Updated on September 23, 2021 by Ivana
The spice must flow. So too must the flow of new leads. After all, finding new leads is the lifeline of your business and the main goal of your sales and marketing strategy. Sales and marketing aka “smarketing” (sorry) teams often struggle with utilizing the resources available for optimal lead generation. That is why, we will go over a few potential lead sources you can take advantage of.
First let’s go over the basics of lead sourcing.
What is a lead source?
A lead source is the channel through which a potential prospect has found out about your business. So basically the way a potential client is first brought into your funnel. It can be an email campaign, paid ads or by seeing your content on social media. Lead sources differ based on their cost and value of the new leads they generate.
Why should you track your lead sources?
Knowing which lead channels perform better and which ones worse is an important part of your lead generation efforts. Tracking the performance of each channel can tell you where most of your leads are coming from. It can also tell you whether they are qualified leads and what is the acquisition cost per lead.
In terms of revenue, let’s say a lead generation campaign on LinkedIn brought you a number of valuable leads but in terms of revenue you don’t see a significant profit margin. In contrast, a cold email campaign that you spent less time and resources on, resulted in a higher number of lower value leads with a higher profit. So in this case it is obvious that you should focus more on your cold emails since they have a better ROI.
Track the performance of your lead sources to know, where do most of your leads come from, what is the value per lead and how much did it cost to generate that lead.
The best lead sources to find new leads
Prioritize certain lead channels over others based on your budget and where your desired audience can be found. This gives you the opportunity to effectively use the most of your resources and not spend effort on lead sources with a low lead generation potential. In other words if you produce high quality content that brings in lots of visitors through your blog, why spend money on paid ads when you could invest more heavily into content that has already shown positive results.
Now, let’s take a close look at some of the best lead sources you can leverage in your lead generation strategy.
One of the best ways to find new leads is for them to find you. Research what your desired market audience searches for, so you can target relevant keywords and build up your website and content around them. To give you an example, leads often search for keywords with specific intent. This saves you the trouble of scoring them since they will be highly qualified leads ready to buy, looking to compare different products.
To improve your chances of getting yourself higher in the search results for keywords, you will need to create quality content and get links to your website and blog posts. Links build up your rank authority and position your content to be the go to source on a specific topic.
Creating valuable content is one of the best ways to source new leads. Content synergises with other channels for lead generation and it works great. Email marketing and social media especially, depend on good content. Producing worthwhile content does require resources, time and hard work but it’s a long term commitment with high return of investment.
Your content strategy serves to support your other lead sources. Running a weekly newsletter, giving out free e-books to educate your audience and sharing case studies detailing the success of other clients using your product are popular types of content. They serve as lead magnets, providing value to your target audience.
Your content marketing strategy should support these three main pillars: your website, blog and landing pages.
The purpose of your website is to showcase your product and actively engage your target audience. It is also the center of your content and lead generation efforts and you’ll need to create an attractive and engaging website to represent your business and product. It should look nice and load fast. The content should be designed with your desired buyer persona in mind with relevant information up front and clear CTAs. It is the perfect lead source by allowing you to have a sales funnel in place and giving you the opportunity to expand on your content marketing strategy. Leads coming to your website are definitely part of your target market since they are actively looking for your type of product.
Your homepage is the primary touch point for new visitors that needs to be optimized for generating news leads. Use it to present your offering, user review and any other pieces of info that you think will appeal to your audience. Other important pages that visitors often go to get more information about your business and products are the pricing, about and dedicated product pages. So make sure your website is easy to navigate.
After your homepage, you want your blog to be the other source of incoming traffic. Write and post content that speaks to your reader base. Align your content strategy by promoting your product and help readers to generate leads. Optimize your content to be SEO friendly so people can find it and share it in communities and social media to support other lead channels with insightful content.
