We all know that getting the right leads is essential for business growth. Knowing how to actually get those leads can be a little more challenging.

High-quality leads are the potential customers who are most likely to make a purchase—in other words, they’re the lifeblood of any thriving company. 

In this article, we’re exploring short term strategies and actionable tips that can start generating more and better leads right away. We’ll also cover longer term strategies for sustainable lead generation. 

What are SQLs (and why do you want them)?

First up, a refresher on what makes a high quality lead in the first place. 

If you want to start getting more business now, then you need Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs). These are potential customers who have been vetted and are considered ready for your sales pitch. 

Unlike leads that are just beginning to show interest, SQLs demonstrate a higher intent to purchase. 

Leads are typically classified based on their engagement level: from those just learning about your service (cold leads) to those expressing direct interest (warm leads), and finally, to SQLs (hot leads). 

Hot leads are your highest quality leads, because they have a higher conversion rate (i.e., they’re more likely to result in sales). 

And, thankfully, there are some proven ways to generate more of them. 

Four ways to get more hot leads NOW

You can secure high-quality SQLs quickly when you take the right approach. Implementing these immediate, actionable strategies will enhance any lead generation efforts. 

1. Referrals: maximizing word-of-mouth

People trust their friends. Studies show that leads from referrals have a 30% higher conversion rate compared to other marketing methods. Moreover, referred customers have a 16% higher lifetime value than other customers. 

That’s why referral marketing is the gold standard of lead generation. It capitalizes on word-of-mouth, by encouraging your existing customers to refer friends or colleagues to your business. 

Better still, referral marketing lets you cast a smaller net, which is what you need for catching better fish. 

Sure—there’s often value in casting a wide net for your marketing efforts. But wide nets bring in lots of leads—not necessarily those targeted ones you need to make sales right away. 

But when people make referrals, they’re likely going to be recommending you to friends and colleagues who are actively looking for the service you provide. Talk about hot leads. 

How to structure a referral program that delivers SQLs (aka hot leads!) 

Optimizing your referral strategy is the best way to ensure it actually works. The following best practices will help. 

Giftbot - Idea croppedSet Clear Objectives: Define what success looks like for your referral program. Whether it's a certain number of new leads, conversions, or a specific increase in sales, having clear goals helps in measuring effectiveness.

Create an Attractive Offer: Always keep in mind that referral marketing is an ‘I scratch your back, you scratch mine’ situation. That means offering incentives for both the referrer and the referred. This dual-sided incentive model not only motivates your existing customers to make referrals but also makes the offer more enticing to your potential prospects.

Simplify the Referral Process: Ensure the referral process is straightforward–for both you, and your clients. Digital gift cards are increasingly popular in this space–they’re easy to give, and people love getting them. 

Promote Your Program: Actively promote your referral program through email campaigns, social media, and on your website. Highlight the benefits and rewards of participating in the program to maximize visibility and engagement.

Track and Optimize: Utilize Giftbit’s tracking features to monitor the performance of your referral program. Analyze which incentives are most effective, who your top referrers are, and adjust your strategy to improve outcomes.

2. Reviews: building trust through customer feedback

Like we’ve established, people trust other people. 

Specifically, 90% of people trust brand recommendations from friends. Meanwhile, 99.9% of customers read reviews when shopping online, and 49% of them trust reviews as much as recommendations from family and friends. 

That’s why online reviews can be incredibly powerful for building trust and credibility–and why you should be trying to get more of them if you’re looking to boost your leads.  

The following best practices can help encourage your satisfied customers to share their positive experiences (and thus help in your lead generation goals). 

Incentivize Reviews: Offer a gift card as a token of appreciation for customers who take the time to write a review. Again, digital gift cards make for great incentives, because with the right platform they’re easy to manage and distribute, ensuring a streamlined process.

This is how Giftbit’s client OpenPhone doubled their customer reviews. With a simple Zapier integration, they were able to automate sending gift cards to customers who left them reviews. 

“Our team needed an automated way of sending gift cards,” says John MacGaffey, Growth Marketer at OpenPhone. “Now thanks to an integration with Airtable, these can be sent instantly by simply flipping a switch—making things much faster and more efficient!


Make Leaving Reviews Easy: Provide direct links to your review platforms and clear instructions on how to leave a review. Consider creating a simple guide or video tutorial to assist customers through the process.

Respond to Reviews: Engage with the reviews by thanking customers for their feedback. For example, Giftbit's Head of Marketing Zoe North makes an effort to personally respond to our reviews on G2. And don’t forget to address any negative reviews promptly and professionally, demonstrating your commitment to customer satisfaction.

