There are many different lead generation ideas out there, both online and offline, so it's tough to know which are really going to boost your sales and which are going to flop. To make things even more complicated, what works for your company might not work for the next, so it can seem overwhelming. As a result, many companies get stuck in their own lead generation practices and don't take the time to learn anything new.

However, there are several lead generation ideas that are worth trying for just about every type of company, so it doesn't have to be overwhelming if you know the basics.

  1. Landing Page Optimization.

When it comes to your landing pages, you have to make sure they are optimized in a way that caters to lead generation. This involves several different things:

  • Avoiding indirection. This means you shouldn't have too many links on one page or too many questions. Be clear with what you want someone to do on any given page, and avoid sending them elsewhere at all costs.
  • Keeping registration forms short. Only ask what information you need now to contact the lead. You can get other information later once you have the lead.
  • Positioning your CTAs correctly. Your call to action (CTA) needs to stand out on each page. What do you want your visitor to do? Don't hide this in the bottom corner of a page--make it known.

In the end, it's really all about being clear about what you're offering. Landing page optimization is probably the number one way to improve your lead generation, but many companies don't consider this a focus when optimizing and are missing out on potential opportunities.

  1. Email Marketing.

It's easy for people to forget about your company or lose track of what you're offering if they haven't visited your website in a while. Previous customers can be brought back as new leads, so use this to your advantage by creating solid email marketing campaigns specifically for those you know. Create a list of all your past customers, and then segment that list down further if possible to create a few very personalized email marketing messages.

  1. Strategic Partnerships.

Partner with complementary companies to help generate leads for each other. Try to identify opportunities where the two companies can work together and both get benefits. For example, if you're like Michael Scott and work at a paper company, you may want to try to create a partnership with the shop that sells printers. Whenever they sell a printer they can tell their customers about your company, and vice versa. In some partnership cases, giving away free samples works as a good balance.

  1. Utilize social media.

Many companies use social as a brand awareness tool as opposed to a lead generation one, but this shouldn't be the case. Ask your social community a question or poll them to see what they think about a particular subject. You can use social media as a way to promote as well, and create lead generation forms to include on your social accounts.

  1. Ask influencers to review your product.

Give away your products for free to some of the top bloggers in your industry. Influencers have a lot of say when it comes to your audience, so you want that visibility in order to generate those leads. Actively reach out to smaller influencers and then larger ones to get your product/ service reviewed in a blog post.

  1. Speak at trade shows, conferences and industry events.

Remember that not all lead generation has to come from online avenues. When you're speaking at an event, chances are you are in a room full of people who are relevant to your target audience. It's up to you to get their attention by creating a great presentation, but furthermore you have to take the time to actually sign up to speak at these different events. After all, face-to-face interaction can go a long way. It may be tough to grab a spot as a speaker at one of the major conferences in your industry, but workshops are also still a great option.

  1. Solve problems and share tips/ideas on your blog

Your blog is a very powerful tool if used correctly. This is a place where you can show your expertise and let those clicking on your website know that you know your industry inside and out. Find common problems people may have related to your industry and show that you have the solution on your blog. This will help you improve your credibility and hopefully get people interested enough to take the next step and talk with you about what you can do for them (in other words, become a lead!).

The Takeaway

In the end, these are all ideas geared towards helping your company achieve lead generation success, and that success comes from executing some of these basic principles. Generally, generating leads takes 3 core principles:

  1. Having a great product/offer.
  2. Putting that product/offer in front of right audience.
  3. Giving consumers a reason to act now.

If you can make these three things happen and then use some of the above tips to gain momentum, you should be on a good path not only for increased sales, but an overall strategy that will work for years to come.

Published on: Sep 30, 2014
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.