Generating sales leads is the lifeblood of any thriving business. Without a consistent stream of potential customers, your revenue targets are nothing but a pipe dream.

You know this already. But for many businesses, investing heavily in sales is not an option right now. Somehow, you need to drum up interest without going over budget. In these circumstances, the only choice is to get a little creative. 

If you’re wondering how to squeeze more out of your tight sales budget, look no further. In this guide, we’re going to show you how to get sales leads for free — and there’s no catch.

How to Get Sales Leads for Free

Whether you’re starting from scratch or trying to fill up your funnel, the following marketing strategies and sales tactics should push your sales numbers in the right direction:

1) Follow Up With Old Leads

The easiest free way to generate new leads? Convert old ones

We all have leads that got away. For some, your previous conversation came at the wrong time. Maybe they didn’t have the budget or they were pursuing a different strategy.

Whatever the reason, it’s worth digging up these potential customers from your CRM and trying again. Look for lost deals, where the last point of contact was 12 months ago or more, and reach out with a new offer.

You might be surprised by how many show an interest.

2) Upsell Your Existing Customers

Just as your old leads can show new potential, it’s worth revisiting your existing customers to see whether they would be open to another purchase.

Upselling is the name of the game here. If a customer is on your basic plan, explore whether they would consider upgrading. If they previously bought one product, introduce them to complementary products in your range.

This tactic can be very powerful because all your existing customers are high-quality leads. All you have to do is find out whether they are ready to buy.

3) Ask for Referrals

Both in B2C and B2B, referrals drive a remarkable number of leads. What’s more, the conversion rate and close time for these leads is considerably better than those from other sources.

While some referrals occur organically, you can unlock more simply by asking your existing customers.

In B2B contexts, this could mean asking your customers to make an introduction if they are happy with your product or service. For B2C sales, you can offer a reward for referrals — such as a discount for friends and family who sign up via a tracked link.

4) Try Email Outreach

Let’s start with the basics. If you haven’t yet tried direct outreach, it is definitely worth a shot.

Of course, email marketing isn’t easy. Everyone receives a daily deluge of messages, so there’s never any guarantee that your pitch will be seen.

However, you can improve your chances by personalizing subject lines, keeping your messages snappy, and following tried-and-tested templates. What’s more, it’s possible to automate a significant proportion of your email marketing workflow — meaning you should see a decent return on your time investment.

Top tip: Use Datanyze to find the up-to-date email address for any prospect, with a couple of clicks.

Use Datanyze to find the up-to-date email address for any prospect

5) Consider Cold Calling

Many sales professionals claim that cold calling is dead. But actually, there is still life in this old-school sales channel.

Cold calling definitely works best in a B2B context. Many executives actually prefer taking a short phone call over wading through yet more email. You just need to deliver the right message, and be persistent enough to get through.

If you want to learn more, check out our comprehensive guide to cold calling.

Top tip: Datanyze can reveal the correct phone number for any professional in seconds.

6) Attend Local Business Gatherings

Away from your desk, an obvious place to look for leads is at your local chamber of commerce or business brunch. While these events won’t attract multi-million-dollar organizations, they are free to attend and they are all about networking. 

Even if your dream client doesn’t attend these events, you might be surprised by the number of valuable referrals that you can generate from becoming a regular face at such meetings. 

In addition, these meetings can help you keep track of what is happening within your industry and others.

7) Network at Industry Conferences

While some industry events require an entry fee, others are free for attendees. Such conferences are absolutely packed with potential sales leads, so there’s an excellent chance of bumping into a future customer.

To make this strategy work, you need to strike up as many conversations as possible. Don’t go straight into your sales pitch; it’s important to build a business relationship first. Once you have some rapport going, you can then ask about that person’s pain points and how your product or service may be able to help.

Before you part with each new acquaintance, be sure to get their contact details so you can follow up at a later date.

8) Leverage LinkedIn for Connections

In the B2B world, LinkedIn is a hub of activity. It’s where people connect, share ideas, and find possible partners.

Posting content regularly is a good way to attract the attention of potential customers. As with content marketing, this strategy allows you to prove your expertise within your industry and reach new leads through your extended network.

LinkedIn also has a built-in messaging system. This means you can get in touch with prospects you don’t already know. Try connecting with potential leads, or even asking your connections to make an introduction.

Top tip: Use Datanyze to research new leads on LinkedIn.

Find Accurate LinkedIn Contact Info in Minutes

9) Participate in Twitter Chats

Over on the most concise social media platform, users with shared interests will often convene at the same time each week for a Twitter chat. These social events provide another free opportunity for lead generation.

To get involved, you first need to find your community or start your own. Look at the hashtags that people in your industry are using and ask your followers for pointers. 

When you find a chat, be sure to log on at the appropriate time and search for the relevant hashtag. You can then see all the tweets that other people have shared — reply to start the conversation.

10) Join and Engage in Facebook Groups

Facebook might not be the first platform that comes to mind for free lead generation. However, this veteran platform actually has a lot to offer.

