25 best Lead Generation Strategies for Startups & Small Business
Topics: Preparation, work Best, Email, Content, Search & Social Media Marketing, Conversion rate Optimization,
How many Leads can you handle?
When it comes to Lead Generation, what really works?
In this Post, we’re going to break down the key strategies that matter most and explore some of the most effective ways to Generate Leads. But before we jump into specific examples and strategies, it’s important that you get the foundation right and address any issues in your marketing processes.
A. The Groundwork / preparation
If you don’t have a good system for monitoring your marketing strategy off the back of each Lead Gen campaign, you’ll likely end up misaligned with the reality and losing valuable insights. Before you dive into testing different Lead Gen tactics, I’d strongly advise implementing some sort of Marketing Campaign tool – to get feedback on how you’re doing. With this in place, we can move onto which specific Lead Gen strategies to add and prioritize in your Marketing plan.
B. Which Lead Gen Strategies work best?
1) The answer to this question depends on who you ask. If we were to go by HubSpot’s study of the best Lead sources, we’d conclude that SEO is the best (identifiable) Lead Generation channel – S/Media #2 & Email Mktg #3. Also Blogs, Direct Mail, Trade Shows, Tele-Marketing, PPC, & traditional are significant.
2) If, on the other hand, we used Chief Marketer’s data on the same question, we’d conclude that Email marketing is the most effective channel for Lead Gen, altho’ Live Events #2, Content Mktg #3, & SEO #4 are 60-50%. Needless to say, there are similar surveys reporting that S/Media & Content Marketing are also the most effective forms of Lead Gen.
Why so much Variation? The likely answer is to do with audience biases. A survey conducted by an Email Mktg provider is almost certainly going to have different results to one conducted by PPC Mgt tool, as their audiences have different skill-sets & biases, skewing the results of their sample. As such, we should take the specific ranking of different strategies in these studies with a pinch of salt.
Inconsistencies aside, the online strategies that consistently come out at the top are: Email, SEO & Content Mktg + Conversion rate optimization. We’ll look at each these in more depth in a moment, but bear in mind that “How you use a Lead Gen channel is more important than What Lead channel you choose.
Twitter can be used to close a $250,000 Lead for a business, or it can be used to spam potential Leads and tarnish a brand. So, while the channel/strategy you choose will play a large role in how effective your Lead Gen is, how you execute your campaign will play an even bigger role. With this caveat out the way, let’s look at some of the ways that companies are using the four strategies listed above to Generate impressive results.
C. Avoiding the leaky bucket effect
Many marketers spend a lot of time, metaphorically, pouring water into leaky buckets. Rather than fixing the bucket (the marketing funnel), they pour more water (traffic) into the bucket to keep it full. This is a recipe for inflated acquisition costs and below-average results. The biggest culprit here is landing pages and – in particular – your forms. Forms separate your Leads from non-Leads, and have a huge impact on your conversion rates and overall Lead Gen results. If you haven’t already, I’d recommend optimising your forms – or using a tool like Leadformly to ensure that you’re not leaving Leads behind from your marketing campaigns. Once your funnel is well-optimised and you’re confident that there’s no more opportunity to significantly improve your landing pages / funnels, it’s time to acquire traffic – but which channels or Lead Generation strategies should you use?
D. Email Marketing strategies to Generate Leads
Email is one of the few online marketing channels that has stood the test of time. In fact, Email Mktg is 23 years old this year, and it still trumps the top spot on many marketer’s lists of Lead Gen strategies. In this section, we’ve got some of the best Email marketing strategies that’ll help you Generate more Leads in 2021-22.
24 Strategies for Generating Leads
In this section, we’ll cover the four strategies outlined above, as well as a strategy that hasn’t been mentioned in any of the studies, yet it enabled one company to Generate a 5000% ROI from a $1 million investment. First tho’, it’s important to make sure that whichever strategy you choose, you have a well-tuned funnel that isn’t going to leak valuable Leads.
#1: Automate your Lead Gen & Email Marketing campaigns
One of the biggest trends in Email marketing at the moment, that has generated great results for many businesses, is marketing automation. Essentially, automation cuts out the manual workload of managing segmented lists, targeting user behaviours + a whole bunch of tasks that can turn your Email marketing strategy from blah into like recovering 50% of abandoned shopping carts or increasing sales by 5X.
