All You Can Eat Leads: 10 Ways to Generate More Leads for Less

by Jason Leister · 44 comments

Wanna have a successful and profitable business? Then you need leads… and lots of them.

Nothing happens without a lead. No sales, no revenue, no profit, no nothin’.

Below are 10 ways to generate MORE leads without spending a bundle.

But before we get to the list, there are a couple of lead generation ground rules you should be clear about. Without understanding these, you can end up wasting a lot of time and money.

Ground Rule #1: Build a Value Machine for the Long Term

WARNING: This is boring, far from sexy, and nothing even close to resembling a silver bullet lead generating solution. And THAT’S why it’s so effective

Don’t ignore it now or you run the risk of being sorry later.

We’ll start off with the lead generation technique that most people will not have the discipline or patience to pursue. That is creating a REAL value machine for your market. This could be a blog you post to daily, or a video series you create daily… or something else.

Sounds simple, but it’s far from easy. I dare you, try it and you’ll see. Write a 100% value blog post every day for a month. This is work from top to bottom. That’s why it’s so effective, in my opinion. Because the majority of your competition is most likely lazy. Use that to your advantage—I am and I like the results.

Sometimes, however, you need leads yesterday so that you can put food on the table today. In that case, speed is what works, and we’ll get to that in a few moments. However, even if that’s the case, ALWAYS have a long term lead generation system running along side your short term campaigns.

Build your asset before you need it.

Ground Rule #2: Understand That the Money is Not in the List

It appears that one of my lists currently has little to no “money” hiding in it. That’s because I filled it with freebie seekers instead of potential buyers. I built a list before I had something to sell. If I had it to do over, I wouldn’t bother. Learn from my mistake. You build lists NOT to get leads, but to get buyers.

Unless you’re just lonely, you don’t want to be generating just any lead… you want to be generating leads that turn into buyers. It’s easy to build a list of people that just want free stuff. Those are not the kinds of leads you’re looking for.

Consider this: cast your lead generating net as wide as possible. But as quickly as you can, like on the “thank you” page, make it clear that you’re SELLING. You’ll totally scare away the folks who are only looking for a free lunch. As long as you provide value WHILE you sell, the true potential buyers will stick with you.

You are running a business, not a charity. So make that clear (unless of course you ARE running a charity), otherwise when you DO try to sell, it will be jarring because it will be totally inconsistent with what came before.

Ground Rule #3: You Don’t Have Time to Wait Around for a Relationship

People buy because they want things. They buy because they’re yearning for the perceived benefits of what you provide. Yes a relationship helps. But you can’t pay your bills or pay your expenses with relationships. So ask them to buy FAST.

Isn’t that why you’re in business? Don’t make excuses for it. Just sell.

OK, so let’s jump in to 10 ways to get you more leads:

1. Viral Video Works

Create a viral video and post it to Youtube®, or better yet, to both Youtube® and your own site. (if it goes viral, trust me, you’ll be happy you put it on your own site once all the link love starts coming.)

On the video page, make an offer for the NEXT video in exchange for the optin.

Go buy some cheap PPC ads on Facebook®, not promoting your offer, just promoting the video.

People (especially people on Facebook®) like to be entertained, so make sure the content of your video is clearly INFOTAINMENT. Don’t just teach… Teach, sell or pre-sell and entertain.

What you don’t know is if all these leads you’re attracting are going to be buyers. You won’t know that until you try it. (See item #3.) This is business, if you want guarantees, do something else.

2. Leverage Your Real Estate and Don’t Be Lazy

In my opinion, the jury is still out on just how profitable social media is for generating sales, but as for spreading ideas, it can be darn effective.

Give your leads the opportunity to spread your message for you. So on your “thank you page,” put a Facebook® SHARE button (not the Like button which hardly stands out on someone’s Facebook feed). Add in a retweet button and any other social gizmos that your market uses to spread things.

Better yet, if you know what you’re doing with code, make the “Post to Your Wall” pop up immediately. You can pre-fill it with a title, picture, link and message so people on Facebook® can spread it around with a SINGLE click.

You might pay for ONE lead, but that single lead might very well bring you 10 more.

