The buying process has evolved, and marketers need to discover new ways to reach leads and break through the noise. Instead of reaching audiences with mass advertising and bulk email blasts, marketers now focus on building brand visibility and customer relationships.

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The sales cycle is giving way to the new buyer’s journey. Today’s buyers are in control.

According to Forrester research, buyers seek out three pieces of informational content about a vendor for every one piece received as part of a marketing or sales campaign. Nowadays, buyers are self-educated, therefore a marketer’s job is to be heard through the noise and devise new ways for leads to find the brand.

Consumers are now up to 90% of their way through the buyer’s journey before they ever speak directly to your company. When they talk to you, their mind is already pretty much made up.

To have a marketing impact in today’s world, you need a solid grasp of inbound marketing and lead generation. Here are a few advanced tactics that will help your business generate leads without breaking the bank.

1. Create an affiliate program

An affiliate or partner program is when the sponsoring business provides rewards to participating websites for directing leads and/or sales to their site.

Online and offline businesses create affiliate programs to spread the word about their products and generate more leads. A partner program benefits the vendor and the affiliate since the former generates more sales while the latter gets a commission anywhere between 5% and 75%.

Here’s a good example of how a physical product manufacturer uses affiliate marketing to drive leads and sales. Essentia mattresses offers a certain amount of money for each sale made through your referral link.

To launch a partner program you can use a cloud app, like Ambassador, which by the way, is a bit pricey for a small business. There is also a more affordable solution, ReferralCandy to reward customers for recommending your product.

Want to completely skip the tech setup? Join an affiliate marketing network, like ShareASale, where you can join as a merchant and get the technology worries out of your way.

2. Create and distribute an online course

A well-developed email or video course is like gaining access to a real training class for free. For busy marketers, this type of offer can prove to bring high ROI for a very low investment.

Let’s look at an example from a Buffer course. Buffer gives away 25 social media growth ideas over a period of 25 days in exchange for an optin. Here is their page:

Buffer created the email course to repurpose existing blog content into smaller, more digestible pieces. They put it behind an optin gate to grab targeted leads to engage with over email.

To deliver an email course you first need to create your own optin page using any page builder.

Then you’ll have to embed a lead-grabbing form on your page. You will get the optin form code from your email marketing service provider (MailChimp, GetResponse, aWeber etc.).

Finally, you need to set up an autoresponder sequence in your email marketing service. The purpose of this step is to deliver a series of pre-written email messages, which are the actual content of your email course.

Also, you can easily turn cold traffic into leads with the use of a simple, proven lead-generation template you can download here.

Now, you can follow the same process to deliver a video course over email. Instead of typing in the content in the email body, you will include a link to the videos. Upload your videos to Vimeo or YouTube for free

Alternatively, you may publish your free video course in marketplaces like Skillshare or Udemy. These marketplaces give you the additional benefit of free traffic from hundreds of thousands of people who visit those sites every month.

3. Use specific keywords

Organic search marketing is arguably one of the most valuable long-term strategies for generating leads. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is largely based on the content that is optimized for specific keywords to attract search engine visitors.

DemandGenReport’s 2017 B2B survey pointed out two trends that vendors need to consider to draw the attention and gain the trust of modern B2B leads:

  • Relevant content is the key: 75% of B2B buyers said it is very important that the vendor’s site highlight relevant content that speaks directly to their case; 66% said it is very important that the website address the requirements of their industry.
  • Leads expect personalized content relevant to their needs regardless of whether the company has access to their individual information: 71% of buyers expect a customer experience tailored to their personal interests and situation even if they conduct an anonymous web search.

Getting to #1 in Google is a lot harder today than it was five or ten years ago, but when you manage to get on the first page for long-tail keywords, the results will amaze you.

One of the most popular lead generation ideas is blogging because not only is it free, but it’s also a great way to build up your visibility on Google. Publishing keyword-rich content doesn’t mean “writing for Google bots”; You should always keep your reader in mind. An insightful piece of content is also great for building trust in your brand and helping to nurture leads through your sales pipeline.

Don’t forget to put a form on your page to turn cold traffic into leads. See a proven lead-generation template you can download by clicking here.

Always get specific with your keywords. Know exactly what you want to rank for, and use that exact phrase (or synonyms and variations) repeatedly in your content. Be as precise as you can about the area and keyword you are using in your local marketing campaigns.

