Learn from Digital Marketing Legends: 5 Creative Ways to Generate Leads

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We live in perplexing times.

For one, it’s easier than ever to reach target audiences. There’s absolutely no limit to what you can achieve with a solid digital marketing strategy. But then again, users are hyperaware of all sales attempts and rather averse to letting businesses invade their private spaces.

So how do you generate leads without appearing spammy or downright misusing people’s private information?

Well, you do a little experimenting. Depending on the amount of work you’re ready to do (and the resources you have on hand), you can employ some pretty awesome solutions to expand your newsletter subscriber list or sales leads.

Below, you will find some of the best examples of creative digital marketing strategies employed with the purpose of lead generation.

What’s the standard way to generate leads?

You’ve seen it a million times as a consumer, and you’ve probably used it a few times as a marketer: a simple banner or popup inviting website visitors to sign up for your newsletter so that they can “receive news and updates” about your products. Sometimes, brands will include a small discount for a customer’s first purchase, or try to persuade them with promises of “exclusive deals, gifts, and surprises.”

And we need to get something clear straight away: there’s absolutely nothing wrong with going the standard route. 

It’s the go-to lead generation tactic for companies big and small. It’s relatively easy to design, and, most importantly – it works! Yes, the average conversion rate of 3.09% for a popup is nothing revolutionary, but it’s a start.

And for some brands (usually those with an already established name and reputation), it’s more than enough. Take the sports footwear manufacturer Merrell, for example. They’re known as one of the best makers of hiking boots. So they can afford for their main lead generation strategy to be something as simple as what you see below.

Source: screenshot from merrell.com

But does that mean that you should settle for doing the bare minimum? Well, if you want to make it big, the answer is probably a hard NO.

Lesson #1: The Psychology Behind Freebies

It’s true, everyone loves a discount code. But do you know what people love even more? You guessed it: it’s getting something for free.

The reason why offering freebies in exchange for an email address works is pure psychology. Apparently, our brains experience a positive charge every time we’re given an unexpected gift, eliciting a feeling of joy. Overwhelmed by our emotional reaction, we will easily overlook the price (e.g. a minimum spending limit) in favor of getting our hands on the item.

Even more interesting is that, since the gift is free, we automatically have low expectations. And these are quite easy to surpass.

So if you have something you can offer to your audience for free, go for it! You can do something as simple as collecting parts of your blog into a crash course on a subject. Take a look at this email subscription invitation by digital marketing company Smash Digital

Source: screenshot from smashdigital.com

It’s concise, to the point, and tells website visitors exactly what they can expect. It’s direct, honest, and, frankly, quite a compelling invitation.

Or, if you’re an authority in your field, why not share some of your knowledge? Again, you can probably create a short e-book with what you already have. Or you can take things a step further and invest in the creation of audio and video that you can share without a charge. 

Chances are, if your newly generated leads like them, they’ll come back for more. The language learning platform BaseLang chose to take this route, and it’s an excellent example of how much you can do with just a little bit of work.

Source: screenshot from baselang.com

Lesson #2: Social Media Is Not Just for Selfies

Raise your hand if you’ve ever been stuck for what to post on your Instagram feed.

It’s true. Coming up with a great social media strategy isn’t just difficult, but it’s time-consuming as well. Not only do you have to prepare the content, but you also have to pay attention to consistency and engagement. Moreover, businesses need to constantly adapt to the ever-changing algorithms that are making it harder to stand out without paying for ads.

But, that’s not to say you can’t make magic on social media platforms. You just have to find what works for you and stick to it.

Take for example Casey Neistat. This YouTube creator jumped in on a global trend in 2015: the daily vlog. In less than a year, he went from 100,000 to 1 million subscribers. What makes his approach so interesting is that he leveraged the everyday content to market his company, Beme. Within 18 months of starting the daily vlog, Neistat introduced the app, got over 1.2 million downloads, and secured a $25 million exit deal by selling it to CNN. None of this would have been possible without two things:

  1. His perfectly-executed content marketing strategy
  2. His focus on lead generation, which made the app interesting to CNN

Of course, that’s not where the potential of social media for lead generation ends.