Facebook Groups is where the magic happens. You can find thriving interest-based communities for almost any topic or industry, from car enthusiasts to real estate photographers. 

While self-promotion is often frowned upon in such groups, simply engaging with other members and dropping a few helpful comments can get you noticed by potential customers. 

11) Make an Impact on Instagram and TikTok

If your product or service can be demonstrated visually, it might be worth building an audience on Instagram and TikTok. Good ideas often go viral on these social platforms, driving thousands of clicks.

The key here is to make something that grabs attention. Show how your product works in 30 seconds, ideally with a little over-the-top style. It’s basically free advertising.

Over on Instagram, you also have the opportunity to keep followers engaged through stories. Here, you may entice new leads by posting about your latest releases, product updates, and special offers.

12) Answer Questions on Quora and Reddit

Both Quora and Reddit are platforms where people go for answers. If you can provide valuable information here, a fair number of users will check out your profile and possibly investigate your offering.

Some marketers make the mistake of answering questions with a thinly veiled sales pitch. Users aren’t stupid; they will see through your attempt and punish you with downvotes. 

Instead, try to provide genuine value with your answers and only include a mention of your product where it makes sense. 

13) Mix Up Your SEO Strategy

SEO can be a powerful lead generation strategy. However, most businesses never see the full potential of search. This is because everyone tries to compete for the same popular keywords, and there’s only one spot at the top of Google search results.

Rather than going up against the giants of SEO, consider changing up your strategy. 

For instance, you could prioritize long-tail keywords. These are highly specific search terms that usually see less competition than shorter keywords.

You could also optimize for zero-volume search terms. Most SEO research terms show that these keywords attract no interest — but in reality, they may see up to 100 clicks a month.

14) Utilize Local SEO

Another often-overlooked tactic in SEO is going local. Let’s say you are running a local delivery company.

When you search for a particular type of business, Google will usually display a list of three local providers, along with a small map for context. Tap on one of these links, and you see a full profile for the business that includes a short description, opening hours, contact information, and a website link. 

You can set up your own profile like this and claim your address via Google Business Profile. It’s completely free to set up, and a very effective way to find leads in your local area — particularly for small businesses.

15) Make the News

In marketing, it’s often said that “any press is good press.” While this might be a slight exaggeration, making the news is definitely an effective way to fill your sales funnel.

Making the news is an effective way to fill your sales funnel

Sending out press releases is a good place to start. Whenever you launch a new product or add major new features to an existing one, consider firing out a quick update to relevant trade publications or your local press.

You could also put up a prominent member of staff for interviews, and get involved with local community events. It can all help with bringing leads back to your funnel.

16) Try Hosting Some Webinars

People love to learn from experts. And when those individuals want to make a purchase, they tend to trust the experts who taught them.

Hosting free webinars is a great way to attract your target audience and prove your expertise. At the same time, you can drop some subtle (or not-so-subtle) promo for your product or services. 

Some businesses go one step further and charge a small fee for webinars. This has the effect of weeding out attendees who have no intention of parting with their cash — an important step in qualifying leads for your actual product.

Just remember to collect the email address of every attendee, so you can follow up later.

17) Create a White Paper

For B2B lead generation, creating a white paper can earn you a fair number of inbound leads.

The basic idea here is pretty simple; you’re offering a resource as a lead magnet. People in your industry are likely to be interested in your findings, so they are willing to join your email list in exchange for access to the document.

Obviously, this is an indirect route to increased leads — but the same principle applies to most inbound marketing. 

To make white papers work for your business, be very selective about the content you create. Make sure that it fits perfectly with the interests of your ideal customers.

18) Share Some Case Studies

Any kind of social proof has the potential to turn visitors into leads, and case studies are particularly influential. Around 39% of marketing professionals in SaaS say that this form of content drives sales, and most plan to increase the number of case studies they create.

This lead gen tactic works best when you craft case studies that are enjoyable to read. While it’s important to include statistics to back up your claims, people want to learn about similar individuals who have seen success after working with your brand.

To make your case studies really stand out, make sure to interview your customers. Many will be happy to give you a glowing quote or testimonial.

And remember, there are many different ways to present a case study. Here are a few examples:

19) Focus on Your Blog

Blogging for leads requires patience and persistence. If your sales team is crying out for instant leads, this strategy probably shouldn’t be your first option.

However, publishing valuable content is a worthwhile longer-term investment in lead generation. The more posts you share, the more people are likely to find your content — from search engines, via social media, or through word of mouth. 

As long as you include a CTA (call-to-action) somewhere in every article, you’re likely to see a steady stream of new leads emerging from this channel.

20) Build a Newsletter

Your blog can attract new readers who might become leads. But what about people who are already interested in your brand? Running an email newsletter is a great way to keep them engaged, and convert some of them into new customers.

If you’re going to use this tactic, consistency is key. Most successful newsletters are published at least once a month, and most have more frequent updates.

As with blogging, make sure to deliver value to your subscribers. They are likely to repay you with goodwill when you want to promote your products.

