In our previous blog posts, we explained to startups what mistakes not to make when doing lead generation and why they absolutely need to have a lead generation strategy if they want to sell.
Now we are going to explain what some methods for generating leads are i.e. contacts that are most likely to convert and become customers.
Luckily, nowadays you have more options at a lower price than ever. Instead of paying large advertising agencies and media to publish your expensive ad, you can profit by investing the limited budget you have into the following lead generation tactics. You can literally hire one person to do all of the lead generation for you, except it will probably be slow or you’ll be breaking some labor laws.
When considering these lead generation strategy and its tactics, keep in mind that only when used together they will give optimum results. What is more, people working in marketing and sales are doing their best to develop tools that are meant to connect all of these tactics.
And we will explain how.
1. Email Outreach
You can’t actually use email to get leads because you already need leads to send it to, right? But you will use email to separate potential buyers from those who are not that interested.
Leads can only be gathered with thorough research on LinkedIn or other business directories, through buying the cheap scraped lists or highly targeted hand-picked lists (it’s your call) or through latest sales tools that have implemented this option.
You will use email campaigns to introduce yourself and explain your product/service to your potential customers. Start with the initial email saying what problems your solution can solve and who you are, then send several follow-ups to make sure your prospect has heard from you and about you.
Tailor your messaging carefully, so that they know right away what you offer and how you can help them. Then do the A/B testing in the process to see what makes your product or service sell best.
Through your email automation tools, you can easily track who are the interested leads. Those who opened and clicked on your CTAs, as well as replied are definitely worth the trouble. Others can wait for some better timing or opportunity. Contacts that unsubscribed or marked you as spam are definitely not your potential customers.
Email is especially valuable in B2B oriented outreach, although it works miracles for B2C companies as well.
2. Content creation
Content is your way of saying „Yes, I know what I’m talking about, hire me!“. And writing about industry or niche topics can get you noticed and hired in the future.
It is a slow process and maybe difficult if you’re not that skilled at writing, but showing your knowledge is the best way to recommend yourself and your startup to the potential buyer.
Most B2B startups refer to writing daily or weekly blogs that give valuable advice to their future customers. Beneficial articles will be read, shown in Google search and eventually shared through email and social media. The better the article – the more visitors and customers you are likely to get. With latest sales tools you can even track people who visited your blogs and add them to your lead lists.
But don’t just write about anything. Do a thorough research through Google or tools like BuzzSumo to find out what are the topics in your industry that are most searched and discussed. Social media can help, too. Follow your competitors and prospects and see what questions they need answering.
You can use these blogs to support your claims in an email outreach and inform your contacts about your knowledge and solution. Those who click on your blog link are more likely to convert.
Whitepapers, ebooks and handbooks are used for lead generation directly. You make downloadable content that can only be accessed through opt-ins (i.e. leaving your name, address, company name, etc.). Those who download your content are agreeing to be put on your lead list and go through your sales funnel (most of them, at least). That is why downloads need to be good quality, very useful and informative.
Another way of directly gathering leads through content are webinars. You organize a webinar about the industry topic and ask people to leave their emails in order to participate.
Both webinars and white papers are usually hosted on a third party website (for example, we use GetResponse). It offers a variety of lead forms that you can organize to suit your brand and messaging. The selected website will put all of your leads collected this way in an email workflow that you can also create yourself and award those who go further through the funnel with points. Those with the highest score are most likely to be your customers.
Offering a free trial or a discount for those that leave their information on your website can also be a good lead generation source.
You can create informative videos, infographics and visuals, too, but they are mostly accessed without opt-ins and are of better use for awareness and SEO.
3. Social media
As of recently, social media also enables you to collect emails directly through easily adaptable lead forms. You can add your image, logo and messaging, select what kind of data you need from those signing in and publish it just like any other social media ad.
Once the ad is completed, you can download your lead list and import it into your workflow or connect your social media ad with Salesforce right away.
Of course, social media can be used for lead generation with valuable and engaging content. If you update your social media pages regularly and your followers can learn and/or have fun on your social media pages, you will gain their trust and eventually convert them into customers.
LinkedIn is without a doubt most useful social network for B2B leads, but you should not neglect others either.
For SEO to do its lead generation job, you will have to do a lot of work. Not only will you have to optimize your website to clearly explain your solution, target Ideal Buying Persona and make it extremely mobile friendly, but there is an entire science related to keywords, meta descriptions and backlinking.
But at the end of the day, the best way to make SEO work for you is to create useful content that will get shared and be linked to. All your SEO tricks won’t be worth a dime if people don’t find anything useful while reading your blogs and visiting your website.
Of course, you can’t always end up on page one of Google, but you can at least try to get as high ranking as possible. Higher ranks mean more trust and better visibility, and consequently, more customers.
A small push of your website pages with an AdWords campaign can never hurt.
B2B buyers love to do their research before making any decisions and finding your website and your solution by themselves only makes you seem more skilled and qualified. Which you, hopefully, are.
Bonus Tip – Word Of Mouth And Referrals
It is never a bad idea to collect your leads through networking. By visiting conferences, expos and fairs you will have an opportunity to present your solution, meet new people who are there searching for what you offer. Biggest and best conferences, like Sales Hacker, will even provide the app with contacts of all participants data, so you have all the leads before you even get there. And for those conferences that don’t offer such service, Market Republic searches for event participants and sends you the lead list so that you can schedule some meetings in advance.
Don’t forget referrals – best customers are returning customers and those who discovered you through recommendation. Make sure you’re doing an excellent job and leads will come to you without you ever having to hunt them or buy them.
We tried these strategies ourselves and we work every day on making them even better and more efficient. And they work best when intertwined and connected.
Whatever you do, keep in mind that all these lead tactics take a lot of experimentation and time, at least six months, in our experience. Base your lead generation strategy on the data you collect along the way and you will surely see the improvement.
And remember, these are just the basics – you should explore each and every one of them to find out what will work best for your type of solution.