Optimize your lead capture pages or landing pages to capture new leads. Focus on a simple message with a strong CTA telling visitors why they should give you their contact information. Offer an incentive and make sure your lead capture is not too aggressive. Otherwise you risk chasing away asking for too much info up front. Use your landing page together with other lead sources like paid advertising or social media. You can also optimise them for organic search.
Before someone leaves your website, you have another shot at changing their mind with an exit popup. You may not be a fan of annoying pop ups when you land on a page and immediately you are asked to subscribe to a newsletter without even checking out the content or being notified about a product.
Exit pop ups however do the opposite, in case potential leads are on the fence about a decision, they can give them a bit of a push in the right direction. A little incentive or a special offer can be just enough to bring them close to a buying decision.
“One of the best ways of using exit-intent popups is in the final stage of the buying process: when the visitor has found the product they were looking for. The product that solves his problem. If the problem isn’t big enough and the solution isn’t urgent for the buyer, a little help may be needed to get the visitor over the uncertainty and motivate him to complete the purchase when they are about to leave the website.”
Judit Pál CMO at OptiMonk
Video marketing is quickly increasing in popularity. For example people prefer to watch a video about your product instead of reading about it. Creating a video takes more time and resources to make, but it’s definitely worth it, as video content plays well with other types of lead channels. Whether a product showcase on social or a user testimonial on your landing page.
Contributing to other blogs with content can bring you not just links but valuable traffic and new leads as well. If you want to tap into another segment of your target market, reach out to blogs with an audience that might be interested in what you have to offer. Then prepare well put together content that will position you as an authority. Make sure the content is of high quality since this is your first introduction to a new audience.
Without question one of the best, if not the best lead sources in terms of ROI. To make it worth your while you have to play it smart. Sending cold emails to a bunch of people on your email list that you think will be interested in what you have to offer is not a good idea. Let’s be honest no one likes getting a marketing email out of nowhere and wondering how you got their email address.
For a successful email marketing campaign you’ll have to do your homework. That means targeting the right audience and segmenting based on different buyer personas. After you build your lead list you will need to clean it properly. Verify the emails on the list to maximize the deliverability rate of your email outreach.
To make your email stand out, personalize your subject line and email content. Use visuals to increase the appeal as well. Remember that other marketers are going after the same leads so you need to step up your game. Give your email recipients a reason to contribute to your positive email metrics.
Finally you need to use an email automation tool that lets you do all of that with ease. A tool that lets you personalize your emails at scale and schedule your sending time for the best results. Our email drip campaigns module can help you with this.
Now you must be thinking, social media platforms as lead sources, are you sure?
Absolutely. Social platforms are great for raising awareness, sharing valuable content and connecting with your leads.
Platforms like Facebook and Twitter give you an insight into your target market. You can tap into your desired audience by analyzing their behavior and use the already available advertising systems in place to promote your content, share market insight and draw potential leads previously unaware of your brand or product.
Another great thing about social media is that the users of those platforms love sharing things with their followers, friends, connections, and colleagues. Are your potential leads sharing sales or marketing content from your competitors?
Social media monitoring can help you identify what kinds of content your audience is interested in and which ones they respond the most to. As a result, social media has become an integral part of business marketing strategy for companies large and small across every industry verticals imaginable.
Now you can imagine how even a small effort can increase in value by simply relying on your targeted leads to utilize the platforms for their basic purpose, which is to share content. More importantly your content and by doing so attracting views, interest, and potential conversions.
In addition, social media represents an open data pool from which you can find information about your leads including their names, gender, age, interests and data to create a lookalike audience profile to improve your lead finding efforts.
While we are talking about social channels for finding leads there is one that is built around that idea with features dedicated to generating new leads.
The go-to service for many marketers, sales representatives, and human resources professionals, for a good reason. LinkedIn’s network has grown to the biggest business platform with over 756 million users from all over the world while also becoming a valuable source for lead generation for the business-to-business market in the process.
It is important to remember that LinkedIn is at its core both a lead generation tool and a social media platform. Network building is one of the main goals of every social media platform and as such one of your goals should be to connect with other people in your industry and find leads in the market you are focusing on.
