6 Ways to Pull Cold Prospects Into Your Sales Funnel

Learn six creative methods to effectively attract cold prospects to your sales funnel, including utilizing live chat and running contests.

By Dario Supan ・7 min read
Best Practices
Business & Marketing Strategy

Once you’ve created a product or service that offers a solution for a specific problem and you’ve found your target market, it’s time to spread awareness and start generating some leads.However, even if you have top of the line products or services in a particular industry, that doesn’t guarantee sales and mindblowing profits.You, as a business owner or marketing manager, have to think about creative and cost-effective ways to put your product in front of interested eyes. Failing to engage potential leads and pushing a product or service in the wrong direction is a great recipe - for failure.To ensure that doesn’t happen, let’s talk about six creative methods (backed by real, successful examples) you can use to effectively pull cold prospects into your sales funnel.Hint: Value exchange and creativity are game-changers.

First, who are “cold prospects” exactly?

Before getting into details, it’s crucial that we are on the same page. A cold prospect is a person/business who you identify as a qualified buyer, but who at the same time, didn’t have a chance to interact with your brand yet. It is basically someone who could be interested in what you have to offer, but has little to no knowledge about your business.Turning cold prospects into promising leads is not easy. But worry not, as we’re going to share six effective and creative ways to pull a cold audience into your sales funnel.

#1) Utilize live chat for creating an initial connection

The majority of businesses have implemented a spammy live chat that doesn’t solve problems or offer value. Once a cold prospect lands on your website, it takes time for them to navigate through the site and find the proper information. This is a great opportunity to make the most of live chat.Live chat has to support the sales process by educating cold prospects or solving problems. Combining a real person and a chatbot behind a live chat is a winning approach. People who interact with your business through live chat are most likely the prospects you want to warm up. When appropriate, don’t forget to ask for an email or other personal information for future communication.

Pro tip: Adjusting the automated live chat replies to be specific to each landing page can drastically increase conversion rates (which in this scenario means picking up contact information). For instance, if the prospect lands on a pricing page, customize a bot to talk about FAQs regarding your pricing table. In the same way, if the prospect is looking at a specific post on your blog that is related to your service, engage them with a question/information that is related to the content they are reading.

Winning by Design is a sales and marketing consulting company. They implemented live chat combining a real person and a bot. Once you land on the site, you’ll see a notification with a welcoming message from a ‘friendly’ chatbot. You can choose between a few options (frequently asked questions) or talk to a real person. If you don’t find the solution for your problem, the bot asks for your email address, so the business representative can reach out to you personally and solve your problems.

#2) Creative & fun lead magnets

A decent number of people who land on your website (if you rank for relevant keywords and promote content related to your business) are likely to be potential buyers of your product or service in the future. They are still in the discovery process and looking for more information. While you don’t have much data on your cold prospects, you do know there is interest, so you might as well try to pick up their contact info with an appealing lead magnet.

Pro tip: If your goal is to increase lead collection, your lead magnets should not be too specific. That being said, broadly themed lead magnets tend to result in lower conversion rates since those leads are typically only interested in the lead magnet and have no further need for your services.

Here’s an example of a broadly themed lead magnet. Point Visible uses this on their Graphic Design service page. The conversion rate is between 2% and 3% and most conversion comes from cold prospects.

Another great example comes from Neil Patel. He runs a creative lead magnet called ‘spin-to-win’ on his website. You can win valuable resources like cheatsheets, checklists, ebooks or even a free consultation - all in exchange for your email address.

It goes without saying that these types of lead magnets are aimed at cold prospects. For a warm audience, lead magnets that solve a specific problem are usually a far better option.

#3) Run a creative contest

Running a contest is a creative way to grow your email list. Just be sure to set up some participation rules to avoid unwanted or irrelevant leads.

Pro tip: Another way to engage your target audience and minimize the number of irrelevant leads is to offer a prize that should be appealing to the type of people you identified as your ideal customers.

