The 8 best lead generation strategies for startups

Generating leads can be tough when you’re starting out. You don’t have much name recognition, and your product isn’t yet well-known in the marketplace. But you still need to get the word out about your startup, so that people know about it and want to use your product or service. There are a lot of different ways to generate leads; here are some of the best lead generation strategies for startups to build an audience around their product

1) What is lead generation?

Some people will come to you without any marketing on your part. But in a highly competitive environment where lots of companies are vying for customers, that’s not going to happen very often. The more effective approach is to find ways to get potential customers’ attention and bring them in through your own marketing efforts–the best example being leads. A good lead doesn’t have to be anything fancy; it can be as simple as a phone call or an email inquiry from someone who shows some interest in what you have to offer. Anyone in sales will tell you that getting a high-quality lead is one of their top priorities because it takes so much less effort than pursuing someone who isn’t already on board with your idea.

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2) B2B vs. B2C Leads

If you’re selling a product or service to businesses, B2B leads may be your bread and butter. If you’re targeting consumers, however, it’s worth exploring B2C leads. What are they? B2C (or Business-to-Consumer) refers to companies who target individual consumers as their customer base. For example, a retail store would target B2C customers—the store’s employees aren’t contacting businesses about buying; instead, they’re reaching out to individuals. Many popular lead generation services offer both types of lists: In fact, some of our most successful partners use both! As with most things in life, though, don’t get too caught up in labels when selecting your marketing tactics.

3) Offline Lead Generation

Getting your brand in front of your target audience requires more than a pretty website and social media channels. While online lead generation is still an important part of any startup’s marketing strategy, you should also take advantage of opportunities to generate leads from events and live interactions. Print advertising can help you stay top-of-mind when people are thinking about buying something or making a change, but it’s not a one-size-fits all solution. You need to figure out what is most relevant to your industry, who you want to reach, and where your audience spends their time so that you can tailor an effective offline campaign. Here are a few options.

4) Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is an invaluable tactic for any business, but it’s especially useful when trying to reach a new audience. It’s also particularly effective at getting potential customers to take an interest in your brand and sign up for more information. According to HubSpot, 93% of businesses that use inbound marketing track more leads than those that don’t use it. To make sure you have enough leads coming in to fuel your startup, we’ve put together a list of some of our favorite inbound marketing ideas. Here are eight proven ways to generate leads on autopilot: 1) Think beyond LinkedIn: Lead generation doesn’t always have to be sales-focused; it can also be helpful just to get people connected and talking with each other.

5) Content Marketing (blogging)

This is one of my favorite lead generation methods. While it won’t work for every business (and can be expensive and time-consuming), a solid content marketing program can yield a lot of value for B2B companies by positioning you as an expert in your field and creating high-quality, educational content. Inbound leads tend to be more qualified, too. It all depends on how much effort you want to put into it! If you don’t have much time but still want to generate quality leads, I recommend setting up an email capture form on your site with a series of content upgrades (like white papers or ebooks) that you can use in exchange for contact information.

6) Social Media Marketing

Leveraging social media is a great way to engage potential customers and learn more about their preferences. Create unique content that appeals to your target market, and share it on social channels like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and Pinterest. Alternatively, take advantage of platforms like Crowdrise where you can create campaigns or fundraisers that offer contributors rewards in exchange for their contributions. For example, if you’re trying to raise money for a new product launch, consider creating a campaign page with different levels of contribution (for example: $10 gets you an email newsletter subscription; $25 gets you an early access coupon code). Then use tools like Hootsuite or Buffer to schedule out your posts over time so they go out at optimal times. The key here is not only providing value but also being consistent—don’t just post once and forget about it!

7) Email Marketing

Email is still one of the most effective ways to generate leads, especially if you can build a long-term relationship with your prospects. Include a professionally designed email signup form on your website that asks prospects to enter their email address in exchange for an ebook or other relevant information. Track how many leads are coming from each campaign so you know which pieces of content work and which don’t. Then try different variations of your calls to action (CTAs) to see what works best. If you want more help with email marketing, check out HubSpot’s free eBook, Email Marketing Best Practices: How To Get More Sales With Your Emails. It covers everything from crafting compelling subject lines and copy to designing clear CTAs and sending time-sensitive emails—all things you need to know about when it comes to generating leads via email marketing.

8) Other Forms of Marketing

It’s crucial to understand that when you create a new product or service, you will have a difficult time selling it unless your marketing strategy is strong. In fact, some experts estimate that a majority of business failures can be attributed to ineffective marketing. While there are countless ways to market your startup once it launches, here are eight of our favorites

Establishing relationships with bloggers in your industry who can provide influential and relevant content about your company and its products/services: Offer them a free trial, get featured on their blogs, establish yourself as an expert in your industry.


Lead generation is an essential part of business growth, but it’s not enough to rely on word-of-mouth alone. You must have a marketing strategy in place that allows you to generate leads from scratch. These eight strategies will get you started on your path to new business.

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