This is easily done as you can see basic information about others like their job title, current employment, skills and work tasks. Also you won’t need to worry about how accurate your targeting will be as people tend to update their profiles and company information. Data export directly from LinkedIn is also possible through CRM integration.
Another great thing about LinkedIn is of course its built-in service for finding and engaging leads, LinkedIn Sales Navigator.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator
LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator is a robust service with a wide feature set and the goal of connecting you with your target B2B audience.
LinkedIn’s platform in combination with its service is a gold mine of valuable data you can use for building your lead list. And because of that, it is among the most popular lead sources for a number of sales reps and marketers. Almost every company now has a profile on Linkedin. And, every person working in that company wants to have that listed on their own profiles (we all know that this is both beneficial for the company and the person for future references and building their virtual CVs.)
Having this structured data with companies and the employees that work there, plus additional information like websites, emails, phone numbers, location etc. gives the Linkedin Sales Navigator users an opportunity to freely use this data and collect it for building lead lists.
However, the service is not very cost-effective depending on your target market and if you have a small business the price per lead can be expensive. Keep in mind your ROI here, it might turn out that the leads you pay for in advance, might not be hot leads after all, as LinkedIn still doesn’t provide info on sales signals, potential forecasting, and lead scoring.
In combination with LinkedIn Sales Navigator, you can use a number of chrome extension tools to find an email address of a lead. It’s convenient and easy as it searches through the profile and extracts the information provided by the user. You might not find the info you are looking for 100% of the time, but this is a good place to start.
Chrome extensions for finding lead information
Together with LinkedIn and Sales Navigator, you can use a number of Chrome extensions to find contact information for your leads. It’s convenient and easy from the corner of your browser. It searches through the profile and extracts the information provided by the user. You might not find the info you are looking for 100% of the time, but this is for sure a good start. Each service varies in its feature set, price and offers, but must have the same base function of finding an email address for your leads.
Lead Generation Tools
One the best way to build up your lead list quickly with qualified leads is to use lead generation tools. Also, you can effortlessly capture and export your new leads along with the data you find or the leads themselves fill out through a number of integrations with a wide range of CRMs. This way the process of finding new leads is simplified. Some tools for generating new leads complement existing lead sources while others offer direct contact information.
Lead Database Providers
An all-in-one business information and outreach platform, Sales.Rocks offers every piece of data you will need to build your lead list and it can be one of your most valuable lead sources. Additionally, it has a deep filtering system that can segment leads based on your strict targeting requirements. From regional filtering to country and city, technographical filtering is based on the software used, and naturally, you can also filter based on industry, job title, and present company.
A database offering readily available leads with complete data profiles save you a great deal of time and effort since the data is regularly kept up to date and the contact information is verified. It is a great alternative compared to scouring LinkedIn for leads which can take up a lot of your time. Even if you use Sales Navigator the cost can quickly add up for niche markets and small businesses. In contrast, there are affordable pricing plans that are less costly to small and medium-sized companies even for solo entrepreneurs.
Another strong point in favor of a lead database is the fact that the data is regularly refreshed and kept up to date so you can be sure you always target the right lead in the right company. Together with a number of supported data export options, the process of transferring your lead list into your CRM is easier than ever. You can also simply use the already available built-in email drip campaigns module to do everything in one place.
Your benefit here is an easy lead enrichment and finding the missing data you are looking for while being able to find new leads and reach out to them all in one place. On the other hand, you won’t need to pay extra to message people like with LinkedIn InMails, and you can even find companies that are not even listed on Linkedin.
Automation is everything these days and using a single platform to find, segment, and contact leads is just what other platforms on the market are missing.
