One of the biggest challenges that small & medium businesses face today is – generating good quality leads consistently.
Business owners & entrepreneurs are often caught in the dilemma of whether to focus on offline marketing or going online.
Buyers have also significantly changed their purchase process. Studies show that
– over 92% of the buyers go online to source information on products or services
– 53% of buyers find that the experience of researching online is much better than interacting with a salesperson
– 75% of buyers depend on online research to choose the right vendor
– 90% of buyers won’t take a cold call
In other words, you don’t even get to see your potential customers until they reach out to you or express interest to know more about your product or service.
What’s interesting is that these potential buyers who reach out online, invariably, are much ahead in the sales cycle.
These potential buyers are generally well informed (as a result of their online research) about the various alternatives for the solutions they are looking for, they may also be informed about the various brands available, they may have compared various brands/products/solutions in the market, studying the customer reviews, before placing an inquiry online.
With this as the background, Lead Generation, in today’s context, can be a daunting task, especially for small businesses.
Lead generation activity is about reaching out to potential prospects to convert them into paying clients.
Lead generation is the process of searching for your target customers, who on discovering your brand, express their intent to engage with you for making a purchase decision.
Why is lead generation one of the biggest challenges?
Because most don’t know what their potential customer journey is…they don’t know how their potential customers are going to discover them or find them…
In today’s online world that’s so critical to our business, the customer journey is the process of what the potential customer does from discovering you to reaching you to becoming your customer.
Research shows that more than 70% of organizations have little to no understanding of their customer journey – one of the main reasons why businesses struggle to generate leads.
Also, the tools, techniques, tactics, and media for lead generation have significantly evolved and are drastically different from what they used to be.
Following are 17 lead generation strategies that work:
1 Having A Responsive Website -
Having a responsive (multiple devices friendly) website is one of the first steps to generating leads for your business.
Your potential customers make their impressions about the brand and choose to submit an inquiry or place a call back request, based on what they see on your website.
Make sure your website is updated and is responsive (multiple devices friendly).
If you don’t have one, then focus on getting one.
2 Writing Great Content For Your Target Segment -
Your website content should actually talk to your potential customers.
By putting out compelling content on how you can solve their problem, in a convincing, interesting, and helping manner, you can build relationships and trust with your potential customer.
Your content should educate and create the much-required awareness about the need for the solution you offer. You can attract new prospects through your website, blogging, or landing pages and once they are connected with you, you can collect their personal information.
It’s therefore recommended that you invest your time, effort, and the means to generate content that’s effective and something that can work for you. And, if you need help in generating marketing content, be sure to seek professional help for content writing.
3 Online Visibility –
Since your target customers are online mostly, it’s your responsibility to make your brand or message, visible on multiple channels and platforms.
We learned earlier in this article that over 92% of buyers begin with an online search. So, it’s obvious that when your potential customers are looking at the product/service that you offer, you need to be visible in the search results, in other words, come up on Page 1 of Google Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs).
Research shows that, of people looking for information on these search pages, over 67% click on organic listings and if your brand’s listing comes up on the 1st page, then there’s a good chance that your potential customers can discover you there and land up on your website.
4 Social Media Presence On Multiple Channels -
These days almost everybody is engaging in one or more of the most prominent social media channels, for long periods of time. Your potential customers could also discover you there.
You could do this by creating your profile pages and posting creatively to ensure sufficient engagement and interaction to generate leads.
It's up to you to reach out to them where they hang out the most and be visible to them until they engage with you...
5 Paid Advertising - Search Engine Marketing & Social Media Marketing –
Depending on your advertising budgets, you could also choose to advertise on the channel(s) relevant to you, which if done the right way, can generate maximum leads.
6 Opt-In Offers & Incentives -
There are numerous ways of offering free benefits and opt-ins, to attract your potential prospects.
Providing insightful knowledge, information, and data that could help your potential customers is a great way to attract the right target audience – as they Opt-In to consume what you have on offer. They are also called Lead Magnets.
The free offers could include good quality ebooks, infographics, ready reckoners, survey results offered in a range of media in .pdfs, audio, or video formats.
Providing free insights through ebooks is helping businesses to generate good quality leads, leading to better conversions and in expanding their business.
7 Webinars -
Webinars have the potential to deliver more quality leads, provided you give useful and interesting information to your audience and this can generate good quality leads and quickly.
To ensure better engagement and response from your potential customers, you can ask valuable questions on the webinar sign-up page to learn about their interests and for you to also assess what people are looking for in your products and services.
8 Sharing Case Studies & Testimonials -
You could share your actual case studies with customers, showing how your product has helped them. Reality and honesty always pay off.Showing social proof of what you are talking about is really worthy and working will be beneficial, rather than just presenting the data and showing images with different colours and fonts to the viewers.
9 Consistency In Your Messaging Across Media -
Presenting your content across different media including audio versions, video versions, and across various channels is yet another great way to increase the flow of potential customers.
Convert different versions of your blog post on a certain topic - into the audio version and video version of that topic to re-iterate your messaging.
10 Multiple Conversion Forms (Enquiry Forms) -
Multiple Conversion Forms (Enquiry Forms)on your website and all your other web assets can greatly help too
You could display your sign-up form in the blog header, after posts, as pop-ups, or as a featured box and every other place creatively – thereby prompting your audience to sign-up, many times over.
That way, there’s a good chance to increase your lead captures, many times over, the traditional method.
11 Leverage Marketing Automation (Email Marketing) -
The email has always been a powerful marketing tool to generate leads.
Start personalized conversations via email with customers in your targeted list.
It’s only when you have relevant personalized conversations will your subscribers be happy receiving your email.
Using email marketing tools, you can continue to follow up with your prospects to always stay on their minds until you make them want to buy your product.
12 Blog As A Lead Generating Tool -
Blogging regularly about your products or services could help in drawing people’s attention.
And blogging consistently not only helps in page ranking on search engines but also helps attract potential customers which would be hot leads regularly
Here again, research shows that companies that blogged very often in the month doubled their lead generation.
13 Online Networking -
Online networking platforms like LinkedIn directly helps you in 1-2-1 follow-ups to learn about your potential clients.
It will also improve your social skills and could potentially influence your business skills, and in turn, increase your opportunities to achieve your target.
14 Encourage Online Reviews And Answer Questions -
In today’s low-trust world, almost everyone usually refers to online reviews before making the purchase, whether they are booking a hotel or having lunch in a restaurant.
So, it is crucial to managing good online ratings consistently across Review platforms like Google Reviews / Trust Pilot / Trip Adviser and so on, which people turn to, to verify and validate their purchase decisions.
These Reviews can therefore generate leads as well.
15 Answering Your Customers' Questions -
Answering Your Customer’s Questions on forums like Quora
can also create trustworthy relationships.
If someone has asked about your product, you should respond to them immediately and reasonably.
Remember, the tone of your online answers can affect your business greatly
16 Influencer Marketing -
Establishing relations with social influencers who are from your Industry is also important for generating good quality leads.
These days, most brands (over 62% of the established brands) reach out to their target audiences through influencer marketing campaigns.
17 Having Real Conversation With Your Customers -
Real Conversation with your customers – can, not only build your personal relations with them, creating a bond of trust and love that could translate into good quality leads.