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Unconventional (Maybe Stupid) Tips for Lead Generation

When advising entrepreneurs on boosting sales, their common struggle often revolves around generating more leads. The challenge intensifies when business owners are striving to enhance their brand on a tight budget while navigating the multitude of lead generation options available.

This article will explore scrappy and unconventional B2B lead generation tips that combine traditional outreach and digital marketing with the hopes that it helps my fellow business owners achieve maximum results with limited resources. But first, let’s review the advantages of both traditional and digital methods to lead generation. 

Traditional sales and marketing techniques like face-to-face meetings, cold calls, and networking, when done right, offer distinct advantages compared to digital marketing methods such as paid digital ads, organic SEO, email, social media and retargeting. They facilitate personal interaction and relationship building, leading to stronger and immediate connections with potential clients. In-person and voice-to-voice interactions, as well as networking events, can establish trust and credibility through personal conversations. Traditional tactics provide prompt feedback, allowing sales professionals to address objections in real time and tailor their communication based on immediate cues from the prospect. They also offer an opportunity to directly influence decision-making through personal interactions and presentations.

While traditional methods may be familiar to most of my clients, the digital realm presents challenges due to the overwhelming array of options and promises from agencies offering effortless lead generation leads without lifting a finger. It reminds me of the many weight loss programs that guarantee sustained results without a change in lifestyle or the get rich quick scams that proliferate the internet. Don’t get me wrong, digital marketing methods offer scalability and a better reach for creating brand awareness. They have the potential to engage broader audiences at a lower cost compared to traditional methods, while also providing valuable insights based on customer engagement data. Online channels also provide 24/7 accessibility, aligning with today's convenience-driven consumer. 

I have credible colleagues in digital marketing and many successful campaigns over the years, but it took lots of misses and tons of data analysis to get them right. So, when it comes to dialing-in a laser focused lead generation strategy for my clients, I understand their skepticism. And, with the introduction of Artificial Intelligence, the lines are becoming increasingly blurred between digital and traditional lead generation. In fact, AI is transforming the market by combining the best practices of traditional and digital marketing techniques to create more efficient and targeted strategies.

At the risk of oversimplifying, I prefer to utilize digital marketing to support brand awareness at the top of the funnel and for ongoing account management to keep current customers engaged. I like a more traditional approach to lead nurturing and conversion. Both approaches have their strengths, and I advise my clients that the most effective strategies combine these tactics to effectively engage audiences and elevate brands.  

Now, let’s explore a few unconventional examples that blend traditional and digital lead generation methods that spark curiosity and captivate prospects.       

Integrated Events: Host an unconventional event or workshop related to your industry. Like a themed event, hands on workshop or seminar. For example, I recently attended a panel discussion on “Mental Health in the Workplace” that integrated a local health and wellness resource fair that included options for a massage, Reiki and essential oils. By leveraging an AI chatbot to get the word out, this event attracted a large pool of potential clients, established brand recognition, and generated dozens of qualified leads in a cost-effective manner.

Freemium: What better way to engage people than offering products and service for free! Companies like Dropbox and Spotify use this model successfully to attract a user base without hefty ad expenses. This is different from a free trial because the base program is free to encourage people to use their products and eventually upgrade to their paid premium software later. I think LinkedIn is probably the best example of this strategy considering it is currently used by millions in over 200 countries and approximately 80% of users are using the free version.

Guerilla Storytelling: I love the method of creating brand stories and then producing encounters with prospects in unexpected locations. I am working with an environmentally friendly home builder and recommend that we put together a "Tiny House Sustainability Tour." The company will build a tiny home that showcases eco-friendly features such as solar panels, rainwater harvesting, energy-efficient appliances, and sustainable building materials. Then, take this tiny house on a mobile tour to various locations, publicize it through local media and social and offer workshops on sustainable living. This scrappy marketing tactic boosts awareness and positions the company as an industry leader in sustainable construction.

Scrappy Collaboration: Partner with non-competing businesses that target similar customer segments. This involves co-hosting events, cross promoting each other's products or services, and/or creating joint offers to attract shared leads. For example, several years ago I partnered with a local outpatient mental health clinic to offer alumni support groups for parents who had a child returning home after a long stay in an out-of-state residential treatment center. In this way, I brought increased awareness and a 6% increase in foot traffic to the clinic and secured a location for the support group, free of charge. This synergy benefited both parties by expanding our reach and attracting shared leads while enhancing overall brand exposure and the impact on the community.

Unusual Content Marketing: Create offbeat and attention-grabbing content such as funny videos, unconventional infographics, or interactive online activities. For example, a staffing service I work with is considering a "Choose Your Own Adventure" style blog series where readers navigate scenarios related to interviews or employment, receiving tailored guidance based on their choices.  Based on their choice, they are directed to a different follow-up blog post that offers guidance tailored to the chosen response. This interactive approach showcases expertise, encourages repeat traffic and fosters audience engagement in a memorable and fun way.

These unconventional, bold and scrappy tactics can drive brand awareness and interest. It’s best to see which tactics best suit your brand. It’s also necessary to research and understand your ideal customer profile before launching any campaign. This will ensure the emotional response you want, or call-to-action, is in line with the prospect’s needs and taste. When executed thoughtfully, these tactics will set your business apart from the competition and spark curiosity that generates leads.  Let’s go!


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