Sales.Rocks Chrome Extension
Having contact information data at the ready when you come across target companies while doing market research is a good idea. That way you can check on the spot for potential leads to add to your outreach campaign later on. You can filter by job title through hierarchy and department selection to find valuable leads and get their email address along with a job title and any social media profiles they use. To further improve your lead targeting you have full access to company insights and technographics data as well, so you can measure the prospective lead value.
Paid advertising is a great source for finding new leads. I’ll highlight the Google Ads platform as it offers different types of ads you can use depending on your budget, target audience and marketing strategy. The most popular forms of digital advertising are search engine ads and social media ads. I’ll talk about both in more detail further down.
Banner and video ads are also popular among marketers for spreading brand awareness and promoting your product. Content marketing plays a vital role in these paid ads. Banner ads coupled with a nice visual design have a greater impact than text-based ads and are more appealing to click. While video ads build upon that visual effect by capturing the attention of your leads quicker by showcasing your product in action, they leave a long-lasting impression compared to other types of ads.
One of the best tactics for paid ads is to use them for retargeting. Basically going after leads that have visited your website and interacted with your content but left without converting. Instead of missing out on potentially valuable lead conversions, a retargeting ad campaign coupled with an attractive lead magnet can reengage some of those leads.
Search Engine Ads
When I say paid search ads, one thing pops into your head, PPC. And for a good reason too. Google absolutely dominates the search engine market and because of that, it represents a huge part of the digital advertising space. But should you invest in Google search ads as a lead source?
The truth is your mileage may vary, depending on your market niche. If you are competing against a lot of other competitors chasing the same leads, you’ll need to invest more in your ads budget to see decent results. Don’t just throw money away chasing a trend, however. Just because you see others doing it, doesn’t mean that you’ll see the same results.
Paid search advertising can be one of the best lead sources but only if done right. Keep in mind that to generate leads with a high conversion potential you’ll need to align your ad copy, landing page content and targeting.
Social Media Ads
Like search engine advertising, social media offers you different ways you can use to generate leads. With the amount of information, we ourselves provide and the social platforms themselves collect about us it’s no wonder they have become one of the more popular lead sources for marketers. Paid social media ads are a perfect example of how to accurately target a user base with a data-driven approach.
Different social media channels offer different types of ads. It is important to first do a small-scale test to see which social media works for you best. Meaning where your target audience hangs out and what type of advertising they prefer. Content promotion, lead gen capture forms, product showcases, client testimonials, special offers, and giveaways are all safe ideas to incorporate into your ads. Just remember to first find out the “www”, who is your target audience, which social channels they use, and what type of ads work best for your leads.
Budget wise ads on social media can be a cheaper alternative to search engine ads, (depending on cost per click) and provide more bang for your buck in the long run. This is due to the fact that in addition to lead generation ads on social media are also great for brand awareness since they tend to incorporate a visual design more often. However, this also means paying for a nice image or a graphic to go with the ads and a cost that you’ll have to take into account.
Cold calls are still a good way to engage new leads, because it puts you in direct contact with potential leads. You just have to do it right. Don’t follow a dry script and sound like an automaton. Do a bit of research about the person you are calling and don’t be pushy with your sales pitch. Remember that you should be having a conversation about your offering and not just parrot your lines which will force them to hang up.
You can use the opportunity to get some additional info about them and what product they are currently using. What they are using it for, are they satisfied with it, what they do and don’t like about it and anything else you can think of that will be a relevant piece of data. And they will provide all that info during a conversation. Afterward, schedule a demo at a later date which will give you time to prepare to and address their pain points and use through your offering.
Furthermore, outbound calling is an important part of a multichannel lead sourcing approach. Nowadays most of the lead generation process is done through digital channels. And the phone call is usually reserved for the final step to close the deal and make a sale. That is why this is a lead channel with high potential.
Your competitors’ client base is a great source for sales leads. Compare your product and analyze for any pain points you can use. A better product for a competitive price and even stellar customer support can bring new leads over. As they say all is fair in love and war or in this case business.
