According to the SBA (Small Business Administration), about one-third of employees fail within the first two years. While this article is not intended to break down the general reasons for business failure, it highlights one of the most critical factors: consistent lead generation.
For your business to overgrow and become permanently profitable, you must learn to acquire business leads.
What Is lead generation in Marketing?
In marketing, lead generation is the process of gaining actionable customer interest in your company’s services. It usually involves a customer initiating a conversation with you or providing you with their contact information to engage with your firm’s products or services.
For example, a law firm might receive business leads to generate leads.
- Forms submitted by potential clients to enquire about their services.
- A phone call from a potential client to set up a consultation appointment.
- Direct messages on social media are asking for prices.
- An email from a potential client is asking to make a consultation appointment.
Therefore, part of finding new business leads is developing a marketing concept that makes it easy for customers to contact your company.
Your lead generation strategy should always lead to exchanging contact or payment information from potential customers or a face-to-face meeting.
Lead Generation Examples
Whether you plan to buy leads or create a lead generation marketing plan, a lead generation strategy will help you turn strangers into paying customers.
Before you develop your strategy, take a look at the following ways to generate leads for your business.
➤ Direct Engagement
If your firm sells a high-value product or service billed monthly, contacting prospects directly is a great way to generate new business. If your revenue model is based on low-value, high-volume sales, you should eliminate this option.
You can reach out directly via social media, email, phone, or even in person after you have determined that the prospect may be a good fit for your business.
➤ Generate Leads on LinkedIn
Did you know that an audience on LinkedIn has two times the buying power of your average online audience? B2B marketing on LinkedIn is very effective and can lead to very profitable results.
Connecting with relevant industry leaders is a great way to create business opportunities. Potential clients who ask you for referrals for the services you offer may turn out to be your following paying clients.
Utilizing social media for advertising is also a great way to leverage LinkedIn if you have the budget. You can even pay for lead generation ads that include forms directly in your ads, and these advertisements make it easy for relevant users to sign up to buy your product or service.
One more method to get business leads on LinkedIn is to get in touch with members of your target audience, engage with their articles and target them directly with your products or services. Please remember that this method only works if their profile and posts indicate that your services can meet an unmet need. If this is not the case, your offer could be dismissed as spam and damage your credibility.
➤ Advertise and Retarget
Social media isn’t the only place to advertise! Use targeted pay-per-view advertising on Google or Bing to target search engine users. This way, you can place ads for search queries that you already know are highly relevant to your business.
Imagine that you are a BMW dealership looking to improve your dealership marketing in Houston. You can create ads that target search terms such as “best BMW dealership in Houston” or “new BMW in Houston” or even use geo-filters to target customers searching in the Houston area.
Few website visitors convert on their very first visit to your website. When a user clicks on your PPC ad, you can use display retargeting to show a visual ad for your product on other popular sites around the internet.
Digital advertising may take a while to perfect, but it can be one of the most effective ways to generate leads for your firm.
➤ Ask for Referrals from Current Customers
Customer referrals are one of the earliest lead generation marketing strategies. If your product or service makes current customers happy, ask them to share their experience with friends who might benefit.
The quality of your business’s products may be good enough that customers can do so for free, or you can create an incentive system. For example, give your clients a fixed percentage of the following month’s fee for each referred client.
Customer referrals are a great way to obtain more leads for your business because it is profitable, and your current customers do most of the work.
➤ Write guest blogs
Guest blogging is an excellent method to generate referrals through content marketing while improving your search engine optimization.
Guest blogging offers all the following marketing benefits.
- Made new industry connections
- Improve your SEO by gaining meaningful, industry-relevant backlinks
- Generates referral traffic from relevant target groups
You can generate leads for your firm by writing guest blogs for websites related to your industry but do not directly compete with you. For example, if you are a marketing company, you could write guest blogs for sign companies in your area. You know that the sign company’s target audience is interested in marketing themselves and that your services are complimentary.
Writing guest blogs for local influencers is in line with best practices for local SEO. For example, writing guest blogs and getting backlinks from popular podcasts in your area will make your website easier to find in that area.
For best results, make sure the website you guest blog on is relevant to your industry and your location.
➤ Rank in search engines to generate leads
When your target audience looks for your products or services online, you should make sure they can easily find you. Figure out how you can generate more leads for your business by using SEO and SEM.
Start with keyword research to find out what terms your target audience is searching for before buying your product or service. You can make use of tools such as SEMrush or Google Adwords Keyword Planner to find search data.
Once you have found the right keywords, optimize the content of your pages. If you are selling highly competitive goods or services, it cannot be easy to rank organically. If you are willing to invest, using an SEO company can be a great way to generate a steady stream of leads.
Find out how to choose an SEO company before making an investment decision. Not every agency will provide the same results, so it is essential to choose a suitable company for your business.
