1. Get uncomfortable and meet at least 5 new people per week. When you are starting a business it is very easy to dive into work so much that days can go by without interacting with anyone new. You have to put yourself in situations where you can meet new people. Introduce yourself, ask people questions and see how you can help one another.

2. FOLLOW UP! Biggest mistake people make is that they collect a business card but never follow up. Find them on twitter. Send them a quick email. Pick up the phone and leave them a message telling them it was great to meet and let’s connect again soon.

3. Reconnect. You need to call contacts and touch base with them. You always want to see what others are up to and be at the top of their minds. This is how referrals happen. When you fade out you’re no longer top of mind. A newsletter is a great way to keep in touch and provide valuable information.

@GrantCardone / Grant Cardone

You must unlearn spin. Instead, understand that people crave authenticity and transparency.

You must unlearn interrupting people with “messages.” Instead, publish online content they want to consume – blog, ebook, webinar, Twitter feed, and the like.

You must unlearn the assumption that you must buy access. Instead, create something that people are eager to consume and happy to share and let millions of people tell your story for you.

@DavidMeermanScott / New Rules of Marketing and PR

Satisfied customers means more customers means more satisfied customers means more customers and so on. There is only one way to generate meaningful leads and that is through achieving exemplary customer satisfaction.

@TrevBlake / Trevor Blake

1. Never forget “birds of a feather, flock together,” so go hang out where your best customers hang out.

2. Have a different label for what you do. If you do legal services, and everyone calls themselves a lawyer…. avoid that term (because customers won’t be able to distinguish you). Invent a new term that describes what you do and how you are different.

3. Provide samples of your service or product. Once customers have an experience with your product, that likelihood of becoming a permanent customer skyrockets.

@MikeMichalowicz / Mike Michalowicz

Be the leading expert in your content niche. You can do that through the three legs of the stool – blog, book and speaking. These three legs are key to positioning you as an expert and opening up more opportunities than you can dream. But if you only have, say, two legs of the stool…those legs have to be large and sturdy to hold up the stool. If you have only one, say a blog, it’s like sitting on a log…this means that you better have the most amazing blog on the planet.

The magic comes when you have all three of these working in a content niche… and through this you build an audience of subscribers to your blog content, that buy your books and talk about you, that pay to come see you at events.

Through this, you’ll never have to pay for PR again if you don’t want to.

@JoePulizzi / Content Marketing Institute

1. Define your perfect prospect and ensure that everyone in the organization is on the same page about this. Whether its size of company, types of technology they use, specific roles in the organization, etc everyone in your organization should be in agreement on all the attributes for exactly what the perfect prospect is for you and then only target those prospects, don’t spray and pray!

2. Educate! Content strategy is key in educating the market you are targeting and will establish you as a thought leader in the space which will translate to trust that your product/service will deliver value.

3. Test, measure, rinse & repeat. For instance, once you establish a process of creating credible content, share on multiple social platforms and test which types of content and what platforms lead to higher conversation rates, qualified leads, and revenue.

@BenSardella / Datanyze

The most efficient way to generate leads on the internet is through content marketing. Create quality resources whether it is blog posts, white papers, eBooks, etc and give them away for free. This helps build trust and authority, and the leads that you generate through this method will have the highest return.

I definitely recommend using an attention grabbing call-to-action for lead-generation whether it is a lightbox popup, floating footer bars, or a custom minimal landing page. When a page has too many call-to-actions, you need to go the extra mile to make sure that your lead-gen form is standing out.

Last but not least, make sure to follow up with your leads. Often people spend all their efforts in getting more leads rather than following up with existing leads. If you’re building an email list, then make sure that you’re engaging with your audience rather than just collecting emails.

@SyedBalkhi / WP Beginner

1. Respect your existing audience by choosing not to use pop-ups and other annoying tricks.

2. Offer an incentive for people to join your list, but make it more than a simple ebook that people will download, probably never read, and then unsubscribe. Instead, make the freebie email based (like an e-course packed with your best advice), so that people get in the habit of opening your emails because they know they’ll find something valuable.

3. Produce free content for your blog or podcast, and don’t hold anything back. No matter how much information you give away for free, there will always be people who want to go deeper or you have hold their hand and implement it for them, and they can become your customers.

