Pop Quiz: When it comes to growing your business, should you be focused on gaining leads or customers?
If you guessed leads you are correct.
At first glance, it seems somewhat counterintuitive to go after leads rather than customers, however leads are truly the only way you can effectively grow your business.
When you have leads you can more accurately predict the growth of your business and know exactly where your potential customers are coming from and how to target them.
Think of it this way- going after your customers is like going after the pot of gold without a map. You may strike it lucky, but chances are you are probably going to be wading through the quicksand and climbing an uphill battle that you may not have needed to climb.
When you go after leads however, it is like spending time to decode the map. It may take a little longer, but over time you will more easily and more effectively find that pot of gold you are looking for.
Collecting leads also allows you to build up a solid base behind you, which will help turn your business into a brand that your customers, leads and visitors truly respect and trust.
While going after customers may yield you some short term results, chances are if you are really looking for growth in your B2B or B2C venture, you really need to think ‘leads’.
Even if your leads are not quite ready to buy just yet, you can nurture them and turn them into fans of your brand, products and services. When leads grow to respect and love your brand, this can mean so much more in the long run than just a one time sale.
But how do you generate leads?
There are plenty of lead generation strategies out there that may work for your business or may not be the best fit for your business. It really is a game of trial and error and taking calculated risks.
We have compiled an epic list of lead generation ideas that are geared to help grow your business-
- Resource Guides
- ‘Lite’ versions of your app or software
- Pre-launch preview
- Study guides or ‘how to’ tutorials
- Additional research
- Webinars / live calls / Podcasts
- Infographics/ Graphs
There is no limit in what you can offer your visitors when it comes to free downloads. The free download principle works by offering something of value in exchange for your visitors email address.
Once you collect their email address, your visitor magically turns into a lead that you can continue to nurture and market to until they become a customer.
In order to turn more of your visitors into leads, you have to offer something enticing but also relevant to ensure that you are attracting the right type of leads.
For example, if you run a computer repair business, offering a free version of your anti-virus software may be a better lead magnet than offering an ebook on how to fix your computer.
Of course, this is something that your brand will have to experiment with, but offering something for free and of value is the quickest and easiest way to generate leads.
Blogging and Content
Blogging serves multiple purposes when it comes to generating leads. It helps you to grow a following and get people interested in the voice and message of your brand. It also helps you to offer your visitors something of value so they are more likely to convert into leads.
But how do you do it?
How to do you turn your beautifully written blogs into direct lead generation opportunities?
Here are our top strategies:
Opt-In Box: It may seem obvious but having an opt-in box on every post and page of your website is crucial to collect leads. Don’t make your visitors hunt around for your opt-in box either. Allow them to see it every time they come to your blog and test out different motivators. You may also want to experiment with opt-in boxes that pop up when a user enters or exits a particular page on your site.
Link to a Landing Page: Every so often you can introduce a link in one of your blog posts that will take your readers to a specific landing page. This landing page can be specific to your readers and can motivate them to leave their details in order to obtain more information or a free download of some kind.
Offer a Blog Summary/Update: When you offer great content, chances are you are going to develop a following of fans. You can turn these fans into leads by offering an email update when you post new articles or an end of week summary of the articles posted. This way, fans can keep track of your work and you can keep track of your fans.
Share on Social Media: Sharing your content on social media on platforms from Facebook to LinkedIn, allows you to expand and grow your audience, which in turn can help you generate new leads. Sharing on social media is also a great way to get feedback from your audience and how they are resonating with your content. Using this information can help you to tailor your content and help you understand your audience on a deeper and more targeted level.
Offer Exclusive Access: By having a quality blog, you can offer your readers access to advanced or exclusive content in exchange for their information. This allows you to not only collect leads, but leads that are highly qualified, as chances are if they are interested in your advanced content they are also interested in the products and services that you have to offer.
Guest Posting: When you have a strong body of work behind you or a reputation in your industry, guest posting on other sites can be a highly effective way to build leads. This allows you to tap into another audience pool and helps to build your authority as a thought leader in your field. This strategy can also be used across social media. When you quote, tag or @mention someone in your social posts, it can help to attract attention from a wider audience and lead to more lead generating opportunities.
