The following is a compilation of lead generation tactics taken from the wild over the years. Every tip is 100% real and was used to generate leads.
Each example lists the type of business that put the tactic to use but don’t limit your thinking to your type of business only. In most cases, with just a bit of tweaking you can apply the same approach to your business.
Scan through the list looking for 8-10 tips that you could employ and then go to work adjusting the example to fit your market, product or service.
Wanted to promote a specific Pilates program for expectant mothers. Teamed up with a 3D ultrasound company and created a mutual referral program. Expectant mothers that went to have an ultrasound received a free group lesson and/or a DVD with simple exercises to do at home. On the other side, expectant mothers that took the Pilates program received a discount bonus for an ultrasound. Both addressed a specific niche with specific benefits, generating new leads for both companies.
2. Wedding Photographer
Offered couples a free portrait on their one-year anniversary if the couples would provide three referrals at the time of the wedding. Then they also asked the couple for the list of the entire wedding party and sent them thank you notes for being so helpful with all of the arrangements, photos, etc. The photographers also offered a free family photo as a way of saying thanks. What they found was that people who were in a wedding party soon married as well.
3. Green Cleaning Service
Cleaning service promoted their environmentally friendly and safe (green) cleaning by promoting the fact that “Clean doesn’t have a smell. Chemicals do.” They offered a guarantee of a free house cleaning if you smelled chemicals or cleaning agents.
4. Air Con Contractor
During the sales process, they use testimonial letters from satisfied clients and then asked the clients if they would be willing to provide a similar letter if everything works out as promised. The customers and technician agree on a quoted price, the technician completes the work, and then before collecting payment, offers an additional R 100 referral fee if the clients write a letter on the spot. It works every time.
5. Business Consultant
Offered a 100% guarantee on her services, provided that the clients stuck to their program and followed her advice. This demonstrated the consultant’s high level of confidence in herself and established a trust that is often difficult when first meeting professionals. The guarantee was not a high risk to the consultant because she knew it was rare for clients to follow programs exactly, a condition of human nature. Those who stuck closely to their program would be successful anyway.
6. Roof Contractor
Ran a contest called “Raze the Roof ” to give a needy homeowner a new roof. They had entrants submit photos of their tattered roof and a brief write up of their situation and why they feel they deserve a new roof on a landing page on their website. The 30 entrants were narrowed down to 10 finalists whose photos and write ups were posted to their Facebook Business Page. Family, friends and the community at large had the opportunity to vote on who they felt deserved a new roof via a Facebook poll. Facebook page fans have nearly doubled in the month that the contest ran.
7. Financial Planner
Created his very own referral and lead network by sending a letter to ten other professionals who he had worked with and felt comfortable referring business to. This letter informed them that he was creating a unique referral network of one hundred of the area’s top professional service providers and was inviting them to become a member, but that he needed them to recommend ten others who should belong to this exclusive group. He then created a resource directory and website that featured all one hundred professionals. The entire group promoted the directory and website and referred business to each other. As a result, other professionals begged to be allowed into the group. The strategy was so powerful that many of network members did no other form of marketing. - PS Lead Genius can help you create an online directory.
8. Scissor, Clipper and Knife Sharpening Company
Created a free “Always Sharp Inspection” service which includes polishing and adjustment of scissors or clippers demonstrating their high level to quality and care they use. This establishes trust and delight with stylists or groomers with a shined up and better functioning tool allowing them to provide a better service to their customers. Nearly everyone who takes advantage of the inspection service will sign up for the sharpening service that also comes with a 100% guarantee.
9. Green Cleaning Service
The goal was to attract more ideal clients to convert into long term, multi-visit clients. They offered their current clients a special volume gift giving gift certificate rate for the special people in their lives at the holidays, buy five 1/2 massages at the price of three. They suggested it for teacher, coach, babysitter, neighborhood party, networking, Secret Santa, etc. gift ideas. The gift certificate could be used by new customers only and after the first of the year. Once the “giftee” redeemed the gift certificate, they were then offered a full hour massage at the 1/2 hour rate to encourage a return appointment. At the full hour massage, they were then introduced to the package deal. This resulted in more exposure for the massage therapist, created instant credibility for the therapist through the giver’s “referral” of a gift certificate and established a nurturing selling process to the prospect, enticing them to continue to make appointments.
10. Book Store
Teamed up with neighborhood schools to start a reading program. Students were encouraged to read a certain number of books that they checked out at the library. Each time the book was read the student received a punch on a reading card. After they filled up their card they received a free book from the bookstore. This promotion got the bookstore tons of publicity and exposure from the library and the school. Being smart marketers, they also were able to acquire the books they gave away from the remainders section offered by publishers. Typically this partnership arrangement allowed the bookstore to get the giveaway books, still high quality, desirable books, for under a tiny cost.
