It seems like just yesterday that I was reading (and writing) articles about the future of lead generation in 2016.
Another year has already flown by, and it is time, once again, to peer into our entrepreneurial crystal ball to uncover the best lead generation strategies for 2017.
It seems like with every year that passes the opportunities for lead generation become more and more numerous while simultaneously becoming more difficult and more competitive.
Gone are the days of simply passing out mailbox flyers and half-heartedly creating online content in hopes of generating a few potential leads.
If you want to survive in the fast-paced world of entrepreneurship in 2017, then you are going to need to step up your game.
You will need to find unconventional strategies that the rest of your competitors are not yet using and capitalize on them before they become over saturated and obsolete.
And that is what this article is all about.
I am going to show you five lead generation strategies and channels that the best and brightest entrepreneurs are currently using to dominate in 2017.
And, how you can use those same platforms to do the same.
Difference Between Strategies and Tactics
Before we get into some strategies that will help you get more leads, let me differentiate between strategies and tactics.
These words are often used interchangeably in the internet marketing world, but they’re very different.
A Forbes writer explains strategy as “how to get out of the woods.”
A strategy is generally a long play that requires consistency, measuring, and tweaking to achieve a long-term goal. For example, you may include blogging twice weekly in your lead generation strategy with the intention of building brand authority.
Tactics are the micro plays to execute your strategy. For example, using content upgrades in your blogging efforts would fall into the tactical category.
Without a strategy, tactics are like throwing darts in the dark. It becomes difficult to measure the success of each channel your organization will be pursuing.
So, with all of the formalities out of the way, let’s get started.
1. Snapchat marketing
Up until recent months, Snapchat was a very underutilized marketing tool.
It’s sordid beginnings likely served as a put off to most serious marketers who were not interested in taking advantage of the age-old adage “sex sells.”
That’s a pretty staggering jump in only 2 years.
Now, Snapchat has become one of the most powerful tools in the modern entrepreneur’s arsenal for quickly generating leads and growing a following of loyal fans.
The problem with Snapchat, however, is that unlike other social media platforms, it is very difficult to build a following from scratch.
The key to successfully generating leads by using Snapchat is to build your following through your other platforms.
This means that you need to promote your Snapchat account through your Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and email audiences.
Smart entrepreneurs like John Lee Dumas used his Twitter profile to attract people to his Snapchat following.
Airbnb tweeted out to their 500,000+ followers about joining the Snapchat network.
I know this might seem like cheating to some of you since you have already have other mediums to generate leads from.
But I want you to think about it for a minute.
Most people are hesitant to put their email address into a CTA box simply because their inboxes are already filled with spam and irrelevant correspondence.
However, with Snapchat, following and unfollowing is an incredibly easy process.
This means that if you start marketing through Snapchat, you will be able to tap into a base of leads that you were previously unable to hook.
This is especially useful if you happen to have a target demographic under 35.
However, Snapchat’s true strength lies in its ability to “warm up” and improve the quality of existing leads.
Not in just brute force generation.
Due to the ten second time limit on every Snap, your audience will be significantly more engaged with your content due to their fear of missing out.
This means that if you master Snapchat marketing, you will be able to hold your audience’s undivided attention and share your message without any interruptions.
This is a unique opportunity that will allow you to engage with your leads on a much deeper level, increase the strength of your brand, and slowly build up a list of high-quality leads once your account has gained traction.
Here are a few ways you can drive traffic from Snapchat back to your website:
- Add snippets of videos with short links in it (ie. moneyjournal.com/episode#).
- Add images from your blog posts with a short link.
- Give personal invitations to your event.
- Give a behind the scenes view of the project you’re working on.
- Give them a feel for your customer experience.
If you can learn how to take advantage of Snapchat, you will be light years ahead of your competition, both in your ability to generate leads and convert those leads into followers.
While most people believe that Facebook is the most powerful social media platform for lead generation, I respectfully disagree.
While Facebook is undoubtedly the best social network for generating large quantities of leads, it does not even hold a candle to LinkedIn’s ability to generate quality leads.
LinkedIn is especially invaluable for B2B marketers due to the high concentration of business people and entrepreneurs using the platform.
