Have you ever wondered what is the key to successfully turning business pitches into sales? Many businesses struggle with lesser sales despite putting in a lot of effort into getting in touch with people. One of the main reasons is that we fail to sell to the right people.
If someone is not interested in what you have to offer or is simply not the kind of person your offerings are relevant to, how can your efforts at pitching to them bear any results? That’s where Lead Generation comes in.
What Lead Generation Does?
On the surface, Lead Generation also is all about pitching your business to people – but with a better chance of closing sales because you are pitching to a group of individuals who you have identified as potential customers. Obviously, instead of pitching to a hundred individuals who may never buy from you, it is better to pitch to ten who will — and that’s what Lead Generation does for you!
Lead Generation will also ensure that your marketing budget is used in a better, more profitable way, with minimal waste of resources — and this is especially important for small businesses who have to make every cent of investment in marketing count.
Needless to say, Lead Generation will involve a little more effort and research on your part. Here are some great strategies to help you get started.
1. Content marketing and organic growth
Content marketing is a relatively inexpensive form of inbound marketing that organically redirects your prospects to the website. Did you know that 75% of B2B marketers have used content marketing to generate more leads?
Small businesses can really leverage the power of content marketing. Start with developing a buyer persona to include datasets like buyer’s demographics, location, pain points, etc. Now that you know your audiences, you need to focus on the type of content they’ll consume. These could be creating blogs, social media posts, podcasts, videos, webinars, eBooks, quizzes, infographics, or any other form of content.
Local SEO can also power up your organic lead generation process. An SEO audit and optimization begins with your website, and a great practice would be to localize your SEO to the areas where your products/services are likely to be sold. This could include any location around the globe or specific geographical locations only. For example, “Trusted first-aid training” would be an example for general SEO. “Trusted first-aided training in Atlanta” is localized.
Google My Business helps you manage your search presence on Google and your location on Maps. While enlisting on GMB, make sure to include proper information, verify your location, add photos, and respond to reviews.
2. Invest in paid ads
Investing in paid ads may not always be a feasible option for small businesses — especially when you are starting up, largely because of budget constraints. However, a strategically run paid ad campaign can generate high-quality leads for small businesses.
Remember that the medium you use for marketing depends on what you are selling. For example, if you are selling a B2C product, then Instagram would be an ideal choice because Instagram is very visual and lets you really show off your products. If you are selling services, Instagram would not be so great.
Instagram lets you set parameters to your ads such as the region you want to target, how many people you want to target and for how long, and so on. You can use your discretion to set the mix that you feel would work best for you. Instagram will then follow these parameters to share your advertisement with only those individuals who fall in this specification. As a result, there is a chance that the people who contact you would be those who are more likely to be interested in your products.
Influencers too can feature your business on their profiles on various social media platforms. Restaurants today are beautifully leveraging the power of influencers. Influencers’ fans or followers are more likely to trust their recommendations than a direct advertisement by the business. This, coupled with great pictures of food has helped restaurants gain more guests — thanks to influencer marketing. In fact, 49% of consumers actually go for recommendations by influencers!
Where you put your ad is all about relevance — whether it is Google ads, YouTube ads, print ads, emails, and so on.
You must also consider the demographics, geography, season and so on to build a successful ad campaign – and most of the paid advertisement platforms like Instagram and Facebook let you do that for much lesser when compared to traditional forms of advertisements such as print, television and outdoor advertising.
3. Leveraging social media presence
Social media hype keeps increasing, there are presently 3.78 billion active social media users.
Almost all social media platforms let you join for free. As such, creating engagement on these platforms will almost cost you nothing. You can host live sessions, contests, giveaways, arrange polls, and build personal relationships with your followers and connections to convey your brand’s message.
Communities of common interest are fertile grounds for generating high-quality leads as these are spaces where the most likely of buyers are going to be present. It is also highly likely that these communities will have members who are well-informed about the kind of services or products you are offering. As a result, you won’t have to work hard on educating them on what you are offering.
Another way that social media can be leveraged is to use a personal brand image to create engagement. Founders who enjoy a level of personal brand image owing to their expertness in certain areas, events they may have held, the research they would have done, inventions they would have pioneered, and so on, will have a certain group of individuals who they can easily begin engaging with. This also forms a kind of community that can be scaled up to include more and more people of similar interests – all of whom can become potential leads for their businesses. A personal connection with the community can be very rewarding!
4. Email marketing
Email marketing is inexpensive, and can give you back $42 for every $1 spent! Surprisingly, 77% of businesses have reported click-through rates of a meager 0% to 10%! This clearly establishes that although email marketing is still not dead, you have to send the right emails to the right prospects, at the right intervals, and to a significantly large email pool in order to generate leads.
Luggage company Away started small but is valued at $1.4B today thanks to their email strategy. They don’t just send a mass of words but use a lot of attractive high-quality visuals into their mails. And here’s what’s different and unique – they even feature the travel photos of their actual customers in their emails. Besides, they respond to each email that they get. As you would have figured, they have made email a very interactive space, building almost a sort of community over email.
So if someone tells you that email is dead, remember that it is not email that is dead, but the outdated email practices that are. Use the latest trends and ‘in-things’ of today to leverage the power of this simple and inexpensive tool.
5. Referral programs with WOM
Your existing customers can prove to be powerful marketing agents for your business. In fact, it is proven that 9 out of 10 customers would rather believe recommendations by someone they know over traditional forms of marketing pitches. A number of businesses have grown big using success referral strategies.
Airbnb’s latest referral program is a classic example of how a great referral system works. Their first referral program was simple – each referral by email brought both parties certain amounts in credits for each successful booking. The new referral system was more personalized – Airbnb added a picture of the referrer to the referral email and also optimized their referral emails for mobiles, resulting in a 300% jump in bookings!
When it comes to referrals, don’t skimp on what you have to offer. Remember that paying commissions and losing a little of your profit margins for massive future gains will be worth it.
Remember, not all Lead Generation techniques work for all. What works for you depends heavily on the nature of business, target audience, geography, demographics, and so on. You may even have to consider using more than one strategy to optimize your results.
Most importantly, remember to constantly retest your strategies. When in doubt, try out various options. This is the only way you will be able to eventually come upon a lead generation strategy that works best for your business.
Great blog. You have covered all the main strategies to generate leads for small businesses. However, I would like to add a few more lead generation ideas like
1. Publishing blogs
2. Guest post on websites with similar niche
3. Building a referral network
4. Hosting webinars and speaking at local events and conferences