3. Don’t Wait to “Butter ‘em Up” Just SELL Them

Once you’ve leveraged a new lead’s ability to spread your message for you (and hopefully generate more leads), give them a test. Put an offer (hard or soft) in front of them right away.

Again, you don’t want just ANY lead, you want ones that buy. The more of them that buy, the more leads you’ll be able to afford.

4. Don’t Ignore the Simple Stuff

Please make sure you don’t discount simple ways to generate leads that are cheap and or free. For example, do you have an offer in your email signature? If not, get one.

5. Free Junk is Getting Harder to Give Away

I’m sure in the old days, you could offer just about any “freemium” as an enticement for people to join your list. Just saying, “Sign-up for my newsletter” could get some results. But the bar is getting higher, so sending your “Top 5 Tips For XX” just doesn’t carry the same weight it used to.

People have too much junk on their hard drives already. So make the “Free” thing you give away something that actually has inherent value. Some suggestions: software your leads can USE, a definitive resource (101 tips for XX) that they will come back to again and again, something that solves a real point of pain for the people you are trying to attract.

In other words, to get more leads, you should be offering them something that is MORE and BETTER than anything they can get elsewhere.

Raise the bar or you will be left out.

Editor’s note from Derek Halpern: When we launched the Thesis blog, I wrote an in-depth ebook that taught people how to use nonverbal communication online to get leads and subscribers. It converted extremely well for us. The first day we had a 70% opt-in using this page.

6. People Want What They Cannot Have

If there’s one pillar of sales psychology, this is it: people want what they cannot have. So how can you build THAT into your lead generation campaigns? How can you add an element of scarcity?

Perhaps you could create a new “freemium” each and every month. Once the month is gone, that “freemium” disappears and gets turned into a product for sale.

Again, it’s work. But people who are willing to work hard have a built in competitive advantage.

If your funnel is always open to everyone, everywhere, what’s the reason they should contact you TODAY and not 4 years from now? It helps to have a good answer to that question.

7. Detach Yourself from Results and Think Bigger

I’d have to say that most of my lead generation campaigns stink. They don’t produce much. This is a numbers game. So figure out ways to use that fact to your advantage. Instead of doing a single lead generation campaign, why not launch 10? Create one squeeze page with a killer offer on it. Then launch PPC, banner ads, articles, press releases, forum posts, blog comments, SEO, videos, guest blog posts, interviews, etc. Get creative and work hard.

If you’re looking for a quick fix silver bullet way to generate leads, you’re in danger of having your lunch eaten by the entrepreneur who is just willing to do the real work.

If you’re going to win, you need to give yourself enough chances to win. Think bigger.

8. Think 4 Steps Ahead

When opportunities show up at your door, always be asking yourself, “How can I leverage or repurpose this to create 10 times the impact with the same amount of work?” Did you get asked to be interviewed on a blog? Can you secure the non-exclusive rights to turn that interview into a product or a lead generating “freemium” for you? To fully develop the potential of all the opportunities you have, you have to be thinking ahead. It’s a habit that takes time to develop.

Start today.

9. Link Bait Works

I’m not talking about the link bait that comes from attacking someone or publishing something sensational. Link bait doesn’t need to be controversial, it just needs to be valuable.

Could you publish something TRULY valuable and timeless for your prospects? Ask yourself this: “What could I create that my prospects would consider in their best interest to spread around to OTHER prospects?”

Again, think four steps ahead… you don’t just want leads, you want sales. So work backwards from the sale: select your offer, consider any things that have to happen to remove obstacles to the sale, create your linkbait, etc.

I recommend this advice because I’ve ignored it more times than my ego would ever allow me to admit.

10. Don’t Let Shiny Objects Take You Away from the Basics

Success comes from executing the basics WELL. Generating leads is not complicated, it takes 3 things:

  1. a great offer
  2. putting that offer in front of the right people
  3. a reason to act now

Rinse and repeat.

About the Author: Jason Leister is the Editor of "The Client Letter," the daily e-letter from ClientsSuck.net, where he helps independent professionals create success.

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{ 41 comments }

Chris Johnson

Amen, brother.

“Just sell” because when you do, people respect you more.

They can counter offer you, and you can get to the objection. When you don’t sell, there’s the tension in the air because people know the pitch is coming and are on edge till it gets here. Get it out of the way first.