The other great thing about LinkedIn is that it allows you to target incredibly specific groups of people who will be interested in your products or services.
Then, once you have targeted your ideal audience, the use of LinkedIn groups and InMail makes it easy to build authority and reach out in a very natural and non “salesy” way.
The key to success with LinkedIn (like most other lead generation methods) is to first offer massive amounts of value to your audience before trying to convert them into leads.
Write high-quality articles, create epic infographics, and host frequent webinars (more on this later).
Do whatever your target market will respond to and use the authority and trust that you will inevitably build to get referrals and reel in leads in a natural and friendly way.
The leads that you will generate through LinkedIn will be some of the most high quality, targeted, and eager-to-buy leads that you can generate online.
A phenomenal example of this is the company CA Technologies.
CA Technologies was struggling to generate leads for their software solutions products while still staying within their advertising budget.
While they were able to generate a sufficient number of leads, the low conversion rates and high cost per lead (CPL) made their methods ineffective and costly.
So, they decided to change their tactics and tried using LinkedIn to generate leads instead.
The results were pretty spectacular.
By using dynamic ads on LinkedIn they were able to increase their conversion rate by over 11% while simultaneously decreasing their CPL by nearly 70%!
3. Speaking events
While the rest of the marketing world loves to focus on flashy online methods for lead generation (and who can blame them), I occasionally like to take things old school.
One of the best ways to generate new leads for your company is to book yourself into as many speaking engagements as possible.
These events give you a unique advantage over every other form of lead generation.
Unlike social media, content marketing, and other online methods, when you are speaking at an event related to your industry, you are immediately seen as an authority figure.
With Facebook, blogging, LinkedIn, and webinars, you have to prove your authority first.
However, when you are standing up on stage, dressed to the 9’s and speaking at an event with other influencers and industry leaders, everyone will assume by default that you are an authority.
And because of this, they will be more likely to trust what you say.
If you don’t quite understand the importance of this, let’s look at a study that Stanley Milgram completed in 1962.
The goal of Milgram’s experiment was to determine how certain Nazi leaders and their millions of followers could have perpetuated their heinous war crimes.
It basically sought to determine the question, “Were they truly evil, or just following orders”
If you don’t have time to watch the full video, I explain the experiment briefly below.
In the experiment, the test subjects were asked by an authority figure to administer increasingly strong electric shocks to a person strapped into an electric chair under the pretense of teaching through negative reinforcement.
Unbeknownst to the test subject, there was no shock delivered whenever they increased the voltage.
The actors in the chairs would increase their responses so that it would be perceived that they were in excruciating amounts of pain.
In some of the tests, the subjects were even informed that the person in the chair had a heart condition that could prove fatal if the voltage was increased beyond a certain point.
And yet, despite the apparent agony of their fellow citizens, test subjects would consistently continue increasing the voltage when under the instruction of an authority figure.
This test was repeated many times by several different authorities in the psychology field throughout the years, and all of the tests yielded almost identical results.
So what does this experiment from the 1960’s have to do with the world of lead generation and internet marketing in 2017?
Let me explain.
What this experiment proved is that we as a general population have a bias to obey people who we see as figures of authority.
This means that, as a marketer, developing, or at least conveying, authority is absolutely essential to your success at generating leads and increasing conversions.
And whenever you are presented as an authority within your niche at a speaking engagement, people will have a much more positive response to what you have to say and what you are selling.
Neil Patel of Kissmetrics and Quicksprout used this tactic whenever he was marketing his new company Crazy Egg.
He booked himself into every speaking engagement that would have him.
He had over 10,000 leads on the waiting list before the product was even released.
And the great thing is, this particular tactic can be applied to all sorts of speaking engagements.
Here’s how you can get started:
- Search for keyword terms like:
- “Niche” conference
- “Niche” summit
- “Niche” events
- Best “Niche” conferences (you’ll find list posts)
- Do another search. This time search for “speak at [conference name].”
- Read through their instructions, see if you’re a good fit and send in your pitch.
From podcast interviews, to guest hosting webinars, to speaking at local masterminds, the applications are endless.
