B2B lead generation in the post-COVID environment will be critical to a swift recovery. However, it’s not easy to crank lead gen up to double-time with cash reserves drained by the pandemic. Use these seven free lead generation tools to start things moving again and get leads for free.
Consumer-facing businesses weren’t the only ones impacted by the 2020 outbreak of the novel coronavirus. As the economy powered down to help fight the virus, B2B service companies found ice in their leads and holes burned into clients’ pockets.
Solidarity and a positive mindset through these struggles have paid off, though. Now that the economy is reopening, we’re ready to make up for some lost time. The downtime has left budgets tight, though, so the best way to kickstart dormant B2B lead gen — and help your service company bounce back in a big way — might be with free lead generation tools.
Professional, paid B2B lead generation services are certainly powerful, but there are also tools out there that generate free leads with nothing but the minimal elbow grease it takes to set them up. Digital lead gen channels were already trending up before COVID-19. The changes we’ve seen in society since the crisis began have only made them more important.
Turn the recent increase in online activity into a recovery strategy with these free lead generation tools:
7 Free Lead Generation Tools For a Rapid B2B Recovery
Online lead generation for B2B services is multifaceted. Leads can come in through a variety of channels, including:
- Email Marketing
- Organic Search (via inbound content marketing)
- Public Reviews
- Client Referrals
- Lead Magnets (gated content, blog/newsletter subscriptions)
- Social Media
Assemble free tools to cover each of these bases and you’ll maximize the value of your efforts. Don’t worry — we’ve got you covered. Every one of them can be handled by at least one of the tools below!
1. HubSpot — For everything but the kitchen sink.
This is easily the most robust and inclusive tool on the list, so we’ll start here. HubSpot has several versatile platforms (Sales, Service, Marketing) that combine many functions from the other free lead generation tools on this list. HubSpot has long been one of the most popular free B2B lead generation tools on the market.
While there are paid plans available, HubSpot has plenty of free options (no credit card details required!) with foundational tools to support B2B lead gen. And the CRM is always free!
- HubSpot Marketing: Even the free level of HubSpot Marketing is stacked with useful functions. You’ll get features like lead capture pop-up forms, traffic/conversion analytics, and integrations with CMS, email, and tons of other tools.
They’re all easy to use, but the free email marketing tool is an all-star. There’s a drag-and-drop visual editor and ready-made templates in the email tools, which can create automated workflows and track clicks and opens. Whenever a subscriber opens an email, you can follow up directly or add them to a new segmented email campaign. The free version can send kickback emails, thank you emails, promote your campaigns, and everything else you need!
- HubSpot Sales: Tools for contact management, live chat, a calling tool, automated email scheduling (with up to 5 free templates), and a long integrations list (Gmail, Outlook, G Suite, etc.) make this a great free option for small sales teams.
- HubSpot CRM: The totally-free-forever-CRM has driven HubSpot’s popularity since the beginning. It’s a breeze to set up and handle massive, detailed contact databases with streamlined efficiency.
One of the biggest X-factors for HubSpot, of course, has always been the long list of internal integrations. Every tool in the HubSpot suite is internally compatible, and they’ll play well with other popular software like Salesforce, Vidyard, Mailchimp (also free!), and more.
2. G2 — For amassing online reviews.
Good reviews are a gift that keeps on giving. The proof is in the numbers:
- 72% of customers don't take action until they have read reviews
- 92% of B2B buyers are more likely to purchase after reading a trusted review
- Reviews make 71% of customers more comfortable when buying a product
G2 aims to help your company get found and leverage the advantages of online reviews with a free G2 profile.
According to the review aggregator itself in September of 2020, they’ll help you find “the right software and services for your business based on 1,132,800+ authentic, timely reviews from real users.” Users sign in with LinkedIn to write reviews and leave ratings for the products and services they use. G2 uses algorithms to protect the integrity of its ratings from artificial submissions or self-reviews of a brand by its employees. They also request screenshots of the product in use (for verification).
Once you get a profile live, message all of your biggest fans and encourage them to leave you a review — their public testimonials will handle lead generation all on their own.
3. Google Analytics — For SEO and organic search marketing.
There’s no more effective method for consistent, long-term B2B lead gen than digital inbound marketing. Once you snowball enough keyword authority in organic search results, the leads will keep on flowing towards your website, blog, and lead capture forms.
Some free lead generation tools can help you work towards this goal behind the scenes. Use data from Google Analytics to optimize your web pages and keep up with Google’s always-improving algorithms and best practices. All you have to do is install Google Analytics on your web pages, and use the Google Keyword Planner to optimize your search targets.
4. WordPress — For creating websites, a blog, and landing pages.
This popular website builder is a popular free option for fleshing out a digital presence and publishing SEO content (such as a business blog). According to HubSpot Benchmarks, posting 11 blogs per month can boost lead volume by 400% and traffic by 300%! Keep a regular production cadence of interesting, valuable content up and down the marketing funnel to engage your audience and drive them towards your service offerings. WordPress is one of the free lead generation tools that can make it happen.
Much of your content should be posted on publicly visible pages — easy access boosts traffic. However, make sure to gate some of your best content (e.g., whitepapers, eBooks) behind lead capture forms on attractive, straightforward landing pages.
5. GoToWebinar — For live webinars and gated video recordings.
Webinars have been an up-and-coming B2B lead generation tool for years. With social distancing due to COVID-19, this has accelerated tenfold. Embrace the advantage of video content as one of the best lead magnets for 2020 and beyond.
GoToWebinar is one of the best free lead generation tools for the job. It’s a reliable, simple-to-use software that powers millions of webinars every year. The software’s strong 4.2 out of 5-star rating on G2 speaks to its quality and simplicity. Even the free version has integrations, analytics, and other features you need to engage your B2B leads from every level of the marketing funnel.
Try deploying webinars for educational seminars or live Q&A sessions that will personalize the audience experience in ways you simply couldn’t on a blog. After it’s over, gate it behind a landing page for additional lead capture as an evergreen lead magnet.
6. SlideShare — For reaching a large online audience beyond your website.
The potential of SlideShare to generate passive organic search leads can’t be ignored. Take your PowerPoint presentations and sales decks — or even repurpose webinar content into a slide deck format — and upload them with a compelling CTA to lead the readers back towards your website. SlideShare posts will reach a ton of eyes on the back of the website’s high domain authority.
7. Hotjar — For optimizing your website with data on user behavior.
Technically, Hotjar won’t attract or collect leads on its own. But with the help of this potent analytics tool, you can see how your visitors tend to click, tap, and scroll when they’re on your website. This information can show you where leads are falling out of the conversion funnel and which messages or navigation features are (or aren't) working. There’s no more guesswork when you can see exactly what users are doing in a visual heatmap.
The BASIC plan is free forever, collects data on up to 2,000 page views every day, and stores it for 3 months. Use these insights to upgrade your website and streamline your lead capture forms for maximum conversion efficiency!
Bounce Back For Free, Then Soar With Premium Tools!
These seven tools are a fantastic way to get the engine started. But once you get up to speed, you’ll want more power. Some of them have premium versions you can upgrade to for increased capacity and additional capabilities.
We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: HubSpot is robust, inclusive, and one of the most popular free B2B lead generation tools available — and its paid alternatives are even better! Don’t sleep on the Starter, Pro, and Enterprise packages of HubSpot’s three core products: the Marketing Hub, Sales Hub, and Service Hub.
Not only can these hubs handle all of the free lead gen functions needed by recovering B2B service companies, but they’ll grow with your company whenever you’re ready to make the leap. Check out how their product tiers compare to plan your path beyond the COVID-19 outbreak and into the future.