- 1. Create Content That Helps Your Audience
- 2. Use Email Marketing to Provide Value
- 3. Publish Regularly or Advertise to Earn Clicks
- 4. Build a Referral System
- 5. Partner With a Lead Gen Business to Track Leads’ Behavior
- Collecting Leads Is Only the Beginning
Cold calling and outbound marketing might have been the way to attract potential customers (leads) decades ago. But today, it takes 18 calls to connect with a lead, but less than one percent will call you back1. To help you generate more leads online, we’ve compiled the top strategies for attracting those initial prospects below. But first, what is a lead?
A lead is someone you think should buy from you. Someone who would benefit from your product or service. A lead might be someone who’s never bought from you before. Or, your former or current customers can also be leads if you want to upsell or cross-sell.
Attracting leads means understanding their wants, needs, and problems. You might offer them something helpful in exchange for their contact information, for example, which you later pass to your sales team. For returning customers, you might collect and study their buying behavior to see what will convince them to buy again, using that information in a marketing campaign.
To generate more online leads for your business, you’ll need to explore several strategies to reach your target audience. Some leads will be more present on social media, for example, while others might devote themselves to industry newsletters. Take the time to study where most of your leads originate so you can invest more time and effort into those channels.
Discover our top five lead-gen strategies below to draw people in at any stage of the buyer’s journey.
1. Create Content That Helps Your Audience
Creating content that solves customers’ problems or answers their questions makes them more likely to trust you. They’ll warm to your sales messaging because of the reciprocity principle. In other words, you helped them, and now they’ll want to help you in return.
Your content should address what you want your lead to do. A blog post, for example, is open to anyone, but an ebook might require someone to enter an email address to download it. Experiment with different mediums to see which ones resonate with your audience. The higher the volume and diversity of your content, the likelier potential leads will be to explore your business.
Businesses that write blog posts consistently gain 67 percent more leads than businesses that don’t2. Not only can these posts demonstrate your authority in your field, but they can also showcase your personality. Build customer trust by writing blogs like a human, not a robot or some faceless corporation, and with the customer’s needs in mind. How?
Address problems they face or questions they have. Someone looking for a new phone case might click on your blog post if you write about the best ways to protect your phone from hard falls or water damage. Don’t shamelessly plug your product but help customers first. A soft sell or link to your product or service might come at the end.
Better yet, answer questions about your business while highlighting a client you’ve already helped. Take our How I Got Acquire’d series. These posts detail founders’ struggles and triumphs as they scaled their businesses to exit. We tell human stories loaded with entrepreneurial lessons. You can do the same by interviewing your clients and detailing how your product or service helped them.
Once you’ve written your blog posts, optimize them for search engines (SEO). Keyword research gives you the words or phrases people search for online. You can then target those key phrases to rank higher on search engine results pages (SERPs), generating more clicks to your website.
Ebooks are similar to blog posts in that they acknowledge customers’ problems and present potential solutions. But ebooks generally run longer, from 2,000 to 25,000 words, and contain imagery and a table of contents. Infographics and charts can concisely convey key information, breaking up the monotony of column after column of text.
Keep ebooks gated so that leads are required to share their email address, phone number, or social media handle to access it. Once they’ve given you that info, provide the benefit (ebook) they’ve signed up for and store that contact info for later.
Online Courses or Webinars
People love learning – especially when that education is free. By building online courses and webinars, you demonstrate your industry knowledge on specific topics. You can also answer questions directly from your leads. These strategies invite interactivity and allow you to deepen your connections with potential customers. Once they see you speaking authoritatively on a given topic, they’ll trust that you can help them with their needs.
Again, gating your courses or webinars allows you to collect contact information before providing the benefit. You can also gate content like checklists, whitepapers, toolkits, polls, quizzes, contests, and surveys.
2. Use Email Marketing to Provide Value
Email marketing helps you generate more leads online in two ways. First, you attract leads with a benefit in exchange for their email address. Second, you can create leads from your current email list by offering them special offers or trials, encouraging a cross-sell or upsell opportunity.
Coupons, Discounts, and Free Trials
Ninety percent of consumers use coupon codes3, so they’re excellent lead generators. You can offer most coupons or discounts in exchange for leads’ email addresses. Research also shows that customers who use these codes spend 23 percent more on average4.
If your business model doesn’t cater to coupon codes, offer a free trial or freemium subscription instead. The free trial allows leads to test your product or service for a limited time, an incentive to pay for it to continue. With the freemium model, leads sample basic features while you entice them to a paying tier that provides more features and benefits.
Offering free trials can help you attract leads from your existing email list. If they signed up for emails long ago but haven’t bought from you, this could incentivize them to at least try your product or service. Or to return to your business to sample a new product or service.