Derek Potocki

Hi,
Your post belongs to “wide open” school of selling versus “be sneaky about it”. It seems that online world and real world use both approaches to get sales. The “wide open” approach seems to have more integrity built in, since there is no camouflaging of your true intentions.
But the “sneaky” approach seems to work as well. Eg: bring people to an art gallery to look at art, give them some wine, and have them socialize a little, then magic happens, somebody buys $10.000 abstract painting:)
I enjoyed the post.
Derek

Derek

I think the art gallery opening isn’t as sneaky as you suggest. People know they’re going to the art gallery with the intention to buy art. Being sneaky, to me, is free software that tries to upsell you on something later. I think you should charge right from the start.

Brian Duvall

Love the article. I’m posting it beside my computer as a checklist / reminder. Already forwarded it to about 8 other people and tweeted it. Thanks.

Jason Leister

Thanks for all the feedback guys!

@Chris, totally agree. Just wish I had come to this conclusion like 10 years ago :)

@Derek, right on. I think that “sneaky” way belongs to another class of selling entirely. That’s where you’re actually SELLING in plain sight, but you’re so darn good at it that no one even notices. In fact, they welcome it.

@Brian, I’m honored. Thank you!

Derek Potocki

Jason, glad you’ve noticed another way. Selling is not always a simple game. One chain builds kid’s playgrounds inside their sandwich stores, they are darn good at selling. Probably the best in the world:)

Jacob

Good post. Nice contrast to all the ‘social media’ gurus out there saying forget about the sale just build relationships. One question, could you point to a good resource on using the share link.

Ron

Jason,

I’ve taken different courses on internet marketing, and appreciate your summation of what’s important.

I recently wrote a hilarious romantic comedy screenplay and am trying to mastermind a plan using these techniques to get my screenplay turned into a movie.

I believe there has got to be a way to use a blogsite along with social media to fund, film and market a movie….. I just haven’t come up with it yet, lol….however I am still brainstorming.

I have found my gift and purpose in life. Now I just gotta get it out there.

Every piece of the puzzle helps. eg. your article. Thank you again.

Ron

Jason Leister

Ron,

It sounds like you’ve already done the hard work. I imagine that some people search for their gifts and their true purpose their entire lives.

Now all you do is simply put one foot in front of the other long enough to get where you want to go.

Good luck!

TJ Gilsenan

Guys – world class post! I printed it out and put it above my desk. (Sometimes I wonder if you are inside my head).

I particularly agree with the “free junk..” idea. People do not value what they get for free. I plan to offer one free guide (mostly because its already written) and charge for everything else.

Thanks again
TJ

simon

Yes nice article Jason. I love the open selling philosophy based on value and integrity.. Every day I open my email I am met with “another” internet marketing guru telling me he will teach me all about how to market on the internet…But his product is his training..almost 100% of the time..well maybe 95% anyway as there are some guys out there who work with integrity…and actually do sell a value based product..and lets face it business is about finding customers who have a need and helping them to satisfy it..
Thanks again Jason, I’ll forward this on to my students..

Jason Leister

Jacob,

I searched around for a while to get share code that worked the way I wanted it to. I think Facebook has plans to phase it out or is already in process, since they’re recommending the Like button instead, but I plan on using it as long as it works.

Take a look at this http://developers.facebook.com/docs/share

Juliette

Love this post. Going to print it out and go over it and over it. Sounds easy but means a lot of work. But that is what this is all about, right? Work hard now to reap the benefits later. Thanks for sharing!

Jason Leister

Hey Juliette,

I think you’re right, although I think that for me, I’m realizing it’s more like “work hard now because you love the work NOW.”

The benefits later are the gravy :)

Elaine Blidgeon

Oh my I really like your post. I get a lot of emails and only skim read them but I actually read every word. Loved tip 3 and 6 specifically. Thanks for being so to the point.

Lance Nelson

Thank you for these invaluable tips. My sign up rates increased when i made it lear i had something to sell.

Tim

I just started building a list (only at 300 people) around Cycling in France. Feedback good. Auto responders set.

Your advice is EXCELLENT, and I am glad to say I pitch subtly almost constantly (ebook links in posts, mail outs, etc).

Your points about free junk is GREAT. That has made me think.