11. Accounting Firm
Created a cartoon strip featuring the accountant in over-embellished situations regarding his clients and their anxieties over filing taxes. It cast the accountant in a friendly, approachable light and provided some fun marketing content in an otherwise straight-laced industry.
12. Vet Store
Invited clients (pet owners), friends and neighbors to a “Pet Beauty Saturday” at their store offering free pedicure for their pets, with a previous appointment booking. It allowed them not only to acquire new customers but made cross-selling to current ones. Once they were at the clinic, they also purchased additional beauty products, a toy or pet food.
13. Car Mechanic
A certified Woman Friendly auto shop was looking to expand their reach. They are based near a large university and a large tech. During Open Houses, move-in weekends and Parent’s Weekends, they advertised their designation and a reception for the student and parent which was held at their facility to meet the mechanics and owner. The event featured a tour of the facility complete with cars on lifts and open hoods, quick demonstrations on common car issues (What to do if...), and other strategic partners that the attendees would find valuable. For attending and registering at the event, each participant received a free oil change. By providing an atmosphere for the parents to get to KNOW & LIKE the owner and mechanics, they quickly created a TRUST environment that gave them the piece of mind that while their child was away from them, the student was still being taken care of in a safe place and situation. Ultimately, the parents became a brand advocate for the Auto Repair shop. The shop then would keep track of mileage, oil change and inspection dates and send reminder emails or texts to the student and parent that it was time to come in.
14. Marketing Company
Sends post cards to LinkedIn contacts who have endorsed them with a skill thanking them for the endorsement. Post card is hand written, no promotional message - just thanks. 18 postcards sent in last 2 months, 4 leads, 2 closed.
Each time a service technician makes a call, they give the customer five R50 referral bucks certificates. The certificates have the customers name on them. Customers are encouraged to give them to friends, family and neighbors. Each time one of those R50 off coupons is used, the customer who gave them away also gets a R50 off coupon sent to them to use on their next service.
16. Commercial Cleaning Service
Offered free initial services from other appearance and cleanliness related businesses for new customers. That included doormat service and external window washing. The entire result (cleaned office, new front door mats, and clean windows) heightened the visual appeal of the cleaning service.
17. Corporate Culture Consultant
Created an eBook on how to develop a culture of excellence. Set up a landing page with the goal of collecting email addresses and using an email nurturing campaign. Created a blog post and amplified via social media. Partnered with the local Human Resources Association and Board of Trade to send out an email campaign promoting the eBook on his behalf. Results included more than 150 downloads of the eBook in two days and three consultation requests.
Sponsored online webinars and invited well-known authors and speakers by allowing them to pitch their books or other products. Targeted clients lined up to hear the prominent speaker and provided their names and e-mail addresses to get on the free call. The webinars became so popular that the attorney recorded each webinars and created an entire library of products that he used for other marketing efforts. By sponsoring the well known authors, the attorney created a very high profile referral network.
19. Retail Store
Partnered with surrounding, non-competing, stores to promote and refer each other. Each store created discount cards and displayed them in the store and inserted them in shopping bags. The stores also shared mailing lists and held “secret” after-hours specials, just for customers who referred business.
wanted to start helping clients overcome fear and anxiety around horse back riding. Placed a Facebook PPC ad narrowly targeting only those in a small geographic region who like horses. Results included 150+ Facebook likes (at a cost of approximately R500) and three new clients (valued at approximately R1500)
21. Ecomm Store
Sent postcards to niche market segments with highly personalized graphics and messages and created pre-filled and approved accounts with a special login code that also qualified the new customers for one time discounts just for activating their account.
