Cold Email · · 5 min read

How to Start a Lead Generation Business with Email Outreach

Learn how to start your own lead generation business using email outreach tools and very little upfront capital. Ready to launch your next digital venture?

how to start a lead generation business

Lead Generation with No Prior Experience

Don’t have a background in lead generation? No problem! The best part about lead generation is that almost anyone can do it and it takes very little upfront investment to get your first client(s).

In this guide, we’ll go over the main components of a lead generation business and how it works step-by-step. All it takes is some effort on research and an email outreach tool like Instantly!

What exactly is a lead generation business?

Lead generation is the process of identifying and gathering potential customers for businesses. For many, leads are the lifeblood that keeps businesses running. Without leads, sales don’t happen and without sales, a business is just running on fumes. Lead generation businesses keep the lights on by attracting buyers and nurturing relationships with them so they can turn into real, paying customers.

What does this look like in practice? Most commonly, a mutual understanding of the types of customers they want to target is agreed upon and then the lead generation company gets in contact with them en masse to bring in new business. This is usually done with various tools to research customers, gather contact information and then nurtured through email outreach sequences.

The Best Clients For Your Lead Generation Businesses

While you could do lead generation for just about any type of business under the sun, you’ll have a better shot at success by focusing on a single niche. Ideally, you’ll want to work in an industry where you already have a base level of knowledge so that it’s easier for you to address concerns and answer questions.

If you don’t have deep knowledge of an industry under your belt already but still want to get started in lead generation, here are some verticals that are easier than others:

  • Graphic designers
  • Real estate agents
  • Insurance providers
  • B2B businesses of all types
  • Facebook and Google ads experts
  • Marketing agencies and freelancers

How To Start A Lead Generation Business

Much like running a lead generation campaign for a client, starting a lead generation business more or less just entails running a campaign for yourself. Since it’s a fairly crowded space, it’s a good idea to focus on a single niche or a few related services.

Identify Your Target

A major factor in closing clients is being able to speak the language they’re already familiar with as a means of building trust. For example, if you were going after B2B SaaS companies, you’d want to refer to their customers as users and sales as signups. If you work with dentists, it would be taboo to call them customers, but clients or patients instead. These are just primitive examples of industry-specific language, so use your own judgement to determine if an industry is one you can thrive in.

Build Relationships With Clients

Once you’ve decided on a niche that you’ll focus on, your efforts should go towards relationship building with (potential) clients. Closing new contracts boils down to just 2 elements: building trust and providing value.

The first step in building trust is to build out a modern-looking website that shows off who you are and what you’re capable of. If website development is stressing you out, try your hand at building a landing page with design platforms like Webflow or Instapage. Having a simple, but functional landing page is better than having no website at all.

lead generation website design

However, if you’ve got the time, it’s a good idea to build out the standard website pages that every reputable business has:

  • About
  • Pricing
  • Contact
  • Services Summary

Although not 100% necessary for running a lead generation business, it’s also recommended that you secure social media handles for your domain. At the very least, claim your Twitter profile or create a LinkedIn company page.

After you’ve got your website sorted out, it’s time to build a list of potential companies to focus on! One common strategy in this research phase is to split up your list between local, national and global companies. Depending on the industry you decide to specialise in, you may find success with companies of different sizes.

From here, you can make use of the many free tools for finding contact emails like Hunter or the Clearbit Connect extension for Chrome. Alternatively, you could look for contact email addresses manually by looking on target companies’ websites, Facebook Pages or by searching for employees on LinkedIn.

instantly csv upload for leads

Building relationships with target clients begins with first contact and email outreach is an excellent way to get started. Since emails are the foundation of lead generation businesses, it’s important to choose a trusted email outreach platform like Instantly. Uploading your leads and starting email outreach can be fully automated, freeing up your valuable time.

Develop A Payment Structure

Commissions and payment structure are a very free-form thing in a lead generation business. Since there are many ways you can set things up, it can be tough to make a decision when you’re just starting out. Here are a few common payment structures used by newbies and experts alike.

Front-End Model: You and the client agree to a total number of leads you generate for them as well as a method of determining lead quality. These 2 factors will determine the cost per lead that you charge the client.

Back-End Model: Much more risky to the lead generation business, as you pay for any advertising or marketing efforts out of pocket and then the client pays for qualified leads that convert.

Hybrid Model: You and the client agree to a total budget and then it’s your job to generate as many high quality leads as possible with that budget. You get paid commission for every lead that converts, making this a low risk payment structure to use.

Lead Generation

The meat of the business. Since lead generation has a low barrier to entry, it’s a competitive field with many methods of acquiring leads to choose from. It’s best to choose one or a few methods that you’re most comfortable with, but keep in mind that cold emails will likely be your most effective channel.

Cold Email Outreach

Cold emails are most effective for B2B clients and for lead generation businesses using a front-end payment model. If you’re new to this acquisition channel, you can use our cold email infrastructure to get 10-20 replies everyday.

Google and Facebook Advertising

PPC is a common way to generate leads for clients, especially in a back-end or hybrid payment model. The downside to using paid advertising is that you’ll need upfront capital to get started. First you’ll need to create a landing page to capture emails and you’ll also need money to run ads that drive traffic to your site.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO takes the most time and resources of all lead generation channels, but the end result is inbound leads that come in organically over time. You’ll need to invest resources into building a nice-looking, functional website. On top of this, you’ll need to produce blog content designed to rank on Google and build backlinks to your lead capture pages. We would not recommend SEO for beginners.

Is Lead Generation Right for You?

Starting a lead generation business isn’t for everyone, but the good news is that it doesn’t require as much upfront investment as other digital businesses. If you have the time to learn how to do cold email outreach, you can see quick results that clients will pay for.

Read next

10x your leads, meetings and deals.

Instantly scales your outreach campaigns with unlimited email sending accounts, email warmup, B2B lead database and generative AI