Lead generation is a simple concept, and it refers to the strategies and techniques carried out by small businesses to attract interest in their product or service among prospects. And, turning them into customers.
In other words, it’s identifying ideal potential customers based on their actions, such as, an intent to purchase your products or services. Then, gently guiding them along the engagement funnel until they become customers.
Maybe these prospects took a critical activity on your website such as: filling out a form requesting more information. Or they clicked on a link, (which is the same as holding up their hand). Thus, identifying themselves as potential customers. Such as from a post on your Blog to your services page.
Lead generation for your small businesses is essential for a variety of reasons:
- To engage with potential customers in personalised ways.
- Additionally, increase your client base.
- And finally, to generate income for your small business.
In today’s fast-paced and technologically aware world, there are tons of lead generation ideas for small businesses. But, in this article, we’ve siphoned them down to the ten proven essentials for time-challenged owners of a small business.
10 Proven Lead Generation Strategies For Your Small business.
- Identify Your Target ideal Customer
- Create Relevant and Engaging Content
- Segment your Leads
- Optimise Your Website
- Pay Per Click Ads
- Email Marketing
- Text Message Marketing
- Social Media Marketing
- Host Events
- Market with Influencers
1. Identify Your Target ideal Customer
So, before embarking on any marketing related campaign, identifying your ideal target customer is the vital first task you must complete. Ask yourself some open critical questions like:
- Who is the user of your product or service?
- What time OF THE YEAR do they think about buying your product or service?
- Why buy from your business rather than your nearest competitor?
- Where do they gather in their highest numbers?
- How do they prefer to receive communication?
By focusing on open questions like these, you will get a firm understanding of whom to target. A great and effective strategy here is to create buyer personas, which represent your ideal customer based on real data extracted from your existing customers, together with gathered data from market research. These personas help glean your customers’ motivations. And also, give you an insight into your target potential customers mindset so you can communicate with them better.
Read this post: on ‘How to Identify Your Target Market And Create Buyer Personas’ which covers the topic of Identifying Your Potential Ideal Customer in greater depth.
2. Create Relevant and Engaging Content
Whatever content you create, for example;
- a blog post,
- a short video,
- or a newsletter,
make sure that it’s relevant to your target audience and offers them value. Focus on your potential customers’ needs and frustrations. And guide your content around that pain point.
If you’re consistently pushing out content that’s stuffed with keywords or is clickbaity, you may see a traffic surge initially. But, this strategy, not recommended for generating leads for your small business. Because potential customers won this way are hardly likely to remain customers for life.
However, when you’re offering content that offers real value or is informative, your content will in each case resonate with prospects while addressing their intent, i.e. to buy your product or service. There are two key points here:
- Avoid the salesy or marketing tone: buyers today aren’t stupid and can differentiate between an open product pitch and content designed to educate and inform.
- Be entertaining and informative with your content: it’s of no use to anyone if the latest Blog post you published was in-depth and highly relevant if it’s perceived boring. So, use eye-catching designs and compelling visuals to get prospects to perform the desired call to action.
If you’re confused about the type of content to create, using tools like Google Ads helps you find related keywords to give you an idea of what people are searching for and ideal for topical content.
3. Segment your Leads
Whether you generate leads for your business through inbound marketing channels such as opt-in forms, newsletter subscripts or outbound techniques such as cold calling, you must segment your leads according to the engagement or interaction you’ve had. This segmentation is so important it helps you nurture your relationship with the prospect right from the start. Also, engage with the relevantly; you wouldn’t show a form with a lot of details to fill in, to someone who’s interacted your site for the first time, right? No, you’d take it slow and ask for only their first name and email address. And increase the barrier of the ask commitment once they’ve engaged more with you.
For lead segmentation, CRM’s are beneficial and help you in detailed targeting while automatically updating your customer details. Therefore, you can have segment leads based on how they’ve interacted with your content and then target them appropriately. For example, if you intend to send a broadcast of promotional email messages to new prospects, you have to select the right segment in your CRM and then contact only them. And that saves a lot of time!
4. Optimise Your Website
While channels like emails marketing or social media platforms help you get prospects to opt-in to your list, your website is your best resource when generating leads for your small business. Ensure that your entire website is optimised to deliver an optimal user experience.
Yoast advises a holistic approach to optimising your website.
Optimise for User Experience
While channels like emails marketing or social media platforms help you get prospects to opt-in to your list, your website is your best resource when generating leads for your small business. Ensure that your entire site is optimised to deliver an optimal user experience. Some of the priority elements to focus on are typical:
Yoast says they encourage a ‘holistic approach to SEO’. Holistic means that you look at the bigger picture, and not just the smaller parts on their own. Therefore, your aim should be to build and maintain the best possible website. Ranking in Google will become more effective if your website is of extremely high quality.