Take for example the English National Ballet. As the COVID-19 pandemic shut down theaters around the world, this company decided to direct all their efforts towards interacting with (and growing) their audience on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. In addition to offering daily classes and educational programs, the company is also streaming its shows for free, hosting watch parties, and engaging with followers. So what’s the goal of generating new leads when they can hardly do what they usually do? Well, there’s two ways to look at it:

  1. Once theatres do open up, ENB will have a significantly larger base of people following them. This means that their marketing efforts will instantly have a wider viewership, without having to spend extra funds on advertising.

  2. It’s also worth noting that all of the company’s content includes a call to action for donations, which are invaluable in this day and age. Considering the fact that people are getting a great deal of content for free, they just might be inclined to make a small contribution.

Lesson #3: Interactive is the New Black

What do you do when you’re not the world’s best content creator (and can’t afford to hire one)? Well, in these cases, you look for ways to ensure maximum audience engagement.

A great way to do this is to build simple tools for your website. Interactive content like quizzes offers multiple benefits. For one, they’re attention-grabbing. Second, they can be used to offer educational content or added value. Third, they can also serve as a way for you to learn more about your website visitors.

For a simple way to use an interactive quiz on your website, you can check out this minimalistic solution by Energy Seek. By asking a few basic questions, the energy quoting service is providing web visitors with valuable information, all the while growing their sales leads.

Source: screenshot from energyseek.co.uk

Alternatively, take a look at what LFA Capsule Fillers is doing. This company has created an easy test to help potential customers find the best product for their needs. When completing all the steps, consumers are prompted to enter their email address or go straight to the product page. This way, they’re either turned into a potential future customer or taken straight to the company’s webshop where they can make a purchase right away.

Source: screenshot from lfacapsulefillers.com

Lesson #4: Make Your Website Work, Even When You’re Napping

When it comes to e-commerce, there’s one thing that can never be replaced: personal connection. Which is why live chat services make such a huge impact on user experience.

But, if you have a small team, chances are you can’t spend 24/7 online. In these cases, something as simple as setting up an away message holds the potential of generating leads that your customer support team can then turn into sales.

The mattress retailer Zoma Sleep did exactly this. When all employees are busy or offline, the chat window is still visible to website visitors. And, they are prompted to leave a message along with contact information. From the customer’s point of view, this is a convenient solution – they can ask their questions and get answers delivered to their inbox in a short period. For the seller, however, it’s an effective lead generation strategy that works very well.

Source: screenshot from zomasleep.com

Lesson #5: Use Your App

Ok, so this solution may not be available to everyone, but if you can make it work, you’re practically golden.

People spend an average of 3 hours and 15 minutes on their smartphones per day. If you can gain access to at least a few seconds of that time, you’re unlocking huge potential. While email and text are easy to ignore, a notification from an app (provided it’s not disabled) can easily slip beneath the radar.

If you’re wondering how you can make this work, just take a page out of McDonald’s book. The fast-food giant developed the app so that it could offer customers coupons and limited deals on certain menu items. It’s updated once per week, offers exclusive deals, and helps customers get their orders more quickly at participating restaurants.

But, it also requires registration and data including email address & location. Yes, users can get free fries or a couple of bucks off their favourite burger, but imagine the instant craving they can elicit with a single notification sent at the exact right time.

Source: screenshot from mcdonalds.com

Honourable Mention: The Sims 4

Are you still looking for a way to get more newsletter subscribers? Well, remember this: what works for others may not work for you. But if you’ve done your research, you should have a pretty good idea of what your customers want.

So why not give it to them? It’s that simple.

Experiment, test, and don’t be afraid to go crazy. After all, maybe what they want really is an in-game electric guitar that has glowing eyes and envelops their character in black smoke. Who are we to judge?

Source: screenshot from ea.com

The Final Consideration

Although having a huge number of subscribers and leads on hand is great, do remember to approach the generation process with respect. No one likes a spammy brand or those impossible-to-unsubscribe-from email lists.

Instead, aim to provide engaging content along with quality service, and optimize for lead generation. And stay true to your brand’s core values. In the end, that’s what’s going to attract the right audience (and get you higher conversions). 

Well, that and free fries.

With Crowdfire, you can find curated content, schedule your posts, engage with your audience, deep-dive into analytics and create custom reports. Now introducing Social listening. Try it for free.

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