The Best Ways to Generate Leads for Your Online Marketing Funnel

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Can you imagine building a business without any customers being interested in what you have to offer? Well, that won’t be much of a business at all! For this reason, you need to generate leads. Leads are people who express interest in your business and are likely to become your customers.

Recently, I wrote a blog post about the best funnel mapping tools and in there, I briefly touched on the stages of the sales funnel, aka “sales process.”

The first phase of the sales funnel is dedicated to building awareness, thus our lead generation efforts.

If you need help in this area, this guide is for you. Below you’ll find all the best ways to attract top of the funnel leads. Now let’s begin.

1. Invest in Facebook Ads

Facebook is a new entrant in the advertising space but largely being used by over 5 million businesses. The reason is that FB ads enable people with specific demographics and interests to find you.

So whether you sell jeans to plus size women or contractor services to people in Illinois, you’re sure to get potential leads.

While typical ad formats are good, video ads are more effective in conveying your brand story in a highly engaging way. You can implement various techniques to make a Facebook video ads stand out, from adding text to using humor.

Make sure to add a call-to-action that leads people to your website or app. Create compelling CTA copy. Choose the right Facebook ads CTA button, ranging from “Learn More” to “Sign Up.”

2. Publish on Medium.com

Out of the many blogging platforms that you should use nowadays, Medium should be a priority. It was founded in 2012 by Evan Williams, co-founder and former CEO of Twitter.

Larry Kim is an avid user of Medium. He attests to the many benefits of publishing on Medium:

  • Import your existing blog content (syndication) to get it in front of a bigger audience. Medium has millions of users each month.
  • You can include various links: to your landing page where people can sign-up for your mailing list, social media profiles, or blogs.
  • Reposting, old and evergreen content from your blog to Medium can result in massive views. (Read Hailley and Leo’s experiment)
  • Medium stats show you the number of people that viewed your post and read up until the end. Use these insights to inspire better, more engaging future topics.

Getting your post out to an already-popular platform won’t hurt. Basically, you enjoy these capabilities and advantages on the platform that eventually drive more leads to your sales funnel.

3. Start a referral campaign.

Remember that you’re still optimizing the top of your sales funnel. This means that your focus should be on educating people about your brand without being explicit about promotion.

Time and again, viral referral programs have proved to take a business from zero to hero. If you closely follow the story of Harry’s success, a company that sells shaving products, you would realize that they did a referral campaign. In 1 week, they gathered 100,000 email addresses.

What does a referral program like Harry’s look like? These are the usual steps involved:

  • Design your campaign landing page.
  • When people arrive on your campaign page, ask them to enter their email address to join and invite their friends to join as well through a unique share link.
  • If each participant refers more friends (say, 5 or 10) he gets to win your prize.

Finally, simplify the process of creating your entire campaign and amplify its potential to go viral using UpViral. Use UpViral to feature prizes, split test your pages, set points for specific actions, and track referrals.

4.  Start creating YouTube videos.

Afraid of showing yourself on camera? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. I’m pretty sure that if you’re doing marketing stuff for a long time now, you’ve played with the idea of shooting videos. But like most people, you doubt yourself.

Most people worry about how they will look or talk on camera. But what you really should be focusing more on is the message you deliver to attract leads.

A surefire way to make your YouTube video marketing efforts successful is to niche down. Start with an educational type of content if this is your first time. This helps you practice teaching your topics in a simple way.

I recently put together a video about the essential video marketing tools you’ll need.

Once you create a video, promote it to as many places as possible – to your email list, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram (bio link), forums, and relevant blog comment sections.

If you don’t have an audience to promote your YouTube marketing video to, build it using viral marketing. You’ll want to go back to tip #3!

5. Be strategic about guest blogging.

You may hear people say that  “guest blogging is dead,” or “guest blogging no longer works.” Well, that actually depends on how you use it.

We can’t deny that guest blogging helped bloggers like Neil Patel and Adam Connell attract a massive audience. Although guest blogging isn’t the be-all and end-all of lead generation, the fact that you’re positioning yourself in front of a bigger crowd does wonders.

Going back to how you should use guest blogging, keep this in mind: Stop treating it as a link building tactic. Grow real relationships by writing really helpful topics and even topics that weren’t covered by a blog yet.

Target blogs that have a relevant and responsive audience. You’ll need to look into the site’s previous posts to see the engagement levels.

Use the author bio section as an opportunity to position yourself as an authority. Say what you do and the sites you own. This is your chance to stand out!

6. Make a quiz.

Have you considered using quizzes as part of your marketing strategy? Believe it or not… Even the most nonsense quiz gets attention. Yes, even the quiz that lets you know what kind of potato you are:

When you compare a survey to a quiz, without a doubt, your audience will most likely go for the quiz. We all are interested in ourselves. Quiz give us that opportunity, combining fun and the element of surprise.

But for a quiz to be interesting and effective, you need to use the right strategies:

  • Target your ideal audience – Research your customers such as their interests or problems. This helps you formulate questions they can relate to.
  • Pick a catchy title – The title of your quiz determines its clickability. Odd numbers are nice to have. Whether your title is a trendy or evergreen one is totally up to you. Using tools helps in inspiring clickable headlines.
  • Keep your audience happy – People are more likely to share your quiz with their friends when they get great results.
  • Use images – If you want your quiz to hold your audience’s attention until the end, make use of compelling imagery. Take, for example, Airbnb’s Travel Personality Quiz (below):

  • Add a signup form – This is the most important part of lead generation. Require quiz takers to enter their email so you can send them the results.

7. Start a podcast.

Podcasting to attract potential customers? Is that even possible? Smart Passive Income podcaster Pat Flynn swears that his podcasts helped people find his business and stay connected to it.

Research shows that in 2018, 6 million more Americans listen to podcasts than in 2017.

It’s excellent to include podcasting a part of your marketing strategy for several reasons. Podcasts can be consumed by your audience on-the-go. This gives marketers like you the ability to tell your brand story anytime, anywhere, and when they’re most ready to hear it.  The fact is that you have potential customers who’d rather listen than read. Using podcasting allows you to expand your reach.

Choose podcast topics that people care about. Research their key interests using keyword research tools, Buzzsumo, and by checking out other podcasts in your space.

Your calls-to-action can make or break your opportunity to get new email subscribers. If you’ve provided enough value to your listeners, they will be willing to respond to your calls-to-action such as, “sign up for my email list at [URL]” or “get your free stuff at [URL]”

8. Answer questions on Quora.

Just in case you haven’t heard of Quora, it’s a place where people ask questions and give answers. But more than being a Q&A site, Quora is an amazing driver of website traffic. If you use it the right way!

Each month, Quora gets about 80 million monthly users. The key to driving leads from Quora is to answer questions that are asked as best as you can. Find questions that people ask in your niche.

Start by entering your question into the search bar. Quora will suggest questions.

I should tell you that leading people to your website from Quora doesn’t mean you can stuff your answer with links, especially those that are self-promotional and lead to pages that don’t relate to your answer. Be strategic about your backlinks.

Upvotes increase when you focus on adding value with your responses, like the screenshot below. Veerasamy starts off by saying why he’s qualified to answer. He uses headings, adds an image to break up text, and writes like he talks.

Final Thoughts

Your business will always be needing customers. Know that you’ll be able to apply the tips we discussed even with a small budget. Top-of-funnel lead generation efforts should always focus on educating and promoting awareness. Take the opportunity to collect information from your audience that you can use to move them further down your funnel.