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Clever (and free) ways to find new leads

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Most startups struggle with ways (especially free ways) to find new leads. Here’s one approach that’s worked for guest-blogger Josh Ellis.


The company I work for, FluentStream, is a bootstrapped company. As a result, we’ve always been conscious of what we spend on the marketing side to find new leads for sales. Early on, that number was $0. What this meant to me was that I needed to come up with some clever new ways to generate revenue.   I have found two extremely effective ways to place qualified deals in my pipeline using Twitter and Google Alerts.

Free Ways to Find New LeadsTwitter: The search function in Twitter is probably the best source in the world for real time information. Because we sell business phone solutions, at least once per day, I (or someone on my team) will search Twitter for “phones are down” or other similar search terms. Filtering through the results, we find businesses across the country tweeting out that their phone system isn’t working. BAM! There’s a new lead.  I’ll tweet something back that a) understands their pain point, b) isn’t just a canned response, and c) makes them aware of FluentStream as a reliable alternative. We get tweets back, and people call and chat in wanting to learn more. Beyond that, I’m a sales guy so I’m not afraid to pick up the phone and call them (usually the next day though since their phones aren’t working).

Google Alerts:  Once again, Google has provided a simple and free service that makes my life better. I have created several alerts for search terms such as “new phone system”, “VoIP RFP”, “Hosted VoIP” and other industry related phrases.  Once per day I receive an email with relevant links to blog posts, news articles, posts in forums and other content found by Google. It only takes a couple minutes to look through the alert to determine if it’s anything worth pursuing. Some examples of what I’ve come across have been budget approval for new phone systems for town and city governments, posts in forums requesting advice on a new VoIP provider, and businesses expressing dissatisfaction with their current phone solution.

As cold calling becomes more difficult and less effective, this strategy has allowed me to find warmer leads where the timing and need for my particular solution is very relevant. These options might not work in every industry, but it’s certainly worth spending some time creating several Google alerts and searching through Twitter to see if you too can uncover free ways to find new leads. If you have specific questions or want some help brainstorming phrases and terms to use, let me know and I’m happy to help.

About Josh Ellis

I'm Josh Ellis, and I'm a sales guy who has had to put on his marketing hat while working for a growing, bootstrapping startup. Now I focus on aligning sales and marketing at the company to accomplish what every entrepreneur wants to do -- grow!