Alternative Formats: Not everyone likes to read through large chunks of text which is why offering alternative formats such as infographics, videos, charts, lists, tables, spreadsheets etc. may be more effective for some users. By offering these alternative formats in exchange for their email address, you can grow your list of leads and better understand the types of content that your users are interested in reading.
Early Adopter: Got some new content in the pipeline? Perhaps an e-course or new infographic? Give users the chance to access content earlier than everyone else or as soon as it goes live by offering an opt-in that entices them to sign up in order to receive a notification. Offering an “early-bird” special may also be an effective way to seal the deal and to grow your list of leads.
Quizzes: Everybody loves taking a quiz that can reveal some further insights about their personality or if they qualify for a particular product or service. Offering a quiz as part of your content marketing strategy can be a great way to collect email addresses. Either get people to enter their email before the quiz or in order to receive their results. The quiz results can also reveal to you the type of visitors approaching your page and how you can market to them more accurately and effectively.
Advertising on various social media platforms, websites and Google is a great way to increase your outreach and score more leads. But advertising can be expensive, time consuming and a slow process if you are uncertain of your demographics behaviour.
Again, this is why collecting leads can be helpful. Not only do you have the potential to turn them into dollar signs, but you can also study them and learn about how your audience reacts and responds to your marketing messages. Essentially having leads can help you to collect more leads, which increases your chance of scoring more customers.
When you study your leads they can also provide you with valuable clues and pathways on how to lead them further down the funnel.
In order to effectively use your advertising, we suggest the following these suggestions –
- Always send your audience to a targeted landing page that is designed specifically for them
- Always select an appropriate audience that is interested and specific to your products and services
- Integrate your audience and your landing page for a seamless execution
Once you have these three principles in place, you can put the following strategies into place:
Targeted Social Ads: Many platforms like Facebook offer almost fool-proof advertising features such as allowing you to promote your ad to a lookalike audience. They also allow you to select your audience based on their specific interests and likes. When you find your perfect audience, you can send them to a targeted landing page that is designed exclusively to fit their needs, wants and desires.
Image Ads: Pinterest and Instagram is a great way to promote alternative content types such as images and infographics. By promoting your images and linking them to your targeted landing page or blog, it can help you to gain more opt-ins.
LinkedIn Targeting: LinkedIn is one of the best places for B2B brands to market on. The users on LinkedIn are also specific, which means that you can really gain some qualified leads if you target your message effectively. Often LinkedIn users are seeking professional development or networking opportunities, so this allows you to really hone in on your audience and run an effective ad campaign.
Adwords: Running a Google Adwords campaign can be a great way for you to feature at the top of search results or on relevant webpages. This can allow you to reach more of your audience and can help you to instantly address the needs of your visitors, which ultimately will help you turn them into leads. Google Adwords can be highly competitive however, and you need to have a good understanding of your keywords and keyword competition.
Syndication Networks: There are many companies out there like Taboola and RevContent that offer native advertising. This allows you to advertise your content on other content sites around the web that are similar to your theme, tone and message. This can be a highly effective strategy for getting traffic and converting more leads.
Special Deals and Promotions
Running a special deal or promotion in exchange for your visitors information can be a great way to grow your list of leads fast, however it also comes with its own challenges.
When you offer something for free or offer a ridiculously large discount, often you attract leads that are one hit wonders. Usually they just sign up to collect the freebie or the discount and then you never hear from them again.
This may not be a bad thing depending on your intention and strategy, but it may be something to keep in mind as you may be collecting leads that have absolutely no interest in following up with your brand and services.
You can protect yourself however by segmenting your leads. Once you have worked out which leads are qualified and which leads are nowhere near, you can start nurturing them with different strategies that can help you to work out what the best course of action.
Some top strategies for implementing special deals and promotions to grow your business include-
Groupon/Deal Sites: Advertising your products or services on deal sites like Groupon may be a good way to generate new interest and new leads. Groupon does take a large percent of your sales and there is a lot of competition, so this strategy may not be a good fit for all businesses, however it could be a great way to generate new interest and and generate more leads. Once you get these customers to opt-in to one of your lists, you can also continue to nurture them into life long customers.
