Generate Leads with a Free Product

Instagram Winner Picker leads per day

The above image is a graph of the number of leads generated from a small marketing tool that we created at TINT. Everyday, about 18 marketers use our tool to pick a winner for their Instagram campaign. These emails are valuable to us because anyone who is wrapping up an Instagram campaign is a potential customer.

Are you a team that is lucky enough to have some extra technical talent who can crank out a fun side-project during a hack day? If so, then here’s what you need to do to get leads with a free tool:

1. Find a Customer Problem

Muriel eating a cupcake

Find a problem your customers are having. Here’s how I did it: I was getting lunch with my coworker Muriel, and she mentioned that she was having a hard time picking a winner for our Instagram contest. It was a real pain! There just wasn’t a good tool to pick a winner. She ended up searching Instagram for the contest’s hashtag, closing her eyes, scrolling down, and randomly choosing one of the images.

At that moment, I realized that I had stumbled on a perfect problem. A perfect problem is highly targeted: Something specific enough that you know the people who have this problem are your customers, but universal enough that it’ll be a popular search. Speaking of search, the next step is to…

2. Identify the Search Query

Google Keyword Planner

The next question is how they’ll find your tool. Most likely, they’ll be searching on Google. I asked Muriel what she searched for when she was looking for tools. She said, “Instagram winner picker”. Then I went on a walk outside and thought about what I would search for if I were a marketer looking to pick a winner for my contest. “instagram contest winner chooser”, “pick hashtag contest winner”, and “instagram giveaway generator” were some of the different keywords that came to mind. Finally, I went to Google Keyword Planner to type my ideas in and figure out which keywords were actually being searched for. I picked the top ones, and used that to determine what keywords to optimize the tool for.

3. Build an MVP to solve the problem

Luckily, I’m a developer, so it was easy to find someone to build my idea. But, if you need to recruit someone from the engineering team, you can still make your tool happen.

Some things to keep in mind:

  • Make it look great - A good design can keep people on the site longer, and increase the chances of interaction, which will boost SEO.
  • Make it fast - Page load speed is an important factor in bounce rates, especially when people are looking for a quick tool to solve a specific problem. Improve your ranking by making sure load time is optimized.
  • Make it simple - In our experience, the simplest landing pages perform the best. Make sure it’s brain-dead obvious to someone landing on this page that it solves the problem that they are searching for. Our Instagram Winner Picker tool just has a single button, “Get Started”.

Instagram Winner Picker Screenshot

4. Re-evaluate and iterate every 2 weeks

Although this step is easy to do, it’s also the easiest to forget. First, create a document to track all the details of your marketing experiment. Set calendar events when you release the project in 2 week intervals to:

  • Look at Google Webmaster Tools to see how your rankings are doing
  • Figure out why you might be ranking lower than expected, and build backlinks to your app that can help it rank higher


Product marketing search results

As you can see above, our tool now consistently gets about 80 clicks a day, resulting in about 18 emails a day of marketers who are running Instagram campaigns. Nice.