A business’s success is primarily the result of two factors: the ability to maintain a consistent flow of high-quality leads, and the ability to turn those leads into sales opportunities and then into conversions.
Fortunately, there are many proven lead generation strategies that will help you achieve your business goals. In this article, we’ll look at nine of the most effective ways to grow your sales pipeline in no time.
1. Use Social Media
Social media has completely changed how we stay connected. It no longer matters if your friend is in the US and you’re in Asia. We can nurture relationships across time zones and geographical boundaries.
Judging by the continued year-on-year increase in users, social media is going to become even more critical in the next few years:
Businesses can use social media to generate leads. It’s wise to have a presence on each of the major platforms: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. If you can’t manage several accounts, focus your attention on where your ideal customers are most likely to be.
If you’re selling B2B products or services, LinkedIn is your best bet for lead generation. Of the platform’s 675 million monthly users, 4 out of 5 drive business decisions. When you’re selling to companies, these decision-makers are the people you need to reach. LinkedIn also offers the highest organic reach of any of the top social media channels.
Regardless of your choice of platform, it’s not enough to just create an account for your business. To generate sales leads, you need to build a following and engage. You need to post interesting and relevant content regularly, respond to comments, and interact with your followers directly. Social media expert Melanie Dodaro advises:
“People don’t care about your business. They care about the problems they have. Be the solution they are looking for.”
Ensure that your social media marketing strategy shows your prospective customers that you understand their problems and that you have the solution.
2. Reach Out Via Email Marketing
According to 99firms, there are 3.9 billion email users worldwide. Email marketing is a goldmine of potential leads and is proven to be extremely useful in customer acquisition. The average email marketing ROI is an impressive 42:1.
This chart illustrates how highly companies rated the ROI for various marketing channels. As you can see, email marketing is a clear winner:
To start email marketing, all you need is a list of your prospects’ email addresses. You can offer something of value to encourage people to give you their email addresses. A free webinar, white paper, or a free initial consultation are just some ideas to consider. These freebies are called lead magnets.
Another option is to use an email verification tool. Input your prospect’s name and the company they work for, and the email finder will search for relevant email addresses that are associated with that domain.
Once you have your list, you can start your email marketing campaign. Remember the golden rules: Be strategic, don’t spam, and offer relevant solutions to customer problems. Finally, make sure to send a reminder email to people who don’t respond. Many times people forget to respond because they’re busy. A reminder email is just a friendly reminder.
3. Do Face-To-Face Networking
We can do almost everything online nowadays. But that doesn’t mean you should no longer go out into the world and meet people in person! Sometimes, your best leads are those you meet face-to-face.
If your prospect is in front of you, you can make them know you, like you, and trust you. You can use body language and other non-verbal communication to build rapport.
According to Team Referral Network, 85% of respondents said they build stronger, more meaningful business relationships during in-person meetings and conferences. 75% also said they prefer in-person conferences because they offer more opportunities for social interactions and bonding with clients. An astounding 95% also said that face-to-face meetings are essential for long-term business relationships.
So don’t fall into the trap of thinking that networking is a waste of time. Get out of the house and participate in that seminar, conference, or speed networking event. If you ever get the opportunity to be a guest speaker, say yes! Create as many connections as you can.
If you hone your networking skills, you can leave each event with at least one strong lead.
4. Blog Regularly
Blogging might seem like a lot of work, but if you’re looking to generate leads, it’s worth the effort. Blogging regularly not only helps keep your website updated, but also improves your visibility in Google keyword searches. Ultimately, it drives more people to your site.
Once you’ve hooked someone in with a compelling blog post, how do you get them to give up their email address? As we discussed above, you need to offer them something of value in exchange for that information.
You can do this using margin banners, as Crazy Egg has done here:
70% of marketers are investing in content marketing – using content (blogs, videos, images, and so on) to drive traffic to their websites and interest in their brand. This is because it works. According to HubSpot’s recent Benchmarks report, companies that blog six to eight times a month double their lead volume.