Free Quotes/Consults: By offering a free quote or consult, your visitors have the opportunity to get to know your business and what you offer and you have the opportunity to collect more leads. Because you are offering a free service you may have a large volume of sign-ups that are not a good fit for your business. Even though this could be frustrating, it will help you to learn what type of people are being attracted to your page and ways that you can change your marketing message to be more relevant and attractive to your perfect audience.
Free Demo: Offering a free demonstration video of your products and services in action can be a great way to score new leads and customers. This strategy could be particularly beneficial if you offer a complicated product or service that needs further explanation.
Coupon Pop-Ups: This strategy is particularly effective if you run an e-commerce store. You can tailor a pop up to be triggered when a visitor enters your shopping pages. This pop up can offer a coupon in exchange for an email address. Not only will this coupon help them to make a purchase, but it will also reduce cart abandonment rates and allow you to continue nurturing them to purchase other items.
Free Gift/Giveaway: Offering users a free gift of some kind in order to persuade them to opt-in is a great way to generate more leads. This free gift/giveaway could be a free download, a coupon, a sample or a free product or service. Free gifts or giveaways also get people talking and visitors may be more likely to share your promotion on their social media page. In fact, running a social media promotion is a great way to earn more likes, clicks and shares. There are endless possibilities when it comes to offering free giveaways, and when done in a targeted and specific fashion, you can really be on your way to earning some qualified leads.
Referrals: Rewarding your existing customers with gifts, coupons or discounts when they refer another person to your site can be a great way to thank your customers but to also collect new leads and opportunities. Referrals can be done by simply asking your customers for an email address or sharing a tweet or social media message.
In order to grow your list of leads and essentially your business, it is important to take advantage of all opportunities to generate leads and move them through the appropriate lead nurturing track.
Here are some other effective strategies that can help you to really ensure that you have left no stone, rock or boulder unturned-
Signature Link: An effective way to generate leads can sometimes be through your email signature link. While you never want to bombard your own personal email list with aggressive marketing strategies, you could turn your signature into an link that takes users to a specific landing page. This landing page could then offer them a free download in exchange for an email address. This strategy could be particularly beneficial if you answer a lot of customer queries through emails.
Facebook Tab: On your businesses Facebook page there is a call to action option that allows visitors to hit a specific landing page or product. Create a specific landing page for your Facebook users and use it to generate more leads. Traffic from your Facebook page is also likely to be strongly qualified, so definitely take advantage of this feature.
The 404 Page: 404 pages can sometimes happen, but you can make the most of it by installing a opt-in form on this page that promises the visitor that you will be able to answer their questions and redirect them to the right place. You can also offer them a free download or a free information packet so they can receive the right information straight to their inbox. You can also install this type of opt-in on “coming soon” pages and on pages that are currently under maintenance.
Business Cards: It may seem old-school, but giving your business card to prospects can be an effective way to generate leads. You can even take this to the next level by including a special URL link on your business card that takes them to a specifically targeted landing page. You can also experiment with using special coupon codes or discount links on your business card.
Generating leads using free downloads, blogging, advertising, giveaways and tools like social media and pop-ups can help you to grow your business and increase sales over time.
Continually generating leads allows your business to predict growth patterns and will help you to know the direction that your business is heading in. This can be particularly helpful if your business is experiencing a lull in sales or if you are finding it difficult to target the right kinds of customers.
“Done well, lead generation sets up a steady stream of prospects that form a pool of leads from which, ultimately new customers will develop. Even if they are not quite ready yet, you know where you can find them and can reach out to nudge them towards a decision.”- Daphne Sidor, from LeadPages.
With a few lead generation strategies in place and effective lead nurturing, your pool of prospects will eventually turn into paying customers, helping your business to thrive.
Experimenting with different lead generation strategies is also imperative for your business to continue growing, so keep experimenting with some of the suggestions explored.
Not all will work for your business, but through testing and adjusting different strategies you will eventually find the recipe that works for you.
Lead generation is truly the best way to grow your business and to ensure that you always have plenty of opportunities for generating sales and increasing your profits.