@MattFrazier / No Meat Athlete

Start early. When we started Popforms, we made the decision to build the audience first. We started our website and blog before we even had a usable product. That has given us all kinds of advantages. We have a loyal fan base to give us feedback, help us with product development and be early beta testers. If you are thinking about a business don’t wait to until you have a product to start sharing your ideas with people.

Focus on your customer. Don’t try to build for everyone. Hone in on the perfect person for your product. Try to build for your 1000 true fans. Who are they? What are their challenges, problems, and what do they want your help with? Every lead, visitor, follower and fan is not created equal so start with the ones that are your tribe. You will have a much easier time creating something they love, and making money from it.

Create amazing content. We have built our audience through content. We try to create things that our users love. Instead of trying to have a lot of blog posts, only publish stuff you are proud to share. It can take a lot of time and effort to capture a lead, but if you have amazing free stuff to offer it can only help. And don’t be afraid to experiment; different things work for different people and you won’t know until you try. Success is often the product of a lot of failures.

@kateMatsudaira / popforms

1) If you’re a BtoB company and your product/service is helpful to most industries, then go to your existing customers and have them refer you to their A/P (accounts payable) list. Since your existing customers (hopefully ecstatic with your company) are writing these suppliers big checks, a referral to these companies is much more powerful than asking your existing customers to refer you to competitors or customers. You can normally network your way through an entire community by working all the A/P lists

2) Newsjack! David Meerman Scott wrote a book with this title. This is what Airbnb did early on when they inserted themselves into the news around the 2008 Democratic Convention in Denver (ObamaO’s cereal, etc.). WhiteCloud did this recently when within 24 hours they produced a 3D model of Elon Musk’s “hyperloop” idea – and it garnered this small company massive amounts of attention. Pay attention to the news in your industry/town and then find a way to insert your story into the news stream.

3) Write a book. Every entrepreneur should pick the word or two they want to own and then write a book about the topic, positioning themselves as the expert on the topic – a great way to get invited to keynote your industry trade meetings, conference conferences, references in articles, etc.. Advantage Media has a “speak a book” process and has helped many entrepreneurs get an authoritative book written quickly. And they, themselves, have a book called “Book the Business” – great title emphasizing their focus on helping businesses write a book and then using it to book business.

@VerneHarnish / Gazelles

Become a Thought Leader

?Establish yourself as an expert in your field. Provide original research. Be the go-to solution to a specific problem and then release a definitive guide to the problem you solve. Contribute to LinkedIn forums. Take speaking opportunities at conferences and other industry events.

Being recognized as an expert makes it easier for qualified leads to find you. And the credibility you’ve earned as a thought leader will also make prospects far more likely to want to buy from you.

Create Customer-Focused Marketing Messages

Paid search ads and SEO can bring leads to your site, but to get conversions you need to create marketing content that addresses your customers’ specific pain points. In the B2B world, your customers don’t usually care how great your offerings are. They only care about whether your offerings will make them more successful.

When creating lead generation content, be it eBooks, landing page copy or blogs, you should always position your company as a facilitator. Treat your customers as heroes, and position your solution as that magic bullet that enables them to succeed.

Develop a Content Strategy Before Expanding Your Site

You probably already have a minimum viable website, but is it big enough? According to research from Hubspot, companies with over 30 landing pages generate 7 times more leads than companies with fewer than ten landing pages. Adding landing pages can be extremely powerful, but every page should serve a specific purchase.

Before expanding your site, iron out a content strategy that identifies a clear goal for every page. Is it a Google AdWords landing page? Is it giving more information about one of your company’s products? After setting a goal for each page, identify which SEO keywords you want to target with each page so that your pages aren’t competing with each other in search engines.

@HowardBrown / Ring DNA

1. Ask for referrals. Whenever I finish a project, I ask for 2-3 people that might know that would be interested in what I do. It’s a simple ask that creates lots of warm leads. Bonus points: I even ask this when people don’t end up hiring me.

2. Do some free work. This is how I quickly built up from an unknown company to working with some of the most well known people in my industry. I highly recommend you download, read and follow the advice in Charlie Hoehn’s free ebook, Recession-Proof Graduate.

3. Use LinkedIn and other social media. If you’re having trouble getting a prospect to respond to an email, touch base via LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook. I find it’s much easier to get a response there and then move the conversation to email.

