6 ways to generate leads if you’re a small business
Customer data has tangible value – Experian CheetahMail put the average value of a customer email address at £84.50. Each new lead is a potential revenue stream, so it’s worth spending some time creating a lead generation strategy that works. Here are six cost-effective strategies to help you build your database.
1. Content marketing
The concept of content marketing is simple: provide relevant, valuable content (blogs, infographics, white papers) to attract and engage your target audience. This helps you to build your brand – the more quality content you produce, the more your audience will begin to trust you as an authority in your industry, and the more comfortable they will feel purchasing from you.
To generate leads, first use your hard-won industry expertise to create a piece of useful, question-answering content around a key topic in your industry – like a how-to guide or white paper. This can’t be knocked up in ten minutes; good content takes time and investment. Once it’s complete, upload it to your website and set up a landing page. Include a form so users can enter their details and a big, bold ‘download’ button.
Don’t forget to promote this resource to your list (email is a great medium for this). The more useful your content – and the bigger your list – the more leads you’ll generate.
According to customer intelligence company KISSmetrics, approximately 96% of visitors that come to your website are not ready to buy. But that doesn’t mean they won’t be in the future. A pop-up web form makes it easy for users to express an interest in your business without committing to a purchase.
Typically consisting of just an email address field and a call to action, the pop-up requires a little website fiddling to implement but takes little effort to maintain. Keep the messaging casual to avoid intimidating the user. The form should be fairly short, too – the fewer fields there are, the more likely potential customers are to complete them (and the less likely they are to lie!).
This strategy comes under the ‘slow and steady’ banner, so if you need leads in a hurry, look elsewhere.
3. Competitions, promotions and giveaways
This age-old tactic is an effective way to collect a large volume of data in a short space of time. The principle is the same as content marketing – providing something valuable in exchange for insights about your customers. However, you’ll likely need to put up some hard-earned cash to provide that something of value.
Bear in mind that data quality can be an issue with this strategy. Behind the anonymity of a keyboard, lots of people are willing to lie in order to get something for nothing. To minimise this effect, make the prize as relevant and specific to your industry as you can. That way, you’ll acquire a more targeted group of leads and minimise the number of students looking for a free iPad.
As with any high-volume strategy, the more people that see it, the better your results will be – so push this strategy out as far and as wide as possible.
4. Referral systems
Uber has had great success driving referrals by giving free rides to both the referrer and referee when the latter signs up. This strategy also helps build trust in your brand – research shows that 70% of consumers trust brand recommendations from friends or colleagues.
To make the most of this effect, make it as easy as possible for customers to share your content – include social sharing buttons and ‘send to a friend’ links in any blog posts newsletters. Referral systems may not generate a huge amount of data, but the leads you do acquire are likely to be high quality.
This is what’s known as ‘outbound’ marketing – calling potential customers and telling them about your product or service. Businesses often outsource this, both because it is time-consuming, and because third-party agencies have specially-trained sales staff that can deliver optimum results. In 2014, B2B Marketing found that 40% of marketers believe telemarketing is the best vehicle for generating high-quality leads, second only to live, in-person events.
Although the cost may be higher than other approaches, it will give you a guaranteed number of high-quality leads for you to follow up with.
6. Purchase a marketing list
Building a list organically is both expensive and time-intensive. So if rapid growth is a priority, consider purchasing a B2B marketing list. You’ll get access to a database of potential leads that you can begin contacting immediately.
A good list also complements many of the other strategies mentioned here, boosting the reach of your marketing efforts. There are other benefits, too – the quality of the data is guaranteed (including different types of data like email, postal and telephone), and you can refine your audience based on the attributes you’re most interested in.
A big list is particularly useful for email marketing, which research has shown to be one of the most cost-effective marketing channels out there, delivering an ROI of around 40:1 – ideal for resource-limited SMEs.
This article appeared on SME Insider.
Experian is offering 40% off your first B2B Marketing list. Register here with no obligation to buy, and build sample lists using live data. Use voucher code B2BLIST17 at the checkout. Offer ends 31st October 2017.