely to access the product without the intention of ever becoming paying customers. This can result in a high number of “tire-kickers” and a low conversion rate, affecting the overall profitability of the business.


16. Create a checklist

Offering a handy checklist as a lead generation idea can have several benefits for businesses. Firstly, a checklist provides a clear and organised resource that helps potential customers tackle a specific task or problem. By offering a checklist that addresses a pain point or common challenge, businesses can position themselves as knowledgeable and helpful experts in their industry.

Additionally, a handy checklist can be used as a gated offer to encourage downloads and capture contact information. By requiring users to provide their email address or other contact details in exchange for accessing the checklist, businesses can expand their email list and generate leads. These leads can then be nurtured through email marketing campaigns, ultimately leading to conversions and sales.

While a handy checklist can be an effective lead generation tool, there are also some downsides to consider. One potential downside is that not all leads captured through the checklist may be of high quality. Some users may be simply interested in obtaining the checklist without any genuine intention of engaging further with the business. This can result in a low conversion rate and wasted resources on unqualified leads.

To maximise the effectiveness of a checklist as a lead generation idea, it is crucial to ensure it is relevant and personalised to the target audience. By tailoring the checklist to address specific pain points and providing actionable solutions, businesses can capture the attention and interest of their ideal customers. Personalisation can further enhance the value of the checklist and increase the likelihood of conversion.

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