Hey, how would you like to spend anywhere from $3000 to $7000 per month to generate leads for your small business?
Yeah, neither would I.
But from what I’ve heard, that’s what the going rate of professional lead generation is these days. What’s worse, it’s nearly impossible to predict a return on investment, and nobody will guarantee one.
So we’re left alone, small business owners, flailing about and gasping for air in a wide open sea of customers we know exist but can’t seem to find. Without excessive time, an abundance of patience, or a boatload of money to spare on lead generation, we’re left using the same old tactics we’ve used in the past… getting us nowhere.
And so, with this in mind, I went on a voyage across the Internet, searching for a cheat sheet, an ultimate guide, anything enlightening article on lead generation.
I came up empty handed.
Sure, some articles had a few good tips, but most were incomplete or misguided. No single article had it all. No single article was full of quality ideas for generating leads. What else could I do but set about creating this one—a collection of the best tips on the Internet for generating quality leads—first for myself, and now for you.
What follows are the 7 best lead generation tips I could find from reviewing nearly 50 articles, listening to dozens of podcasts, and skimming some of the top-ranked lead generation books on Amazon.
Because not every small business is at the same stage in development, not all of these tips may be relevant to you. But hopefully, you walk away with at least one insight, one idea on which to execute and generate a new lead today.
So here’s what you need to do next.
- Share this article. Why? Because the more people that see this, the more people will comment and provide additional insights and experiences on generating leads… insights and experiences that they can leave in the comments to help your small business grow. Either click to tweet this right now, or just use the share buttons on the left.
- Skim the following 7 lead generation tips. If you see a heading that looks relevant to you, read it. If you like what you read, do it! In the full PDF, I include 4 additional tips and summarize each tip into one insight and one action you can perform to get new leads today.
- Leave a comment. Tell us which tip you chose, how you executed it, and if it worked!
One last thing… I didn’t just find 7 tips in all my research. I know you’re busy and don’t have time to read 101 tips on lead generation, so I gave you my favorites. But there are plenty of other useful tips you could use to start generating leads for your business today.
Tip #1: Put Up a Website Already!
Here’s a stunning statistic:
“97% of consumers search online for products and services, and more than half of searches are local.”
Wow! I mean, really? 97%! It couldn’t be more clear: Your customers are searching for your products and services online before buying anything. If they don’t find you online, they’ll find someone else’s review or a competitor’s product first.
Now this wouldn’t be a problem except for the following statistic:
“Just 51% of small businesses have websites.”
That’s right, according to a non-profit, SCORE, half of small businesses don’t have websites. If you are one of those, consider getting a website up immediately. Without one, your customers will have to try too hard to learn about your products and services and will simply become a lead for your competition.
Tip #2: Align Sales and Marketing Objectives
How connected are your sales and marketing teams? If you say, “not very,” you’re not alone. In many organizations, marketing is expected to create collateral and prepare for trade shows while sales is expected to generate leads and manage the customer.
But sales and marketing should be far more connected than you think. With 97% of consumers using the Internet to research before buying, 60% of each deal is complete before a salesperson gets involved (according to Hubspot, linked below).
Whether your marketing efforts are focused on the Internet or not, customers are finding information about your products from reviews, blogs, forums, and (gasp) competitors. If sales and marketing aren’t aligned to support, combat, or introduce new information on the web, your leads will dry up or be slow in coming.
But if sales and marketing have shared goals and common objectives around generating and qualifying opportunities, you can easily generate more leads through more efficient sales and marketing teams.
Tip #3: Receptionists are Blockers
How often do you think about the motivations of the person you are calling before you call them?
Yeah, I don’t do it enough either.
But now that I’ve asked the question, you know you should. After all, the people you call on to generate a sale will either a) be motivated to buy or connect you to a buyer, b) have other things to do or c) will actively block you from getting access to their organization.
Take receptionists, for example. A good one won’t directly transfer you to the CEO without first asking who you are, why you’re calling, and whether you have a meeting scheduled. They will purposefully block your access to certain people without good reason. Because, while they may not be measured by the number of calls they don’t let through, any receptionist will certainly be penalized if they forward every call without screening first.
