For every business, obtaining leads – people who are interested in your products or services – is an important marketing activity. Without generating leads, your business will not have any customers. In order to consistently generate quality leads, you need to plan your lead generation strategies that will work for your business.
What is lead generation?
A lead refers to someone who is a potential customer of your small business. A qualified lead will give you information about them because they are interested in what you have to offer.
Lead generation is a process of implementing specific marketing activities that make your business visible to those looking for the solutions you offer. These activities need to attract these potential customers and encourage them to take some action. There are many ways to generate leads, but not all will be appropriate to your business.
The best lead generation strategies for your business will be those that:
- You can Implement consistently with your current resources
- Will drive the right visitors to your website
You don’t need to have a large number of visitors for your strategies to work. You need to attract the right audience at the right time and encourage them to learn more about how you can help them.
What is the process for lead generation?
It is important to understand the process of lead generation as it will help you create a consistent system for capturing leads. The process includes:
- Attracting the right audience on the right channel such as your blog, social media post or through a search.
- Offering the visitor something that is hard to resist. The offer needs to encourage them to take some type of action such as learn more, download the template or sign up for the webinar.
- Encouraging the visitor to fill out the form in exchange for the offer. This allows you to capture their email address (or more information depending on the offer).
This captured email address is a lead that you can now nurture. Lead nurturing is taking the leads you acquired and cultivating them over time to turn them into prospects and eventually into customers
What are lead generation strategies?
There are various marketing strategies that you can use to attract potential customers to you. Free lead generation channels are more appealing to small businesses. Strategies such as content marketing and organic search, referrals, Google My Business, email and social media marketing are all great ways to generate leads.
The key to choosing a strategy for your business is to know what your audience wants so you can deliver. To be successful, you also need to have the resources available to consistently implement the strategy.
Most small businesses can implement a blogging strategy. By creating educational content, you help your target solve a problem. Every post your create increases your digital footprint. This helps search engines have more to index, which can help you gain more visibility and more visitors to your website.
Without a blog, your website will not attract many visitors. A blog encourages visitors to come back to read new posts. Educating your audience helps them become better acquainted with your knowledge and your business.
But don’t forget to add an opt-in opportunity to the post. Relate them to your post topics. If you have templates, eBooks, webinar recordings, recipes and reports, make getting access to them visible.
Content marketing and Organic Search (SEO)
In addition to your blog, you can create other content for your website such as cornerstone or evergreen content. Well optimized content can help drive traffic to your website and customers to your business. Content marketing and organic search work together to ensure your content is visible to your audience. Create and optimize your content using the terms they use to search for a solution. Those that are searching for a solution are more likely to find you through valuable content.
Email marketing is a great channel for new lead generation. Every business should build an email list of potential customers. Add signup forms to your website to enable people to opt-in to your email list. An email list that you build and own is important to your long term lead generation success. Ensures you attract those that would be a good fit for your business by offering a quality lead magnet.
Since those on your email list have already shown interest by opting in, new offers can be made via email to get them to convert from a lead to a customer. This is called lead nurturing and is how you build a relationship with them over time.
Social media marketing
Social media marketing is a lead generation strategy, but it does require time, commitment, creativity and effort. Pick the platforms that best suit your business and target audience and post regularly. You need content that will attract your target audience, so we recommend that you create a content calendar and plan your posts.
Make sure your social profiles are consistent in brand, contain a link to your website and make it clear who you work with. Your priority is to ensure your content and messaging appeals to your target audience. Focus on who you are trying to connect with and want to attract to your business.
Google My Business
For local businesses, creating your company profile is important to local visibility. But did you know that your Google My Business listing can help generate leads and new customers?
Fully populate your profile information:
- Enter a detailed description to tells Google more about your business. This will help Google provide better matches for search queries.
- Add categories, service areas and hours of operation.
- Set up appointment links so people can directly request without searching for your contact page.
- Turn on Business Messages to allow people to directly message you from your listing.
- Add attributes if applicable.
- Create questions that you regularly get asked and answer them in the Q&A section.
- Ask customers to leave a review and respond to those reviews promptly.
Now get active with your profile. Create offers, posts and events to attract people to your business.
For most small businesses, referrals are one of the most effective ways to generate leads. When one of your customers refers you to a colleague, they are letting them know you are worth a look. Plus people won’t refer your business to someone that isn’t interested in what you do or have the budget to pay for your services.
The hard part about getting referrals from your customers is you have to ask, and many are uncomfortable in doing so. Depending on your business, you could provide a discount to a customer who refers you. But sometimes you just have to ask if they know someone who would benefit from your services. Create a referral system that is easy for your customers, and bring higher profits with increased customer loyalty.
Webinars and virtual events
Hosting a webinar or virtual event like a mastermind can generate many warm leads. These events allow you to capture emails by requiring people to sign up for your event. These types of events give you an opportunity to establish a relationship of trust with your attendees. This increases the likelihood of them turning to your business when the are ready to buy.
What is a lead generation system?
Determining your lead generation strategies that work for your business is an important first step. But now you need to implement them consistently. To be consistent in your efforts, you need to put a system in place that makes generating leads a habit.
A lead generation system is a continuous process of attracting, converting and nurturing leads. Most businesses are great at attracting visitors. The work is in converting and nurturing these leads so that they eventually turn into customers. And to continually do this with each new lead that you capture.
This requires you put a lead generation system in place that turns this effort into a habit. The system also helps you measure the effectiveness of how well your conversion and nurturing activities are moving leads through the funnel. You will be able to determine which lead magnets are enticing more visitors to opt-in. And you can see if your nurturing activities are building a better relationship between you and your prospects.
Invest in your business
As with all types of marketing, lead generation is an investment in your business. Since on average 95% of visitors are not ready to buy when they hit your website, you need patience and persistence with your marketing.
If you view marketing as an expense, it will be the first thing you cut if you experience a cash flow problem. Since it takes time for marketing to work effectively, if you cut your marketing, you may never recover quickly enough to help you get back your revenue. Put a few lead generation strategies in place, execute them consistently and keep the leads flowing that help you reach your sales goals.