So, you’ve done it: you’ve thought of an amazing idea, you’ve assembled the best of the best for your team, and you’re ready to start seriously building your business and reaching your business goals. Now it's time to think about one of the most important aspects of that process: lead generation. Luckily for you, we're here to help you reach your target audience and grow your connections with these 10 highly effective lead generation strategies!
What's lead generation? WeSo, you’ve done it: you’ve thought of an amazing idea, you’ve assembled the best of the best for your team, and you’re ready to start seriously building your business and reaching your business goals. Now it's time to think about one of the most important aspects of that process: lead generation. Luckily for you, we're here to help you reach your target audience and grow your connections with these 10 highly effective lead generation strategies!
What's lead generation? Well, let’s define what lead generation is with the following quotation:
Lead generation is the process of converting “strangers” like website visitors into leads.
The lead generation process usually ends with an exchange.
For example, a website visitor gives you their email address and name to download one of your free ebooks.
They gave you their valuable contact information, and you gave them some great educational content.
From this point on, you can use this info for following up with different types of email marketing messages.
Don't forget that any business transaction is about creating a mutually beneficial relationship. Use these timeless sales principles in your communication.
Once a person becomes a lead, you'll need to nurture them. Lead nurturing is usually done with email marketing automation, but you can use tons of other channels.
Real nurturing consists of:
-Understanding the pain they try to solve,
-And helping them solve their pain.
By doing this, you provide real value to the lead. This experience builds trust between the lead and your company.
This trust makes it much more likely that they'll end up buying your service or product.
Our lead generation ideas
Essentially, you want to build relationships with people—real relationships with real feelings and real interactions. You want to make sure people feel like they’re not just potential customers, but they're actually important to your business, and, crucially, that your business is important to them. This is why quality is more important than quantity. It’s better to have a lower volume of leads that are enthusiastic about your business than to have a higher volume of leads that eventually grow bored and move on to the next thing.
Some of the lead generation ideas we've included below are likely to generate leads immediately and some are more likely to generate leads over time. It may seem counterintuitive to include lead generation ideas that don’t directly and immediately result in driving leads to your website and your business, but it's really not. Unlike poor-quality leads, it can sometimes take time to get high-quality prospective customers to give you their full name and email address for your mailing list or sign up for your membership-based platform—even if it's free! Sometimes the most important step is simply getting those key decision-makers onto your website where they can learn about your business and eventually become a lead and even a paying customer.
So, without further adieu, here are 10 tips to help you gain a steady stream of high-quality leads!
1. Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization (SEO) is arguably the most important lead generation strategy on this list. Basically, it's all about helping a search engine such as Google find your website, and there are a few ways to go about it.
Backlinking is a simple way to make it easier for a search engine to find your website. For instance, if your link appears on an already indexed website, search engines will have an easier time finding you—especially if the site is particularly well established or trusted. If your business is just getting started, reaching out to other businesses or review sites and asking them to include your site or product in their lists (best of lists, new products lists, etc) will go a long way in helping you build your backlinks.
Optimizing your blog posts is another simple way to make it easier for a search engine such as Google to find your website. There are awesome SEO tools out there that can help you create quality content that will appear to potential buyers through an organic search on a search engine such as Google. Frase is one tool that we love—it can really boost a blog post’s SEO score! If you’d like more information and a free trial, check out Frase.
We recommend trying to optimize as many facets of your web content as possible to get the largest volume of leads. Work on your homepage, your blog posts, your podcast blurbs and more. But, make sure you're producing high-quality relevant content. Avoid keyword stuffing—overfilling your content with too many keywords. Search indexers have become incredibly powerful and sophisticated and can tell when a web page is using keyword stuffing to try to manipulate the system. Plus, you don't really want that kind of content in front of prospective clients because it won't result in a good user experience.
If you can only focus on one of the strategies on our list, stop reading right now and prioritize this one! Give your business the kind of meaningful content upgrade that will be driving leads your way and helping you reach your business goals!
2. Email marketing
Email marketing is an extremely effective lead generation tactic, as long as you do it right. Here are a few different kinds of email marketing you can try to turn strangers into leads and leads into customers!