ActiveCampaign is one of the most popular, our all-in-one CRM, Email & Marketing Automation platform for well over five years now. One of the main reasons companies stick with ActiveCampaign is that it offers some of the best automation features in the industry without charging the kind of prices industry Leaders typically do.
#2: Build a free Fishing (not phishing) Tool to reel Leads in
One of the best Lead Gen strategies I’ve ever come across is using a free tool to reel users in. (Really ???) You’ll see this from brands like HubSpot, which offers a free CRM to get people signed up and then it will try to upsell as many Leads as possible.One of my favourite examples, though, is Crazy Egg.
Crazy Egg doesn’t ask you to sign up for anything or buy into any of its products (at least, not now). It simply offers a free tool on its website that promises to “Make your website better – Instantly !!! That’s one compelling call to action right there. All you have to do is type in your Email address and hit the button to get your Heat-map, which promises better website performance instantly. Sign me up !!! At the last stage, the form asks them for their Email address where they’ll receive their personalised list of software recommendations. After filling out 90% of the form, resistance to hand over an Email address is almost non-existent by this point. The result: Major Email list growth.
#3: Give something away for “Free”
This Email Lead Gen strategy is something of a classic, but not many brands really pull it off. Today’s internet users are so used to being promised something for “free” that it’s lost all meaning – not to mention, most of the “freebies” are worth nothing to begin with.
Proposify understands this, which is why it offers its target audience free proposal templates, despite the fact its money comes from businesses paying for its proposal software. Of course, these free proposals are a Lead Gen strategy – designed to turn free users into paying customers. And the reason this works so well is because the free templates are both Genuinely free and useful. There’s real value in these freebies. At the same time, any businesses that use Proposify’s free proposals will learn that manually editing, moving & managing proposals is a little more time-consuming than they might like. It’s certainly more time-consuming than it would be if you were using Proposify’s software and this is where Lead Gen strategy communicates the value of the product and shows people exactly where they can sign up.
#4: Create Referral Campaigns to turn Email Leads into… more Email Leads
There’s nothing more satisfying than turning existing Leads/Customers into new ones – especially when you can get them to do all the hard work for you. This is where Referral campaigns can work wonders, especially when you know how to automate the entire process.
With ActiveCampaign, you can set up fully automated Referral campaigns using this automation workflow or create your own – based on the criteria of your choice. The key thing here is to offer a strong enough incentive for the customer referring you to their friends or contacts. Better yet, offer a reward for both of them to double up the incentive and encourage each customer to spread the word to as many people as they can.
#5: Create Re-Engagement & Customer Retention campaigns
Bringing dead Leads back to life is as good as getting new ones – if not better. As we’ve explained before, it takes less than 24 hours for most Leads to turn cold – so this gives you an idea of how quickly Leads can lose value between successful interactions. (I say “successful” interactions because blasting users with Emails every 24 hrs or week – isn’t going to form a healthy relationship.)
Grammarly is one of my favorite examples of a re-engagement Email campaign. The campaign is aimed at people who haven’t used its software tool in a while and the company even gamifies the interaction by awarding them a badge.
E. Content Marketing strategies to generate Leads
According to research from Cision, 70% of users on the internet learn via Content Mktg before purchasing a product compared to traditional advertisements. Decision-makers no longer rely on advertisers to inform them about products. a separate study by CSO Insights says that 70% of buyers prefer self–education in the early stages of the buying process. In other words, the people making the calls on whether to do business with you, trust themselves more than any Ad or marketing message – and this needs to be reflecting in your Content Marketing strategy.
#6: Create an automated Webinar strategy
When 91% of Entrepreneurs say Webinars are their preferred type of educational content, you need to listen to your audience. Webinars consistently top lists of the most effective Content Mktg formats – but running a Webinar strategy can require a lot of work – unless you automate the entire strategy. To this day, our automated Webinar strategy remains one of our most effective Lead Gen strategies. Now, all that you need to do is keep track of performance, make the occasional tweak where needed and watch the Leads roll in. Gr8 !!!
