Quality lead generation is an important aspect of any sales campaign. As a small business owner, you must be continuously looking to expand your customer base and grow the business. However, it can be an extremely difficult and long-term process at times.
The Problem And The Solution
The importance of a well-planned inbound and outbound marketing strategy in the process of local lead generation cannot be overemphasized enough. Before discussing the effective lead generation techniques for your business, it is important to understand the concept of leads first.
So, what is a lead then?
From a marketing perspective, a lead is defined as a person who has shown interest in your company’s product or service in some way.
Automating your business’ lead generation is important for more than one reason; for example, stats show that only 16% of marketers say outbound leads are of good quality. Another reason for you to focus on effectively generating leads for your business is that you could end up making your sales folk spend up to 18% of their time generating leads for your business instead of selling.
Effective Ways For Lead Generation
Here we discuss some of the ways to help you generate more leads for your local business. Before you get into this, make sure that you have an optimized local SEO presence to maximize the number of leads you get for your local business from search engines.
1. Blog posts
Hosting a blog is an excellent way to reach an untapped market. In fact, 55% of marketers say that blog content creation is their top inbound marketing priority. Through this medium, not only can you provide relevant information on topics your target customer base finds valuable, but can also offer professional insights and helpful resources.
But while you are creating a blog don’t focus too much on creating a great blog. Instead, your focus should be on creating a great blog for your readers.
I recently came across a case study by involving a Denver based company helmed by Ben Walker.
In the case study, the CEO talked about how blogging dramatically increased the traffic to his website and this is what he had to say:
Since I started blogging, I have been able to use social media much more effectively to direct traffic to my own site, which has improved my SEO and increased web inquiries by 75%.”
However, starting a blog takes strategy – simply churning out blog articles won’t give you the desired results.
2. Develop a direct mode of communication with leads
Employing strategies such as live chat option, surveys, customer service executives personally handling queries, and open forums allow you to directly engage with prospective customers. Below are some of the interesting statistics on how customers respond to these experiences:
- 42% of customers believe that live chat provides them with the near-instant access to a customer service rep, without any waiting time.
- 94% of customers were very satisfied with the chat experience offered to them
- Almost 77% of online shoppers said that they want to contact a real person before buying any product or service
- More than 91% of customers were satisfied with chats and surveys as it allows them to enhance their online product-buying decisions as well as resolve their product queries in a timely manner
Apart from this, a report says that there is a 10x drop in lead qualification when you wait longer than 5 minutes to respond, and a 400% decrease when you respond within 10 minutes versus 5 minutes.
Thus it is important to develop a direct mode of direction so that you can respond as quickly as you can.
If you are looking to capture massive leads in your sales funnel and want to build a loyal customer base tactics like social media marketing, content marketing and more are not enough. You have to go out of your way and engage your leads directly without a prolonged delay.
3. Leverage social media platforms
Consider this: Twitter, one of the most used social media channels, accounts for 82 per cent of all social leads whereas Facebook is a crucial part of business marketing as per 40 per cent of marketing professionals
There are several statistics that show how businesses can increase their revenue substantially using social media. The process of lead generation via social media channels is effective, simple, and pretty fast.
With an ever-increasing user base, the platform provides innumerable ways to maximize your efforts in generating leads for your local business.
Among these, the main ones include:
- Responding to comments – For example, JetBlue Airways’ Twitter account is one of the company’s main customer service channel. From resolving issues, complimenting the customers to offering quick resolutions, they respond to every single comment.
- Using appropriate hashtags – For example, Coca Cola’s ShareaCoke hashtag campaign gave a great opportunity to interact with the customers.
- Making fun, informative, short, and creative videos to describe your service or product. For example, Apple’s new iPhone launch video with a compilation of all small enhancements and stringing them together to highlight the advanced functionality is a great example of this
4. Content marketing
Content optimization techniques in recent years have transformed brand campaign management completely. The importance of having a well-optimized website in lead generation is immense. In fact, getting traffic to your website is one of the most important components of lead generation process. As a local business owner, you need to optimize your websites for better conversion and ranking in SERPs.
