Generating leads is one of the most fundamental functions of marketing. While creating brand awareness and cultivating a public persona are also essential, those things do not ultimately generate revenue. That comes from leads that convert into customers. 

So how can your team use marketing to effectively attract and connect with leads—people who are a potential fit for the products and services your organization offers?

Here are six ways your organization can generate leads. 

1. Create a Lead Magnet.

A lead magnet is a document or resource that is valuable enough for users to give you their contact information in exchange for it. This downloadable resource should be relevant to the product or service you are looking to gain leads for and should help potential customers solve a specific problem or gain industry insight that they otherwise wouldn’t have stumbled upon via an online search. 

There are any number of ways to format a lead magnet, which can include ebooks, checklists, infographics, case studies, or surveys. You may also try other forms of lead magnets that are less a downloadable resource and more of an interactive experience, such as a webinar or online course. 

Keep in mind that people are willing to surrender their email to an organization or marketing entity about as willingly as they will part with $20. This needs to be the standard of quality you provide with your lead magnet. 

It can be hard work trying to think up and create a document that is both relevant and uniquely insightful or helpful. But once you have dialed that resource in, it will pay dividends for months or sometimes even years to come, as you will passively continue to gain new lead contact information that you can fold into your existing marketing workflows. 

2. Focus on SEO. 

Another key way to generate leads is simply to be there when people are asking a question relevant to your organization. That means ranking in search engines for key search terms and questions related to your business. 

You can begin to build SEO by conducting keyword research, finding terms that are both relevant and that users tend to search for, and then building content around those keywords. You can do this by setting up pages on your website, or creating a blog that regularly seeks to rank on your keywords and related terms. 

Other best practices include ensuring your pages load quickly and your site is easy to navigate, maintaining working internal and external links, and consistently creating excellent content.

3. Advertise and Retarget. 

Customers will rarely pull the trigger on a purchase upon their first exposure to it, particularly if the product or service you offer requires a bit of a longer sales funnel. This is where retargeting ads can help to draw potential leads back in and keep your organization top-of-mind. By installing a pixel on your website, you can tag visitors to your site so that they can begin seeing ads for your products and services on other sites. 

This type of strategy also works for leads and potential leads that have downloaded one of your lead magnets but have not taken a next step in the sales process, someone who has abandoned their cart on your website without checking out, or a person who has otherwise expressed some interest in your organization. To these leads, you can send follow up emails, nudging them toward a next step.

4. Offer Promotional Pricing, Perks.

When purchasing advertising space, whether on Google or through social media platforms like Facebook, Linkedin, or Twitter, including a time-limited promotional price or perk can be a key driver for clicks and conversions. 

If your organization is service-based, offer potential leads an introductory price. If you are a product company, offer a discounted price or include one product with the purchase of another. 

5. Partner With Others To Provide High-Value Content on Their Platform.

Another way to gain exposure to a different audience and thereby attract leads is to provide high-value content on the platforms of partner organizations. By leveraging their trust with their own audience with their endorsement, you may gain new contacts who come into your organization’s orbit predisposed toward enthusiasm. 

This type of content could be a guest blog post or interview on the podcast of an organization with complementary offerings. 

Depending on the partnership, you may need to pay to have your content hosted on someone else’s platform or otherwise engage in a reciprocal relationship wherein you feature their content. In either case, you will need to think carefully about who you do and don’t want to have your organization’s name attached to. 

Nevertheless, this can be a beneficial strategy that helps you gain new leads for yourself, as well as for your partners. 

6. Use Social Media To Be Social.

In the words of astronaut Neil Armstrong, “It never hurts to have friends around.” Social media is more than a place where you can post links to your products and services. In fact, if that’s all you do, you won’t have very many friends. 

On the other hand, if you regularly provide high-value content and are responsive to your followers, you will build credibility with your audience. As a result, many of them will turn themselves into leads when you offer a lead magnet, a promotion, or a piece of content with a clear call-to-action. People are far more likely to buy from people they trust, and when they feel like those people are treating them like people. 

So, ultimately, while leads are a bottom line indicator as to the effectiveness of your marketing strategy, you should never treat people like they’re numbers. Let them know that you’re there to help them, answer their questions, and provide the tools and resources to help them become the best versions of themselves.