#1 Quizzes: We all love quizzes, they are surging in popularity, and are a ridiculously effective method for generating leads – but they must be done right to be effective.

There are three things you must get right for a quiz to be effective and not negatively influence your audience.

1. It has to be fluid in it’s UI. (no radio buttons allowed)

2. The topic has to be hyper-relevant to what you do (if you put a superhero quiz on your clothing store, just stop)

3. There has to be a sufficient award at the end to warrant the collection of a lead.

excel quiz

#2. Expert Interviews: These are great because you can use them in multiple ways to generate leads. First, you can interview an expert and collect leads from the traffic they send your way. Second, if the interview is really in-depth, you can use it as a collateral piece and require an opt-in to view the interview


#3. Weekly Digest: Every industry has thousands of tweets and blog posts each week. Make it your job to find the best content each week and send it out in a newsletter. Then gradually mix in your own content.

CoSchedule did an awesome job of utilizing this strategy to establish themselves as a ‘household name’ in the blogging world. All they did was compile the best posts from each week concerning content marketing and send them out in a newsletter. Then they integrated some of their own content into the email to get their own products promoted.

#4. Contact Form: Does your contact form ask people if they’d like to opt-in? It should. Wufoo makes it really easy to collect leads using your contact form. People who are already contacting you are highly likely to want more information, give them a chance to get it.

#5. A/B Test Every Email Campaign: If you’re not split testing email campaigns, you’re missing out on valuable insights that can lead to even more subscribers. Wishpond put together a comprehensive list of all the things to test.

#6. Thank-You Page: The Thank You page is one of the most under-utilized pieces of web real estate. The user has just finished submitting a form or buying something from you, and usually we just give them a page that says ‘Thanks, Goodbye’

What if they want more? It doesn’t hurt to ask if they’d like to get more updates or check out another offer you have.

thank you page

#7. Co-Sponsored Content: Pairing up with another (preferably larger) company in your industry to put together a great piece of content is an awesome way to reach a new audience. If the content is worthy of collecting emails for, do it.

#8. List.ly: This is one of my favorite tools. List.ly is a way to crowd-source lists on your site that anyone can add to. By making the list more interactive, you’ll create engagement with your audience that a static list just can’t match.

Although they haven’t built in a direct way to generate leads, a properly placed call to action around the list will drive signups as lists demand attention.

#10. (Interpreted) Industry Reports: Companies like Forrester will release massive reports about an industry that cover everything there is to know. These reports are complicated but extremely valuable to your customers (especially in B2B)

Do the work and interpret a report and turn it into something that’s more visually appealing than 50 pages of text. Do it well and you have a lead generating asset.

#11. Live Webinars: Preferably using google hangouts or a similar platform where listeners can interrupt and ask questions when they want. The goal is to create long lasting relationships that go far beyond an initial sale.

#12. Relevant Trust Seals: If I see another startup touting a press article in TechCrunch as a sign that they are trustworthy I might just lose all faith in marketing. Pick symbols that actually make sense, like a leading company that’s a customer or a partnership with Oracle for example.

trust seals

#13. Content Syndication: I’ll be honest I didn’t know this existed, but a variety of sites will syndicate your content if it’s approved. For those of you like me who didn’t know what syndication was, it means that every post you put up on your blog will also show up on the site you are syndicated with.

#14. Have an Insider’s Club: For people who need a little more personal touch to jump on board with your company. Offer a fair discount (15-20%) in return for being on the inside.

Insiders will have closer access to beta features and new products, and in return will give feedback on new releases.

#15. Slideshare Pro: Slideshare is the largest online community primarily composed of business members. That makes it the perfect place for generating leads if your customers are businesses. With pro plans on slideshare you can input email capture forms right into your presentations.

slideshare lead generation

#16. PR the 2014 Way: Position your product as the solution to a problem that a reporter has personally had. That means you must know who you are reaching out to, what they like to write about, and why your product fits into their calendar. No more cold email blasting reporters.

#17. Error Pages: Like it or not, people will end up on your 404 and 500 pages. Take advantage of this space to collect an email so you can notify the visitor when everything is fixed again.

#18. Display a # for inbound calls: Inbound calls are extremely powerful. The opportunity to have a potential customer on the phone is always needed, and displaying a number on your site is a subtle way to generate more calls.

#19. Kits: Which is more compelling, a list of SEO tips or a complete kit to get started with, implement and get your first 100 visitors using SEO? The only difference is the kit contains the list of tips along with instructional videos, guides, and a checklist all bundled together into one packet.

Sometimes you need more than one piece of content to solve a problem for customers and that’s why kits can be an effective item to trade for a lead.

#20. Content Pillars: “The Beginner’s Guide to SEO” on the MOZ blog is the single piece of content that’s generated the most leads for them all-time. This content pillar is so large that it’s now been divided into several parts.

beginners guide to seo

What counts as a content pillar varies, but in general a pillar goes above and beyond every other post. Think about an actual pillar – in architecture there are several pillars that hold up a structure, and maintain the integrity of the entire building.