Video marketing is on the rise. Because of that there have been a number of ways marketers have tried to adapt video content into their marketing strategy. Webinars are online events (web + seminar) with the purpose of educating your audience, establishing yourself as an expert in your market and generating new leads. You can use webinars to share knowledge or showcase a product but the important thing is to provide value to your participants.
Collaborate with other experts and figures of authority in your industry to increase interest. Also make sure to create a landing page with a lead capture form and promote it on social media and by email to get the most of it.
Every brand needs a voice. Especially in a crowded part of the market to distinguish it from the others. Podcasts are a rising trend most often used for building brand awareness and positioning yourself as an authority in your industry. They have a high audience engagement rate due to the nature of the content and show format.
Word of Mouth
The best kind of marketing is free marketing. When you don’t have to pay for advertising and the people who use your product do it not for an incentive but because they are genuinely satisfied with what you have to offer. This might sound similar to referral marketing but it is different. You can’t measure “word of mouth marketing” as a lead source, but the fact that referral marketing is a tried and tested lead generation strategy with proven results should give you an idea what kind of results to expect.
Partnering up with a company that offers a product or service in your vertical is a popular tactic, especially in the saas market. If both of your products align well a mutual collaboration can increase exposure and reach a larger combined audience. Cross-promotion and joint marketing campaigns can strengthen the relationship between both products and improve their appeal. This type of partnership helps establish both products as a unique offering.
Influencer marketing has seen large success in recent years and it is easy to see why. Having an influential person drop a mention or a recommendation of your product or service to their audience base can have a strong effect. This allows you to tap into an audience base easily and effectively.
This lead generation strategy is fairly straightforward. First you’ll need to find a couple of influencers that have previously advertised a similar product to yours which means that their audience is aligned with your desired client base. Then simply reach out to them and negotiate a deal. This way you can build up your lead list fast.
Well known influencers aren’t cheap but don’t worry. You can reach out to influencers with smaller but more loyal audiences that are a part of a particular niche market. Even though the product awareness will not be quite as big but often a more targeted approach is best.
The sales cycle has been steadily becoming longer as potential buyers turn to reviews, product comparisons and asking their close network for advice. That is why one of the best lead sources for acquiring new leads are your existing clients. Before making a purchase decision people often ask fellow colleagues or close contacts for their feedback. In other words they present sources of information they can trust. If an existing client is satisfied they will pass that experience along to others.
Referrals are closer to the buying stage and they don’t need to go through the usual lead nurturing process. Also they are often part of the same market segment as your existing clients. and they face the same problems and are in need of the same solution. That means they already fit your ideal customer profile and present a great opportunity for your business.
So take care of your most loyal clients as they are more valuable than you think. Find a way to show them how much you appreciate them. A discount or a special pre-release access to new features is a great way to do so. Take care of your most loyal clients and give them a reason to refer your product to others in return.
An affiliate program can help you generate new leads for your business by having others actively promoting your product or service for a commission. You can partner up with affiliates in other markets to tap into different audiences and expand your product reach. Since they get a commission based on the quality of the leads they bring in, be sure that you’ll get high-value leads for your sales funnel.
Break ups can be hard as people change. And that’s fine But in this case it can pay off to be a bit clingy. If a client decides to stop using your product offering you should know why. And the best way to do that is to just ask them. You already have plenty of information about them making things easier so you don’t need to get to know them all over again. Think of it as a start to a new relationship.
Lead sourcing done right
As you can see there are a high number of available lead sources that can be used for your lead generation strategy but you should only invest your time, budget and resources in a couple of them. Based on key factors, like your product offering, the market segment you target and where your leads are, analyze which ones you can utilize for your business. To find out which lead sourcing channels work best for you, test and measure which lead channels bring you the most valuable leads.
Remember that lead quality is more important than lead quantity since your ultimate goal is converting your leads to customers. That process is more efficient when your leads align better with your buyer persona. And if you want to make it quicker you can give Sales.Rocks a try and easily find new leads.