Site speed is essential because there is nothing worse than waiting for a slow site to load. Yes. You’ll leave, and so will your viewers.
Nowadays, your site must work correctly on mobile devices because many now browse online using their mobile device.
The way you structure your site is fundamental because your pages must be intuitive and easy to read.
Internal and External Linking
An element Google looks at is the linking structure because a lot of high-quality links to your web page probably indicates that people had a pleasant experience with it.
Once a visitor enters your site, they should be able to move around quickly. And not waste their time searching around for what they want. They should enjoy a pleasant user experience.
Avoid the dreaded bounce and increase the chances of visitors staying longer on your site, make your site enjoyable, that the content is relevant and gets noticed.
Avoid the dreaded bounce. So, increase the chances of visitors staying longer on your site. Therefore, make your site enjoyable, the content is relevant and gets it noticed.
Yoast.Com is a trusted resource on the topic of optimisation and SEO. And, there are many free tutorials videos and posts to give you a deeper understanding.
Optimise For Conversion
Since conversion is your ultimate aim. Make sure you have ‘calls to action’ (CTA’s) which are evident and specific with their intents. And also include them throughout your website. Therefore, most notably on Blog posts and landing pages.
Also, include customer testimonials or reviews for social proof, to build trust in your product or service.
5. Paid Ads on Google
Promoting your business on search engines like Google is a great lead generation tactic for small businesses. So, by using pay-per-click (PPC) ads, you can make sure you get seen at the top for searches based on the keywords identifying to your products and services. With this tactic, you feel assured that your future customers, at the very least, click through to your site and awareness of your business is built.
So, using Google Ads, you reach out to future potential customers wherever they are online.
examples of the ways you can use PPC Ads:
- Get prospects to opt-in for a free ebook by directing them to a dedicated landing page.
- You are physically driving people to your business by getting your ads to display your company’s location.
First, make a decision where you want these ads to appear and create compelling ads with catchy images to attract your prospects attention. But, start on a small budget if you’re using this tool for the first time. And, gradually increase your spend once you’re sure of what works for you and what doesn’t.
6. Email Marketing
Email is an excellent media for communicating with your contacts and assists you in creating a meaningful contact list. And the best part is you’re confident that these contacts are interested in you. Because they explicitly gave you their email address through an opt-in form or opt-in page.
With email, you can use merge fields to include the contact’s name to add personalisation.
So, by sending useful and relevant email content, over time, you can convert your leads into customers.
An example of this flow would be:
A prospect opts-in to receive your free eBook and follow up emails, on your site
In your ‘welcome email’, you send them the free eBook and welcome them to your list. In this welcome email, you further explain all the benefits of the eBook and reinforce why they subscribed to your list.
You then send them a series of follow-up emails, for example, newsletters, or, links to useful and informative content on your site.
As the relationship progresses you start to send event invites or company update information
Then, through your link tracking, once you begin to see consistent engagement because your prospects are opening emails and clicking on the links, they are warm. Now, you can introduce promo offers, or product demos, not every email though you still need to build on that trust.
Suddenly over time, you’ll see that some of your opportunities have turned into customers.
Send the Right Message at the Right Time!
Make sure your lists are well-segmented beforehand so that the right emails get sent to the right contacts. Because you don’t want to send an invitation for a product demo to the new prospect, right?
So, to make email marketing simpler, you should use a dedicated email marketing tool like ActiveCampaign, which let you create follow-up email campaigns in advance and track important metrics like open and click-through rates.
There are free alternative email tools available like Mailchimp or Aweber. But I will always recommend ActiveCampain, which starts at as little as $9 a month. See my post on Email Delivery and Deliverability to understand why I do not advise free.
Also, it’s essential to continue to test your emails for the best engagement. Proper email marketing tools let you check various subject lines as well.
Also, remember to add ‘calls to action’ and social sharing buttons to your email newsletters, which encourages the recipients to follow you on social media. And share your content online, which helps newer audiences see you.
7. Marketing with a Text Message
Given an average open rate of 98%, text messages are a valuable and quick tool for lead generation for small businesses. Marketing with a text message presents a convenient and straightforward way of chatting with thousands of contacts. While keeping a sense of personalisation because you use their name and a language that implies you are only talking to them.
For lead generation and engagement, texts have many purposes:
- You can get prospects to opt-in for quizzes, online events and other marketing activities.
- And send updates regarding events you’re hosting.
- You can engage in one-to-one conversations with prospects. And answer any questions they might have about your product or service.
- Also, remind them about an appointment or scheduled phone call that you have arranged.
- Ask them to participate in surveys.
- And thank customers when they make a purchase.
- Even to wish them ‘Happy Birthday’ on their birthday.
These ideas are only some of the ways of using texts with your lead generation marketing.
