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3.5 Creative Tactics (and One Mega Strategy) to Generate Leads Without Boring, Blatant Self-Promotion

 

Sales is all about helping others understand the value you bring to the table.

The problem is, it doesn’t matter how beautifully written, concise, and relevant your value proposition is — you can only say it so many times before you start sounding like a broken record.

And a lot of the time, even if you convey it in the most elegant manner, people are conditioned to tune you out the second they detect a sliver of self-promotion.

So, the lead-gen game is all about crafting creative ways to communicate your value to your community and generate leads WITHOUT blatant self-promotion.

Here some ways my team has had success with this.

#1 Leverage a Technical Relationship to Generate Leads

This month, we have about 20 leads sitting in trial due to a brand new integration with a partner SaaS company, and it’s an integration we haven’t even released yet.

Merely communicating that we’ll soon be releasing an integration has created enough buzz in online groups to keep our #demorequests Slack channel buzzing and our reps taking the credit cards of eager beta testers.

But even if you don’t have exciting new integrations to talk about, you’ll often find that revisiting old ones or adding just the smallest feature merits talking about the relationship and benefits over and over again to reach an entirely new audience .

Action item

Schedule a meeting with one of your old integration partners. Then put a webinar on the calendar where you can cross-promote what’s new with your platforms and reiterate why the platforms work well together.

Their audience sees you, your audience sees them, everyone wins.

#2 Use Strategic Relationships as Grounds to Co-Market

Don’t have an unlimited supply of exciting, new, powerful technical relationships to talk about?

Neither do we, but that doesn’t mean you can’t apply the same strategy to a different kind of relationship — a strategic relationship.

For example, we provide a platform for analytics and gamification. We’ve struck up relationships with all kinds of sales coaching companies and lead-generation gurus in our industry (there’s clear alignment between what each of us offers…).

This gives us the perfect excuse to introduce them to our world and for them to introduce us to theirs. They talk about the latest sales coaching/lead gen tactics, and we talk about how leaderboards and gamification can be fuel on that fire.

We did one of these a few weeks ago, and it generated around 45 brand new leads that we sequenced in Outreach to get 8 demos set. Our demos usually convert at around 50%, so we thought this was pretty awesome for a low-key, conversational style webinar that took maybe 4-5 hours of our time between setup and completion.

Action item

Find someone with a non-competitive product or service who would be game to co-market a webinar where you’ll combine your expertise and theirs into valuable content.

After, use a simple sequence that sends the registrants the recording and asks if it would make sense to take the next steps.

#3 Leverage a Partner Endorsement so Cold Outreach Doesn’t Feel Quite so Cold

I LOVE this one.

It wasn’t my idea. We hired a baller new rep (our first outbound SDR, actually) who found an ingenious way to schedule a bunch of demos without taking a single minute away from our leadership or sales ops team.

He was listening to a podcast where the CEO of a well-known and respected coaching company said that he “Frickin’ loves Sisu” (Sisu is our company).

Then, he found a goldmine of relevant leads using ZoomInfo and a bunch of contact information that was readily available online.

His sequence was a combination of calls and automated emails that leveraged that piece of content along with a free trial for a tailored campaign:

Step 1: Call

Step 2: Call

Step 3: Auto email (Screenshot below)

Step 4: Reply to the email in step 3

Step 5: Call

This is our email from step 3, which referenced the podcast quote..

 

Here’s what all of the sequence steps looked like…

 

And these were the results — 20 demos set from 70 sequenced leads. This made a big difference in our pipeline that month.

 

So, yea. That new rep of ours turned one promotional sentence on a random podcast into 20 demos and 10+ accounts using cold outreach that didn’t feel quite so cold.

#3.5 Leverage an Influential Customer Testimonial to Co-Promote

This one is pretty similar to number three (which is why I’m calling it “3.5”) but different in one key aspect:

Rather than taking the partner/customer testimonials to the client ourselves using cold outreach, we’re promoting their story through their channels to create warmer inbound leads.

The key is not to post a boring testimonial that’s blatantly promotional — rather, put something together where your client can show off their expertise and leadership using your tool — which will undoubtedly drive interest for your tool.

Your interest is leads. Their interest is thought leadership. That’s how you make it win/win.

A strong affiliate program can add a little fuel to the fire, too.

We’re pretty lucky to have some amazing clients with massive influence and following amongst their peers in our industry.

It’s always been our strategy to listen closely to these customers, meet their needs, and then work with them as affiliates to promote our offering to the rest of the market. It’s been our bread and butter strategy.

It’s effective because it helps us create the best offering while using a reputable testimonial to do 80% of the lead gen work for us.