Newsletters help you connect with your email subscribers. You can inject your voice and personality into newsletters to build rapport with potential customers before asking them to buy.
For new subscribers, offer helpful or entertaining content in return for their email addresses. For existing subscribers, calls to action at the top, middle, or bottom of your newsletter may inspire them to visit your website. Be strategic about where you place the call to action so that it catches the reader’s attention but doesn’t distract from your newsletter content.
Newsletters can use multiple online lead-generation strategies. Use it to promote your latest blog post or announce a new contest. Blend your content marketing with email strategies to turn more leads into paying customers.
3. Publish Regularly or Advertise to Earn Clicks
Social media lead gen strategies can use up all of your marketing budget or none of it, depending on which ones you pursue. You can post regularly on social media for free, building an audience with helpful or entertaining content. Or, pay to place ads throughout different feeds.
Low-Cost Lead Gen with Curated Posts
Posting and interacting with your audience on social media is free. If you want your audience to engage with you, ensure you post regularly and curate your content to fit the platform and audience.
Draw awareness to your brand with eye-catching visuals on Instagram or thoughtful insights on LinkedIn. Create Facebook groups so leads and buyers can discuss your business or related topics. Craft polls on Twitter to interact with your followers and engage with them in the comments. The only investment is your time and energy.
By participating in online communities, you can be personal and human, proving you’re not just there to sell products or services but be a helpful member of those communities.
Paying for Ads Now to Earn Revenue Later
LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter allow you to place ads in their feeds and track how many leads they generate. The lead gen tools are free, but you pay to place the ads in your audience’s feeds.
If a lead clicks on an ad, it might direct them to your website or ask them to provide their contact info. LinkedIn’s tool, for example, bypasses the form and sends you the lead’s profile info. You can then send more targeted content toward that specific lead. Compared to other platforms, which convert less than 3 percent of leads, LinkedIn’s lead gen form converts 13 percent5.
Most social media platforms also include an analytics tool measuring which ads attract the most leads. Analyze this data to create more effective ads that draw leads to your business.
4. Build a Referral System
Depending on your customer relationships, some of them might have already referred your business to their friends, family, and professional networks. Others might need convincing with an incentivized referral program.
You can incentivize referrals in many ways. Discounts, coupons, cashback, vouchers, gifts, and more all qualify. You can also tier the referral system by offering a bigger reward for customers whose referrals become paying customers and smaller rewards for email subscriptions. Consider incentivizing the referral and the sign-up (a gift for both your customer and their referee, for example).
Referral systems usually pay for themselves. Just ensure the cost of the referral reward is less than the cost of acquiring the customer another way. Some referral rewards might cost nothing (such as a free month’s access to your product or service). Delight your current customers and they’ll tell everyone about you – and the referral program is the cherry on the pie.
5. Partner With a Lead Gen Business to Track Leads’ Behavior
Lead generation requires commitment from you or your marketing team. If you don’t have the time or resources to keep up with it yourself, consider hiring a lead generation business.
Lead gen businesses Acquire potential leads and sell them to you for a fee. You can invest in a full-blown agency, which handles several of the same strategies we discussed above. Or, you can buy lead gen software like LeadLander, which provides website tracking capabilities.
With full agencies, you receive all the benefits of brand recognition and earned trust that you would if you completed the strategies yourself. But the more services the agency provides, the more it’ll cost to hire them.
Software, on the other hand, allows you to analyze the data yourself. You can pay for more features, like receiving real-time alerts when leads visit your website or measuring how leads find your website. But you always have the option of a basic plan that just tracks one thing, like a lead’s email address.
Look out for lead-gen businesses that offer customer relationship management (CRM) packages as well. LinkedIn Sales Navigator, for example, integrates HubSpot into its service so you can store necessary CRM data to use later for converting leads.
Collecting Leads Is Only the Beginning
Pay attention to which of the above strategies attract quality leads (those you can convert later). While all leads provide value (even if it’s only brand exposure so you’re top of customers’ minds), you want to convert as many into paying customers as possible. For more tips on how to nurture leads into prospects, check out our comprehensive guide here.
1 53 Key Lead Generation Statistics for B2B Marketers: 2021 Analysis of Data and Market Share – Financesonline.com
2 53 Key Lead Generation Statistics for B2B Marketers: 2021 Analysis of Data and Market Share – Financesonline.com
3 Coupons As A Lead Generation Strategy: All You Need To Know | Blog | involve.me
4 Coupons As A Lead Generation Strategy: All You Need To Know | Blog | involve.me
5 9 Social Media Lead Generation Ideas to Try Next | Sprout Social
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