How to Generate leads for your business using free platforms or Paid Advertising

So your reading this post because I like you, have wondered the same question.  How can you actually generate a lead from doing something on the internet into a paying customer or client.  At the moment the buzz around is content and more content and posting it onto your social platforms and your website.  Which does help no doubt, but there are many other tools that are available to use some of which are free which can help.  I will go through free and paid tools in this post to help you get started.



Gumtree is free and you can post anything a job ad, sell something or post a service that you offer.  You can then set the specific area you would like the ad to run in as well.  So when someone searches for something in that area, your ad will pop up.  It also helps with Google search by showing up in google when someone searches as well.  You can then piggy back off Gumtree’s traffic.


So nothing new here, Facebook is a free platform to use for your business.  It is very important to make sure that you have your page setup correctly. You can either have a Call now button or email now button for when a customer or client finds your business on Facebook and needs to contact you.  You also need to have some up to date content and pictures of your business and the services you provide.


One of the must do’s I recommend for clients is to start having an Instagram account.   It is also free like Facebook and needs to be setup with the correct details.  You can put your phone number, email and website in your profile so that you can be contacted directly via either one of these.  Again you will also need to have some up to date content and pictures of your business and the services you provide.




Google Ads:

Choose how you want to reach your customers.

With text-based search ads, graphic display ads, YouTube video ads or in-app mobile ads, you have plenty of ways to reach potential customers with Google Ads.

But I will stick mainly with the first two.  Search Ad’s and display ads.  Search ad’s are fantastic and relatively cheap to run if setup correctly. These ads can give you great information about, who has clicked on the ad, where they live, their age, what device they have used etc etc.  You will need to setup your google account first which is important to make sure you can track all this relevant information to start targeting your target clients or customers.

You can use these ads to run a specific call to action.  A very basic one to do is just to drive traffic to your website and then you are charged for a click.

Google ads run on a bidding system and you need to make sure that your creative marketing message as well as your bids are correct in order to attract the client or customer to your site or to give you a call.  Or whatever the aim of your marketing campaign is.

Call to Mobile Ads:

Ads created in call-only campaigns are fine-tuned to show only on mobile devices that are capable of making calls. Clicks on these ads will only generate calls — they won’t link to a website. These ads are very flexible with how they can appear. To optimise for mobile and enhance performance, your ads may not always show every line of text that you enter when setting up your campaign. Likewise, select extensions, which are available for call-only campaigns, may also be hidden in order to make the most of the smaller screen space on mobile devices.

Extensions expand your ad with additional information and can give your ad greater visibility and prominence on the search results page. There’s no cost to add them, and it is recommended that you add all extensions that are relevant to your business. Clicks on your ad (including your extension) will be charged as usual. To learn more about extensions, skip to About extensions.

Here are some key points to know about using call-only campaigns:

  • You can share your phone numbers across ads within an ad group or entire campaign
  • You can set numbers to show only when your business can take calls
  • You can count calls as conversions. Learn more about call conversions and about call reporting.
  • Clicks on your number cost the same as headline clicks (a standard CPC)
  • Call-only campaigns are not yet available for campaigns targeting the Display Network
  • When you create a new ad in your call-only campaign, you’ll be asked to enter a phone number for your business. In order to verify your ad and number, we’ll ask for a verification URL, which should lead to a page that displays your phone number. Learn more about call-only ad requirements.

Here is an example of a campaign I ran for a client with direct call to mobile from the internet.

With an average cost of $4.48 the client received 38 phone calls.  Which I think is great value when you think about this in small sample size.


Before you jump in and create any adverts, it’s important to first think about why you’re advertising and what you’re aiming to achieve. By setting yourself a few goals ahead of going live with ads, you also have something to measure your success against.

For example, if you’re looking to increase downloads of your mobile app through Facebook Ads, you could set a goal of 100 downloads in the first month. This will also help you when it comes to choosing the correct objective for your Facebook Ads campaign in Step 3 below. Some more example goals could be:

  • Increase traffic to my website from Facebook
  • Increase attendance at my event
  • Generate new leads
  • Increase the reach of our content on Facebook
  • Boost engagement for our Facebook Page

Here is some numbers from Buffer’s experiment that they ran on their facebook ad.

What $5 Per Day Will Buy You on Facebook

When we view this in terms of how much $5 per day will buy you, these are the numbers:

  • Page Likes – 9 likes per day
  • Clicks to the Buffer homepage – 1 per day
  • Boosted post – 787 new people reached



Marketing on LinkedIn helps you engage a community of professionals to drive actions that are relevant to your business.

The amount you pay to advertise on LinkedIn is up to you. You can get started with any budget and stop your ads at any time. LinkedIn ads are sold through an auction. When you run ads, you compete with other advertisers who want to reach a similar target audience.

Control your investment by setting a daily budget, a total budget, and maximum bids. You can start and stop your ads at any time.


Instagram also has a paid advertising format that you can use as well.  It isn’t as in-depth with the formats and options that facebook has but it does has some great features that can help gain exposure and brand awareness that other platforms might be lacking.

The average CPC on Instagram is around $0.50 – $1.00. You will pay more in highly competitive industries, e.g. apparel. Instagram ads cost can reach up to $3.00 per click. Read this article to see how to keep your costs low.

According to Forrester, Instagram ads have the highest engagement rate of all digital ad placements. This means that sometimes, you could pay a little more for a click or 1,000 impressions and still come out as a winner.

instagram ads cost

Instagram ads have high engagement – Image source

A marketing report by Shopify revealed that Instagram users tend to spend the avg. of $65 per referred sale. In comparison, Facebook users only spend $55, and Twitter users $46.26.


There are some great free platforms that you can use to reach potential customers, which I think you should be doing on top of posting on all your social media formats.  Then there are the other Paid platforms that you can use on top of these which looking at some data, will cost you around $1.00 to $55 to $60 for a purchase.  But in real terms lets just say you run a furniture store and would like to sell more couches.  How much would that cost?  I would look at running google ads first for either click to your website or call to mobile for someone looking to buy a couch.  Putting the ad up, setting the correct search terms and target location etc, should really costs around $10. To get a lead or customer looking to buy a couch.  Now I think if your margins are right you should be able to allow a $10 expense to sell a couch or what ever your business does.  It could also be less than $10 or more than $10 if you either set the ads up correctly or you get the ad wrong.

Facebook and Instagram ads are going to be great for building awareness for your brands and if you do happen to sell products you can sell direct from your Page too.  So I think again if your cost for the ads is around $10 or less you should be able to factor the cost of running these ads into your business model and land some new clients.