HomeBlog8 Marketing Experts Share Their All-Time Favorite Lead Generation Ideas

8 Marketing Experts Share Their All-Time Favorite Lead Generation Ideas

Author: Rob Glover
Last Updated: April 8, 2024 | Lead Generation

The vast majority of marketers say generating leads is their number one priority. Know what that means? There are a bunch of smart people out there fighting to attract the leads you need to convert.

We’ll need to think big to win that race, so we asked some of our favorite marketers for the boldest, best-performing lead generation ideas they’ve created or seen in the wild.

They delivered. These lead-gen examples bring in a ton of business because they’re crazy creative and perfectly tuned to their target audiences. Swipe them to inspire your next campaign.

Table of contents

  1. Share a persona-based quiz to generate leads across industries
  2. Exchange a custom report for contact details
  3. Create unexpected and on-brand content types to build trust
  4. Build a free tool your ideal prospect can’t resist
  5. Use direct messages to get new leads faster
  6. Create a compelling guide from original data
  7. Get customers to qualify themselves with a product quiz
  8. Invite experts to your webinars for greater reach

🛑 Free guide >>> The Definitive Guide to Lead Generation (25 Ideas, Tips, & Examples)

8 lead generation ideas (with examples!) from marketing pros

Our expert sources came through big time with an eclectic mix of lead gen examples. From quirky quizzes to creative comics, there’s an idea here for every type of business.

1. Share a persona-based quiz to generate leads across industries

The absolute best lead magnets are hyper-relevant to the people you want to convert. But how do you make that happen when you sell a product that works for several industries?

Wren Noble, Content Marketing Lead at Glide, says they focused on a personality trait their ideal customers share.

“When we realized what set the Glide customer apart was their eagerness to innovate, we came up with a creative way to connect with them and learn more about what they value,” she says.

Glide’s no-code software helps businesses create apps. And what Glide’s customers value is innovation.

So Wren and the team built the Innovator Quiz.

Lead generation examples - Glide's Innovator Quiz

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After answering a few questions, the quiz assigns you one of four innovation styles: builder, strategist, optimizer, or scientist. It also points out some characteristics of each style.

The brilliance of this campaign is that it generates leads and drives new traffic through social networks. It really took off on LinkedIn, where people eagerly shared and commented on their results.

Lead generation examples - LinkedIn post about Glide's Innovator Quiz

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That got more people curious to find their innovation style. “The quiz started so many engaged conversations and helped us understand what our leads get truly excited about,” Wren says.

You can adapt this lead generation example for any business and any audience. It doesn’t require a huge budget—just a strong understanding of your target customers and a good distribution strategy.

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2. Exchange a custom report for contact details

According to Varun Penamasta, Digital Marketing Manager at Freshpaint, successful lead generation does not require complex calculus. You just need to solve a problem for your target customer.

“We’ve had a ton of lead gen success by centering on real value for our audience. In exchange for their info, we offer something our audience will use in their jobs,” he says.

Varun pointed to Freshpaint’s Web Tracker Report as an example.

Lead generation examples - Freshpaint's report tracker.

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Freshpaint’s customers are healthcare organizations. They follow strict HIPAA rules about the data they collect and store from website visitors. The people who use the Web Tracker Report get a one-time audit of all the tracking snippets capturing data on each page of their website.

The genius here is that the Web Tracker is also a Freshpaint product. So, leads who get a report can also see the product in action.

“We use these site scans as a lead generation anchor because we know they provide a ton of value to healthcare teams. We also introduce Freshpaint as a value-add,” says Varun.

How can you adapt this lead gen strategy for your business? You could provide a sample or free trial in exchange for an email address. Or let leads use your product to solve one specific problem, with the promise that it can solve more once they sign up.

3. Create unexpected and on-brand content to build trust

Content marketing is a proven lead-generation strategy. It builds trust so your new lead doesn’t hesitate to register or subscribe.

That’s easier said than done, especially if your audience distrusts overt marketing efforts. You need to get creative with content that stands out and resonates with your core audience.

