12 Innovative Lead Generation Ideas to Stand Out from the Competition

​The ability to generate leads is foundational to success for businesses of all types, and it’s certainly a must-have skill for digital marketing agencies. You need strong lead-generation campaign ideas to connect with potential clients for your agency. But you must also be able to generate leads for your clients.

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Implementing effective lead-generation tactics via your digital marketing strategy helps you stand out from the competition. Discover a dozen lead-generation tactics you can employ today to increase brand awareness and fill your marketing pipelines with potential customers.

1. Educate your audience through valuable content

Around 80 percent of marketers see success with content marketing (Statista). Whether you’re just working to start a digital marketing company or you want to expand your existing agency into a new niche, content marketing can be one of the easiest lead-gen ideas to implement. Make sure you:

  • Consider the pain points of your target audience so you can create quality content that provides relevant information and solutions
  • Offer valuable resources such as ebooks, whitepapers, or webinars that educate potential clients and help them see your agency as an experienced authority
  • Publish content consistently to establish credibility with your audience—if you set an expectation that you publish one blog post a week, keep up with that pace to build trust with potential clients

2. A/B test and experiment with different calls to actions

One thing that’s true for all digital agency startups is that not every lead-generation idea is a success story. Taking time to figure out what works best for your audience can help you enhance performance, especially with calls to action (CTAs).

For example, CTAs as anchor text can help increase conversions by more than 100 percent, but that’s not true in every case. Sometimes CTAs shaped like buttons perform better because the audience can recognize them even when scanning copy quickly. (Sixth City Marketing) A/B testing helps you determine what works best for your agency or clients.

Use A/B testing to analyze CTA performance based on:

  • Where the CTA is located on the page, such as above or below the fold
  • The type of CTA, such as button or hyperlink
  • The wording of the CTA
  • Design elements, such as the color or size of the button


3. Interact & engage with potential prospects via social media

When it comes to lead generation activities, social media management may be an important marketing agency service to provide. So many people are already on these platforms multiple times a day, creating opportunities for you to engage with potential prospects or help your clients connect with new customers.

Actively participating in relevant social media communities is paramount to success—you can’t just create a profile and expect the magic to happen. Consider the type of content that will interest your target audience and consistently post it. Then engage with prospects via comments and direct messages—when it’s clear that your company is human-backed and cares about its clients and potential customers, you’ll win more goodwill on social media.

Choose the right social media platforms for your needs. Surveys in 2023 indicate that 90 percent of marketing experts use Facebook for promotional purposes (Statista). However, business-to-business content may perform better on LinkedIn, and if you’re targeting younger users with a creative product message, TikTok may be an important channel to include.

4. Implement basic local SEO strategies

Companies that serve a local audience should always include local SEO in their lead-generation campaign ideas. Critical tasks for local SEO support include:

  • Optimizing website content. Include mentions of local towns and neighborhoods to help search engines understand that you aim to support people in a specific geolocation.
  • Ensure title tags and other meta content are optimized. Include local keywords in headings, meta descriptions, captions, and other high-value locations within your content.
  • Claim your local lists. Claim and manage your listings on Google, Yelp, and other relevant sites to enhance your performance in search and map results.
  • Encourage customers to leave reviews. When you have more positive reviews, search engines and other sites are more likely to suggest your business to relevant searchers.

5. Publish a blog to showcase expertise and attract leads

A company blog is a tried-and-true lead-generation content idea. Including a blog in your marketing agency strategy helps you demonstrate your experience within the industry and showcase how you can help clients. If you add a blog to your marketing strategy, ensure you consistently publish high-quality content that addresses the questions, concerns, or other needs of your target audience.

6. Guest post on relevant websites to expand reach

Another lead generation idea is to create blog posts or articles that can be shared on other relevant sites. This expands your reach to the readers of that blog or website. It can also signal your expertise because another trusted company or site thought your content was important enough to publish.

You can even partner with different types of agencies to guest post. For instance, if your boutique agency specializes in providing social media services, you might offer to write a guest post for a different boutique agency that specializes in PPC ads.

7. Offer Free Consultations or Services

Free trials or offers are creative lead-generation ideas that can help you build client relationships quickly. Consider what you can offer potential clients for free that demonstrates your agency’s value and encourages clients to sign up for paid services.

Some examples include:

  • In-depth consultations where you provide quality, actionable recommendations
  • Free webinars where you educate prospects about a specific marketing strategy
  • Short-term trials for marketing software or subscription-based services so potential clients can experience benefits for themselves

8. Utilize Email Marketing and Segmentation(1110)

Email users are very engaged with their inbox. Almost 100 percent—99 percent, to be exact—of people who use email check their inbox at least once a day, and many check it up to 20 times a day (Porch Group Media).

This makes email marketing one of the best niches for marketing agencies to offer services in. It also makes it an important lead-generation strategy.

For best results, segment your email list so you can provide custom-tailored offers and marketing messages to various prospect types. Use active, helpful language, and consider keeping emails short. Provide links to offers and pages where prospects can learn more to encourage engagement with your email.

9. Create and Share Valuable Content

If you’re looking for new lead-generation ideas or want more ways to find clients for digital marketing, consider how you can share content that prospects will turn to repeatedly. Ebooks, whitepapers, checklists, and other downloads that offer thought leadership and valuable education help position your agency as an authority in the niche. These are also the types of content people are willing to trade their email and contact information for, making them excellent lead-generation tools.

10. Build a Referral Network

Word-of-mouth marketing remains a powerful resource for businesses of all types. This is especially true if you want to start a marketing agency without formal experience. If you’ve provided excellent value or support to businesses or employers, they may be part of your initial referral network and key to helping you find your first clients.

As you grow your agency, consider incentivizing referrals via loyalty programs to build lead-generation loops. You might offer discounts and rewards for clients who refer others for your services.

11. Host Events, Webinars, and Live Streams

Today, the most innovative lead generation ideas tend to put a human face on the effort. In-person or virtual events like live streams, webinars, and social hours help you connect directly with prospects and build the first important foundations of trust.

This works on micro and macro levels. Instagram stories and lives where a real person talks to the audience can be powerful and are typically easily integrated into marketing strategies. Larger events, such as webinars or luncheons, take a bit more work but can feel like a special effort made by the agency to really connect on a human level with prospective clients.

Before you put the time, effort, and money into larger events, ensure they will be valuable to your audience. You might conduct polls and feedback sessions to find out what your audience would find most helpful to ensure you have a good chance at high ROI from these events.

12. Provide Discounts, Coupons, and Incentives

The freebie or discount is a well-known lead generation idea that can work in almost any industry. Some keys to implementing this type of lead generation strategy include:

  • Creating a valuable offer. Ten dollars off of $1,000 isn’t typically a valuable enough offer to win leads, for example.
  • Offering a discount on new services. Invite clients to be among the first to sign-up for a service with a discount.
  • Creating loyalty programs. Brainstorm how you can provide incentives for existing customers, such as access to new features before anyone else or options for referral bonuses.

Ultimately, you should think about what your clients or audience may need or want and how you can offer benefits that encourage them to take action on your services now.

About the Author

Lawrence Dy is the SEO Strategy Manager at Vendasta. His career spans from starting as a Jr. Copywriter in the automotive industry to becoming a Senior Editorial Content Manager in various digital marketing niches. Outside of work, Lawrence moonlights as a music producer/beatmaker and spends time with friends and family.

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