Five Powerful Lead Generation Ideas for Small Businesses

Lilach Bullock on Lead generation,


There are some amazing things you can do with marketing automation. Segmentation; further segmentation; A/B testing; trigger-based emails; drip-feed campaigns. Once you’ve captured those leads – those all-important names and email addresses – even the most casual of prospects can be turned into loyal customers given enough time and targeting.

Like a cat toying with its new plaything, leads are yours to mould, shape and manipulate as you see fit. Steer them straight down the sales funnel or take a meandering approach, plying them with valuable knowledge that will build up trust and reputation. It’s up to you how you handle the leads your business generates; if you’ll excuse the cliche, the sky’s the limit.

There’s just one small thing that must be done before you run wild with all those inspired marketing automation ideas you’ve been nursing: you need some leads. You could be sitting on the world’s best marketing concept, but without an audience to share it with, that’s all it will ever be – an idea.

So we’re in agreement then that leads are kind of important? Okay, so let’s talk lead generation. Let’s talk about lead generation ideas so powerful that they’ll send a flood of prospects winging your way. As a small business, every lead you collect is a vital asset that can make a tangible difference to your bottom line. Become a master of lead generation and watch that trickle of prospects turn into a torrent.

1. Extend a carrot

Lead Generation

You don’t need to be told that people like free stuff. They’re also partial to discounted stuff, but you knew that too. We’re all suckers for a bargain, so give your readers a bargain that will incentivise them into signing up. This could be as simple as a discount code for your store that’s promoted via Facebook or Instagram ads or through AdWords and Google’s Display Network.

If you don’t run an ecommerce store, you’re not excluded from getting involved. Let’s say your niche is sports nutrition and you’ve got a new high protein cookbook coming out. Give away a recipe to anyone who enters their email address and deliver it as a PDF. You’re doing them a favour and you’re certainly doing yourself one too. It’s up to you how sweet you make that carrot, but you should find that it doesn’t take much of an incentive to snag those all-important leads.

2. Introduce influencers

As a small business, there’s often an assumption that you have to do everything yourself; the lead generation, the marketing and the selling. While it’s true that you don’t have the budget to outsource your entire social media operation, you can still rope in outside help from time to time.

One group of enterprising individuals with the potential to deliver leads by the bucketload are influencers. They’re the gatekeepers to entire new audiences who are interested in your industry but have yet to learn of your business. YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and other platforms are rich in influencers whose followers and engagement levels are to be envied. Don’t just sit there envying: get them involved.

Naturally, you’ll have to pay for the privilege, but if you’re discerning about who you choose, you can see a dramatic return on your investment. Whether it’s a webinar, an ebook or a learning course you’re seeking to promote, a good influencer will amplify your message and bring you all the leads you need.

3. Tell a true story

Lead Generation - True Story

Case studies are an oft-cited but oft-underused means of generating leads. You’ve probably heard this one before and you’ve probably then dismissed it, or placed it somewhere near the bottom of your to-do list. Don’t. Case studies deserve to be right up there, cos when you do them properly, they’re irresistible. White papers are a nice idea but outside of a few B2B contexts no one reads them.

Case studies however can be created for most business models and to great effect. Think about it: unless you’re really new or really bad, you will already have customers who are delighted with your services. Approach them and more often than not you’ll find they’re only too willing to provide a glowing testimonial.

A great case study does more than just big up your brand via a series of gushing soundbites though: it also contains quantifiable facts that reveal how that customer generated a ROI with your help. Case studies are just true stories, ones with a happy ending. People love stories, so give them one they won’t be able to resist and follow it up with a strong CTA in the conclusion.