Things that work as pillars are massive lists (10,000 or more words), In-depth infographics (like this one), and comprehensive slideshares (like this one)

To build effective content pillars, use the skyscraper technique, which is a simple three-step process.

1. Find amazing content

2. Improve it and make it your own

3. Share it.

I’m not advocating stealing content, rather, take some of the difficulty out of content creation by taking what’s already worked and improving it.

#21. Sponsored Content: Sponsored content is the new paradigm in advertising and you can get involved. Be sure to have control over how the content turns out before agreeing to publish it on the partner site. Aim to be just as useful as a normal post with every sponsored post.

#22. Sponsor a charity: While I don’t recommend doing charity just to get new leads, it is an effective way to craft your name in a positive light and generate some new leads. Often charities will list all of their sponsors on a web page or at events to expose your brand.

In a previous business I worked on we sponsored a charity that was feeding children around the world. This charity was great about giving back to sponsors by holding industry events and promoting sponsors. We were able to pull in 100 new leads from them yielding a positive ROI.

#23. Industry Events: This is an oldie but a goodie. Events are a platform like any other where you have to stand out to succeed. Before every event set goals and know when you want to achieve, then reach those goals.

Marketing Sherpa analyzes with precision just how Hubspot was able to generate 2300 new leads at one conference, I’ll let them explain (it’s a long post)

#24. Do reviews: Reviews are an essential part of any great landing page. However, it’s difficult to get good reviews that are comprehensive. That’s why reviewing your favorite products is a genius way to generate leads.

Businesses will attribute the review to you and most likely include a link to your site – on their home page. That’s crazy, no one gets links front and center on the home page of another site.

Don’t just review any site, only do it for products you genuinely like and don’t have a problem being a poster person for.

#25. Automate a process: The marketing grader from Hubspot is their one piece of content that’s produced the most leads of all time. That’s saying something for a company that’s produced over 1000 blog posts.

Creating a tool like the marketing grader is a big investment (expect $20-50,000). However, the big risk can lead to big rewards.

marketing grader

#26 Build an offline audience at meetups: If you have the resources to host a meetup, it’s worth a shot. They aren’t right for everyone, but if you need an audience to test on, they will get you that.

Random events is an outdoor collective that thrives off of large groups attending its social activites. In just over two years they’ve grown membership to more than 7000, primarily using meetups. Here’s their massive guide to how that was done.

#27. Testimonials with Dollar Signs: Well-placed social reinforcement in the form of testimonials are effective for increasing conversions, but only if they are believable.

Too many sites have abused the testimonial to the point where a testimonial should now contain numbers as well as a link to the site from which it came to be trusted.

#28. Sponsored Pins: It is now possible to promote pins on Pinterest. For best results, pair each pin with a lead generation landing page that is somehow related. Unfortunately, Pinterest is still very limited in its scope, if you aren’t in the fashion or entertainment industries, it’s a tough sell.

sponsored pin

#29. Grouphigh: Bloggers are an enormous network for distributing ads and generating leads. Grouphigh makes it tremendously easy to engage with and reach bloggers who can carry your message and send leads your way.

The Harlem Globetrotters are an icon brand, but they struggle to stay relevant with all the modern sporting attractions that compete for viewers’ attention. They used Grouphigh to get mentions in over 250 blogs and achieved an ROI of 10:1. Full case study on that here

#30 Free Demos: There are lots of reasons to think that demos aren’t right for your product. However, giving away free demos is not only a great way to engage directly with prospects, but it’s also a way to win over the more traditional clients who like to put a face (or at least a voice) to a product.

Grouphigh appears elsewhere on this list as its own way of generating leads, and they stand out from the crowd of blogger outreach software because of their personal touch.

Grouphigh is by far the most expensive blogger outreach platform that exists, but they have gained a lead in the market by offering personalized product demos to anyone who is interested. Despite an annual price tag of $8000, they’ve managed to sign up over 300 businesses.

#31. Create personas: Literally create the person who is your ideal or most lucrative customer. Find a nice stock photo to represent them and add all the attributes they possess.

Post the ideal customer around the office and market to them, it will help streamline and improve lead generation. Then, create separate landing pages for each type of customer your serve (there’s not just one usually)

Hubspot found that having 40 or more landing pages yields a 12x conversion rate over having 1-5 landing pages. This is due in part to targeting these buyer personas with your separate landing pages.

#32. Develop use-cases: Once you’ve put together your customer personas, categorize them into use cases. A use case for Interact is news websites that use quizzes as a content type, another one is software companies that use quizzes on landing pages to generate leads.

Know the different use cases for your product or service and speak to them in your call to action text.

To illustrate the importance of use cases, I like to tell a story. There were two software companies competing for the business of a large New York bank. The first software company was massive and used a blanket sales approach. In their presentation, they actually said “if you were a school, you would use this feature”

The smaller software company knew the use case that banks fell into and came in with a presentation full of similar uses in other banks. The smaller software company won the contract and more than $1 million in sales.

By understanding what group your audience falls into and selling to their specific needs, you can generate more leads and close more sales.

#33 Speak to what people really care about. Focus your marketing message to what people really want. There are principles that drive each and every human, and if you can position your value proposition to those principles, you can draw information from people.