If you are looking to increase your customer base, know this: small businesses that are incorporating lead generation strategies and embracing innovative ways to generate new sales are seeing accelerated growth.
Small and local businesses are in a high-stakes competition for new customers in the shadow of a growing ecommerce presence and fighting for what little market space is left after mega-store and national brands have set up shop locally. If you find your business is struggling to bring in new customers, lead generation is a must.
Small Business Lead Generation – What is a Lead?
Lead generation is the process you use to create a highly targeted base of prospects and future customers that you and your sales team can nurture and convert into sales and increased revenue.
To break it down, a lead is any person who indicates interest in a company’s product or service. Leads are the fuel for your marketing efforts. And different types of leads will travel different customer journeys depending on their demonstrated level of interest or engagement with your lead generation efforts. Someone who signed up for your newsletter, for example, is going to get marketed to differently than someone who had a free trial or sample.
Using Lead Generation Strategies
With your lead generation strategies you are working to attract and convert a new prospect into someone who has indicated interest in your product or service. Basically, you are identifying and qualifying potential customers.
Local lead generation strategies are specifically engineered to get in front of and attract local clients. To do that, the first and most important factor for generating local leads is to master local SEO (search engine optimization) and ensure your website is ranking high organically in search results for your area and type of business.
List of Small Business Lead Generation Strategies
There’s no one-size-fits-all local lead generation campaign. You will need to be clear on what your business is about, how it’s different, and what you are hoping to accomplish before picking which strategies to use in your local lead generation campaigns.
Figure out where your clients hang out and do a deep dive into the lead generation strategies that work there to create a local plan that continuously feeds new leads into your business.
Content and Blogging for Lead Generation
Content is a great way to guide users to opt-in offers and landing pages. Typically, you create content like blog posts and lead magnets (incredibly useful digital content customers will trade an opt-in or email address for) to provide visitors with free information while reminding them of your expertise. You can include calls-to-action anywhere in your content — inline, bottom-of-post, in the hero, or even on the side panel, footer or back page of your content.
Don’t stress over creating books worth of content to start blogging or offering useful information. Keep things simple in the beginning and write down the ten most frequent questions your customers ask you, and you have 10+ blog posts ideas already. Add all ten together, make a cover, and save it as a PDF and you have a lead magnet.
Google Ads for Lead Generation
With Google Ads, you pay to appear at the top of search engine queries and map results. Obviously this is prime real estate for any ad campaign, especially for small businesses.
Google Ads are popular PPC (pay-per-click) campaigns you can use to increase website visits, calls, and store visits while generating leads. And that’s why cost per lead within Google Ads is often a lot more expensive than social media lead generation tactics but you are seen by people looking specifically for what you are selling.
Even with quick results, this lead generation tactic can prove to be a testing ground for people not familiar with PPC management. But many small businesses believe Google Ads are worth the effort and costs for lead generation and new sales.
Social Media for Lead Generation
Social media business accounts allow you to target ads to people within your local area based on criteria such as location, age, sex, interests, and much more. And social media platforms make it easy to guide your followers to take action, from the swipe up option on Instagram stories to Facebook bio links.
While social media is widely used for top-of-the-funnel marketing, it can still be a helpful and low-cost source for lead generation. The key is using social media strategically.
Free Trials and Samples for Lead Generation
You can break down a lot of barriers to a sale by offering trials of your product or service. People like free stuff, bundles, and huge discounts. And they are likely to share with others and leave reviews for what they’ve received if they like it.
Deliver impactful, positive experiences, and you can convert a competitor’s customers into your new leads. Obtaining new customers is far more difficult than keeping existing ones, so consider that when weighing the initial cost of free or discounted starter campaigns.
Referral Marketing for Lead Generation
Referral marketing is a marketing tactic that makes use of recommendations, reviews and word of mouth to grow a business’s customer base. You’ll want to use your biggest fans to help spread the good word about your company for increased exposure to new audiences so you can generate more leads.
Leads from referrals are the most powerful type of lead generation because the positive word of mouth and trusted opinion of people and businesses we trust are very persuasive.
Your lead generation strategy needs to be as dynamic as the people you’re targeting. Create and test enticing and attractive offers, CTAs, landing pages, and forms and then promote them through multiple channels. While you may have several moving parts in your marketing machine, lead generation puts your business in front of your ideal audience, so you can get to work converting them into customers.