I also like the idea of the free for 2 weeks then it’s a product. I am going to try this with a new ebook.

Thanks!
Tim M
Oz.

DOCTOR NJ

Experience online marketing or shouuld I say selling extremely tricky!! my 4th yr still cant fathom.belief I will soon!

Rick Henderson

Looks good, very tight article. Now I just have to think of a product to sell. And the time to make it.

Jason Leister

Hey Rick,

I know how you feel.

You can create a “webinar” in about 2 hours on a topic you know and love. If you make sure there’s some commercial viability in there, then you’re really only a few hours away from creating your first product.

Record the webinar, even if you’re the only person on it! You have your first product.

Even if you never sell a copy of it, that’s kind of not the point.

The point is that action creates opportunities you can’t see before you take that action.

Wes M

Oh how true is that good Sir.

Step one reveals step 2. Step 2 reveals step 3. You can’t see step 3 from the position of step 1.

Engaging in action makes opportunities visible. And there goes a whole new wave of possibilities that were there before, but never seen.

I agree on the ‘sneaky marketing’. To my observations it work, however it’s not very ethical (and long term). The good news is honest marketing works very well too. Many marketers prove that nowadays.

Thanks for the post! :)

Rob McCance

The ONLY purpose of my site is to generate leads so this is nothing new for me. But it’s a great post for the bloggers that generate content and occasionally try to sell things.

cdragin

Excellent post. It’s also important to have a way to quickly qualify leads so you can weed out the tire-kickers. I like the work smart AND work hard approach.

Jamie

This post is definitely no BS, which I enjoy. All these people pretending not to sell something and then upselling down the road are just ridiculous. People who say they are building relationships and not trying to sell anything are just cowards who don’t know how to make money.

But, I have to question the authority of someone who puts on a list: “Create a viral video.” You happen upon a viral video; you don’t set out to make one. When you do so, that’s when it usually flops.

Advice like “create a viral video” is about as useful as advice that says, “become famous on the internet: sell things then!” Obvious, but not entirely practical.

Jason Leister

Hey Jamie,

Thanks for your comment.

I truly DO hope you question authority, cause the only thing that matters is what works for YOU.

I only have my experience to share with you.

And my experience has shown that you can TOTALLY set out to make a viral video.

And you’re right, it’s darn obvious advice.

Everyone KNOWS it, but everyone doesn’t DO it.

And that’s where I have an advantage.

Cause I DO it.

There are no guarantees though. And I think that’s really at the root of what you’re saying.

You can’t control what happens as a result of your input, but you CAN control the intention and the skill that is put into it.

And sometimes that intention flows through to the result just as you intended.

Michael Sosnowski

Normally I find these types of articles a bit lame – however, I was pleasantly surprised with this post. It made me think of some new things and to focus on the down and dirty. Creating content is much more difficult to sustain than people realize – that is why there is always such a big drop-off in blogs once they are started.

Well Done!

Doug Francis

I was reading the comments while thinking “wow, I need to print this post” and found it hilarious that other commentors mentioned that they had printed it out already.

Any reader who didn’t gain a ton of insight reading this must have been watching TV at the same time. Really, the “freemium” is perfect, and this quote “But people who are willing to work hard have a built in competitive advantage” reminds everyone that this is work.

Jerry Workship

So much work to do all this crap! My question is if people that have mediocre websites that basically just sell some leads and ads actually make money. And how much. It seems like so much work to be “Social” and not much chance to keep people long term or their money coming in.

You have some good points, but a lot of it i disagree with. Like continually bombarding your clients with sales opportunities. No one wants that. I called Time Warner Cable because my HD cable channels quit working the other day and the tech support tried to sell me digital phone service… Annoying!!

I have 11 different web hosts and by far the worst one was http://www.westhost.com so naturally it’s the one I spent the most time talking and emailing to. Every time you go on live chat, they hit you with 3 messages about referring a friend! If you were good, I would refer you organically!!!

I paid 80 bucks for a diy wordpress theme to see what it was and found it hard to work with and gave up. So ultimately diytheme got my 80 bucks but the product was so bad and confusing that I lost interest. The implementation or complete lack of an “After the Sale” mentality by that company was so bad that you come away feeling scammed. So instead of having a system in place that actually helped me, and showed that they care, diy tried to sell me a premium package… :( (Maybe they’re owned by Time Warner Cable?)