#7: Turn your Blog posts into in-depth guides
This is another classic Lead Generation strategy. The thing about this strategy is that you’re already investing time, effort & money into creating content for your other channels. You want to make the most of that investment. So it only makes sense to take that content, collect it in relevant groups, then turn it into much larger pieces of content. For example, all of your Blog posts on Biz Mgt can be combined into a Comprehensive Guide to Business Management – something business owners are going to be interested in down-loading. You know your audience is already interested in these topics – because they’re Generating traffic. You also know which of these topics they’re most interested in, based on the amount of traffic individual pieces of content are Generating and engagement your Social Posts are attracting. You can use this data to create even better content and target the same audiences on social media. Your Call-to-Action (CTA) will be: “All they need to do is type in their Email address and hit the Download button !!!
#8: Add dynamic CTAs to your Blog posts
Creating in-depth guides is one thing, but maximizing the number of downloads is something else. This strategy is designed to help you turn more Blog readers into Email Leads and it uses the downloadable guides you created in strategy #7 to achieve this. The reason this strategy is so important is because you want to turn as many Blog readers as possible into Leads rather than simply letting them go back to search or whichever S/media platform they were previously using.
Call-to-Action: What you’re going to do now is place CTAs on your Blog posts, prompting readers to download your in-depth guide on the same topic. Once again, you’re using the interest they’ve already demonstrated and creating a means for them to attain more detailed information. Best of all, you can automate this so that CTAs pointing towards the relevant guide are automatically inserted in each Blog post – depending on the Topic/category you define before publishing.
#9: Generate Email Leads from Video views
Video content is another area where you don’t want to let potential Leads just watch your footage, then disappear again. You’ve worked hard to get your Video seen by this prospect and it’s a waste to sit back and let them walk away at this point.
Turnstile is a great feature offered by Wistia – that made it into our list of 35+ Lead Generation Tools To Boost Your Results In 2020. It allows you to place sign up CTAs on your Videos to convert interested viewers into Genuine Leads. You can choose when the form appears (before, during or after playback) and create custom messages to entice Email sign-ups.
#10: Segment your Content strategy
Segmentation is a word you’ll hear a lot in relation to Email marketing but it’s just as important for Content marketing. If you’re creating Generic content for broad audiences, you’re unlikely to address the individual interests that inspire buyers to take action – regardless of source. So, just as you would with any good Email marketing strategy, create Content that reaches out to the needs of your buyer personas and create segmented campaigns designed to bring them on-board.
How? You can reach these unique audiences in search via Keyword targeting on social platforms like Facebook & LinkedIn – which allow you to pinpoint the most relevant audience niches. The necessary tools are all there; you just need to create the content & campaigns to make the most of them.
F. Search Marketing strategies to Generate Leads
Admittedly, SEO is a little more tricky in 2021 than it was 10 years ago, but the power of having a strong search presence on Google is as strong as ever.
#11: Pack your good Content with data & sharable ideas
Back in 2010, you could almost publish anything and it would rank – if you got the technical SEO basics right and pointed a few links to your page. Things are very different in 2021 and you really have to earn your place in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) these days. One thing that hasn’t changed is that links remain one of the most important ranking factors, as confirmed by Google itself in 2016 and various studies since – such as this one from Backlinko (2020). One of the most effective ways of Generating the links you need to get your pages in position #1 is to pack your content full of data, stats & third-party references from trusted sources. This makes it easy for Google’s algorithm to verify the accuracy & reliability of your content and it also makes it more link-worthy & sharable to users.Taking this to the extreme is a concept called Data journalism, where you publish data-packed content that creates an entire narrative around data insights. Not all data journalism needs to be visual, but it does create value & meaning out of widely available datasets and it results in content that you want to share & link to – even when it’s entirely useless information.
#12: Update your old Content
One of the most important SEO strategies that businesses tend to forget about is updating old content. As Yoast explains, in this article: “Cleaning up old content should be part of your content maintenance routine. If you don’t go through your old posts regularly, you’re bound to run into issues sooner or later. You might show incorrect info to visitors or hurt your own rankings by having too many pages about the same topic, increasing chances of keyword cannibalization, which is a lot of work to fix later on. Therefore, go through your old posts, and decide what to do: update, merge or delete.” When content gets old, bad things can happen: broken links, inaccurate/irrelevant info, ranking drops, etc. Most importantly, though, your content isn’t going to Generate Leads if it’s not up-to-date and addressing the needs of your audience today.