SMS Marketing Tools
And, with tools like ActiveCampaign, prospects are encouraged to opt-in to your marketing, making sure that you only reach out to those who are interested.
And, because your business is likely to be busy, many of the SMS are automated. You can add SMS messages as a step in your follow-up automation. That means you can send scheduled text message notifications and campaigns automatically. All this, without this taking too much of your time!
You can find out more about the powerful benefits of text message marketing SMS in this article Automate Your SMS Marketing.
8. Social Media Marketing
It appears everyone is on social media, that’s including your prospects. Therefore you’ll want to use social media platforms, or you’ll lose out.
First, create an account in your business name on sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.
And when done, create content relevant to these social media sites. In principle, you can post videos, behind-the-scenes shots of your company, and related infographics and images, hold online contests with exclusive prizes, and keep your audience up to date about your business.
The buzz word, when it comes to social media is engagement, so be sure to reply to your followers’ comments and reactions actively.
These social media platforms are a useful way of increasing your audience base. Therefore, create great content which inspires your followers to share and engage with it.
Paid Social Media Ads
For a higher quantity of leads, paid ads are an option as well; So, post audience-specific ads on product interests or buyer demographics. These ads are seen by the future ideal customers whom you want to convert to new buyers.
So, build interest and direct them to your site where they can dig a little deeper, then decide by themselves.
Again automation and an excellent CRM platform will pay dividends with this tactic.
So, by regularly posting great content and interacting with your audience, you’re establishing yourself as an authoritative and trustworthy enterprise which values its customers.
Note: Remember, it makes sense to design specific content for each social media platform. Because while images are excellent for Instagram, that, wouldn’t work for LinkedIn where posting an informative article would make more sense. Likewise, with Facebook, a less formal mash-up of the two would suffice.
9. Hosting Events
Hosting an offline event is a fun way of generating leads for your small business. So, organise a workshop or seminar. Because it is a direct way of interacting with future customers, by talking about your product, together with demonstrating how it helps solve their problems.
Promote your event using the many different tools and channels available to generate interest among your target audience.
Think about how this event could be relevant to them and emphasise this in your promotions.
When you are ready, ask them to register through a simple form on your social media channels or website. So, you’ll have a documented record of attendees.
Define the goals and objectives you want to meet as well. Say twenty attendees and setting up follow-up business meetings with five good prospects. So then, you’ll know how successful your event was.
Post-event, make sure you follow up with each of the attendees. And try and convert them into customers, also to obtain feedback.
Depending on the type of the event, you can use tools like Eventbrite to help you manage, promote and organise your successful event.
10. Co-Marketing and Working with Influencers or Celebrities.
By strategically aligning yourself with another small business in a similar market place, but with no competing products or service, does make a lot of sense. And jointly creating informative content, broadcast to each of the businesses lists. Therefore, you’re effectively increasing your potential reach. All things being equal, you get double the visibility you’d ordinarily get than if you were promoting your content alone. Furthermore, potentially a much better return on lead generation.
Even better, as a result of co-marketing, the effort you put in building content is shared, since you’re collaborating with another business or, businesses, but the results are more.
The content that you create can be anything such as
- a white paper,
- an ebook,
- or, an online webinar
- even better, the offline event mentioned above.
Incidentally, there’s a lot to gain from occasionally cross-blogging on each other’s sites. But be aware, whenever you co-create, ensure that both businesses are on the same page when it comes to expectations, which in your case, is to generate leads and eventually revenue for your business.
Likewise, a similar strategy when it comes to co-marketing is working with famous social media celebrities, known as ‘influencers’ for promoting your product or service.
These influencers have a broad audience on their social media account accounts and large mailing lists. Work to build a relationship with them and get them to endorse you. As a result, you’ll gain access to a whole new audience of untapped prospects just waiting to turn in to customers!
Seek out influencers on social media sites where you have fewer followers. With the aim, to build authority on that platform.
This endorsement from the ‘influencer’ may only be something as simple as a note on an image where the influencer is trialling your product or service. Or, a quick status update, updating follower’s, about your upcoming offline event (above).
Additional Lead Generation Ideas for Small Business
With the rise in email misuse and privacy worries, you as a small business must make it clear on your site that you protect customers’ information. And you don’t share it with anyone without their explicit consent. This candid act helps in establishing trust with your new contacts.
Prepare a proper opportunities pipeline, so you are fully aware when a prospect becomes a sales qualified lead. So that you can track the progress through on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, this parameter lets you know if your strategies are leading to conversions. Or if they need to change to meet your goals.
Strive for Continuous Improvement
So, while the above are some great lead generation tactics and strategies for your small businesses, it’s imperative to keep testing, and measuring a combination of different tactics to see what works best for you in your situation. I welcome any comment or suggestions, feel free to express them down below!
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