Entrepreneurs, growing startups, and enterprises have one thing in common: generate income. Throughout recent years, inbound marketing has proven to be an excellent way of doing this. Yet, people don't go from unaware to brand-loyal customers all at once. Before they're ready to engage in a discussion about what you sell, they need to go through several stages: awareness, interest, consideration, evaluation, and eventually purchase. Through the first two stages, you get leads. Inbound marketing is not the be-all-end-all approach. This data-driven practice leverages content on its website to attract prospects and convert them into leads. That means inbound is a long game with a significant upfront cost. In contrast, outbound marketing gives you faster results and lets you target a specific group of people, most likely to buy your product. Usually, it's best to mix both strategies for optimal results. Getting people interested in what you have to sell doesn't have to be difficult. Here we'll review some channels and strategies that you can use to generate leads and fill your pipeline today. 1. Ask your customers for referrals Referrals from your clients are your best source of quality leads. A referral implies that you are trusted and valued, and confirms what it's like to do business with you. Everyone agrees that a referral collection strategy is effective, but it's hard to implement one effectively. You can follow the five steps below to get started: Check with your customer to make sure that they are happy (and if they're not, ask them how you can make things better). Ping your client through an email and ask for a 10-minute call. Thank the client for the business and explain that you value your relationship. Ask if there are any other contacts or companies they can think of that would be interested in the service that you are providing. Ask if they arrange a quick call between you or introduce you in a brief email. 2. Create content online Creating content online helps you get free leads in both the short-term and the long-term. When you use social media to promote your content, you can see a quick spike in traffic to your website, albeit not a huge one, unless you already have a huge following. In the long-term, your content will live on your site and gain authority in the search engines as more people search for queries that your content answers for them. All of this can be free, depending on whether you'll write the content yourself but requires time, skill, and consistency. 3. Optimize your social media profiles Have you updated your LinkedIn profile recently? If not — now would be a good time to do so. Keeping your social media profiles fresh is a great way of acquiring more leads. LinkedIn is no doubt the most beneficial social media platform for entrepreneurs and salespeople. Make your profile stand out by crafting a catchy LinkedIn headline and descriptive summary that tells precisely what you do. Here are a few ways which you can use to make sure you have stellar social media profiles. 4. Find new prospects Most salespeople are on LinkedIn, but may not be using it effectively. It is a salesperson's dream to be able to connect in a high-value, low-effort way to find interested prospects, and social media is a great way to do so. A few quick suggestions to leverage your social media presence for lead generation: Try to connect with as many people as you can. The more connections you have, the wider your reach will be. You don't have to be best friends with the people with whom you connect. Share with your following that you're currently looking to identify and help a specific type of prospect with a specific type of problem. The more specific, the better. Get recommendations from current clients who are happy with your work and will vouch for your value and professionalism. 5. Send automated email sequences Before defining your outreach strategy, you'll need to figure out who your prospects are and where to find them. For instance, if you're a branding agency in the healthcare industry, you could look for doctors mentioned in the news using Google Alerts. Then get creative with the email copy — be clever. To send a successful email sequence, have a clear purpose for each one. Building upon the example above: Congratulate them on their news coverage Send them helpful content personalized to them Explain that you're trying to connect Reach out one last time Finally, make sure that you measure the performance of your sequence so you can make improvements based on previous data. Fill your sales pipeline by outsourcing your lead generation Regardless of how small or large, your business is, you can generate quality leads online to increase revenue. These are some of the strategies that we at Cosiall use to generate leads for your business. Try these tactics yourself to close more deals or if you're already buried with work we would be happy to implement these for you.