And if you can learn how to leverage your position of authority to generate leads, the results will be quite shocking. (sorry, I just couldn’t resist)
4. Webinars and Joint Workshops
Webinars are possibly the most powerful and most underutilized lead generation tools.
They provide you with the distinct opportunity to have your audience’s undivided attention for a prolonged period of time and create an environment where people are significantly more invested in your message than they would be when reading a blog post or a watching a video that you have posted.
Don’t believe me?
Just check out this infographic from contentmarketinginstitute.com
And while this is an amazing opportunity, just remember what Uncle Ben said to Peter Parker: “With great opportunity comes great responsibility.”
Or something like that…
I see a lot of budding entrepreneurs completely flop whenever they begin hosting webinars because they forget the golden rule of business.
Give first, receive later.
You need to offer an incredible amount of value to your audience during your webinar.
They are committing a serious chunk of their day to sit down and listen to you speak and you need to respect that.
I recommend that you spend the first 90% of the webinar focused on solving your audience’s problems and answering their questions and only 10% on your actual sales pitch.
A key point to remember is that whenever someone signs up for a webinar, they know that you are going to finish the presentation with a sales pitch.
Quite frankly, not only are they expecting it, but most people who sign up for these webinars actually want to be sold to.
And if you don’t have a sales pitch, then at the very least, add them to another funnel of value.
This is the formula that I followed in a joint workshop (no sales pitch) and was able to convert 645 new leads to a pre-launch sales funnel.
For an hour of my time…
Another example that displays the power of webinars is a case study compiled by Rally Point Webinars.
A small consulting firm was struggling to generate leads for their business and found themselves unable to meet the ambitious goals they had set for themselves.
The owner decided to implement a new strategy.
He pitched a webinar to a rented list of clients, crossing his fingers and hoping that they would be able to generate and convert enough leads to pay off their investment.
The results were better than anyone at the company could have hoped for.
Not only were they able to generate over 100 new and qualified leads from the rented list, but only a month later, they were in the process of closing over $50,000 in new business!
Not a bad ROI for one webinar.
5. Mobile lead generation
Mobile is the way forward, and the statistics confirm this.
More people now than ever are using their mobile devices in lieu of desktops.
And this trend will only continue as mobile devices become more and more powerful.
This makes it essential that you learn how to master mobile lead generation.
While you might think this is a relatively simple task, the reality is that mobile lead generation is a very different ball game from desktop lead generation.
Here are a couple of ideas for improving the success of your mobile lead generation in 2017.
One of the biggest mistakes that I see most marketers making when it comes to mobile marketing and lead generation is that they over complicate everything.
From their CTAs to the design and layout of the site, everything is 100 times more complicated than necessary.
Whenever you are designing your mobile website, keep things simple.
Make sure your CTAs are succinct and to the point.
Keep your design simple and easy to navigate.
Don’t try and get too fancy.
Just keep it simple and you will be fine.
2. Get a responsive design
Another problem that I often see in mobile marketing is that businesses do not use responsive web design.
While responsive design is important for a number of SEO reasons, it also keeps the look of your site consistent and ensures everything is optimized for smaller screens.
With a responsive design, your website will conform to the size of any device and keep your content looking professional, fresh, and crisp as an Autumn breeze.
3. Use text messaging campaigns
The third and final recommendation I have for maximizing your mobile lead generation is to take full advantage of the power of SMS campaigns.
Text marketing has a significantly higher read rate than other marketing mediums and is a great way to nurture existing leads.
2017 is going to be an interesting year for entrepreneurs.
There are many subtle transitions that are happening in the online world that are going to affect every aspect of business.
Sales, marketing, customer service, and (especially) lead generation are all going to undergo changes that will dramatically impact the strategies and techniques required for success.
However, by using the above 5 methods, you will be off to a head start in 2017.
But be warned, these are not quick fixes.
They are not tactics that fall into a step 1 do this. Step 2, do that.
None of these methods on their own will magically transform your business overnight.
You will need to implement each of the above methods into an intelligent and targeted lead generation campaign designed specifically for you and your business.
It will not be easy, and it will not happen quickly.
But, if you can pull it off, 2017 will be the year that your business and your life transform.
What lead generation methods do you foresee gaining popularity in 2017?
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