Whether it is leveraging videos, email or content marketing strategies like blogging and more for the promotion of ideas and technology, digital innovation plays an important role in the success and growth of the businesses.
Some of the obvious benefits of leveraging digital platforms through effective content marketing strategies in generating leads are:
- It provides a great opportunity to connect with consumers.
- It acts as an engaging medium to promote brand awareness and create a huge market.
- Content marketing tools also help in understanding recent developments in the industry, which is crucial for the success of any business.
Among the brands that made it really big with content marketing include Toshiba. The brand started a Smart Community Campaign to promote awareness of its renewable energy solutions by optimizing their platform for the same keyword.
5. Make effective use of databases
There is no dearth of the huge databases that help you extract useful information regarding your prospects with just a couple of clicks. Not just basic information, these databases can also help you find many potential customers for your local business.
However, it is essential to use these databases smartly. Sort out the data based on your target audience so that you can identify the leads that are relevant to your business. Otherwise, it’s just all clutter and noise, you have to pave your way out of this clutter and unearth relevant leads and information.
6. Identify the right target audience
An essential step in lead generation is identifying the target audience for your business. If you don’t know who your customers are, it is going to be extremely difficult to reach them. Make sure to do thorough research on your target audience, their likes and preferences, income range etc. before devising a strategy to reach them.
For example, if one looks at this brand called Texas Beard Company:
They sell products including beard oil, brushes, balms and pretty much everything to groom your beard.
Now it would be foolish if they start prospecting mindlessly and end up sending cold emails to women as well. So, before starting your lead acquiring practices it is important to target your audience and filter our unproductive leads.
Keeping a track of demographics and psychographics allows you to target your message and offering. It is essential to identify your customers’ needs, and accordingly, outline the benefits your product or service offers
7. Strike a partnership with other local businesses
It is a known fact that most small businesses deal with similar challenges. In such a scenario, partnering with other local businesses helps in the process of lead generation. As a first step, you can look for companies with products or services that complement your own.
There are various partnership marketing strategies you can employ along with your partner company to enhance your customer base such as hosting events, creating a joint campaign, and much more.
8. Run contests to build customer pool
Holding exclusive contests for new customers can be an excellent strategy for building the pool. Utilize trending mediums such as social media or age-old emailers to get the word spread about your contests. To maximise customer interest, use creative ways such as contests for first-time customers only. You can also put the condition that in order to qualify, new customers need to bring the flyers, share the posts, etc.
One of the best examples of such contests to build a customer base is Starbucks’ White Cup Contest launched in 2014. It simply asked the customers to doodle on their Starbucks cup and submit the pictures as contest entries. The winning picture would become the template for the limited edition Starbucks cup. The contest was an excellent way to earn publicity and valuable customer feedback to build trust in long run.
9. Leverage Influencers
Another way to generate new leads is by reaching out to key influencers in your market. Influencer marketing focuses on influential people rather than the entire target market. It allows leveraging the reach, following, and brand reputation of influencer already existing in the market to support or endorse your own product and service.
One of the excellent examples of influencer marketing is when Samsung released Note 7 in 2016. To make sure that people knew about it, the company partnered with CyreneQ, a professional Snapchat artist and designer with a huge fan base. The intent was to broadcast the new product launch to an existing audience willing to buy the new product. Cyrene used her popular Snapchat account to document her journey, posting clips, showing the features of the new device to give her audience a sneak peek of the product and ultimately generate interest.
This could be a mutually beneficial association where you can leverage their success and they can benefit from this association too. It is an effective way to co-create content to increase brand awareness and drive sales numbers.
To Sum it all Up!
There are a number of marketing options available that you can benefit from, to help your business generate more leads. The need is to re-look at your branding strategy and also making it the focal point to drive traffic to your website.
Remember that the success of your business and marketing efforts solely depends on how creative, transparent, and authentic you are in your approach.