Start using lead generation software today

Interested in generating leads? Jumplead is a great tool for generating and managing leads with lead forms, landing pages, email nurture and marketing automation. Start generating leads today. Try Jumplead for free

4. Ask a (small) favour of existing leads

While you’re pondering customers who would make a great case study, have a think about your existing customer base as a whole. Your repeat customers are with you for a reason, like the fact that you don’t suck and keep your promises, and as such you’ve built up some goodwill with them. It wouldn’t hurt, just for once, to ask if they’d do the favour of recommending you to a friend or colleague.

There doesn’t have to be any sort of hard sell here: a simple “Hey, we hope you’re enjoying X. If you reckon any of your friends would enjoy it too, why not share the love?” As the saying goes, if you don’t ask, you don’t get.

5. Follow your readers and remarket

Lead Generation - Remarketing

In real life, following visitors after they’ve left your place of business would be creepy. On the web, that’s just how it’s done. Cookies and tracking pixels have been in place so long that we’ve become conditioned to the practice. When it’s done right, remarketing serves the interests of businesses and consumers alike.

From your perspective, you’re placing your content in front of people who have already expressed an interest in such matters. And from the reader’s perspective, they’re seeing marketing materials that correlate with subjects they’ve already been reading into.

Creating strong content and publishing it on your company blog is a key component of lead generation. With a strong CTA at the bottom, you can capture some of that traffic and turn it into leads.

But what about the rest of those readers, the vast majority who graze at your content and then move on to pastures new? They’re the ones you accompany on their digital travels and follow up with a remarketing campaign that will hook them at the second time of asking.

You could set up a Facebook pixel for example targeting visitors to a certain page on your site within the last 30 days. Individuals who’ve read your Ultimate Guide to Instagram for Small Businesses might then be hit with a Facebook ad encouraging them to download a free guide to mastering Instagram Stories. They click the link, submit their email, download the PDF and boom – you’ve got yourself another lead.

It’s unlikely that your lead generation is going to come from a single source. So don’t limit yourself. Try as many different lead generation ideas as you can and then double down on the ones that work best. Keep doing that and pretty soon you’ll have enough leads to keep your automation campaigns busy for months to come.

There are some amazing things you can do with marketing automation. Segmentation; further segmentation; A/B testing; trigger-based emails; drip-feed campaigns. Once you’ve captured those leads – those all-important names and email addresses – even the most casual of prospects can be turned into loyal customers given enough time and targeting.

Like a cat toying with its new plaything, leads are yours to mould, shape and manipulate as you see fit. Steer them straight down the sales funnel or take a meandering approach, plying them with valuable knowledge that will build up trust and reputation. It’s up to you how you handle the leads your business generates; if you’ll excuse the cliche, the sky’s the limit.

There’s just one small thing that must be done before you run wild with all those inspired marketing automation ideas you’ve been nursing: you need some leads. You could be sitting on the world’s best marketing concept, but without an audience to share it with, that’s all it will ever be – an idea.

So we’re in agreement then that leads are kind of important? Okay, so let’s talk lead generation. Let’s talk about lead generation ideas so powerful that they’ll send a flood of prospects winging your way. As a small business, every lead you collect is a vital asset that can make a tangible difference to your bottom line. Become a master of lead generation and watch that trickle of prospects turn into a torrent.

1. Extend a carrot

Lead Generation

You don’t need to be told that people like free stuff. They’re also partial to discounted stuff, but you knew that too. We’re all suckers for a bargain, so give your readers a bargain that will incentivise them into signing up. This could be as simple as a discount code for your store that’s promoted via Facebook or Instagram ads or through AdWords and Google’s Display Network.

If you don’t run an ecommerce store, you’re not excluded from getting involved. Let’s say your niche is sports nutrition and you’ve got a new high protein cookbook coming out. Give away a recipe to anyone who enters their email address and deliver it as a PDF. You’re doing them a favour and you’re certainly doing yourself one too. It’s up to you how sweet you make that carrot, but you should find that it doesn’t take much of an incentive to snag those all-important leads.