#13: Build negative (-) Keyword lists in Google Ads
Moving away from SEO for a moment, let’s take some time to talk about paid search. For advertisers, single keyword ad groups (SKAGs) used to be a reliable strategy for pinpointing highly-niche audiences. Basically, you could define a specific keyword like “design software, free demo” and set campaigns to only target that keyword. Or, you could go even more niche with a keyword like “best design software for remote freelancers” and guarantee your ad would be seen by the right audience. Sadly, Google has killed this capability over the years by making its keyword match types less strict. So you can no longer define a single keyword and ensure your ads are only seen by people typing that exact query into Google. However , you can get close by choosing a single keyword, selecting the exact match keyword matching option and building a list of negative keywords around it. While regular keywords tell Google to show your ad to users typing the same phrase, negative keywords tell Google not to show your ad to someone who types X, Y & Z. These are crucial to targeting the right audience in Google Ads and delivering highly-relevant Leads to your landing pages, making them more likely to convert into Leads.
#14: Personalise your Landing pages to match Search intent
With your Google Ads campaigns bringing in highly relevant traffic, you can increase the likelihood of Generating Leads even further by personalising your landing pages to match the keywords they used to find your business.
Unbounce provides a great feature for this, which is called Dynamic Text Replacement. What this does is match the content on your landing pages to the copy of your ads to ensure visitors find what they’re looking for when they land on your site. This is especially important when Google’s keyword match types are much looser than they used to be and the actual keyword a user types in can be slightly different to the one you’re targeting.
#15: Create re-Marketing campaigns to keep users engaged – until they convert into Leads
Pay-per-Click (PPC) is great for bringing high-quality traffic to your website but, no matter how good your targeting and campaigns are, the majority don’t convert into Leads right away. This is why re-marketing campaigns are so important – because they allow you to keep visitors engaged with your brand – until they’re ready to take action. In fact, you can achieve big things with some strategic remarketing campaigns. If this sounds good for you – do the research for details.
F. Social Media Marketing strategies to Generate Leads
Social Media Marketing (SMM) has evolved into a mature Leads Gen channel over the years, which shows how much progress has been made since the early Facebook days. By 2017, 83% of Marketers were using S/Media as a channel, making it the most popular strategy. Even channels associated more with B2C marketing are proving to be valuable platforms for B2B marketers with 65% saying they planned to increase Instagram activity in 2019.
#16: Use LinkedIn Advertising to target BiG spenders
LinkedIn ads are expensive. It is sad how much this puts Marketers off from advertising on the network, tho’. After all, you can make progress on LinkedIn organically and pay a fraction of the price for ads on Facebook. This is the wrong mentality, tho’. LinkedIn Advertising gives you a direct line to business Decision-Makers like no other network, allowing you to reach out to the individuals who make the key purchase choices. Yes, the ads are expensive. So what you want to do is target the biggest spenders so that you’re able to make big profits, even from the average 6.5% conversion rate Marketers typically get from LinkedIn Advertising.
#17: Promote your Lead Gen content on Twitter
Twitter has led a strange existence since the first tweet was published in 2016. In fact, the company no longer lists itself as a social network on the major app stores, instead choosing to call itself a News platform. While nobody’s going to stop considering Twitter as a Social Network anytime soon, the category change says a lot about how people actually use the network. Twitter is a place for people to stay up-to-date & informed about the things they care about – and this is the role your brand needs to take on the network.
SEMrush is one of the best examples of Lead Gen seen on Twitter. The company has an ongoing Twitter strategy that heavily engages with users, promotes third-party content and likes every positive mention about its brand. SEMrush has created its own community within Twitter and it seems to be constantly growing – bringing more potential Leads into the mix. It has good taste when it comes to picking out quality content.
#18: Make the most of Facebook’s targeting options
Much has been said about Facebook’s powerful targeting options and they’re still the best in the industry. This has been crucial to Facebook’s dominance in S/Media advertising, leveraging the swathes of data users hand over every time they open the app. It’s also played a crucial role in Facebook becoming just as effective for B2B campaigns as B2C.
#19. Why Quora is best for SEO
Quora works on many levels, too. You can use it as a research tool to find out what questions & needs your target audience have. You can also use it to see how your competitors respond to these questions. And you can, of course, use Quora to interact with users directly and position your brand as an authority within your field.