@TimGrahl / Out Think Group

1) Focus on being the best teacher you can be – that means you’re adding the most value for people. People remember that.

2) Be patient. Things don’t happen overnight. All of your efforts, even paid advertising, will take time to manifest.

3) Let data guide you. Data helps everyone make better decisions and keeps bad ideas at bay.

@EricSiu / Single Grain

Kathy Sierra teaches us to build something that makes your customer better at whatever it is you do. If you’re selling hammers to carpenters, have your hammer make them a better carpenter. If you’re selling project management software, your software should make your customer a better project manager.

Making your customer better will naturally lead to your customer evangelizing your product (because they’re putting themselves out there as being better for it). And that’s “my top three” lead generation tip: generate word of mouth. If you do that right, you don’t have to worry about another two ways to generate lead.

@JesseMecham / You Need a Budget

1. Google Hangouts of course! Hee! Hee!
2. Video
3. YT ads (massive giant that is moving onto the scene!)

@BrandeeSweesy / Brandee Sweesy

Trip-wire marketing: When a man meets a woman he likes, he’s not going to try to kiss her right away and she’s not going to let him. Both parties have to get to know each other and build trust. The same goes for lead-generation. Offer to give a lead something for free. When they take it and they see value in it, they start to trust you.

Then offer them something at a super low price-point – under $7. Again, if they take it, the trust continues to build. Then offer them your core product – at whatever that price point is. Then offer them upsells. All your money will be made in the core product and the upsells. But it all flows back to that initial free offer – the trip-wire.

Free stuff: Nothing gets leads in the door easier than giving them something for free. Ebooks, reports, information, videos – whatever format it is – try to give them something for free. Once you do that, you’ve built trust. Then you can start selling your core products.

As a rule of thumb, I also try to give away 95% of my content for free. People call me crazy. But when you give away most of your content, people will instinctively want to buy from you. That 5% of content and services I provide for a cost, can generate me hundreds of thousands of dollars. Don’t always be chasing the money. Deliver excellent service, over-deliver when you can, and the money will flow towards you.

Facebook ads: I can find my target audience easily with Facebook ads. On Facebook, you can target your ads to exactly the people you’d like to connect with, and decide how much you want to spend.

My ads usually advertise a “Free report” or anything “free”. This gets the lead to click, see my offer, take my free stuff in return for their email…and now they’re in my funnel.a

@JamesSwanwick / James Swanwick

1. Be clear on the problem you solve or the value you add – whether you have a service-based business or a product-based business.

For example, if you sell jewelry, is it bright and fun trinkets for teenagers, or diamond encrusted deluxe designs for special occasions? When you show a clear focus, you are sending out a beacon and your ideal customers will find you.

2. Understand how your customer thinks and what they’ll spend money on.

Say you create luxury handbags. You and I both know that the practical need for your product is small. A paper bag could serve the same purpose (unless it’s raining, and then you’ll want plastic).

Instead, what you are selling is a feeling. And your particular customer is going to feel fabulous, luxurious, powerful, and successful when they are carrying your handbag. That feeling is worth a lot to your customer. It creates an interior image for them regardless of how powerful and successful they really are – they simply feel rich when they own your bag.

Think of it as an imaginary equation: Status + Luxury = Success. And when you think that Louis Vuitton sells $150,000 bags on a regular basis, you know they understand EXACTLY what their customer wants, and what she’ll spend money on.

3. Bring your personality to everything you do: sales, marketing, branding, social media. People want to do business with their ‘friends.’

It doesn’t matter if you are the guy next door, an uptown diva, or a feel-good goddess, when you put your personal mark on everything you do people will feel like they know you, trust you.

Rather than remain faceless corporate entities, even companies as large as Amazon and Zappos have created a personality for their customers to relate to.

Another example? Financial giant Charles Schwab has spent considerable time over the past decade creating a friendly face with their ‘Ask Chuck’ campaign, and now have the greatest name recognition of any brokerage firm in the world.

Once you have these three as your foundation, put on your detective hat and be curious about your potential customers and what you think will attract them to you.