We love this example from Elaine Atwell, Content Manager at Kolide by 1Password. Elaine produces a series of industry-related comics to connect with her skeptical audience of IT managers. She publishes them on LinkedIn, along with a link to the newsletter signup page.

Lead generation examples - Kolide's comic

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While the comics aren’t a lead magnet, Elaine says they’ve helped increase newsletter subscriptions by 1000% over the last year.

“People in our industry are very selective about which newsletters they subscribe to. But they really appreciate an opinionated, humorous tone. The comics set the stage for what subscribers will get in the newsletter.”

Lead generation examples - Kolides subscribe page.

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By the time readers get to the signup page, they know they’ll get interesting content that speaks their language, so subscribing is a no-brainer.

Elain’s content-first marketing funnel brings in leads because the team knows its audience well. They spend time roaming Reddit and talking to the sales team. This strategy can work for your business, too. Start by following your customers on social media, interacting with them in online communities, and listening to how they interact on sales calls.

4. Build a free tool your ideal prospect can’t resist

A free tool is a lead generation goldmine. Create it once, and it will sit on your site, passively attracting new customers for years. When you add internal links to your free tool in content and promote it on social media, the leads really get flowing.

What’s extra cool about a free tool is that it can also qualify leads for you. The people who use it are most likely your target customers.

Ajdin Perco, Head of Content at Animalz, told us how they created Revive to get leads from their audience of marketers. Revive uses Google Analytics data to find content that’s losing traffic on your blog. With that list in hand, you can refresh the posts so they rank higher on search engines and get more visits.

Lead generation examples - The Revive free tool.

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To start the process, people head to the Revive home page and enter their email address (new lead!). After giving access to their Google Analytics, they’ll get a list of posts ripe for refreshing.

Ajdin says the tool’s so successful because it solves a core pain point—lost traffic—for the people Animalz needs to convert. “I like it because it provides actionable output that users can act on. It lists articles worth refreshing, which is incredibly valuable and can lead to traffic growth.”

It’s no small lift to create a new tool, though. Go into it with a strong understanding of how it’ll improve your ideal customer’s life. And have a solid plan to distribute it through social media, SEO, and email.

5. Use direct messages to get new leads faster

Social media marketing is a great way to connect with new prospects. However, most people have to click from the social media platform to your landing page to enter their contact details, which is not great since some of them won’t want to leave the social media site.

Larry Kim, CEO of Customers.ai (formerly Mobile Monkey), told us how he used Instagram Messenger automation to collect leads right from Instagram.

Here’s how it worked. The Mobile Monkey team created a guide showing people how to get verified on Instagram—valuable information for their target audience of brands and celebrities looking to grow their social media presence.

Then, they promoted the guide using paid Instagram campaigns. Anyone who replied with “VERIFIED” got the guide in their direct messages.

Lead generation examples - Instagram post from Mobile Monkey.

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Sliding into your customers’ DMs can be creepy. But Larry and his team started the conversation by giving something useful people asked for. And since Instagram won’t let you place links on posts, they cut out a lot of lead-gen friction (no “link in bio” craziness).

“It just seemed like the offer of ‘how to get verified for free’ resonated with people actively working on growing their IG presence,” Larry said. “Promoting it in an IG post with a call to action to comment on it and experience Instagram Direct Message automation was a great way to onboard prospective users.”

Larry used marketing automation to reply to requests instantly. That’s a great way to scale this strategy. Follow up with everyone who replies so you don’t waste any leads.

6. Create a compelling guide from original data

Yeah, we know using a guide to generate leads isn’t groundbreaking. But here’s the thing: they work! We recently ran a poll asking which type of lead generation offer drove the most leads. Guides and ebooks won by a long shot!

But Stephanie Yoder, Director of Client Services at Megawatt, says your guide better be good if you want someone to give up their email address. She suggests Arcadia as a business that’s writing exceptional gated content.

“So many whitepapers out there are purely self-serving and, frankly, boring,” she says.“But I’m a big fan of Arcadia’s whitepapers because they connect to timely industry topics and provide actual value to potential readers.”

Here’s an example Stephanie said she really likes. “This paper on the solar buying experience uses original survey data to answer a real question for Arcadia’s customers. Namely, what do people want when they’re buying solar equipment?”

