Monday, August 28, 2017

Imagine that you spent days and days researching and creating a lead offer. You invested a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into it and you are excited to launch it. The day comes to release it to the world, and the results are less than enthusiastic, paltry at best. 

Do you really have to imagine this? This is not an uncommon scenario for small business marketers. In fact, according to a BrightTALK survey, most marketers are dissatisfied with their lead generation efforts. Eighty percent cite that their efforts are only slightly or somewhat effective, and only 16% say their efforts are very or extremely effective.

Though it can be challenging to gain leads, a strong lead generation strategy is essential to growing your business. Leads represent the first contact some people have with your business and getting a consistent stream of high-quality leads is essential to not only keep your business afloat but also to grow your bottom line.

So, if you are unhappy with your lead generation efforts or you simply want to maximize your current lead generation strategies, this post is for you. Below are some popular lead generation strategies to supercharge your small business.

1. Inbound Content Marketing

Traditional outbound marketing involves advertising directly to customers and coercing them to buy your products. While this is a valuable strategy and traditionally what businesses use to attract leads and customers, joining it with an inbound strategy can boost your lead generation and help you capture more leads.

With an inbound content marketing lead generation strategy, you do not pursue customers. They come to you. You create high-quality content and media online for the purpose of attracting leads to your properties. This free excellent content should help them and meet their needs. 

The simplest way to develop an inbound lead generation strategy is to create a website with a blog to distribute regular, free, high-quality content that solves problems for your audience and engages them. On your website, give away a free eBook, training series or some high-value content in exchange for an email address. Once you have an email address, massage the relationship with your leads via your emails and build trust. As you develop a relationship with your subscribers, they will feel more connected to you and be more willing to buy as a result.

2. Conferences/Trade shows

Set up a booth at a conference or trade show to garner some leads and generate brand awareness. Trade shows are highly effective for small business growth but only if they are leveraged correctly.

Here are some tips:

  • Choose the right trade show – Research the audience that normally attends the trade show. Are they closely aligned with your target demographic? If so, you may have a winner.

  • Quality over quantity - Large shows are not always better. Focus on audience quality and alignment first. A small attendance of highly targeted people is better than a large audience of disengaged people who will not be interested in what you offer.

  • Location, location, location – Reserve your booth early so you can snag the best location. Ideal places to set up would be the corners of aisles, or near entrances or the food booths.

  • Keep it simple – Keep your display simple and meaningful. In a few seconds, visitors should be able to discover who you are and what you offer.

  • Collect emails – Collect emails and follow up with them immediately after. These people could turn into viable leads and customers.

3. Online Advertising

Platforms such as Google Adwords, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can help you get more exposure and spread your message to more potential leads. Create ads to build your audiences on social and/or market your free offers to your followers to get them on your email list. Or market your services directly to gain more leads. If you have a website, implement retargeting ads. Retargeting allows you to send ads to people who have already visited your website. These are warmer leads that have a higher chance of converting because they already showed interest in your company. If you do not know how to advertise on these networks, hire a company to manage your campaigns. 

4. Social Media Marketing

Social media is another inbound lead generation strategy. Its purpose is to build a strong community around your brand, and in doing so, attract more people to your company. The key to lead generation via social media is to focus more on providing valuable content and engaging with your audience instead of posting content that comes across as self-serving. The more you focus on community and helping others, when you do post lead-generating content about your products, your community will be more open to it. As a rule of thumb, on social media, post 80% non-promotional content and 20% promotional.

5. Direct Mail

Even though inbound marketing has dominated the lead generation space, outbound strategies like direct mail are still effective. Direct mail can help local small businesses get more leads and customers and introduce them to new prospects. To capture more leads, get creative with your mailing and include eye-catching graphics along with some product/company benefits. Create special discounts as well to compel people to take action.

6. Public relations

Leverage the popularity of other companies and seek coverage in traditional media outlets. Here are a couple ways to do this:

  • HARO (Help a reporter out) – Link up with reporters who are looking for sources for their pieces. If you sign up for HARO’s email list, you will receive the hundreds of queries HARO sends out daily.

  • PRWeb – Create a press release and upload it to a site like PRWeb to distribute it. Write your press release on any news-worthy business event, whether a new website, location, product line or anything that can garner some extra attention.

7. Email marketing

Email marketing facilitates relationship building and trust with your audience, a dynamic that is essential in today’s marketplace. 

Gather leads by getting email addresses directly from in-store sign ups or adding a form to your website or social profiles. Give away something substantial in value so people won't feel uncomfortable giving you their email address. Though email addresses aren’t currency, they are a valuable commodity. When consumers give you their emails, they are giving you a piece of their private life. 

Email subscribers are new leads you need to build a relationship with so they will eventually arrive at the decision to work with you or make a purchase. You can do this by sending relevant (this is key!) ongoing email messages (without spamming) with the help of an email marketing program that can automate some of this for you.

8. SMS lead generation

If you already have an email marketing strategy in place, adding a text marketing strategy will help you reach more people in less time.

SMS lead generation is highly effective because people who carry smartphones are avid texters, checking their phones multiple times a day. In addition, SMS texts produce 6-8 times as much engagement as email marketing. Text messaging is also a low-cost way to send promotional messages quickly that get more exposure.

Fitness 19, a national chain of affordable state-of-the-art gyms, believed that affordability and quality could coexist. This philosophy extended to its marketing which is why it adopted a cost-effective SMS lead generation strategy to grow the business. Before using text marketing, Fitness 19 spent a lot of money and time making manual phone calls to customers. By implementing CallFire’s text messaging service, not only did the company trim expenses and resources, but it also experienced a surge in membership signups.

9. Voice Broadcast

Voice broadcast can supercharge your lead generation by facilitating low-cost automated phone calls to potential prospects while also saving you time on manual calls. With voice broadcast, you will spend just pennies per call and message all of your contacts simultaneously within seconds. 

Justin McClelland of real estate investment company Schwaps, used CallFire’s voice broadcast service to automate his lead generation process. Once a property sold, he messaged the people who were interested to alert them of new listings. With CallFire’s voice broadcast solution, McClelland messaged 30 prospective buyers in seconds, rather than manually calling them one by one. 

These lead generation strategies are must-haves for small businesses that want to expand and reach more people. And with strategies such as voice broadcast and SMS lead generation, you can also save money and resources while automating your tasks, putting money back in your pocket as you grow. To find out more about how you can use these automated strategies to supercharge your growth, sign up for a free account today.  

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