Here are a few creative and simple contest ideas:

Sunny Sunglasses, a company that sells polarized sunglasses, runs a creative and effective photo contest. They’ve created simple contest rules, involving photo sharing with a specific hashtag. Participants fill out a simple form and share their photo with hashtags. The participant with the most ‘votes’ wins a free product while others get a discount code to use in their shop.

#4) Send cold emails

Many companies fail to reach the desired ROI from outreach campaigns, so they decide to completely abandon the method, even though 80% of buyers prefer being contacted through email.While cold outreach isn’t the most time-efficient method for pulling in loads of cold prospects into your sales funnel, it can yield great results in specific situations:

  • you have an innovative solution
  • you are solving a problem your audience might not even know they have
  • you can offer a really unique value proposition
  • you can help them with a very specific problem

Keep in mind that having the right contact information is crucial for an effective cold outreach campaign. There are some decent free email finder tools you can utilize to gather accurate email information.When crafting an outreach email or message, it’s important that all your focus is aimed at the recipient. You’ve already identified their problem and you offer a practical solution.Always strive to personalize each email and avoid writing generic emails. People love to see you’ve put an effort into crafting a message specifically for them. Track the results of your campaign, experiment, and don’t forget to follow-up once or twice (but no more than that).

In the outreach example above we see how to craft a message that gets responses. The message is personalized (using the personal name and type of business they run). The next paragraph serves as an explanation on how the business could benefit from using specific services.The whole message is very short and on-point while offering help and featuring a call to action.You can find more cold email outreach ideas/templates here.

Pro tip: Avoid building huge hype and over the top language. This is not an infomercial. Your goal is to pique interest - real sales talk can begin after they decide to engage back with you.

#5) Establish yourself as an authority

Establishing yourself as an authority or a thought leader requires an undivided focus on building valuable resources and sharing them with potential leads for free. Becoming an authority in your industry increases credibility and trust among people, which gives confidence to leads that you’re the right person (or company) to solve their problems.The effective ways to establish yourself as an authority is by:

  • starting a reputable blog
  • writing for prominent publications or influencer’s sites
  • becoming a speaker at conferences or meetups
  • networking with people in or related to your industry
  • sharing valuable information in interest-based groups on social media (Reddit, Quora, Facebook groups)
  • joining popular podcasts in your niche

A good example is Tom Buckland, a founder of multiple marketing agencies. He established himself as an authority by giving answers to more than 300 SEO related questions on Quora that were viewed more than 500,000 times.

Once you establish authority and a unique voice, people associate you as the solution to their problems. More exposure increases the chances people will reach out directly to you, asking for advice or collaboration. You can look at this as a more passive and indirect way to engage with cold prospects.

#6) Leverage your existing customers

Did you know that referral programs, when done right, are one of the most effective prospecting methods? If your friend or a family member recommend a product from a company as a solution for your current problems, would you consider getting it?Here are a few ways to leverage referral networks for successful prospecting:

  • Use professional social network platforms like LinkedIn and Meetup to grow your prospect network
  • Connect with your customers’ networks to pull in more prospects
  • Create referral programs offering discounts or other benefits for referrers
  • Connect with a non-competing business in the same industry that provides different services/products

Uber implemented a creative way to leverage their existing customers by giving them the option to invite their friends to use the app in exchange for getting free points they can use in metropolitan cities.

Prioritize creativity and value-driven approach

With so much background noise coming from your competitors, pulling cold prospects into your funnel can be a challenge.

Two things that can help pull in those leads are creativity and value-exchange.

Creativity will help you stand out just enough to get your offer noticed, after which your value proposition ensures your prospects will engage with that offer.

We hope that this article will help you improve on both fronts.

Create your first contest now

Get Started Today. It’s free and we don’t need your credit card.

About the author

By Dario Supan ・7 min read

Dario Supan is a content strategist and editor at Link Building & Content Marketing Agency | Point Visible, a marketing agency providing custom outreach and link building service. When he isn’t neck deep in outreach projects and editorial calendars, you will most likely find him designing a custom graphic for his next exciting post.

Get marketing tips straight to your inbox

Thank you!
Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
We’ll email you 1-3 times per week—and never share your info.