5 Unique Ways to Generate Leads for Your Business

By Justin Brown

Looking for more creative ideas on how to find leads for your business? Here are 5 ways to generate leads by thinking "outside the box".

Are you at a loss about how to find leads for your business? Some standard methods generate decent targeted sales leads, but sometimes thinking (and doing) “outside the box” produces great leads that you can’t always get from more traditional practices.

While many of the usual suspects – direct mail, cold calls, advertisements – will generate leads, here are some unique, unusual and uncommon lead generation tactics that could bring in new customers, land big sales or, at the very least, make things more interesting in the process.

1. Weird Words Get Leads for Your Business

For marketing, advertising and lead generation, using compelling and provocative words may better capture people’s attention and get them interested in what you’re selling.

Think of three ways to say “unique.” Common synonyms include “one-of-a-kind,” “exclusive” and “special.” Fine, but not particularly exciting words. They are ubiquitous in marketing and targeted sales leads campaigns. Consider edgier, more stimulating synonyms:

  • Inspired
  • Peerless
  • Inimitable
  • Uncanny
  • Peculiar

These words demand attention. A little extra spice in your marketing sauce might just get leads for your business.

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2. The Weird Al Approach

The more technical term for this is “appropriation,” which, according to Forbes, “uses strategic alliances and partnerships to generate value through new products and new markets, using others’ skills and resources.” Simply put, think about riding the wave of a popular or well-known pop culture phenomenon – a song or a funny Internet meme – to boost your company’s image and bring in leads.

Al Yankovic has done this for years, from parodying Madonna in “Like a Surgeon” to turning Pharrell’s “Happy” into “Tacky.” His videos grab attention through a recognizable tune and stay with you because of their cleverness. Check out Weird Al’s “Word Crimes” cover of “Blurred Lines” on YouTube. The video has no expensive special effects, only the clever use of animation and even more clever song lyrics.

Other methods make fun of competitors’ advertising, such as Old Spice commercials featuring incredibly robots pretending to be men, and Microsoft’s ads taunting Apple and Samsung. Social media provides the perfect platform for creating and sharing viral videos and memes. However, getting it right requires a deft touch. Do it wrong, and your spoof or cover song may prove offensive to some (despite the fact that plenty of others find it hilarious). Have fun with it – but just don’t go too far.

3. Votes, Comments and Targeted Sales Leads

People love to participate. Funny, interesting and engaging polls about items, ideas or celebrities make people want to find out more about a business. Announce the poll or contest on a company website or via social media or post it on a billboard. The right set of questions can “sell” a business’s products and, at the same time, can generate leads. With social media, fashion magazines such as InStyle use polls about upcoming fashion seasons to engage readers and gather data about them. Cosmopolitan does the same thing.

While an insurance company, for example, might not want to solicit opinions on new fashion trends, polls about alternative medicines or whether or not people have living wills might work. Find a funny or interesting way of presenting the questions, and people will answer. As it turns out, people really seem to enjoy answering questions. Some businesses take this concept a step further. Starbucks took the leap from audience participation into crowdsourcing, with MyStarbucksIdea.com, which asks people for ideas and then tries to enact them.

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4. How to Generate Leads by Being Memorable

An evocative visual “drives [an] idea into the mind.” Product and company recognition means that a potential lead, when approached, may pay more attention to the pitch, whether that pitch comes by way of an online poll or even a cold call.

Some businesses are instantly recognizable just because of what they are (Coca-Cola, McDonalds, Mercedes Benz). The rest rely on words and pictures to make consumers remember them. You can help people remember your company by using:

  • Conspicuous cars emblazoned with company colors, logos and contact information.
  • T-shirts with creative content (yes, on a shirt...) that not only spark conversations with other people, but also remind the wearer of the product every laundry day.

At South by Southwest – Austin’s annual festival of all things musical, visual, and interactive – some start-up companies paid people to wear their company T-shirts throughout the event, achieving quick brand awareness.

5. Give a Present, Get Leads for Your Business

People love presents. Food works well – especially if it somehow connects with your business. The best lead generation gifts are useful, meaningful, helpful and/or fun. Match gift-giving with annual holidays if they align with some aspect of your business or location.

Both Loveland, Colorado, and Loveland, Ohio, are big on Valentine’s Day, for obvious reasons. Businesses there could tie into the holiday and give out heart-shaped boxes of chocolate or tiny teddy bears holding their business cards. Some eschew placing any corporate logo on gifts, while others see it as a necessity. It is all about generating interest in your company. Sometimes creative packaging works like a charm, from sending letters inside high-value, decorative boxes to curiously shaped mailing envelopes.

Remember, standard methods of targeted sales leads generation work, but doing things a bit differently often pays off handsomely. Figuring out how to find leads for your business can be a fun challenge, and channeling your creativity to find great ways of doing it can be even more fun. The saying “think outside the box” is overused and tired out, but the concept still has value.

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