I think ultimately you just have to provide a service that is higher quality and cheaper than everyone else and you’ll have organic referrals flowing at a rate that you won’t be able to stop.

I think you shoudn’t pester your clients with sales opportunities because it devalues what you say to your clients.

If you do a good enough job and make it easy to find and pay for more services on your site, I don’t think you’ll have to worry about all this stuff on this post :)

Sorry to be a jerk.

Jason Leister

Hey Jerry,

At the end of the day, opinions just don’t matter. Not mine, not anybody’s.

Proof matters. So, you could be right. And the easiest way to tell is to do it your way then check your P/L statement at the end of the year.

If you earned what you wanted, great… if not, try something else.

Lionel

Hi Jason,

I rarely respond to posts I come across on blogs, but being an online marketer I could not help but like the tips you gave that really help one to focus and make money.

1.) I am so tired of getting bombarded with “free” stuff that is designed to create value and provide an incentive to opt-in to a list. Most people don’t have time to read all of it and in a lot of cases it’s all outdated, recycled material. I suspect that most “gurus” who offer tons of these e-books, reports etc. are really unloading stuff they don’t even use anymore!

2.) After reading this post, I now realize I never liked the “build a relationship”, social networking, technique. It takes too long and if you are not going to buy my product, join me in a partnership or marketing company then I want to know sooner rather than later. From now on I will do just enough relationship building to determine if I can meet a need or solve a problem and that’s it. BUYER or BUST.

3.) I will no longer be a victim of “shiny objects”, #10 in your list, I’m going to refocus on the basics (Attracting,Sorting, Qualifying and SELLING!).

There are so many other positive things I could say about this post but I will stop here. Let’s suffice it to say that I will be printing this list and posting it by my computer and adding it to my swipe file for future reference.

Thanks Jason!

Pat Bloomfield

Brilliant article Jason, thank you for sharing this. Love the fact it’s concise and really focused.

I need to go away and think how I can apply this to my own business now :-)

Bill Rust

Appreciate the reminders that some of us lose site of in stats and other mediocre tasks. Printing out this list for future review :-)

Sean Usher

Very good..Sometimes you forget the basics and this is a big mistake.

I like the shiny objects point, which I can definitely is a problem that I have to overcome .

Thanks for sharing

Sean

Henry Bolden

Wow Jason, great post on lead generation. Something I’ve been wrestling with for a while now.Many of the old ways don’t seem to work anymore. Your post provided me some unique insights on looking at lead generation at some new angles. Keep it coming

Jeff

Thanks. I needed that.

Etre Heureux

this is a more straightforward talk than usual bloggers advice, who say first create an audience, then start to sell
thanx, i guess we have to find the good balance between giving and selling

doudoututu

Hey there would you mind sharing which weblog platform youre working with? Im going to start my own weblog soon but Im having a difficult time deciding between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is simply because your design and style seems different then most blogs and Im looking for some thing completely distinctive. P.S My apologies for obtaining off-topic but I had to ask!

David

Great tips Jason! So many people just show you how to build a list, as if having lots of people on your list is the goal.

I love the “You build lists NOT to get leads, but to get buyers” concept, and working backwards from the sale, to define the process to move the right people through your marketing funnel to your sales page.

Nadine Stevens

You did a good job Jason-very compelling post. Thanks for those easy steps. Have to agree with you, lead generation shouldn’t take a lot of money and of course EFFORT. We can make it now in 10 ways. WOW. Nice title by the way “All You Can Eat Leads: 10 Ways to Generate More Leads for Less”. Less spending, effort, and less STRESS! Thanks.

Jamison

Regarding the 6th point, very true, people always want what they cannot get. For instance, a requirement to receive a special invitation before gaining access to some certain products or services can also work. Google set such a requirement while developing the Google Plus project and it got really popular before its official launch.
Slight inapproachability can make a product or a service rather exclusive, intriguing and pretty valuable. Of course, proper advertisement matters a lot here, but that’s another question.

Mitchel Whildin

Hi, I actually like the theme… but i dont want the photo stream from flikr only …. i want to obtain it from picasa.. how you can do that?