Small businesses need to know how to generate leads to survive. It's a long held notion in business and in life that a company must always be growing—someway, somehow, and that the ones that stagnate eventually fall off.
Fortunately, we live in a world where generating leads can almost happen by accident. Between search engines, social media, and physical location there's a higher degree of visibility on your company than ever before.
Still, though, it's on you to find the people that will keep your business alive and thriving now and down the road. Let's take a look at how to get leads, and how to maximize your visibility online to find new people.
What Is Lead Generation?
A quick refresher, or definition so we're all on the same page. Generating leads is a marketing term for identifying and cultivating future customers in your business.
For example, you might generate a lead by running a Facebook ads campaign. If someone gives you their email address, you now have a lead, or potential customer, to follow up and engage with.
That's the what. Here's the how.
Generating leads is a marketing term for identifying and cultivating future customers in your business.
Wondering how to find leads? One overarching, almost philosophical tip is to not do what most other people do. Zig where others zag, so that you stand out. In some way, this almost always means doing the harder thing and not taking shortcuts, which is definitely the case with this tip
Which is to be a real person. Engage with new leads directly, not through automated emails or FAQ pages. Whether it's a phone call, a personalized email, or a face to face meeting, this is how you'll separate yourself and be remembered.
It's easy as a business owner to get sucked into the analytics, the numbers, and the grind. But you do yourself and prospective clients a disservice by not making lead generation a relationship-based process.
Sticking with the first tip, social media is a great place to generate leads. You have tons of options at your disposal, and even more diversity in terms of the strengths of each platform (LinkedIn, for example, is primarily used for business; Instagram for visuals).
Many businesses attempt to generate leads on every platform at once. Eventually, it becomes too much, and the strategy falls apart.
Instead, pick two platforms. Once you know your business will do well on, and another you're either excited about.
For example, pick Instagram if the brunt of your advertising and lead generation will come from pictures or videos. Choose Facebook if your target customer is older (35+) or you plan to use Facebook ads as part of your strategy.
Crafting quality content on your website's blog is a great way to get leads. A good blog post establishes authority in your industry, and if it performs well and people find it valuable, you'll become more discoverable on Google.
Consider the last thing you Googled (perhaps it was this). Google turned up solutions for you that they believed would solve your problems, and now you're there. If you were to give a website your email address, for example, you'd be a new lead for that business.
You can do a ton with blog articles, and they don't even have to be on your site. Write guest posts on other platforms (or even use Medium) to get your company's name out there.
You may think of Reddit or Quora as simple message boards, but they can be much more. One of the best ways to generate leads is to show others your skill sets, expertise, and specifically how you can solve their problems.
Answering questions on these message boards, or starting your own Q&A, is an underrated way to find new potential customers.
Things change, and things stay the same. Even in a more fast-paced world that's technology-driven, nothing creates a stronger lead or drums up the potential for future business than referrals.
Whether your business is digital, brick and mortar, or a combination of both, you should be leveraging this asset when you generate leads. Ask (or incentivize) current customers to pass your name along or write your testimonials. You can make it a win-win-win for everyone.
Say this, whatever it is, in plain words to your contacts. People are on high alert until they know what you're asking of them.
Ask (or incentivize) current customers to pass your name along or write your testimonials. You can make it a win-win-win for everyone.
If you've been in business a while, chances are you've got a list of cold or dead leads that fell off several months or even years ago. If it's been a long time, don't be afraid to reach out to (some) of the leads that went cold.
Also reach out to prospects you've identified from shows, networking events, or people in your personal network that you haven't heard from in a while. As well as a lead generation, this is just a good business practice that helps keep your name out there.
Every strategy on this list will 'work', but the key to generating leads is to consistently do it. Make it a daily priority, and also have goals set around how many leads you hope to generate (or convert) so that you know when to slow down or pause.
Quality trumps quantity, meaning that 500 leads that you can reasonably manage are going to go a lot further than several thousand that you can't.
Okay, here's how to generate leads: add a touch of human to your marketing, be consistent, create great content, and find a way to use or revisit your old leads.
Depending on the size of your team and current commitments, it might make sense to outsource your lead generation to a third-party. Many digital marketing companies these days offer these services (if not specialize in them), and most will show you statistics on how the investment you're making will pay off.
It's not a solution for everyone, but if it's for your business, contact us today to discuss our services.