For example, if you are a dentist in Las Vegas, do not just promote “Las Vegas Dentist.” Also promote your services, such as “Las Vegas Teeth Whitening” or “Discount Cavity Filling in Las Vegas.” The more specific you are, the better chances your site will show up for that exact search phrase when prospective customers search on Google.

If you want to learn more about how to structure your content for better SEO results and free lead generation, read this guide by Brian Dean of Backlinko.

4. Use LinkedIn Sales Navigator for better lead intelligence

Sales Navigator is a sister business to LinkedIn that operates completely independently from your LinkedIn profile. It is rapidly becoming a much-needed tool for any B2B sales professional since LinkedIn has the largest database of business leads in Tier 1 countries and around the world.

You can target your audience via 31 contact properties, like job title and date when they started their current role. You can also find prospective customers by 14 company attributes like size of organization and location.

The huge volume of data, the high data quality and the multiple ways you can cut and dice information using all the different attributes compile an excellent way you can prospect and target the right leads accurately.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a premium lead generation tool but you can try it for free here:

5. Get Leadberry to reveal your website visitors

If you don’t have a system in place to identify visitors on your website, they remain anonymous. Knowing who has visited your website in real-time via email alerts, allows you not only to identify new leads visiting your site for the first time but also existing prospects as they revisit during later stages of the sales process.

Lead generation software

Using Leadberry is a cost-effective way to find out who is visiting your webpages.

Leadberry is recommended by Google Analytics and can provide you with the names of the organizations visiting your site as well as the email addresses of the key contacts that you target.

6. Form Strategic Alliances

This lead generation tactic is all about partnering with companies with complementary products or services to raise awareness of your brand. Complementary goods are products or services that tend to sell together. So, finding companies that sell those products will increase your competitive advantage instead of hurting it.

Co-marketing partnerships are one of the most efficient business lead generation ideas by far.

Take the example of Wistia and Infusionsoft. Wistia provides professional HD video hosting with viewer analytics. Infusionsoft is a Small Business CRM, Sales & Marketing Software. They put together a guide for small business video marketing and marketed it on this page:

co-marketing for lead generation

Partnerships vary from the extremely complex relationships between huge corporations to simpler arrangements, where the small corner store partners with a supplier on a small scale promotion. Sucha alliances will help your company to get marketing access to the audience of your partner company. Thus, it’s a cost-efficient way to reach more targeted leads.

In sniffing around for a possible alliance, look for companies that are marketing oriented, have a quality product and sell to the same customer persona as you do. You may also steer away from companies or people whose politics and values don’t coincide with yours and could hurt your brand reputation.

7. Participate in Podcasts

Podcasting is having a Renaissance because the content is easy for people to consume wherever they are. From the aspect of marketing, it’s a relatively high-growth and highly-converting channel. It’s perhaps 5 to 10 times more effective than a similar proven marketing channel: guest posting.

Why do podcasts drive higher lead conversion rates?

First, listening to someone on a podcast creates a much more personal relationship than reading a blog post they wrote.

Second, it’s more difficult to skim podcast like you can skim an article, and so people are going to hear the full story behind you and your business, they won’t just be exposed to the headlines.

Another long-term benefit of being featured on a podcast is the boost to your SEO. Because the podcast host will publish it on a show page they will also put a link back to your website, similar to when you’re guest posting. The Google ranking bots will love the diversified link profile.

Wondering how get featured on podcasts? One way is to look for podcasts people like you have been on. Who is an authority in your space and is a few years ahead of where you are? Also, look for relevant new and noteworthy Podcast shows in iTunes. They’re new and so they will need more guests to put out more episodes.

Advanced lead generation ideas for marketers and entrepreneurs

Sales is a numbers game. The more leads you feed into the top of your funnel the more customers you will get. It is really that simple.

The pressure is always on the marketing team to deliver qualified leads into the sales department or through the sales funnel. We all understand the importance of lead generation – it’s coming up with fresh and effective ideas that can sometimes be tricky.

In this article, we talked about advanced lead generation tactics that any marketer or small business owner can incorporate into their marketing strategy to create a lasting lead inflow.

Take the next step by joining the free sales funnel webinar and learn how to convert cold leads into warm buyers fast.