Cold emailing is the process of sending unsolicited emails to strangers. There are a number of sites such as Hunter that allow you to search email lists in order to cold email. You can also reach out to your friends and business partners who offer similar services and are not in competition with you to see if they can provide curated email address lists. But, be aware, these kinds of email campaigns require following some pretty specific rules and regulations: there are laws you must abide by when cold emailing, and the laws are different in every country.
Subscriber emailing is the process of sending specific emails only to people who have subscribed to your mailing list. These are your target customers, and you can have your marketing team and sales team focus on them. This type of emailing works well for exclusive newsletter email campaigns. Since subscribers are already interested in your product or service, they're the perfect people to tell about special subscriber-only perks, new blog posts and your fresh podcast episodes!
These two types of email campaigns are both useful for generating leads and engaging prospective customers. Try them and see what works for you!
3. Free trials
Offering free trials of your products or free versions of your services is another effective lead generation strategy. Free trials and free versions are an excellent way to convince a potential client that your product or service is right for them. For example, here at B2BeeMatch, we've been growing our business networking platform with free memberships for small and medium businesses around the world. And, although we have plans to move to a paid membership model in the future, we are committed to always offering a freemium version of our services.
In addition, you can offer a referral program. You can incentivize your existing leads and existing customers to get the word out about your free product or free service. You can motivate them to find another ideal client for you. Simply offer them something they value for converting a friend or follower. This could be a free premium product, a free service upgrade, a discount code, etc. This lead generation idea allows you to leverage your most passionate existing leads and your most dedicated existing customers to do some of the hard work of lead generation for you.
4. Live networking events
Live networking events are a great source of leads and an excellent opportunity to practice your lead generation efforts. While many live networking events have moved online, there are still opportunities to develop valuable leads in the real world. Traditional advice still applies here: smile, give out business cards and be friendly to everyone.
While you should avoid being too pushy, you do want to get the full names and email addresses of the key decision-makers you meet at a live networking event. We recommend making it easy for potential leads to subscribe to your email mailing list and sign up for your services immediately. This can involve having a dedicated business tablet or smartphone so that leads can input their email on the spot.
While you're at a live event, make sure to seize opportunities to talk to people one-on-one and convince them that you offer a valuable service and an incredible user experience. With practice, you’ll eventually be able to spot potential leads in the wild that just need a friendly push to convert!
If live events aren't possible for you right now, webinars are another good way to generate leads, especially if you have the chance to give a presentation on your area of expertise. Make sure that after your presentation, you provide a clickable link and stay on the chat to answer questions or help key decision-makers subscribe to your email mailing list and sign up for your services immediately. It can be tempting to quickly move to the next panel since it’s another opportunity to find ideal customers, but remember that it’s a good idea to look for quality over quantity. People will notice and appreciate the time and you take to help them in the moment.
In addition to live events and webinars, we recommend remote business networking on B2BeeMatch. Our online business networking platform does the lead generation for you, so you can get back to running your business. Sign up today for free (no credit card required!) and meet trusted companies you need to succeed!
5. Video marketing
Video marketing is another useful strategy, especially as short-form video content is a good way to connect with people who don’t have time to read or the attention span for longer videos. The short-form video market is huge right now, so ask your marketing team to include video content in your marketing strategies. Starting a TikTok or Instagram account where you post video content about your business can help you connect with Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X and more.
We recommend paying attention to the casualness of your videos. If you’re too casual, you could risk alienating prospective clients, but if you’re not casual enough, you could struggle to get your audience to grow, and never reach other prospective clients. You’ll need to experiment with what works and what doesn’t. Remember, just like with audio content such as podcasts, keeping it casual while talking business on your videos can help you appear relatable and appeal to the demographics that use these hugely popular social channels.
You can also reach out to known influencers and contract them to make video content for you by asking them to casually use your products or services during one of their videos—this is a little more subtle than a direct ad. Many social media users trust their favorite influencers, so this kind of influencer marketing could become one of your most valuable marketing strategies.