#20: Build your own Online community
Reddit & Quora prove that the power of online communities is still strong – but this shouldn’t be a secret. Some of the most successful Marketing strategies have emerged from creating groups on networks like LinkedIn & Facebook, which offer specific features for this. We’ve also seen how SEMrush created its own community within Twitter even though that particular network doesn’t have dedicated functionality for creating these in the same way. Creating a successful group on networks like LinkedIn & Facebook is more difficult than it once was – largely because so many topics have been covered & saturated. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t establish yourself as a valuable part of existing groups/communities to build up awareness, then create your own when you have something of a following. As long as you’ve got something fresh & valuable to offer the community, people will be drawn to what you have to say.
G. Conversion rate Optimization strategies
It doesn’t matter how much traffic your search & social campaigns are Generating – if your website isn’t converting them into Leads. Likewise, your efforts to build a community on social are going to end up fruitless – if nobody takes action after visiting your website. Conversion Rate optimisation is all about converting more visitors into Leads & Customers – crucial for any Lead Generation strategy.
#21: Optimise your Web forms
Every conversion goal involves some kind of a form – whether it’s a product purchase, Email sign-up, content download or anything else. Even after you’ve convinced someone to take action via your CTA, that web form of yours is still standing between them and completing your conversion goal. So the first place to start with your Conversion optimisation efforts is your web forms. In early tests, multi-step forms were achieving up to 300% higher conversion rates than the original. In later tests, conversion boosts as high as 743% with multi-step forms. What stops people from successfully completing forms? Having a form analytics tool that provides in-depth insights into how users are interacting with individual form fields.
#22: Exit-intent Pop-ups
Exit-intent Pop-ups are a divisive topic that separates the User-Experience (UX) purists from the result-driven marketers. Most marketers lean more towards the result-driven marketer side of the spectrum – with more positive results from Exit-intent Pop-ups – when they’re used in the right way. You really have to determine what message will capture users’ attention once they’ve already made the call to leave your site. What can you offer these prospects at the final moment that will change their mind and convince them to stay engaged with your brand?
#23: Use Heatmaps to pinpoint Conversion barriers
Heatmaps are a crucial Contract Research Organization (CRO) feature and we’ve seen how Crazy Egg uses them as a Lead Generation strategy by offering them as a free tool on its website. Heatmaps show you where users click, scroll, move their mouse & reveal crucial user actions that help you discover UX & conversion barriers. For example, you can see if users scroll right past your Call-to-Action when this should be the element on the page that grabs their attention most. You can also compare the click rate of different elements to see if users are taking the desired action on your page or being distracted by something else.
#24: Test the Elements that matter most
The biggest CRO mistake make is they dive right into minute details like CTA button colours & font styles. This is because there are countless articles published from companies saying they increased conversion by 3M% after adding an exclamation mark! LoL It’s all nonsense, of course. You’re not going to influence savvy business minds by choosing some “psychological” background color (contrast is far more important than individual color choices). You’re going to influence these people by addressing their needs as a buyer and showing that you can solve their business problems. So start by testing different variations of your page content to determine which message is most convincing. Do the same with your CTAs – test different variations of CTA copy because this is what has by far the greatest influence.
#25. Removing the Conversion Barriers.
Yu want to remove as many conversion barriers as possible. We’re talking about things like slow loading times, poor navigation, responsive design issues & other major UX problems that prevent potential Leads from converting. Then you can start looking at smaller details like CTA placement to determine where these are most effective – and this is another task where Heatmaps are invaluable. Eventually, you might get to a point* – where you’re confident enough that your copy can’t be improved any more and there are no more UX issues making it difficult to convert. You may get to a point where you think your layouts are as effective as possible. And this is the point where you probably want to start thinking about changing that blue CTA button to a fancy orange. Don’t !!!
H. How many Leads can you handle?
Following the Lead Generation strategies we’ve looked at in this article, the key question now is how many Leads can you handle? There comes a point where you end up with more Leads than your sales process can deal with – but there’s a solution for this problem as well. Automation means you can handle vast numbers of Leads without the manual workload and you can take a look at Lead segmentation & Lead qualification to learn how you can prioritize the most valuable Leads to your business – to get the greatest ROI !!!
Comments: Do know of any other Strategies that can help in these circumstances?
fm Venture Harbor 9/21 enhance by Peter/CEO Wiz4.biz
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