Wondering how to get new leads for your small business? We compare the best tools, explain what they do, and help your marketing and sales teams avoid scams.
What is Lead Generation?
The Oxford dictionary sums it up well: lead generation (also called lead gen) is the process of identifying and cultivating potential customers. Every business needs to generate leads in order to make sales. After all, a sale is just a converted lead.
Some businesses can generate leads in-person. For example, think of a real estate agent’s open house:
- The agent can give out their business cards (to generate inbound sales) or
- Or they can ask guests to sign in with their contact information (for outbound sales).
Online businesses can take advantage of a wide array of web-based lead generation tools to find new customers. If that describes your business needs, we’re here to help with our extensive list of lead gen tools below.
Lead Generation Tools
Lead generation online takes the form of tools that you can either add to your website’s functionality or services that provide you with contact information.
We’ve broken out our list of tools by type: email sends, forms and landing pages, social media tools, and chat.
Sending “cold call” emails is by far the most common method of lead generation. Services typically include a method for researching and purchasing email addresses.
Often, you’ll be able to send high quality emails from the same tool.
AeroLeads helps you find email addresses and phone numbers as well as B2B information. You can search by various filters as you surf the web with the AeroLeads browser extension.
- Tool types: Email prospecting and export
- Cost: $49+ with 10-day free trial
- Integrations: No direct integrations but you can upload results to CRM tools like Salesforce
Growbots uses artificial intelligence to help you build a target email list. It also includes the ability to send email campaigns directly from the tool.
- Tool types: Email prospecting, email sends
- Cost: No free plan, must contact the vendor for price quote
- Integrations: Salesforce, Hubspot, Zapier
HubSpot covers all the inbound marketing and sales tools you’ll need. You can also edit your website with HubSpot’s drag-and-drop tools.
- Tool types: email prospecting, CRM, email sends, social media, landing pages
- Cost: Free plan, $50 – $3,200 monthly
- Integrations: Salesforce
Hunter lets you search for email addresses associated with particular domain names. It will also verify email deliverability.
- Tool types: Email prospecting, email sends
- Cost: Free for 50 requests per month, $49 – $199 monthly
- Integrations: API calls
PadiAct offers tools to collect email addresses from your website’s visitors. From there, you can import your list into a CRM or an email provider.
- Tool types: Email prospecting, forms
- Cost: Free for up to 50 captured email addresses, $25 – $159
- Integrations: Salesforce, Mailchimp, and many others, APIs
Salesforce Pardot is an offshoot of Salesforce’s CRM product but it can be used as a standalone lead generation tool. However, it may be too expensive for smaller businesses.
- Tool types: Landing pages, social media connectors, integration with CRM
- Cost: $1,250 – $4,000 per month for up to 10,000 contacts
- Integrations: Salesforce, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
WisePops is a plugin that produces popup windows to prompt visitors to join your email list. You can set it to pop up at a time or a page of your choice.
- Tool types: Website popup, including mobile popups
- Cost: 14-day free trial, $41 – $199 per month, based on pageviews and number of websites
- Integrations: WordPress, Shopify, Magento, Mailchimp, WooCommerce
Forms & Landing Pages
These tools add functionality to your website to embed forms or add popups to capture visitor email addresses.
Hello Bar creates a bar across the top of a web page that prompts visitors to click it. You can use it for newsletter signups, lead magnet offers, or any other promotion that relies on email signups.
- Tool types: Website popup (header bar)
- Cost: Free plan for up to 5,000 pageviews, $29 – $99 per month for more visitors
- Integrations: Mailchimp and other email apps. Also integrates with Zapier.
JotForm helps you create forms to embed on your website for gathering emails. You can design them however you like and add visitor names to a variety of list types.
- Tool types: Forms (including design tool), payment collection
- Cost: Free plan for 5 forms & 1,000 pageviews, $19 – $99 per month for 10,000+ pageviews
- Integrations: Dozens of apps like HubSpot, Mailchimp, Constant Contact, WordPress, and more.