Lead generation examples - Arcadia's lead gen landing page

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The lead capture page asks for a little extra information, like job title and company name. These details can help when it’s time to segment your email audience. And it’s not terribly personal information, so it shouldn’t be a big friction point.

As for gathering original data for a top-notch guide, you don’t have to commission a vast data study. You can interview a handful of industry leaders, run a half-dozen polls on LinkedIn, or mine your records for trends (just make sure what you show is anonymized). Then, couple that with existing stories and publicly accessible data to tell a complete and valuable story.

7. Get customers to qualify themselves with a product quiz

We’ve seen how quizzes can break down the silos between your customers’ industries. But Lyndsay Cordell, an SEO and Content Strategist working with Faire.com, says they’re also great at educating new leads about your products.

By way of example, Lyndsay showed us this product quiz from the Willow Hill Soap Company.

Lead generation examples - Willow Hill Soap Company quiz page.

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The quiz is only a couple of questions long. People who complete it get a recommendation for a soap scent that’ll suit them, plus a visceral description of the product.

Lyndsay says this tactic helps overcome the challenge of selling things people can’t fully experience from an online shop. “The quiz uses descriptive language that helps customers pinpoint their fragrance preference. It’s a creative way to showcase fragrances, especially when smell-o-vision doesn’t exist.”

Lead capture doesn’t actually take place on the quiz. Instead, quiz takers immediately see a discount popup on their results page.

Lead generation examples - Willow Hill popup with discount.

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Interactive content, a valuable popup offer, and a personalized product recommendation are powerful lead-generation combos.

This is such a versatile and low-lift tactic. Consider what questions you’d ask a customer to help them pick a product. Post those in a quiz, add a popup offer, and boom! You’ve got leads.

8. Invite experts to your webinars for greater reach

Webinars are an easy way to repurpose your best content. Gather a few posts covering different aspects of the same theme and use them as webinar topics.

Susie Marino, our Senior Content Marketing Specialist, runs a monthly webinar that’s regularly one of our highest-performing lead generators. Some people learn better from video. As Susie presents the information in a fun and personal way, she’s engaging the portion of our audience that might not read a blog post.

Susie gets even more reach—and leads—by inviting an expert to sit in with her. For example, she recently had Jenna Zeidan, Google’s Senior Strategic Manager, join to talk about upcoming search and social media trends.

Lead generation examples - Screenshot of a webinar video.

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Susie says having a guest with specific expertise gave the webinar a big boost. “Jenna was great. She answered tough questions people had about SEO and search. Having someone from Google helped us promote the webinar and get more people to sign up.”

But there’s another reason to partner up on webinars. You get access to your guest’s network. “When you look for someone to invite, look for people with a following,” Susie says. “You’ll get exposure with their network, so it’s like an extra promotion channel.”

This idea doesn’t just work for webinars. Find a business that’s complementary to yours and co-create a guide or run a giveaway on social media. You’ll double the exposure for the same effort.

Find lead generation ideas for your business

Lead generation is the top goal for most marketers, but getting people to give up their contact details is not always easy. No matter which ideas you try, remember that it’s a game of trading value. Give something your ideal customer can use, and they’ll reward you with the ability to continue the conversion.

If you’re having trouble generating leads, contact us, and we’ll show you how we can help you get more leads fast.

In the meantime, here’s a recap of the eight creative lead generation ideas our expert marketers shared:

  1. Share a persona-based quiz to generate leads across industries
  2. Exchange a custom report for contact details
  3. Create unexpected and on-brand content types to build trust
  4. Build a free tool your ideal prospect can’t resist
  5. Use direct messages to get new leads faster
  6. Create a compelling guide from original data
  7. Get customers to qualify themselves with a product quiz
  8. Invite experts to your webinars for greater reach

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Meet The Author

Rob Glover

Rob is a Senior Copywriter for LocaliQ and WordStream where he uses his content marketing experience to write about all manner of advertising, sales, and adtech topics. When not turning phrases, Rob loves to travel, cook, and spend time outdoors (especially hiking and mountain biking) with his wife and dog.

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