Generating, prioritizing, and following up on new leads is a never-ending process. Being efficient at it means more sales and more profits, but inefficiency means tons of wasted time—and lost business. Automated lead generation software helps, but isn’t the only answer. If you’re wondering, “How do I generate new leads for my business?” let our tips and expert lead generation practices guide the way.
Use Social Media to Attract New Leads
Social media outlets such as LinkedIn are ideal for networking as lead generation tools. The first step to social media lead generation is your brand and professionalism. For example, make sure all profiles are clean, current, and free of typos. Ensure your profile picture appears professional and recent.
This type of inbound marketing is all about making meaningful connections with as many relevant people as possible. That doesn’t mean you just start friending everyone you find, but focus on people with direct relevance to your business. Reach out and say hi without bombarding them with a sales pitch. Try to think of ways you could add value for them, and allude to those without a hard sell.
Have current clients? Social media accounts are the perfect place to them post testimonials and make recommendations of your services, or of potential leads for you to reach out to. LinkedIn is a great place to start, but it may make sense to take advantage of other social media as well.
Artists and designers thrive on Instagram and Pinterest, where they can post images of their work for sale. Twitter is great for getting your message out. Don’t feel like you have to sign up for all of them…instead, determine a couple that are the best fit, and make sure to do them really well with consistent, relevant, unique content.
Use a Blog
Content marketing using blogs is a great way to demonstrate expertise, generate interest in your business, and generate new sales leads. Blogs can create a conversation, and show customers that you are on the cutting edge with new developments in your industry. Your blog can answer common questions, address misconceptions, recommend top products, discuss new technologies, showcase testimonials, and more. Posts from social-savvy industry “experts” leverage influencer marketing to magnify your brand’s credibility.
When you’re coming up with lead generation ideas, include an editorial calendar for your blog that focuses on building credibility rather than sales, but always include a CTA within posts.
Get Referrals from Happy Customers
Referrals from your current customers are some of the most powerful types of qualified leads you can generate. Happy customers are one of your best tools, so take advantage. Leads will trust you more right out of the gate if you were recommended by someone who’s opinion they value. All you have to do is ask!
A referral program to incentivize referrals makes the process more turnkey and will bring more referrals in…this could be a cash bonus, or a discount on products or future services.
Revisit Closed Opportunities
After enough time passes, have your sales team revisit closed opportunities and see if they might become fruitful leads. As with all things, in sales, timing is everything—if your first contact wasn’t timed well, you might get lucky on the second try. Of course, if a customer gives you a specific timeframe, be sure to follow up accordingly. Too early and you might annoy them, too late and you could miss the sale.
In addition, even closed opportunities can open again later if you keep in contact. Someone might move to a new company, at which point it might make sense to circle back with them. Budget schedules can also determine when a prospect might be open to revisiting a sales meeting.
Implement an Email Sequence to Convert Contacts to Customers
Email marketing should be designed so that you can create a sequence of compelling messages which, by the end of the process, entice contacts to become customers: that is, they drive conversion from your target audience.
However, conversion rates will only increase if the emails are well thought out, and are planned with specific goals for each in the sequence. A purposeful design makes the campaign more likely to be successful, with higher open and click-through rates. Here’s how to make this lead generating technique successful:
First, use an opt-in form on your website that encourages website visitors to indicate a few interests. This strategy will create funnels for different verticals, helping you target specific audience segments so you can tailor your campaigns accordingly.
Start with a welcome message. Don’t try to “sell” anything here! That comes later, in the next email, where you’ll use data you have on your contact to target with relevant offers. Don’t just ask them to buy…give them a freebie, an exclusive deal, a special promo, or an insider discount that makes them feel valued.
In each email, have a call to action at the end. Even if the CTA isn’t an immediate invitation to buy, it could be a social media sign-up or a link to a landing page on your company’s website. Even if you have a separate CTA, always encourage social media follows and sign-ups in your emails. Also provide contact info and calendar links so that you don’t miss any potential leads, giving contacts lots of chances to convert into customers.
Lead generation software now allows for marketing automation beyond what has ever been possible before. This software can make social media marketing, email marketing, search engine optimization, and other lead generation and follow-through tasks faster and less costly to complete. But a lead generation campaign is only as effective as the human hands behind it.
The point is, you have more ways than ever to generate new leads. But a failed marketing campaign can turn off contacts, prompting them to unsubscribe to emails and unfollow your business’ digital communication channels. That being said, however, purposeful, well-directed efforts in social media, email marketing, referrals, blogs, and other methods provide a way for you to keep generating leads that turn into loyal paying customers.