Leverage Positive Reviews: Share standout reviews on your website (see an example below!) and social media channels. This not only showcases real customer satisfaction but also encourages others to leave reviews.


Giftbit has saved me so much time and stress!

I used to spend hours sending referral gifts and asking people what they wanted and Giftbit has taken all of that away from me and saved me hours. Our referral sources love it and always say how cool it is they get to select so many great options.

Kimberly B.
Office Manager

3. Better giveaways: targeting the right audience

Giveaways can be an effective way to generate buzz and attract leads. That said, they’re also an easy way to cast too wide a net again, and get too many irrelevant leads. 

Offering a prize that doesn't align with your brand or product can dilute your message or fail to attract your target audience (and potential leads) effectively.

For example, we’d all love a beach vacation, so if you offer one up as a giveaway, you’ll probably get lots and lots of entrants—including lots and lots of people who aren’t really interested in your offerings. 

But say you sell fitness equipment. Instead, you could giveaway digital gift cards to health and wellness brands, and you’re more likely to fill your funnel with health-conscious consumers who are more likely to be interested in your product. 

Your prizes should be relevant, and they should be easy to send, too. Don’t go nuts trying to find a physical offering that you can easily ship to your winner. 

Instead, offer gift cards that resonate with your ideal customer’s interests. 

For example, Giftbit’s rewards catalog offers hundreds of options to the most desirable brands, along with charity options and prepaid Visa and MastercardⓇ. 

Remember, tailoring the giveaway to your audience increases the likelihood of attracting high-quality leads. So ensure your giveaway appeals to your target audience, and then follow up with more best practices. 

rewards catalog

Promote effectively: Use your email list, social media, and website to promote the giveaway. Consider partnering with influencers or other businesses to extend your reach.

Follow up: After the giveaway, send a thank-you email to all participants and offer them a special discount or another incentive to engage with your brand. This can help convert entrants into SQLs.

4. Free tools or trials: demonstrating value

Offering free tools, resources, or trial periods is an excellent way to introduce potential customers to your product or service. 

For example, it’s completely free to sign up for a Giftbit account. This allows curious leads the ability to see our software in action, without having to commit financially. 

Here’s how to best leverage free tools to promote business growth.

Highlight the value: Clearly communicate the benefits and features of your free offer. Use compelling content and testimonials to demonstrate the value of your product or service.

Simplify the sign-up process: Ensure the sign-up process for your free tool or trial is simple and straightforward. Minimize barriers to entry to encourage more sign-ups.

Use incentives to encourage engagement: Offer digital rewards for completing the trial or for providing feedback. This not only incentivizes engagement but also provides valuable insights for improvement.

Nurture leads: As always, use the information collected during the sign-up process to nurture leads with targeted follow-up campaigns. Share helpful resources, additional offers, and personalized recommendations to guide leads through the sales funnel.

Move your leads from cold to hot: more important strategies

While immediate tactics can jump-start your lead generation efforts, you also need ways to sustain momentum and nurture these leads into loyal customers. 

The following mid-term strategies focus on building relationships, establishing trust, and providing ongoing value throughout your lead nurturing process. These strategies aren’t about bringing in new leads. They’re about turning existing leads into better ones. 

Personalized email marketing

Email remains one of the most effective tools for lead nurturing. Your goal should be to keep your leads engaged by providing them with content that is relevant, helpful, and timely.

Categorize your email list based on demographics, lead source, and behavior. By segmenting your list, you can tailor your communication to match the unique interests and needs of each group. 

It’s also a good idea to use email automation tools, which allow for well-timed and relevant follow-ups, educational content, and exclusive offers triggered by specific actions taken by leads. 

This blend of personalization and automation ensures that every email feels like it was crafted just for the recipient, significantly boosting engagement and moving leads closer to conversion.

Incorporate incentives 

Using gifts and incentives doesn’t have to stop at the lead generation stage—they can play a role throughout your funnel. Consider using personalized gift cards as part of your email campaigns. For instance, send a gift card on a lead’s birthday or as a thank you for engaging with a certain number of emails. These types of small gestures can significantly enhance lead engagement and loyalty.

Measure and optimize 

Regularly analyze the performance of your email campaigns. Look at open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates to identify what works best for your audience. Use these insights to refine your approach.