Action item

Find your most reputable, well-connected client (think: any client with a podcast or a large social following), and figure out how you can work closer together.

Maybe you can do an affiliate program, or maybe you can work with them to nail a key feature that would make them a bigger fan. Then, you can co-promote (again, webinars are great) to drive some traffic.

And… the Ultimate Tactic to OWN Headlines and Social for an Entire Month!

This one just about killed me, but man, it was worth it.

We combined everything from the prior 4 steps into one mega-event — two days, two tracks, all streamed live on Facebook (our audience lives on Facebook). 30-minute sessions with 62 sessions in total.

Our team is small, so this meant that our team members were live-streaming interviews with industry leaders and experts for 7.5 hours each day with only a 30-minute break.

RELATED: How to Plan a Virtual Event That Generates Leads in 4 Easy Steps

It was totally worth it. And it cost us less than $5,000.

It was roughly $1500 in Facebook ads to promote. And we actually dropped quite a bit of money on some company swag (Swag.com made this super easy) to send care packages to our speakers afterwards as thank-yous. Now we see a lot of Sisu hats on Zoom calls and webinars.

We recuperated that 5k before the event even started just from leads who couldn’t wait until the actual event to evaluate us and purchase before we ever kicked off the first live stream.

Beyond the direct revenue gains, all of this was absolutely massive for our brand.

We had both technical and strategic partners reaching out to us directly afterwards, hoping to collaborate at a higher level. Our customers (especially our more influential ones) were instantly more bought into our community, and our engagement rates on our private Facebook group have gone up.

All of this because it combined all of the tactics from above:

We had integration partners, reputable clients, strategic partners, and more participating. I could write an entire article about how we pulled the thing off (for next to no $$$), but the point is that it combined all of the elements above.

We reached 64 different audiences over the course of a month, generated thousands of leads, and now have more content than we know what to do with to do post-promotion.

But I’m willing to bet, based on the anecdotal experiences I’ve had almost every single day since then, that the market perception and brand recognition we built from it was the most valuable part.

Action item

Throw together an online event! If I were doing it again, I would have scaled it down a bit. 62 speakers over two days just about killed us, and I think we could see 80% of the benefits by refining the speaker list down to 16 influential speakers and doing all of the same pre and post-promotion.

Do it Better Than Us

Here are some ways I’m still looking to improve these processes:

Systematize the follow-up: This should allow us to do more experimenting and increase conversion rates.

Use the content for more campaigns: All of these tips generate a ton of content, but it feels like we only use 20% (or less) of the content that we could be promoting. I’d love to build it into more of our campaigns, saved Outreach snippets, ads, email marketing, etc.

Do more post-promotion: The magic is really in the post-promotion. I feel like there’s more juice we could be squeezing there.

Focus more on less: We will probably do another event in six months, but we’ll scale down the size of the event. Attendance dropped when we started getting past 50 straight 30 minute sessions. We could do 16 sessions, beef them up a little, and get the same results. I would do just as much, if not more, for the pre-promotion but focus more on a core of 16 speakers.

So, now it’s your turn to put these lead generation tips to the test and do it better than we did! Let me know how these tips work for you and what other improvements you’ve made to our system.

Thanks for reading!

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    • Profile picture of Gary Jesch
      @chops
      ( 190 POINTS )
      2 weeks, 5 days ago

      Can this Ultimate Hack be done without advertising? If so, how does one avoid the blatant promotion of the event? I agree that blatant promotion scares people away, no matter what is being promoted? Could you say how you addressed this concern in both the pre-event and post-promotion stages? The article has great info in it! Thanks!

      • Profile picture of Zac Muir
        @sisuzac
        ( 510 POINTS )
        2 weeks, 5 days ago

        @chops no problem!

        I think it definitely could. We had about 2k signups on the event, and only 250 of them were from the ads (on 1500 ad spend). So that’s about 6 bucks a lead, which is pretty worth it for us. The other 3500 we spent was completely unnecessary, just some swag that we wanted to send out to each of the speakers as a thank-you.

        I think we got away from being self-promotional about the event because our speakers were the ones sharing with their audience. We specifically chose speakers who had a following on social, podcast, Facebook, coaching groups, etc. So it was more them promoting it saying “Hey, here’s this cool event I’m speaking at, and there’s a stacked line up of speakers!”

        The post promotion is a little more tricky. I ran a few experiments and it seems the best results were just a basic two email + one call campaign something like “Hey, saw you were registered for our event and wanted to shoot over the recording. What were you hoping to get out of the event?”. Because the event was centered around at topic we’re pretty authoritative in, we were able to schedule quite a few demos this way too.

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