If you work with influencers, you can also provide them with special codes and discounts that will make your product or service more enticing to their followers and help generate an influx of leads. For example, if you create a special discount for the first 50 followers of the influencer advertising your product or service, people will want to sign up quickly to avoid missing out. It's FOMO that works for you!
If your business allows for it, hosting contests and giveaways through your social channels is a great lead generation idea that really works. Many people are willing to subscribe to newsletters, sign up for mailing lists or start a free membership if there's a chance to win something—and that means more leads for your business!
Free giveaways are an excellent chance to get more people interested in your products or services. Giveaways can turn strangers into leads and leads into customers. Also, there are just so many options for contests and giveaways! And people really get a kick out of them!
You could partner with relevant businesses in and around your industry to build a great giveaway package. Connecting with another businesses and doing a joint giveaway can help you promote your business to their followers and vice versa. Joint giveaways can help with driving leads to your social channels, and they can help create value for your collaborators and their followers as well. It's a win-win-win!
Also, you could try running weekly or monthly contests or giveaways. This can create more opportunities for people to come back again and again for the chance to win something. If potential leads are following your social media page, engaging with your community and signing up to your email lists because they’re drawn to the giveaways, you’ve already succeeded at the first step. This is one way of turning leads into customers!
Another way to help with lead generation is to specify that more interaction means more entries in a giveaway. For example, if people follow your company on social media, that’s one extra entry, and if they reblog, retweet, share and tag that’s a bunch more entries! It's like filling out paper entries for a giveaway at a grocery store, but online, and better.
7. Audio content
Another way to increase your lead generation is by using content marketing to add another touchpoint. This is where strategies like high quality blog posts come in. But many people don’t have the time to read new blog content every day or even every week, and many others don't have the attention span. So, how do you reach out to leads you want to consume creative content and let them know the real you?
While this may surprise you, the answer is simple—start a podcast! We started a podcast recently and we're getting a lot of great feedback about it from our network and beyond! It's called "It's a Small Business World'', and you can check it out here. And yes, yes, yes, we know! Everyone has a podcast. But, that's because audio content is big these days. Podcasts are hugely popular at least in part because they allow listeners to consume quality content while doing other things: walking, running, hiking, cooking, cleaning, showering, shopping, commuting and much more! They're amazing like that! Instead of sitting down and concentrating on reading a blog post for a few precious minutes, busy listeners can multitask while forming a relationship with your brand. That's kinda magical.
Of course, podcasts also allow listeners to hear your voice and feel as though they are personally connected to you and your business. Creating an intimate relationship with your listeners is important here. Yes, you want high quality talking points and engaging guests on your show, but you also want to convey a warm and friendly tone that makes your listeners feel like they're your friends or colleagues. So, don’t be afraid to get a little informal, add a few jokes here and there, chat off-topic with your guests and have fun with it! The more fun you have making your podcast, the more fun your listeners will have listening to it!
Also, make sure you do your podcast housekeeping in each episode. This is very important. Bookend each episode of your podcast with information about where and how to find your business and stay in contact with your brand. Thank your listeners for listening to your show. And ALWAYS remind your listeners to rate, review and subscribe to your podcast. That's one of the easiest ways they can support you in your new audio content endeavor. After all, good customer reviews can go a long way toward convincing potential listeners to press play on your show!
While this kind of content creation can be time consuming, it can create deeper connections with people, and those deeper connections may eventually become warm leads and even paying customers.
8. Social media marketing
Social media marketing is a huge source of leads because, well, like it out not, pretty much everyone is on social media these days. But you don’t just want to advertise on your favorite social media platform—for people who use ad blockers or who hate ads, this strategy will be ineffective. Instead, we recommend trying a more organic approach.
To reach a wider audience, you could engage in existing online communities. If you're a subject matter expert, your could take a leading role in a relevant online community. You could become someone that people recommend as the go-to person to answer a question or help out with a problem. You could start by hosting an “Ask Me Anything” on a relevant subreddit on Reddit, or you could join a Facebook group that discusses problems that your product or service can solve. Doing this kind of organic social media marketing is a great way to engage existing online communities and get them excited about what your business has to offer. And, it's a great way to do market research too! These communities can provide tons of valuable information and feedback. They can let you know what people are looking for, and help you think about what you can offer them that your competitors can not.