Jumplead lets you start with email capture via popups or forms and then build drip email campaigns to nurture those leads.
- Tool types: Landing pages, forms, emails, chat, messaging, and more
- Cost: Free for 14 days, $49 – $199 per month for 3,000 – 20,000 visitors
- Integrations: HubSpot, WordPress, Zapier, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Shopify, WooCommerce, and more
One of the most innovative ways Leadformly helps is by allowing you to segment your leads into categories for better targeting your messages.
- Tool types: Form builders, lead scoring
- Cost: 14-day free trial, $37 – $149 per month for up to 25,000 leads
- Integrations: Salesforce, Mailchimp, HubSpot, Zapier, and more.
Unlike many lead generation tools, OptinMonster doesn’t charge by the number of leads you capture but rather by the type of features and integrations you need.
- Tool types: Drag and drop form builders, popups, targeted campaigns
- Cost: $9 – $49 per month based on the features you need
- Integrations: Constant Contact, Mad Mimi, MailChimp, HubSpot, and more
Social Media Tools
These tools let you take advantage of social networks to collect new leads or add indepth information to the leads you already have.
Discover.ly works with Gmail as a browser plugin. It collects Facebook or workplace information about the people you already email.
- Tool types: Email plugin, social media appended information
- Cost: Free
- Integrations: Gmail via Chrome browser only
LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a prospecting tool that recommends leads and allows you to do advanced searches within LinkedIn.
- Tool types: Prospecting
- Cost: $64.99 – $103.33 per month based on lead counts & InMail messages
- Integrations: Gmail, Outlook Web, CRM apps
Chat as a lead generation tool is all the rage these days, as you’ve probably noticed from your own browsing. These tools can link leads to human agents or can be answered by bots.
HelloSells connects your visitors to a live human agent based in the US. They can answer chats 24/7, giving you an additional sales team.
- Tool types: Life webchat, email monitoring, form responses, CRM integration
- Cost: Not published
- Integrations: Salesforce, SugarCRM, Infusionsoft, and Zoho.
Intercom captures leads via live web chats on your site by leveraging your current marketing or sales team. At higher tiers, you can tailor chat bots to answer common questions.
- Tool types: Web chat, email, push notifications, and custom bots
- Cost: $87 – $153 per month depending on functionality
- Integrations: HubSpot, Shopify, Google, and Stripe.
How to Avoid Lead Generation Scams
Above we’ve listed reputable companies that will work alongside your business to help it succeed. Unfortunately, since lead generation is so crucial, some businesses will pay any price to get more leads in the door without looking at the details.
Online lead tools, in particular, can be popular marks for lead fraud. Print out this handy scam-avoidance checklist and go through it with any new lead scheme you’re considering.
☐ Make sure you understand the data you’ll receive and insist on seeing how that data is helpful to your specific business.
☐ Insist on a trial period like 14-days or 1 month to avoid locking yourself into paying for a long contract with a tool that doesn’t work for your business.
☐ Calculate how much it costs your business to generate a lead (e.g., $135 for a new customer) to make sure you’re not overpaying with your new tool.
☐ Make sure your new tool isn’t duplicating information you’re already collecting — e.g., if you’re already using Facebook as a lead gen tool, don’t double pay for that functionality.
☐ Ask to speak with existing customers of the lead gen provider and, if possible, find some customers on your own. Ask them all your most pressing questions.
☐ Before entering a contract, make sure you know who owns your customer’s data. It should be you alone. If the lead gen tool wants to be able to sell your lead list to other companies, you can bet it’s a scam.
☐ Get in writing the type of customer support you can expect to receive, what it covers, and how long it lasts.
☐ Check with websites like the Better Business Bureau or other resources in your industry to make sure the company is legitimate.
☐ Do a gut check. If your intuition tells you that a particular company isn’t suited for your business, hold off on it for a week or two before you decide.
Have a question about something we haven’t covered? Already using a lead generation tool you love? Heard of a new type of scam to avoid? Let us know in the comments area and we’ll get back to you.