Cartoon drawing of various social media logos, including LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and Twitter, locked up behind bars in what seems to be a prison.

It’s not just you. 

It really is getting harder and harder to promote your business on socials. 

Why? Oh, let me count the ways… 

For starters, people just aren’t spending nearly as much time hooked up to their sweet dopamine dispensers as they used to. According to Comscore, socials accounted for only 15% of all time spent online last year — down from 22% in 2019. 

On top of that, it’s getting tougher to get your message noticed. Organic reach of social media posts is a shadow of what it used to be, because they gotta make you pay for ads somehow! And speaking of ads: even pay-per-click is less consistent than it used to be — both because of consumers growing jaded, and platform owners pulling shady stunts and manipulating metrics. 

In other words, social media marketing may not be “dead” — but it sure is broken. 

So if you’re looking to take your lead generation efforts to greener pastures, I have only to things to say:

  1. It’s about time, and
  2. I’ve got some suggestions for you.

In today’s article, we’ll take a look at 5 lead gen methods that don’t depend on social media to work — and how to start implementing them in your business. I believe that any entrepreneur should be able to make an honest sale without subjecting themself to TikTok dances, participating in trending hashtags, or any such horrors.

Do you agree? Then read on, and you will learn about:

  • One source of top-quality leads that’s hiding in plain sight, which you can tap on demand… pretty much instantly.
  • An alternate way to invest your advertising dollars that doesn’t involve PPC ads, a.k.a. everyone’s least favorite money-devouring black hole.
  • How to bring your leads to an asset that you own and control (hint: it’s email, it’s always been email), plus 3 ways to make the most of it.
  • A simple and incredibly effective shortcut to building trust with new leads, even if they didn’t know you existed until now.
  • The best and most powerful way to attract more customers and clients for free, and how the top brands in the world are using it.

And more. Let’s dive right in!


1. Win back your past clients and customers

Here’s an idea: in order to generate new sales, you don’t always have to go chasing new leads. Plus, it’s often easier to win back a past customer or client than to go and convince someone brand new who doesn’t even know you!

Think of all the people who have bought from you in the past but didn’t stick around for one reason or another. What if you could bring at least some of them back? That would provide your business with a quick revenue injection without the usual stress and effort of lead gen.

(And if it works well, you can make it an official part of your sales cycle.)

How to implement it: plan and execute a winback campaign to seduce past customers into buying from you again.

  • Create a list of ex-buyers to reach out to. This could be a segment of your email list or an old-fashioned rolodex.
  • Brainstorm an outrageously tempting offer to bring them back “into the fold.” Make it limited and one-time only.
  • Make the offer to those past customers through your preferred channel: email, phone calls, SMS, direct mail, etc.
  • Enjoy new sales you didn’t have to hustle up leads for!

Tip: you can use the same method to target “old” leads who have grown cold, but it works better with customers / clients who used to pay you.


2. Sponsor creators your audience can’t get enough of

Paid traffic can be a wonderfully scalable, highly efficient way to funnel new leads into your business — and it doesn’t have to involve pay-per-click ads.

Ask yourself: what are some of the sources of influence and entertainment for your target market? What are their favorite YouTube channels? Which podcasts would you find in their iTunes feed? What are some newsletters in their inbox?

(These don’t have to be literal “I’ll pose half-naked with your product in hand on Instagram” lifestyle influencers, by the way. They could be content creators in any niche.)

Sponsoring a few creators your target customers love could be an effective way to get right in front of aligned, highly motivated prospects.

How to implement it: make a list of 3-5 sources of influence your ideal customers pay attention to. (You can use a tool like SparkToro to uncover those insights quickly, it has a generous free plan.)

Then, investigate their advertising / sponsorship costs. Most creators have an “advertise with us” section somewhere on the website, not necessarily under that exact name, where you can get all the relevant info.

Tip: you can also straight-up use a specialized influencer agency, like our friends at Sunset Social (not an affiliate link, by the way, I’m just a fan).


3. Finally grow your email list (because you OWN it)

“Seriously, Summer? Does anyone still need to be told to use email? In 2023?”

I don’t know… you tell me. *wink*

Is email currently your most valuable marketing channel, as it should be? If not, then you’ve got work to do! 

There’s a reason email is still queen (or king, whichever you prefer) of online sales and marketing, despite being decades old. 

It gives you direct access to your leads in a way that Big Tech-owned social media never have and never will. It delivers the biggest bang-for-buck return on your marketing — up to $36 back per George Washington invested. And it’s still one of the most human and authentic ways to connect with prospects that we have available.