➤ Answer Forum Questions
Answering questions in the forum is a great way to demonstrate your expertise and set the stage for reciprocity. If you are strategic, you can find leads within minutes this way.
“The key to applying the principle of reciprocity is to be the first to give and to make sure that what you give is personal and unexpected. This quote from Influence at Work describes how being the first to give can receive something of equal or more excellent value.
Put this principle of persuasion into action by answering questions in forums on sites like Reddit or Quora. Discover a category that is relevant to your business and start answering users’ questions. Make sure you include a prompt at the end of your answer to use your product or service to solve the user’s problem.
For example, imagine you are a law firm offering family law services. You could subscribe to a legal sub-forum where users ask questions specifically about the services your firm offers. Take a few minutes each day to look for questions that you can provide insight into.
If a user asks a question about child maintenance, leave a helpful answer that eventually leads them to your website and suggests they contact you for advice. If you offer free advice, users who ask questions may be more willing to pay for your legal services in the future.
Answering forum questions is an excellent example of generating new business leads and benefiting search engine optimization. In particular, in our Reddit example, if you receive enough positive comments on your child support answer, your link can positively impact your law firm’s SEO. This synergy can make your lead generation efforts pay off.
➤ Offer a Free Tool or lead generation Magnet
Offering accessible tools is a great way to generate business-to-business customer leads. What kind of problem does your product or service solve? Can you offer a free tool that helps users without them ultimately having to buy from your business?
In this example, imagine you are a plastic surgeon in Houston. After surveying your Twitter audience and doing keyword research, you find that users are interested in the cost of surgery and recovery time.
So you decide to write an e-book describing the price ranges, recovery times, and before and after photos of the different procedures you offer. You write a teaser blog post and then ask people to trade their name, phone number, and email address for the information you provide.
Your blog post can collect contact information with the right topic, targeting, and call to action. A high level of consistency in blog topics, CTAs, and offers leads to higher conversion rates. Here’s the average conversion rate you can expect from visits to leads according to Databox’s blog lead conversion data.
This teaser blog post is so valuable that interested readers will link to your website and sign up for the free eBook. Your guide will help you attract leads for your business while positively impacting SEO for Houston Plastic Surgery.
What opportunities are available in your industry? Famous examples include creating calculators, compiling research reports, offering free guides, and even offering free consultations to generate leads for your business.
➤ Influencer Interviews
Interviews with leaders in your industry can open many doors for you and your business. Not only is it a great way to network and learn from experts in your industry, but you can also use these interviews to create compelling content.
Record your interview as a video, turn it into a Q&A blog post or make it a podcast. By embedding your interviews in these different formats, you can better use the content and drive interested users to your site or social media. You could even consider putting a threshold in the interview and asking for contact information to increase the generation of business leads.
Often, influencers will share the interview results through their marketing channels, multiplying your reach and ROI.
➤ Start Networking
Networking rarely leads to direct income, but it is excellent for taking advantage of career opportunities. Try to choose a Networking event that is both local and industry-specific. This will help you keep your travel costs down and ensure you benefit from easy access to business opportunities.
What can you expect to get from Networking? If you go on a trip with an ROI, you will almost always be disappointed. Instead, look for indirect benefits.
Maybe you’ll meet a complementary business with whom you can exchange leads and expand your reach. Maybe you’ll meet an influencer who agrees to interview you so you can create great content while increasing your marketing reach. Networking can even lead to guest blogging opportunities for your business.
Your investment in Networking will almost always pay off several times over, making it one of the best methods to get leads for your business.
➤ Create an Email Offer
Generating leads is not always the result of reaching new audiences. There may be untapped business potential in your email list.
Once you have built your email subscriber list, create a special offer. A special discount or limited-time offer can turn a passive viewer into a paying customer.
You can also offer special email deals to other people’s email lists. If you actively network or partner with other businesses in your industry, you can create an agreement that allows you to promote yourself to their audience.
Remember our previous example of a guest blogging partnership between a marketing agency and a sign company. The marketing agency could promote the sign maker’s following email and offer 5% of all sales generated by the initiative. It’s a win-win-win situation for the marketing agency, the sign company, and the happy new customer.
➤ Create Helpful blog comments
As a warning, I haven’t saved the best business lead generation strategies for last.
As a business owner or your company’s marketing executive, be aware of subscribing to industry publications and even competitors’ blogs. This can help you keep your finger on the pulse of your competitors and open up opportunities to help.
If you notice readers leaving several unanswered blog comments on a post, provide your insight in the response. It’s also not a bad idea to consist of a call to action on your website, calling for you to provide relevant information that will further address the reader’s question.
Proceed with caution when trying to generate business leads through blog comments. Comments on blogs can be challenging to do as they are susceptible to spam. In addition, your competitors may not take kindly to you hunting down their audience.
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