Leads are critical to business success. Without a good source of leads, a business risks not developing a consumer base that is the very basis of its sales and revenue. The good news is, it is not that hard to generate leads for your business – you just have to have the right strategies to find them.
We interviewed 13 entrepreneurs and asked them what they think are the most important ways of generating leads. Here’s what they have to say:
Identify Your Market
Identifying your target market is the first step to lead generation. For this reason, market research is crucial in lead generation. As Loran Marmes, owner of Medicare Solutions Team, puts it, “The goal of a lead generation strategy is to figure out what kind of audience you have, how to attract them and then how to convert them into customers or clients. Once you’ve done this, then it’s time to create an offer that’s worth sharing.”
According to Brian Hong, owner and CEO of Infintech Designs, “Doing market research and developing a consumer base allows you to produce better leads and more productive sales. Understanding your target audience also helps you develop effective promotional strategies that fit their demographic and buying habits.”
Daniel W. Cook, the Head of Business Development at Mullen & Mullen, adds that once you identify who your audience is, you have to work on your campaigns to suit that audience. “The key to having leads is catching their interest and curiosity. Hence, you should work on crafting great and attractive campaigns for your business to catch some. Mixing up trends, creativity, and value is what I think should be the foundation of your campaigns. The more effective campaigns there will be, the more chance you will get in getting leads,” he says.
Identifying your market is crucial to all your next steps in lead generation. One of these next steps is developing a sales funnel. “If you're managing a start-up or a small business, creating a sales funnel helps you collect contact information from your leads. Once you have identified your target market, the next thing you need to do is to create a landing page where your prospects can share their contact details in return for an exclusive deal, coupons, or a complementary product,” says Ben Price, Founder of Heatable UK.
When you’re a business owner, your network is your net worth. And when it comes to lead generation, network is everything. For this reason, you need to exert most of your effort in building and solidifying relationships online.
One way of doing this is by leveraging social media channels. Optimizing social media marketing and interaction is one of the best lead generators. According to Deepanshu Bedi, co-founder of Exhale Well, “Social media is not only an individual social platform anymore but also a home for the business market. Social media are becoming a powerful tool to promote ideas, offers, and influence market preference. These make it a good method to develop engagement and gain more leads.”
Kev Tilley, founder of Mortgageable UK, agrees. “Using social media is the fastest way to connect and engage with your existing and potential customers. A Facebook page, Instagram account, Twitter profile, or Linkedin company page enables you to reach out to prospective customers and generate new leads,” he says.
“Social media channels have made networking more convenient and scalable for people and businesses. Using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn to find connections and engage with potential customers is another way to generate leads and produce more sales for the company. Using features such as LinkedIn's Sales Navigator or Facebook's Marketplace, business owners and entrepreneurs can reach out to relevant industries, ask for business referrals, or engage with potential customers,” Brian Hong, owner and CEO of Big Easy SEO, adds.
Louis John, founder of What’s Good Online UK, puts special emphasis on generating leads via LinkedIn. “Using LinkedIn is the most reliable way to get high-quality leads for your sales force. LinkedIn enables business owners to connect with relevant industry leaders or get recommendations for a product or service they offer. You even have the option to pay for lead gen ads, which can effectively encourage relevant users to sign up for your products and services. On top of all that, the audience on LinkedIn has twice the buying power versus an average web audience. This allows B2B operations to get more profitable outcomes,” he explains.
But networking isn’t just through social media alone. In fact, many businesses find success in building relationships through email newsletters. According to Matt Post, co-founder of WCAG Pros, “An email newsletter is a common marketing strategy business owners use to generate leads. By crafting relevant and meaningful content and creating an effective call to action, entrepreneurs can establish a strong brand identity and produce faster customer conversions.”
Make Yourself Visible
A big part of generating leads is capturing the interest of your audience. You can do that by creating interactive content that engages them and magnets them to your business. According to Bob Scott, selling land for cash “Creating a lead-generating interactive content is the best way to get more people interested in your business. Interactive content is a valuable resource for businesses because it engages people and provides them with information that they can use. This type of content is also beneficial because it gives visitors a reason to share it on social media, which increases the number of people who see it. If you want to increase traffic and make more sales, then you should develop a lead generation strategy based on your audience.”
You can also optimize your lead generation by spending time on optimizing your website for SEO. “Using search engine optimization strategies improves your website's visibility on sites like Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft. A high search engine ranking boosts traffic to your website, helps generate qualified leads, and improves your sales and business growth,” says Leo Coleman, the Editor-in-Chief at Gambling 'N Go.
Aside from focusing on your website, there are other strategies you can utilize to make yourself more visible online. One of these is by hosting live webinars. According to Corey Morgan, Marketing Manager of Kind Home Painting, “You can host these yourself or find an expert speaker who has experience with your industry that would be willing to share their knowledge with the audience at no cost. In this way, you can reach people who are interested in what you have to offer without having to pay for advertising or additional expenses associated with marketing your business.”
Another strategy stands out to Ankit Batra, the Chief Marketing Office of Hollyweed CBD. “Link building is a search engine optimization strategy that helps brands and organizations improve the quantity and quality of inbound links to their website. Using link building drives more referral traffic to your site and improves your page's search engine ranking. It utilizes content marketing, email outreach, or public relations to simultaneously deliver valuable content and generate potential leads,” he says.
Create Referral Programs
Referrals are a great way to grow any business. Lead generation through referrals typically costs less than those generated through marketing channels, and they have great retention rates, too.
Chris Walker, founder and CEO of Superstar SEO, couldn’t emphasize this more. “The referral program is a proven and tested strategy that became the key to different success. Given that word of mouth from people outside the organization are a better force to encourage others, referral programs will be able to generate numbers of leads. More so, referral programs are much more effortless and need lesser attention but can reach wider scope than other strategies. Hence, we can indeed say that this is a good lead generator,” he says.
Ankit Bhardwaj, Owner, VPNHelpers agrees, stressing that creating a referral program doesn’t necessarily have to be complicated. “This can be as simple as offering your past clients a 5% discount on their next purchase or as complicated as offering them the opportunity to refer friends and family members. Your customers will be more likely to recommend you if they feel like they’ve gotten something in return, so offer them something valuable in exchange for their referrals.”
Now that you’ve got these lead generation strategies in place, all you have to do is to wait for those leads to come and focus on conversion, sales and retention. These are big challenges in and of themselves but at least you will have successfully surmounted one of the biggest!