Side-Project Lead Generation Strategies

Let’s be honest. Traditional lead generation strategies are not as effective as before.

 No one wants to get another phone call from a business they downloaded content from. In fact, the reality is that most people won’t answer calls from numbers they don’t recognise.

No longer can businesses rely solely on tried-and-true strategies; innovation is key in standing out in crowded marketplaces and grabbing the elusive attention of consumers.

Here we will delve into inventive approaches that not only resonate with today’s consumers but also set the stage for a more interactive and rewarding customer journey.

Decline In Cold Phone Outreach

The decline in the effectiveness of cold phone outreach as a lead generation strategy can be attributed to several factors that reflect changing technology and consumer behavior. With the widespread adoption of Caller ID and call screening features, people are increasingly selective about the calls they choose to answer. Calls from unfamiliar numbers are often left unanswered, which drastically reduces the chances of making a successful connection.

Beyond technological barriers, there has also been a shift in consumer preferences. Modern consumers often view unsolicited calls as intrusive, preferring to interact with businesses on their own terms. They are more likely to initiate contact through digital channels where they can control the pace and nature of the interaction. As a result, cold phone outreach has become less effective as a means of reaching potential customers, and businesses are turning to other, more modern strategies for lead generation.

But what about emails?

Unsolicited emails can be even worse. Everyone has jumped on the bandwagon and flooding our inboxes with messages that get overlooked, skimmed, and deleted. The average email open rate is 22.71%, and the average click rate is even more dismal at 2.91%. 

While targeting leads via email can work, you’re going to have to spend a lot of time perfecting your strategy. It will need to fall into a multi-channel strategy where email is only one of the touchpoints.

Chances are you’re going to alienate more leads with an outreach strategy that focuses solely on email. Why? Because you’re probably not adding any value. 

Your prospects want to know what you can do for them and how they can benefit from what you have to offer. And, sorry, another random email newsletter in their inbox usually doesn’t hit that mark.

Introducing Side-project Lead Generation

You probably already interacted with some of the ways businesses are creating value for leads. Companies provide free content and resources with these methods to convert the audiences later on. Side-project marketing takes it to the next level. 

The concept is simple. You build something of value that solves a small problem for your target market. Later on, you sell the audience your related solution.

In the case of Unsplash, they give away free stock images. The same audiences that have a use for stock photography can probably use a paid solution as well. That is why Getty images acquired them in 2021.

Side-project lead generation strategies take your content and resources and ramp it up a notch. Some side-projects could be standalone websites or even brands.

The value they create and their lack of association with a corporation make side-project marketing more effective than traditional methods for generating b2b leads.

How do I create a side-project lead generation strategy?

In a nutshell, you need to ask yourself three questions before you get started:

Question 1: Who is your target market, and what are their problems?

You have to dig deep and understand your target market. Once you map out all your audience’s problems, you can spot opportunities or gaps that you can solve.

Question 2: What resources do I have?

Effort is the critical factor here. Side-project costs can quickly escalate. Plan and forecast as many resources as possible to give your project the best chance of success. Don’t forget marketing, as you’ll need to get it in front of your target audience.

Question 3: What is the expected impact from this side project?

You will most likely identify a couple of projects that fit side-project lead generation status. The key is to identify the ones with the maximum impact and prioritise them.

Here are some ideas to help you get started.

First, it helps to study how other businesses implemented side-project lead generation. Here are some I handpicked as great examples.

GA Checker by Datarocks​

Analytics tracking forms the bread and butter of digital marketing. After all, decision making is dependant on data. That’s why this tool is a great side-project lead generation tool for Datarocks. The project checks your website for Google Analytics or Google Ads codes. 

It’s a tool that digital marketers can use to troubleshoot their Analytics tracking. Datarocks solved a small problem for digital marketers and in turn, is able to market to them without having to rely on traditional channels.

Ultimate GDPR Quiz by Mailjet

When GDPR regulations emerged, companies were caught off-guard. The face of email marketing suddenly had new rules. Marketers and legal teams had questions. And they needed answers quickly, or their email campaigns could get them into trouble and fined. 

Mailjet filled the gap with its Ultimate GDPR Quiz. Users were able to move through the questions and see where they were out of compliance. Mailjet also established itself as a thought leader on GDPR regulations. The quiz revealed what companies could do better and what practices they were already doing right.

Does this mean I should abandon other lead generation strategies?

No, you shouldn’t. But you can’t solely rely on email and other conventional lead generation strategies either. Think outside the box and beyond what everyone else is doing.

Your competitors can copy your ads, emails, content, but it’ll take them some time to copy an entire project backed by marketing. Use side-project lead generation to get ahead of the clutter.



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I’m a seasoned Digital Marketing Consultant with over 11,700 hours of hands-on platform experience. Let’s discuss how I can help you unlock the full potential of your digital marketing.


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