Generating new leads at your small business is probably one of the single most important things you can do.
Repeat customers will only account for a certain percentage of your sales, so getting new leads in the door and keeping the sales funnel open is crucial to your long-term success.
Once they get in the door, it will be your mission to turn those leads into first-time buyers and then loyal promoters.
Yet finding potential new customers requires initiatives that aren't always affordable. How much are you really willing to spend on a marketing campaign that may or may not bring you enough leads to justify the cost?
Your marketing campaigns need to be ROI positive and put you in the green, otherwise, they're simply not worth it. For the purpose of this article, we'll focus on four things you can do to generate more leads that will cost you very little.
Related Article: 5 Crucial Elements of an Effective Online Lead Generation Strategy
1. Ditch the Fish Bowl at Trade Shows
Using paper forms and business card fish bowls to get leads at trade shows and events is incredibly outdated. It won't cost you much at all to use a lead capture app and a tablet to get people's contact details. It's a way more efficient process with less room for error and it can help you can generate up to 150 percent more leads.
Lure attendees with a contest, trivia quiz or scratch-to-win prize displayed on the tablet with an appealing image. Just be sure to choose an app that also has badge scanning capabilities for those busy leads who just want to scan and run.
The other advantage to using a lead capture app over paper methods or a badge scanner is that it allows you to qualify leads on the spot by asking a question before capturing their email address. Once you get back to the office, all your contacts are transferred to a CRM like SalesForce or an email program like MailChimp for automatic email follow up.
2. Leverage The Best Social Media Group
LinkedIn and Facebook groups have great potential to generate new business, with the former being better for B2B companies and the latter B2C. Join the biggest LinkedIn or Facebook group for your target market and get a feel for the group by reading what others post and how people respond. The people in these groups at the very least have a passive interest in your product by virtue of their group affiliation.
Next, write a show-stopper of an article that appeals to these people, put it into a PDF with your branding at the bottom, and create a landing page to host it. If you're not comfortable doing all that yourself, outsource part of the work to a freelancer for a set fee. The landing page should have a CTA that requires people to give their email address to download the whole article.
The final step is to then promote the article within the group. But better than posting it yourself, ask the group owner if they can. Send the owner a carefully crafted message asking them to post your article in exchange for something they want (e.g. exposure as an expert in a guest article you're writing).
Related Article: Two Sides of Content: Lead Generation vs. Demand Generation
3. Co-Host an Awesome Webinar
Co-hosting a webinar with an industry partner is the "it" thing to do if you're a small business. Why? Because your industry partner will promote the webinar to their email list and those who sign up are new leads for you. Those people are automatically pre-qualified as potential customers because of their interest in your product and services. It's a win-win for both parties.
Just be sure to choose a webinar topic that appeals to both new and old customers alike. And don't think that webinars are only for B2B companies. Recent statistics by the Content Marketing Institute shows that 40 percent of B2C marketers currently use webinars as a method of lead generation.
Also, consider striking an affiliate deal with a larger, more established brand. You host the webinar and at the end pitch their product. Sure, you’re helping them get business, but you’re also building your email list with new leads because they'll promote the webinar to their huge email list.
4. Create a Killer Newsletter
If you don't already have an email newsletter that links to blog content, you're missing out on one of the best ways to find new leads. The key to a killer newsletter is having unique and helpful content that really speaks to your target market. This can't be stressed enough.
If you have generic blog articles that rehash other articles already written on the topic, you're less likely to build a massive following for your newsletter. Also, consider a variety of blog posts that including videos, infographics and photo galleries.
Promote the heck out of your newsletter everywhere on your website with a prompt for visitors to leave their email address and sign up for it. Even include a pop-up on your blog that says something like, "Like what you're reading? Join our newsletter for more!" with a box to type their email. This will capture any potential leads that visit your blog through social media.
As you can see from the above suggestions, getting new leads doesn't have to be expensive. In fact, it will cost you more time than anything else. Ideally, you can launch these initiatives using your current resources, but if you need to outsource some of the work, be smart about who you choose.
Consider freelancers who have recently graduated from a reputable school, as they tend to be more interested in getting exposure for their work than getting paid big bucks. Most importantly, have fun. These lead generating techniques require creativity and a relaxed mind to pull off well.