In terms of growing your newsletter, make sure to include all existing customers on your email list. Add pop-up forms to your website and blog, and give people the option to opt-in when they use your contact forms.

21) Offer a Free Tool

Just as potential leads can be attracted by free resources, offering a free tool can generate interest in your brand.

Take the example of CoSchedule. This SaaS platform is aimed at content creators. On the company website, you will find a free headline analyzer tool that is very popular with content authors.

Offering a free tool can generate interest in your brand.

To use the tool, you have to fill out a short form and leave your email address. So, the sales team at CoSchedule has a constant stream of content creators who are leaving their contact details.

If you don’t have the resources to make a new tool from scratch, consider allowing people to use an existing product on a free account with limited functionality. 

22) Create an Affiliate Marketing Program

As we discovered earlier, earning referrals can be an easy way to unlock more leads. So, what if you could generate referrals on an industrial scale? That’s the idea behind affiliate marketing.

By creating an affiliate program, you can reward bloggers, influencers, and anyone else who advocates your brand. And it’s completely free until you make a sale.

Obviously, giving up a cut of each deal only works if you have a reasonable profit margin. But if you have that room to play with, it’s possible to build a small army of part-time salespeople via your affiliate program — driving an awful lot of leads.

23) Team Up With Other Businesses

Business is usually dog-eat-dog. It’s you against the world, and only the victor will walk away with a decent stream of leads.

Except, it doesn’t have to be like this. If you can find another business that shares your customer profile but isn’t a direct competitor, you may be able to team up and cross-promote your brands.

Such mutually beneficial agreements are not always easy to set up, but the potential rewards are immense. 

Imagine a bike manufacturer and a cycling helmet maker working together, or a wedding planner and a florist. When each business sends leads to their partner, both halves of the arrangement are likely to see an overall increase in paying customers.

24) Improve Your Website

Way too many business websites are easy on the eye, but badly optimized for generating leads. Improving the content and design of just your homepage is a free way to attract more interest.

Here’s a checklist:

  • Use images to grab the attention of visitors
  • Include a clear call to action
  • Engage visitors with live chat or a chatbot
  • Use pop-ups to promote your lead magnets

Elsewhere on your website, make sure to include a call to action on every page, and add contact forms where appropriate.

Improving the content and design of just your homepage is a free way to attract more interest.

An addition that can surprisingly drive leads is a FAQs section, particularly on product pages. If you can answer the questions and concerns of visitors, they are more likely to go ahead with a purchase.

25) Build Dedicated Landing Pages

No matter how much you optimize your homepage, it won’t be as effective at attracting leads as a dedicated landing page

Whether you’re offering a lead magnet or a product, it’s a good idea to build a dedicated page. When someone then follows a link from your social media or your newsletter, they will be dropped straight into a sales pitch.

Creating custom landing pages is also one of the best ways to capitalize on all the other strategies mentioned above.

You can create landing pages within your existing website. However, specialized landing page builders can speed up the process — and you don’t need any technical knowledge to use them.

If you decide to go down this route, make sure to link landing pages on your company domain name and set up link tracking. 

10 Free Lead Generation Tools

All of the free strategies above have the potential to fill up your funnel. To help you execute them successfully, here are some free lead gen tools to add to your workflow:

  • Datanyze Our Chrome extension allows you to gather important information about any lead with a LinkedIn Profile or company website profile. It’s totally free to try.
  • Sumo This free email capture tool helps you to add a range of useful lead gen features to your website, without the need for any coding knowledge. 
  • D7 Lead Finder — If most of your leads are local, this free research tool can help you track them down by keyword.
  • HubSpot — From CRM features to marketing automation, HubSpot is a well-known platform that provides a whole heap of features on a free account.
  • Hello Bar — You can add an attention-grabbing call to action at the top of your website with this free tool.
  • Mailchimp — Free for the first 1,000 subscribers, Mailchimp has loads of great features for sending newsletters and building email marketing campaigns.
  • Calendly — Even on the free plan, Calendly lets you build a branded calendar for booking sales meetings and other events.
  • Hootsuite — You can manage multiple social media accounts in one dashboard with Hootsuite, and most of the basic features are free.
  • Hotjar — See exactly how visitors are interacting with your site via heatmaps and other useful metrics, with up to 35 sessions a day on the free plan.
  • OptinMonster — Specializing in opt-in popups, OptinMonster helps you build your newsletter and promote your lead magnets.

Upgrade Your Lead Gen Today 

Once you have a healthy supply of leads flowing into your funnel, the next step is to convert those leads into customers.

With Datanyze you can get email addresses, mobile numbers and more directly from LinkedIn

Datanyze can help here. By revealing key information about your leads, our extension makes it easier for sales reps to connect with new contacts and deliver the right offer.

Our database covers 120 million professionals, with accurate contact information sourced in accordance with GDPR and CCPA.

What’s more, Datanyze is easy to use and affordable for any business.

Sign up free today to give it a try for yourself.