22. Insurance Broker
Invited several local commercial insurance clients to participate in its “Customer Appreciation Booklet”. Each business had to create and honor a “Killer Offer” of their service or product e.g. a payroll company offered 6 months free service with a 12 month contract, an auto dealer offered an additional R5000 off the best deal of any new vehicle sale, a dental group offered a R2500 off their Invisalign program, etc. The agency head compiled and printed Customer Appreciation Booklets containing “Value Certificates” reflecting the offers provided by 10 local businesses. Each participating firm was asked to distribute the booklets to their customers -- “Before you go, let me get you a CAB” (Customer Appreciation Booklet). CAB Value Certificates were redeemable only by a new client of each participating firm to avoid “client cannibalism”. Also, the offers were not discounts by a participating company, but by the group of other companies represented in the CAB. Net effect: Without having to invest in promoting their offer, each firm was able to significantly increase the value of their incentive offer. Each firm now had a way to add value to their own services. Each firm now had 9 other firms cross-promoting their services. Each firm had effectively moved their cost of sale to their point of sale. Rather than buy an incentive to offer, they leveraged their internal costs of the offer against the street value of it. Finally, the insurance agency was represented prominently on each CA Booklet and, as a result, generated lots of market awareness, goodwill, and leads based on renewed appreciation and bonding with their clients and community
23. Real Estate Agent
wanting to reach into surrounding community as potential customers, printed postcards with a promise of a R150 gift certificate to a new Italian restaurant just around the corner if someone made an appointment and toured some of their featured homes. He worked out a deal with the restaurant owner to only pay R75 for the R150 face value gift certificate. The home salesman generated 40 new leads which led to 4 new homes sold in a 3-month period of time. Meanwhile, the restaurant owner was thrilled with the 40 families who tried his new restaurant (of the 40, only a handful even knew he was open). The restaurant considered the R75 cost of each certificate was cheaper than any advertising he could do otherwise.
24. Computer Repairs
This company simply asked for referrals every time they marketed or communicated with their clients in any manner. They created a big rubber stamp that said, “We crave referrals”, and stamped that sentiment on every piece of mail that left the place. Invoices, marketing pieces, newsletters, training manuals, work orders…you name it. By putting that message in front of their prospects constantly, they began to receive referrals from many different places.
25. Financial Planner
Used the concept of going opposite (tip of the hat to Daniel Burrus for his book “Flash Forward”): Instead of concentrating on convincing people to put money into retirement accounts they focused on helping newly retired professionals transition to how they would now plan to withdraw that money for the rest of their lives. This detailed and thoughtful process led to referrals and brought more money under management by their firm.
At networking events, people would always ask how business was and he would typically respond something like, “Just great.” Now, he simply says, “Business is very good, but I am always looking for more clients who need this…”, then he hands them a referral card that clearly states the types of issues, challenges, and frustrations that he helps people through. Just changing his response to this seemingly automatic question has changed the way he generates referrals.
27. Concert promoter
wanted to attract younger music fans using social media. Started setting up a social media table at concerts offering free music CDs of local artists to people who “Liked” their Facebook page. At bigger events, he would give away a signed electric guitar from a well known artist. Facebook “Likes” went from 600 to over 10,000 in 6 months. His Facebook page is currently over 17,000 “Likes”.
This smart marketer made it a habit of acquiring testimonials from every single client he had ever worked with. In some cases, he had testimonials from every single person that worked for a business he had consulted with. At some point, he had more than 500 letters from thrilled clients. Then, when a prospective client would call and ask for information on his company or request a proposal for services, he would simply create a spiral bound 500-page book of testimonials with a snappy cover and send it over. The prospects were floored by so much proof.
29. Software Developer
uses lumpy mailings for referral partners. Four times a year, 3D mailing sent (logo’d water bottle, local brand of coffee with logo’d sticker, etc.) along with rack card listing services, personalized letter suggesting cooperative marketing activities. Each referral partner usually calls with a week or so with joint lead opportunities.
30. Massage Therapist
Every time a new client signs-up for their six-session package, they give the client three referral cards for a free massage. Clients give the cards away to friends and family. If one of those free massage cards then turns into a six session buyer, the original client gets a free massage.
31. For any business
This is a new twist, a total game changer, and it will work for almost any business. Use the new Facebook ad targeting options (Power Editor in Facebook Ad Manager) to pinpoint ideal customers far beyond what’s been possible anywhere else in the past. You can target your ads by demographics, location, industry, job function, value of home, likes and affinities, buying patterns, keywords, profile information, and even specific items purchased like bottled water or non-fat milk. There are over 500 data points to pinpoint the exact folks you want to communicate with. To engage, create a nicely worded ad with title and image and drive traffic to a Facebook embedded landing page that presents an unbeatable offer: ebook, video, webinar, drip feed or contest to build fans and your email list. Don’t go for a sale, you’re just getting to know them. Make it worth it for them to get on your list and/or follow your Facebook page. Technical tips: To embed a landing page from your website into Facebook try ShortStack (free account), create an iframe to a specific URL on your site and attach it to your Facebook page in ShortStack. Use the WordPress plugin Premise to create your landing page (or use any other landing page) and connect it to your email marketing tool like Mail Chimp, AWeber, etc. The landing page doesn’t have to be gorgeous, just compelling. This tactic is working right now for B2B and B2C businesses of all kinds.