On the other hand, social media managers are typically measured by the number of conversations they start and how engaged they are with the community. They are paid to reach people and have conversations. Granted, it’s about their own products and services, but these folks are always open to introductions and will many times connect you with the right person in their organization for further discussions.
The point here is, if you want to generate leads, connecting directly with customers through email, social, media, or phone is a tried-and-true way to do it… but think about the motivations of the person with whom you are connecting before you reach out. It could make the difference between a dead-end and an open door to their organization.
Tip #4: Humanize Your Social Media Presence
You may not know it, but you have a huge list of connections available to you through social media. It’s likely every single one of your employees has a LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook account at the very least. Why not get them involved in your lead generation efforts?
For every new press release, event announcement, or white-paper created, work with marketing to define some messages your employees can use to get the word out. Then, have them post to any and all social media platforms they wish. Make sure they are using the messaging guidelines you’ve created and ensure your marketing has a way to monitor and track the effectiveness when customers respond.
While I wouldn’t recommend forcing them to get involved (after all, we all see our social media accounts as our own, not the property of the company we work for), you can gamify things a bit by offering incentives for the most likes, farthest reach through shares or highest conversion rate.
Tip #5: Quiz Your Prospects
First of all, people love quizzes. There’s something enticing about a well-structured quiz that people can’t resist. Many times, it’s the promise of learning more about themselves or seeing how they rank against their friends. Other times they just want to see how smart they are.
Whatever the reason, quizzes are an excellent way to provide personalized product recommendations to your prospective customers. In fact, according to the article referenced here, click-through rates increase by 14% and conversion rates increase by 10% on a well-structured quiz.
Tip #6: Guest Blog on Another Website
I can tell you from experience (and from reading every frigging article on the internet about blogging), that generating traffic and leads solely from your blog is a tremendous challenge. If you have the patience and dedication, it can do wonders for your business. If you need leads now, starting a blog from scratch isn’t your answer. You simply don’t have the “web authority” to get truckloads of visitors.
But some bloggers do have that authority. Some bloggers have thousands or even millions of visitors a month. And, as you might guess, they are very busy people.
So busy, in fact, they would welcome an expert like yourself to write a guest blog post for them. It helps them by creating expert-driven content on their website, and it helps you by getting a link to your site, product, or service on a blog that is visited in droves by your potential customers.
Tip: Be sure to guest post on a blog your customers actually visit.
Another Tip: Be sure to write the best damn article you’ve ever written on your topic, ever.
One Final Tip: Be sure the guest blogger will allow you to have an author bio and web link back to your website in your guest post.
Tip #7: Get Yourself a Strategic Partner
Ask yourself, who else is in your industry? Who else offers different products to your customers?
So many times, our clients have desires and fears that lead them to a similar grouping of goods and services. If you know which other goods and services your customers are leaning towards, you have the potential to create a strategic partnership with that company.
Think about how your small business and another business can partner to refer, promote, distribute, develop products or add-on sales. For example, if you run a flower shop that caters to wedding parties, you might want to partner with a local bakery to both send and receive referrals. Each of you is helping the other expand business in a similar target market. That’s just smart.
Are These the Best Tips You’ve Seen, or Do You Have Others?
These were the best tips I could find after weeks of research, but I would bet many of you have better tips from your own experience. If so, you’ve got to share those tips here in the comments below.
Additionally, share this article on social media using the buttons at the right or click here to tweet now. Other folks who view this page may have better tips of their own that we can all learn from!
January 4th, 2018 Update | Devin J. Mertz from FitSmallBusiness reached out and shared his article on Business Lead Generation Ideas. It's a great article that nicely compliments our full PDF which you can download using the form above. Check it out!
About the Author
CO-FOUNDER | TECHNOLOGY, PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT, MARKETING, AND SALES
Michael Mehlberg helps small businesses owners achieve their goals and live their passion. His approach to technology, corporate strategy, product development, marketing, and sales is both practical and highly effective, and has helped multiple small businesses grow into the company their owners envisioned. Reach out by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org or learn more on our About page.