So if you need any suggestions on how to use email marketing more, here’s a couple…

How to implement it: if you don’t have an email list right now, the best thing you could do for your business is start growing it. 

First, create a dedicated landing page to capture new email subscribers and put it EVERYWHERE. And I do mean everywhere: your LinkedIn bio, your email signature, your social media profiles if you have ’em. Literally anywhere your prospects can see, capisce?

Second, create a lead magnet incentive for prospects to join your email list. It doesn’t have to be massive — even a one-pager can make an awesome lead magnet if it’s actionable and helps your leads solve a specific problem. Here’s a helpful 2-part guide to help you nail your first lead magnet: Part 1 and Part 2.

And third, promote your email list twice a week minimum. E.g. if you plan to email your leads weekly every Friday, promote your subscription landing page on Monday and then on Friday, ~1hr before the email goes out.

Tip: keep it simple and promote it anywhere you already have an audience. Your goal is to convert the highest percentage of your non-email leads into email leads — like I said, simple.


4. Partner with another business owner for a joint venture

After you have attracted new leads into your funnel, you must build high enough trust with them before selling. This is true no matter what type of lead gen you favor, organic or paid.

The good news is, there is a shortcut!

You can piggyback off someone else’s trust and authority with their audience. By partnering with another brand (corporate or personal), you can “borrow” their leads and promote your product or service to them…

…and they’ll trust you because they trust your joint venture partner.

Why would someone happily let you promote to their own leads? Great question! Because you’d be adding value to the brand’s audience — without acting as a direct competitor.

Here’s how it can work…

How to implement it: think of 10 companies or personal brands that serve the same audience you do, but solve a different problem. 

(This is important, because direct competitors won’t be interested in partnering with you if you approach them!)

E.g. if you’re an intellectual property lawyer, you can target marketers, business coaches, and B2B brands with established audiences.

Next, brainstorm a winning idea for a joint venture. Look for a “gap,” a.k.a. something their audience needs or wants that they can’t provide… but YOU can, because this is your area of expertise.

Decide on the form your joint venture can take. It could be something as simple as a lead magnet swap, a guest workshop, a guest post on their blog, an email cross-promotion, etc.

And finally, pitch your potential partners on the idea (you can use good old cold email to do it — here’s a guide). If you’ve done your homework and identified a great opportunity, they will happily promote you to their audience!


5. Make referrals the backbone of your growth strategy

The best companies don’t stay in business because they advertise the most or hustle the hardest. They stay in business because of satisfied customers who spread the word, and bring more eager prospects to their door.

And the VERY best companies know that word-of-mouth is too powerful to be left up to chance. That’s why they cultivate referrals intentionally as an integral part of their marketing process.

You can do it, too. To start with, try this…

How to implement it: the easiest way to get more referrals is to start asking for them. Don’t simply wait until a happy customer brings a new prospect to you at random — be proactive!

  • Determine the point in the customer journey in which you will ask for referrals, and make it an official part of your process.
  • Write a standard email / DM / phone script your teammates can use to do it.
  • Strategize and implement incentives that will make it easy for customers to say yes. Those could be anything from giving them their own referral script, promising them a finder’s fee, giving them special client perks, and more.

(Check out this detailed referral marketing guide for more ideas.)


Let us help you create your lead-generating video

Even outside of social media, video can be an amazing driver of lead generation. High-converting landing pages, persuasive ads, and engaging content all benefit from high-quality video.

Over the past decade-plus, we have created high-converting video assets — each rooted in proven science of persuasion and in the art of storytelling — for 1,200 clients (and counting!) across dozens of industries, B2B and B2C. Education, biotech, manufacturing, finance, coaching, real estate, petroleum, pest control… you name it, we’ve done it!

We invite you to take advantage of our genius marketers, silver-tongued copywriters, and absurdly talented artists and videographers to create your first, or next, business-boosting video in any of these styles:

  • Live action
  • Motion graphics and cartoon animations
  • Virtual Reality Animation
  • Digital stop motion animation
  • 2D character animation

And more.

Interested? Then head on over to this page and fill out a 1-minute form to get a risk-free, no-strings-attached quote. After that, you’ll be able to book a strategy session with our marketing experts and brainstorm your future business-boosting video together!

Looking for something smaller… but still more than powerful enough to grow your business? We can craft an irresistible Elevator Pitch that will help you grab your prospects’ attention in less than 30 seconds. (Yes, really!)