Use retargeting ads 

If you have the budget, consider implementing retargeting ads to stay top of mind with your leads. This may include using offers like gift cards to re-engage leads who have shown interest but haven’t converted yet.

business owner shaking hands with potential lead

Feedback is your friend in lead generation

Anytime you’re trying to improve your sales and marketing efforts, the more information you have at your fingertips, the better. 

Gathering feedback from leads

What are your cold and warm leads looking for? Ask them! Use surveys and feedback forms to understand what content your audience finds most valuable. 

Pro-tip: Offer a digital gift card as an incentive for completing these feedback forms, providing you with actionable insights for future content creation.

Gathering feedback from existing customers

One of the smartest things any business can do is to get (and use) customer feedback to improve all their processes and products. Whether formal or informal, this feedback is invaluable for improving your products, services, and overall lead nurturing process.

Of course, formal processes are much more likely to generate actionable insights on an ongoing basis. Conducting regular surveys will help to gauge customer satisfaction, understand preferences, and gather suggestions for improvement.

To do this, you’ll first want to offer incentives for participation. When you give gift cards to leads and customers who complete your surveys, for example, you’ll not only increase participation rates but also demonstrate how much you value their input. 

You’ll then want to actually act on any feedback you get. Use the insights gathered from surveys to make informed decisions about product developments, customer service improvements, and content creation.

Finally, let your audience know how their feedback has been implemented. This can be done through email updates, blog posts, or social media announcements, reinforcing the value of their input.

By integrating these mid-term strategies into your lead nurturing process, you can build deeper relationships with your leads, providing them with continuous value. 

Generate quality leads organically and sustainably

Generating quality leads organically is about laying a solid foundation for your business's online presence, focusing on strategies that attract and engage potential customers over time. 

Your approach here should be rooted in providing value, building trust, and establishing your brand as an authority in your niche. 

While organic lead generation may take longer to see results, the leads acquired are often more engaged and loyal. 

Here’s how you can achieve this with SEO, content funnels, lead magnets, and the crucial process of measuring and iterating your strategies.

Accomplishment celebration cropped


Use SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

SEO is critical for making your website visible to potential leads searching for related products or services. 

Be sure to follow on-page SEO strategies, like ensuring your titles, meta descriptions, and images are all written and tagged properly. 

You’ll also want to identify the keywords and phrases your target audience uses when searching for solutions you provide (pro-tip: tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs can help you find these terms). Once you’ve found these terms, you’ll want to use them throughout your site to improve your chances of appearing in top search results and attracting more organic (and better) traffic.

Use content funnels

Creating content funnels involves mapping out the customer journey and delivering the right content at each stage of that journey to guide leads toward a purchase.

For the top-of-funnel/awareness stage, you’ll want to provide educational content that solves common problems or answers common questions related to your industry.

For the middle-of-funnel/consideration stage, provide comparison guides, case studies, or webinars that help leads evaluate your offerings against others.

And for the bottom-of-funnel/decision, share testimonials, product demos, or free trials to persuade leads to choose your solution. For example, it’s always easy to watch a quick free demo of Giftbit in action..

Use lead magnets

Lead magnets can also be invaluable in lead generation. These are the resources offered in exchange for contact information— they’re essentially designed to turn website visitors into leads. E-books, white papers, free consultations, and webinars all work well.

Make sure that your magnet provides a solution to a problem or other valuable information that your target audience will appreciate. Then use your website, social media, and SEO to promote it, reaching as many potential leads as possible.

Always measure and iterate in lead gen

Giftbot - Laptop CroppedFinally, the key to any successful lead generation efforts is continually measuring the effectiveness of your strategies and making necessary adjustments.

That means you need to track everything, always. This is why Giftbit offers detailed tracking and reporting, so you can see how your incentives are actually working. 

Beyond this, use other analytics tools to monitor the performance of your SEO efforts, content funnels, and lead magnets. Look at metrics like website traffic, bounce rate, conversion rate, and lead quality.

You’ll also want to use A/B testing strategies. Regularly test different elements of your campaigns, from landing pages to email subject lines, to see what resonates best with your audience.

From there, you’ll want to iterate based on data. Use all the information you’re gathering from your tracking and testing to make better informed decisions about how to adjust your strategies for better results.

Incorporating these organic lead generation strategies requires patience and persistence, but the quality of leads and customer relationships built through these methods can significantly benefit your business in the long run. 

Remember, the goal is to provide value and build trust, creating a solid foundation for attracting leads who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer.

Leveraging tools like Giftbit that will help you personalize and enhance these interactions can significantly increase engagement and conversion rates, ultimately driving more sales and fostering customer loyalty. Chat with sales now to see how to start getting more high quality leads right away.