Transform your inbox into an automated lead generator with Zapier

Here’s a small hack I like to help businesses get started. Let’s say you have an idea or an MVP and you want to get your first users. You will either need to get some leads right away or take the time to build a community. While the latter is the longer-lasting solution, it’s also more suited to companies that require high retention rates, that need to create a habit.

For instance, take a flat hunting company. You don’t buy a new flat every day, so you aren’t looking for a community willing to buy from you every two days. What you’re looking for is constant stream of leads that you can pitch and sell.

How do you find those leads? Well, it depends. The best methodology in my opinion starts by asking two questions: who are my users and when do they need me? In the case of a flat hunting company, you can target your users according to their wealth, their age, etc. But even if you get 45-year-olds earning £50,000/mo, it’s not enough. You have to get them at the right time.

This will lead you toward a place: where do these people go? Maybe it’s a Facebook Group. Maybe it’s a classifieds website. Whatever it is, you must find a way to break into this place and divert their traffic. For instance, you could post a fake classified with an incredible apartment priced a bit below the market. Find some beautiful pictures on Google and you have your lead-generation engine sending qualified people right into your inbox.

Let’s automate

But now comes the fun part. What can you do with those hundreds of leads in your inbox? Well, that’s where Zapier comes in. Zapier is a great tool that lets you connect one service to another. Hence, you could do something like this: if new email in my inbox -> add sender address to Google Spreadsheet.

But you could also import the email address directly into a Mailchimp list or even send an email directly from a Gmail account. Therefore, you can automate the first contact with your leads (in Mailchimp, check out Automation) and redirect them to a phone number, to your website, etc. Or you could, for example, set it up to have an automatic email sent 24 hours after the person contacts you. You could also add another step to put the contact into Mailchimp or a Spreadsheet.

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Here is an example with Zapier: if I get a new email in my inbox, then I send an automated email 24 hours later from another address. You could also put the email in a Mailchimp automation workflow or in a spreadsheet.

Yes, it is all a bit naughty. It’s not scalable and it’s just one growth hack. But it’s a great way to start acquiring some users. And as usual, it only works if you have a really good product. But once you acknowledge all that, why not try it?