@ErikaLyremark / Lyremark

1. Care. fall in love with the problem potential clients are facing, *not* your solution to that problem.

2. Give. make valuable stuff and give it away. Be honest and forthright with your language, delight them, make it count.

3. Play for the long-haul. Listen to your audience, learn and improve over time. This goes for what you’re giving away, what language to use, which markets to target, etc.

@ChaseReeves / Fizzle

1. Word of mouth is the most powerful form of new leads who are ready to buy. If you always over deliver and aim to blow people away by how much you really care, you will always have new customers in line, waiting to do business with you.

2. For generating new leads from scratch as of this moment in time, there is nothing faster than Facebook advertising. This will change soon, and there will be a new hot method everyone is using, but at this moment you can make so much money with Facebook it’s ridiculous.

3. Solo ads are still a very viable way of generating new business leads. Sending targeted traffic from someone else’s list, who already has a relationship with that list, is a very potent way to get people into your sales funnel.

@NateBunger / Nate Bunger

It is crucial to know who your competition is and what they are up to. Things in business environment change constantly – make sure to be on top of that.

I very much appreciate competitors as it tends to keep me constantly on my toes. The best recipe for coexistence with any competition is working towards competitive advantage. Whilst not always easy to achieve, having unique business elements will get you ahead of the game.

@IzabelaRussell / @MikeRussell / Music Radio Creative

We’ve had great success with offering a powerful free eBook to our potential community members.

We’ve also had great experiences guest posting on others’ blogs and offering a complimentary program from our store.

But ultimately, the best way to get people to visit our site is to provide excellent content.

@AprilPerry / Power of Moms

1. Launch products – believe it or not, launching a product the right way (with affiliates, advertising, etc.) can help you to grow your list quickly.

2. Become a guest blogger – a few times per year offer to write guest blog posts for blogs that your audience reads. This way you can get in front of them and if your content is great, they’ll most likely follow the links back to your site and hopefully sign up for your newsletter.

3. Offering a reason for people to opt-in to your list. This can be a free report, a discount on your products or services or anything else that is relevant to your audience.

@AndreeaAyers / Launch Grow Joy

1) Meet people in unconventional ways. It may not be networking in the traditional sense, but many of my followers are people I’ve hosted through Airbnb or met at Burning Man.

2) Find overlapping interests. I’m a film school grad; I also wrote an e-book on the Share Economy. While I didn’t see the connection at first, film school grads and out-of-work actors happen to be the perfect audience for my e-book.

3) Get off-line. Sure, it’s good to be active on social media. But there are dozens of potential clients and businesses — especially those in my parents’ generation — who will never find you there. Don’t miss out on connections just because you’ve forgotten to pitch yourself to an off-line audience.

@saulofhearts / Saul of Hearts

Be passionate about what you are selling, be in front of as many people that you can, and be an expert. If you do those three things, people will come to you instead of you reaching out to them.

@EricBandholz / Beard Brand

1. Relationships first. I think that building relationships is the key more then anything else. This takes a long term point of view but it is worth it. We are in a service of people industry no matter what the business, don’t forget this.

2. Start a blog. This has generated more for me then I could have imagined. This helps with building relationships and becoming an expert in your field.

@ZechariahNewman / Zechariah Newman

Podcasting – Podcasting has been my main lead generation tool since 2010. It has positioned me as a thought leader, an early adopter, and a market leader in the online, digital and new media space and has connected me with global leaders in a way I never imagined.

My current and 4th podcast show ‘Switched On’ has become my main client acquisition tool, qualifying tool and positioning tool in my chosen field. I have clients and listeners in over 20 countries, my podcast has hit #1 on iTunes a multitude of times and it opens doors that I never imagined possible.

My Book – I self-published my book ‘It’s That Easy – Online Marketing 3.0’ in March 2013. This one action has generated more qualified leads than anything I had generated prior.

The one thing that surprised me the most from this experience was that although I had written and published eBooks before, nothing beats having a print book particularly if you’re looking to propel yourself as a speaker and market leader.

Facebook?? – My podcast show ‘Switched On’ and my book would not have the success they have without Facebook. Facebook has allowed me to create and sustain ongoing relationships from the leads I generated.

It gives me the opportunity to share, connect and engage with my market that not only continues to foster my existing connections; it creates new ones by default. It’s the organic conversations and new connections that evolve that then turn it into another lead generation tool.

@LudwinaDautovic / Ludwina