32. Marketing Consultant
Contacted a bank and an accounting firm that both had small business clients and offered to put on a free marketing seminar for their clients. The bank and the accounting firm invited the guests and provided the space and refreshments. The marketing firm provided the seminar content. The bank and accounting firm liked the idea of doing something for their clients, but the twist that really made this work was that the bank and accounting firm saw it as an opportunity to meet each other’s clients and perhaps get some good exposure to prospective clients.
33. Cleaning Service
The competition is tough within this industry and many business owners only value price because they feel clean is clean. In order for a start-up to make traction within the market, they offered a deal of 3 months free with a 6 month contract. By getting their foot in the door, they were able to establish that their cleaners did, indeed, offer a higher quality service than their competitors
Created what he calls compliment cards. Every time a client gives a compliment, like, “that didn’t hurt at all”, someone on his staff is ready with a referral card. The staff also emphasizes that the only way they work is by referral.
35. Disaster Clean Up Service
Contacted every homeowner that had a disaster, regardless of whether they used their service or a competitor, and offered replacement plush animals to their children. The toys were gathered via a community-wide donation campaign. This heightened the name awareness of the company and increased referral leads. This worked for referrals even though they may not have been the company that provided the cleanup service since each person that had experienced a disaster in their home knew of at least 2 companies that worked in the industry - one that did the work and one that did something nice for their children.
An author promoting a book targeting train-collecting fanatics, located several very respected authorities on the subject and offered to pay them up to a rand for each letter endorsing his book that they would send to their mailing lists. The mailing list owners jumped at the chance and he willingly paid some of them over R1,000, but he sold hundreds of books and then proceeded to sell a very expensive set of collections to many of his new clients.
37. A Christian Mechanic
decided to change his strategy in terms of his LED sign in front of his business on a major highway. Rather than posting the traditional mentions of vehicle repair and maintenance services they perform, he changed the Saturday/Sunday/Holiday messages to be messages of inspiration, faith, Scripture and encouragement. The targeted messages, reaching to a specific demographic, has brought hundreds of new customers (mainly female) over the past 5 years who said they did not previously have a mechanic they could trust. All of them mentioned that the Christian messages attracted them.
38. Environmental Consulting Company
Created a conference of “Environmental and legal risks you might not be aware of and how to avoid them”. Invited specific and previously identified prospects, made the presentation and at the end scheduled “Preliminary Risk Diagnosis” visits for those interested. At least one new customer came from each presentation.
39. Bond Originator
Sets the table ahead of time by showing clients exactly how he is going to perform. He sets the cost savings, interest savings, and time frame for the transaction all ahead of time. Then he gets the client to agree to give him five referrals on the spot if he performs as promised. It becomes a game and the clients always love it. Plus, it pushes him to perform and emphasizes the value he provides
40. Formal wear rental store
Sponsor matric dance committees at local high schools. As part of the sponsorship and as a benefit, invite members (and a guest) to an “after hours” party at the store before a matric dance so they can try on dresses or tuxedos. Offer door prizes in the form of coupons to people who attend and mention the event on their favorite social media site (Twitter, Facebook, etc.). Give away a “Grand Prize” to people who sign up to enter with name and email address. Follow up with all the people who enter using your favorite CRM/ESP provider
41. Air Con Company
Sent out gift certificates to existing customers worth a free annual maintenance plan of R1000. Customers gave them to friends and for each friend that used it, the customer extended their plan by another year free.
In a push to get more clients to sign up for boudoir photography sessions, she started a strategic partnership with a high end restaurant in town to create a “Dinner/Photography Session for Two” package. This is how it works: She and the restaurant work to put together the offer. They advertise the offer (20% off dinner and photo session) on their respective websites and also in the local entertainment paper. They will also create brochures to give to their respective prospects and they are also considering local radio spots to advertise the deal. They will use this initially around Valentines Day but will expand to other times of the year if successful.
43. Tutoring Services
Sponsored multiple clubs (music, chess, math) at local schools in order to introduce company to parents of the students that participated in those clubs.
44. Plumbing Supply Store
Offered sales people from plumbing and other construction related firms, “finder’s fees”, for giving his sales person leads. A painting contractor would give him a heads-up when he was asked to bid a job and then the plumbing supply contractor could reach out and make a special offer to the homeowner or contractor. If the lead turned into a job, he would send a check to the sales person from the other company. Having all of these paid “scouts” out there really kept him in the know about who was doing what.
Installed an oven and small kitchen in his office and bakes chocolate chip cookies every day. Every patient leaves with a little gift bag of cookies. A couple of things make this work so well. Instead of smelling like a dental office, the place smells wonderful. The cookies are really good, so people appreciate getting them, and the practice is so unique that people naturally talk about it to friends and associates.