5. Rely on Customer Referrals
It’s possible to generate leads through your existing customers by asking them to refer you to people in their networks who might be interested in your product or service. Referral marketing is powerful because people trust people they know. 83% of people rely on family and friends’ opinions when making purchasing decisions.
But you need to be strategic about which customers you ask for a referral. You would only ask a client who was extremely satisfied with your services. You also need to have built up a rapport and personal connection with the client. Asking for a referral is not something you do on a first meeting.
Don’t view your clients as just clients. Treat them as human beings who need a personalized approach. They will reward you in turn by singing your praises to their family, friends, and colleagues.
6. Employ Calls to Action
Imagine a prospective customer has come to your site, enjoyed your blog content, and looks around for a “subscribe to our mailing list” button. What happens if there isn’t one or if they can’t find it? You’ve just lost a lead.
Calls to action are vital. If you don’t give clear instructions on what to do next, most people won’t take any action. Your CTA must be clear, prominently displayed, and easily actionable. It must grab your prospect’s attention and convince them to click.
Take a look at this CTA, which Hubspot included in a marginal banner on its website.
Notice how the CTA is prominent without being intrusive, and the action Hubspot wants you to take is explicit (“download now.”)
7. Attract Leads With Success Stories
Customer success stories are a great way to attract prospects. According to Think Sales Global, success stories assure prospects they’re taking the right risk by trusting your company.
Just some of the benefits of success stories are:
- They boost your credibility.
- They help you to establish yourself as an expert in your field.
- They demonstrate to the potential customer exactly what you can offer them.
- They help prospective customers understand what a solution to their problem looks like
- They tell a story – one of the most powerful sales tools is storytelling.
- They offer inspirational and aspirational content, making the seemingly impossible possible.
It’s not enough to tell your prospective clients how amazing you and your business are. They need to hear it from other customers. So use success stories, case studies, and testimonials to show your lead why they should trust you.
8. Create a Lead Generation Plan
I’ve given you multiple lead generation strategies in this article, but you don’t necessarily need to use all of them. You will need to decide which ones are appropriate for your business and then create a robust lead generation plan. The key is to have a clear goal and to know the steps you need to take to get there.
According to Marketwise, there are five essential steps to creating a winning lead generation plan:
- First, you need to define your goals. How many leads do you need to reach your sales goals and revenue targets?
- Once you’ve done that, define what a lead is. Do you count leads as people who sign up to your mailing list, follow you on social media, or reach out for an initial consultation?
- Decide on your lead generation message and the most appropriate channels to disseminate it.
- Put a response process in place for your leads. Who will be making initial contact, and what form will that contact take? How should marketing pass leads on to the sales team?
- Last but not least, keep your database clean and up to date. Good data hygiene not only fulfills your legal obligations to keep clients’ data secure but also allows you to manage relationships with your leads more effectively.
Shooting in the dark will not help you with lead generation. You need a clear plan, buy-in from all team members, and a way to evaluate success.
9. Stick to the Plan, Continue Executing
You may have to experiment before your lead generation plan is just right. Don’t worry – this is normal. Don’t be afraid to try things out and abandon things that don’t work.
Once you have got a plan that works, consistency is vital. Generating leads is an ongoing process and something you’ll need to return to again and again. If you stop focusing on lead generation, you might end up with a shortfall of prospects when you need them the most.
If you continuously look for leads even when you think you have an excess of the, your sales pipeline will always be full.
Lead Generation Made Simple
Lead generation doesn’t have to be complicated. There are many ways to generate leads. You just need to identify the ones that will work best for your business.
Remember my top tips:
- Go to where your ideal customers are. It’s no use trying to promote your business on Instagram if prospective clients are more likely to be on LinkedIn.
- Social media is essential, but don’t shun email marketing and face-to-face networking too.
- Provide relevant and timely content to draw leads to your website.
- Offer something of value in exchange for your lead’s email address.
- Word of mouth is powerful – utilize referrals and success stories to your advantage.
Above all, be strategic. Try a few things out, and once you know what works for your business, create a lead generation plan, and stick to it. Persistence, consistency, and offering a fantastic customer experience will make generating leads easy and painless.