2. Introduce influencers

As a small business, there’s often an assumption that you have to do everything yourself; the lead generation, the marketing and the selling. While it’s true that you don’t have the budget to outsource your entire social media operation, you can still rope in outside help from time to time.

One group of enterprising individuals with the potential to deliver leads by the bucketload are influencers. They’re the gatekeepers to entire new audiences who are interested in your industry but have yet to learn of your business. YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and other platforms are rich in influencers whose followers and engagement levels are to be envied. Don’t just sit there envying: get them involved.

Naturally, you’ll have to pay for the privilege, but if you’re discerning about who you choose, you can see a dramatic return on your investment. Whether it’s a webinar, an ebook or a learning course you’re seeking to promote, a good influencer will amplify your message and bring you all the leads you need.

3. Tell a true story

Lead Generation - True Story

Case studies are an oft-cited but oft-underused means of generating leads. You’ve probably heard this one before and you’ve probably then dismissed it, or placed it somewhere near the bottom of your to-do list. Don’t. Case studies deserve to be right up there, cos when you do them properly, they’re irresistible. White papers are a nice idea but outside of a few B2B contexts no one reads them.

Case studies however can be created for most business models and to great effect. Think about it: unless you’re really new or really bad, you will already have customers who are delighted with your services. Approach them and more often than not you’ll find they’re only too willing to provide a glowing testimonial.

A great case study does more than just big up your brand via a series of gushing soundbites though: it also contains quantifiable facts that reveal how that customer generated a ROI with your help. Case studies are just true stories, ones with a happy ending. People love stories, so give them one they won’t be able to resist and follow it up with a strong CTA in the conclusion.

Start using lead generation software today

Interested in generating leads? Jumplead is a great tool for generating and managing leads with lead forms, landing pages, email nurture and marketing automation. Start generating leads today. Try Jumplead for free

4. Ask a (small) favour of existing leads

While you’re pondering customers who would make a great case study, have a think about your existing customer base as a whole. Your repeat customers are with you for a reason, like the fact that you don’t suck and keep your promises, and as such you’ve built up some goodwill with them. It wouldn’t hurt, just for once, to ask if they’d do the favour of recommending you to a friend or colleague.

There doesn’t have to be any sort of hard sell here: a simple “Hey, we hope you’re enjoying X. If you reckon any of your friends would enjoy it too, why not share the love?” As the saying goes, if you don’t ask, you don’t get.

5. Follow your readers and remarket

Lead Generation - Remarketing

In real life, following visitors after they’ve left your place of business would be creepy. On the web, that’s just how it’s done. Cookies and tracking pixels have been in place so long that we’ve become conditioned to the practice. When it’s done right, remarketing serves the interests of businesses and consumers alike.

From your perspective, you’re placing your content in front of people who have already expressed an interest in such matters. And from the reader’s perspective, they’re seeing marketing materials that correlate with subjects they’ve already been reading into.

Creating strong content and publishing it on your company blog is a key component of lead generation. With a strong CTA at the bottom, you can capture some of that traffic and turn it into leads.

But what about the rest of those readers, the vast majority who graze at your content and then move on to pastures new? They’re the ones you accompany on their digital travels and follow up with a remarketing campaign that will hook them at the second time of asking.

You could set up a Facebook pixel for example targeting visitors to a certain page on your site within the last 30 days. Individuals who’ve read your Ultimate Guide to Instagram for Small Businesses might then be hit with a Facebook ad encouraging them to download a free guide to mastering Instagram Stories. They click the link, submit their email, download the PDF and boom – you’ve got yourself another lead.

It’s unlikely that your lead generation is going to come from a single source. So don’t limit yourself. Try as many different lead generation ideas as you can and then double down on the ones that work best. Keep doing that and pretty soon you’ll have enough leads to keep your automation campaigns busy for months to come.

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Lilach Bullock
Professional Speaker, Lead Conversion Expert, Social Media Specialist & Occasional Diva. Proud mum
UK https://www.lilachbullock.com/