If there is no relevant social media community for you to join, you can always build your own! Another strategy is to create your own online community. Creating an online community can help you build strong relationships with people, generating high-quality leads, prospective customers and even fans of your brand! And, well, who doesn't want fans?
Of course, while chasing online trends is not always the best idea (given the speed at which online trends come and go these days), a savvy business owner who is embedded in a community will be able to see those online trends coming and going and leverage them while they are still hot, new and fresh—while they are still relevant. By understanding social media marketing and your relevant online communities, you may be able to create truly engaging organic content and generate high-quality leads.
9. Offering unique content
We recommend that you offer really unique content. Maybe that's an entertaining quiz that you've never seen anywhere else, an infographic that educates your target audience on something they're REALLY interested in, a blog post about something so new that no one else has written about it, a how-to guide that your target audience simply must have, or an interactive tool that can only be accessed from your website. Maybe it's something else. This is your opportunity to be really creative!
If you can make your business the go-to website for a unique piece of content, you’ll have already done the job of getting people to your site. Once they're there you can focus on converting them.
Of course, this strategy can be combined with many of the other strategies we've detailed in this blog post—especially with social media marketing. You can even leverage the creation of this unique content as a way for people to become involved in the online community you’re building. Share updates about the awesome blog post you're writing. Post screenshots of the amazing infographic you're making while it's still in progress. Ask people in your online community to contribute to your how-to guide. Ask for beta testers to try out your interactive tool and give you feedback. Getting people interested in your progress can get them primed for the actual content.
Just make sure to be sincere and think about the feedback you get from people who are taking the time to interact with you and your business online. It's good customer service, yes, but also it will allow you to get free user feedback and a better sense of the community you’re trying to engage or build.
10. Fixing your website
This lead generation idea is a less tangible and less obvious way to court leads, but it can help in a BIG way. While it won’t directly bring in leads, improving your website will make the other strategies more effective. This includes optimizing it for mobile devices—your website should feel good, be easy to use, and make people want to stay on it.
Here are a few things you can do to make your website the best it can be!
Make sure it’s accessible: Accessible websites don’t just make good sense in general, they make good business sense! The more people that can use your website comfortably, the more likely you are to generate high-quality leads.
Here are two important and easy things you can do to make your website more accessible and easy to use:
-Make sure the text is a good size and a readable font.
-Make sure the colors on the site don’t clash.
You can use this contrast checker to check your website’s colors. And for more accessibility tips and tools check out this website accessibility checklist, this accessibility training site, and find out how to go about getting an accessibility certificate here.
In addition to checking your fonts and colors, make sure all your links work correctly and actually go where you want them to go. Links on the internet can break frequently, so this the kinds of basic maintenance that should be done every few months at least, especially if you expect people to backread your old content such as your blog posts. Finding a dead link can be very frustrating for someone who is just getting to know your brand and your business, and there’s only so much frustration a person can take before they give up on your website. And, if they give up on your website, it may be hard to bring them back. Keeping your links in good working order can be time consuming, but it is essential to keeping your website professional and usable—and, ultimately, holding onto those leads that you've worked so hard to generate!
Finally, have independent parties test your website to find out if it’s user-friendly. Is it set up in an intuitive way? Are dropdowns and menus set-up predictably? Are things defined properly? You only need to answer these questions after a major overhaul, but they are still critical questions that do indeed need answers.
Making sure that your website is accessible does take a bit of time and energy, but it will encourage your leads to stay and enjoy what your business has to offer.
Lead generation takes time
And those were our 10 tips for lead generation! The most important thing to remember about generating leads is to never get discouraged. After all, generating a steady stream of leads takes time! Your lead generation might start off slow at first, but it’s a process and a skill you can hone like any other. Practicing the lead generation ideas presented here can help you turn strangers into leads and hopefully even into happy customers!