Small Business Lead Generation: A Beginner’s Guide

If your business has been around for a while, you’ve likely spent a good amount of money on web design, social media, paid advertising, sponsorships, and search engine optimization.

Through all of that spending, do you feel like you’ve ever gotten enough return on your investment?

If not, your problem might actually be lead generation and conversion rate optimization.

If you are like so many other business owners out there, you might have started out with the idea that if you bring people to your website you’ll get a sale or phone call. That isn’t often the case though, since most visitors need multiple touchpoints with your business before filling out a contact form, purchasing a product, or calling your phone number.

Here are some effective strategies that will help you identify sales leads and turn them into customers. Without further ado, let’s dive right in!

What is Lead Generation?

Lead generation is the process of attracting and converting new website visitors to be potential customers of your business.

This can be done through various marketing efforts such as email marketing, social media marketing, content marketing, search engine optimization, sponsorships, and other mediums.

The goal of lead generation is to get people interested in your products or services, then capture their contact information. This could be their name, email address, or phone number! With that information, you’ll be able to follow up with them and try to convert them into being a customer.

Grow Your Business While You Sleep

Why is Lead Generation Strategy Important for Small Businesses?

Lead generation is critical for small businesses because it helps them to find new customers, which is usually necessary to experience growth.

A solid lead generation strategy can help a small business to:

1.) Attract high-quality leads

While social media marketing and pay-per-click (PPC) ads may drive traffic to your website, they don’t often contribute much to direct sales. 

However, paired with a well-planned lead generation strategy, that ad budget is more likely to generate leads for you or your sales team to complete the sale.

2.) Save time and resources

Instead of spending time and resources on “brand awareness” styles of digital marketing, small businesses can focus on lead generation techniques that are easy to quantify the value of through analytics reports.

3.) Increase brand awareness

By promoting their business through lead generation efforts, small businesses can increase their visibility and reach a larger audience.

While our digital marketers aren’t often in favor of strictly “brand awareness” styles of digital marketing, it is completely acceptable to reap the benefits of brand awareness as long as their is a goal in place with the advertising, such as lead generation.

4.) Attract high-quality leads

It is also possible to attract only high quality leads, or bottom of the funnel leads, through lead generation marketing. This is often done by simply asking for more information than just an email address when collecting contact information.

8 Effective Strategies for Small Business Lead Generation

Here we’ve enlisted some tried-and-tested lead generation strategies that have worked wonders for a few startups. So, let’s check them out. 

1.) Build out a social media advertising campaign 

Social media ads (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc) can be an effective way to generate leads for a small business.

Here are a few ways social media ads can help with lead generation:

  1. Targeting: You can target your ads to specific groups of people based on demographics, interests, behaviors, and other factors. This helps you reach the right people with your ads and increase the chances of generating leads.
  2. Lead gen forms: Many social media platforms, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, offer lead generation forms that you can use to collect leads directly from the ad. These lead gen forms allow people to express interest in your products or services, without leaving the social media platform.
  3. Remarketing: You can show ads to people who have previously visited your website or interacted with your business on social media. This can be an effective way to remind people about your business and encourage them to take action, such as filling out a lead gen form or completing a purchase.

2.) Use email marketing campaigns and automation

Email marketing is another effective strategy to generate leads for a small business. We like to use MailChimp, HubSpot, and ActiveCampaign.

Here are a few ways that email marketing can help with lead generation:

  1. Lead magnets: You can create lead magnets on your website to offer valuable resources, such as case studies, ebooks, white papers, or webinars in exchange for a visitor’s contact information. This can be an effective way to build an email list since people are more likely to provide their information if they receive something of value in return.
  2. Segmentation: Your email marketing platform should allow you to segment your email lists based on the interests or behaviors of your subscribers. This allows you to send targeted and personalized emails to different groups of people, which can increase the chances of pushing a prospect through your funnel.
  3. Automation: You can use automated email sequences to stay in touch with prospects within your email list for weeks or months, without having to manually generate emails or directly reach out to them.

3.) Improve your content marketing efforts

Content marketing involves creating and sharing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience.

It can be an effective way to generate leads because it helps businesses to:

  1. Attract and retain customers: By creating quality content, you can generate leads by establishing your expertise, credibility, and trust with your target audience.
  2. Improve search engine ranking: You can improve your search engine ranking, and make it easier for people to find you online, if you have well-written content on your website that answers questions or concerns your prospective customers have about you.
  3. Provide conversion opportunities: You can use calls-to-action in your content, such as lead magnets, sales offers, and other options that will help move people through your funnel.
  4. Nurture leads: You can consistently build more relevant and helpful content for your existing leads if you are always on the lookout for the next piece of quality content to write. This can help you further nurture your leads with new content articles to share in automated emails or related posts.

4.) Publish guest posts on other websites

Guest posting is a way for small businesses to contribute content to someone else’s blog or website in order to build relationships, increase exposure, and attract new leads.

When you write a guest post for someone else’s blog, you are often allowed to include a link back to your own website or landing page.

This can help to drive traffic to your site and potentially generate new leads. More importantly, it can also help improve your backlink profile, which is a significant part of search engine optimization.

5.) Build backlinks to your website

A backlink is a link from an external website to your own website.

They are an important factor in SEO (search engine optimization) because they help to improve the visibility and credibility of your website in search engine results.

When other websites link to your website, it suggests to search engines that your website is valuable and worthy of being ranked higher in the search results, which often leads to more traffic to your page, which can generate more leads.

Additionally, backlinks can help to attract targeted audiences to your website, since they often come from related websites within your industry. This targeted traffic is more likely to be interested in your products or services, which can increase the chances of getting a lead.

6.) Optimize your website and use CTAs

You can optimize your website or landing page to increase the percentage of visitors who take a desired action, such as filling out a contact form, completing a purchase, or subscribing to your newsletter.

By improving the conversion rate of your website or landing page, you can effectively generate more leads from the same amount of traffic.

Here are a few common ways to go about conversion optimization:

  1. A/B testing: This involves testing different versions of a landing page, such as the layout, content, imagery, call to actions, or forms. You should continue to try new ideas until you run out of ideas, but try to do so in a controlled manner. Don’t test multiple things at once and try to give enough time to ensure accurate results.
  2. User testing: This involves getting feedback from actual visitors of your website. You can do this through pre-chat questions in a live chat form, over the phone when you get a new lead, or perhaps even through a survey embedded on the page.
  3. Improving the user experience: This can include making the website or landing page more user-friendly, simplifying the navigation, reviewing its mobile layout for errors, and making the content easier to read and understand.

7.) Use social media platforms in a creative manner

Social media can be a powerful tool for generating leads for businesses.

Here are a few ways in which small businesses can use social media to generate leads:

  1. Sharing valuable, informative content: This goes back to the content marketing tip before, but expands upon it by showing you other opportunities to share your content writing efforts. If your social media followers didn’t find your content on your website, perhaps they’ll notice it if you share it on social media? It is important to understand people interact with content in different ways, at different times of the day, and on different mediums.
  2. Using social media to build relationships: You can connect with potential customers and build relationships with them on your social media channels. By engaging with users on social media and providing valuable information, you can establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry.

8.) Add a live chat feature to your website

Adding a live chat feature on a website allows visitors to communicate with you in real-time. We like to use LiveChat.

In fact, it can help to build trust and encourage visitors to take the next step, such as filling out a contact form or making a purchase.

You can also lean on a live chat program to collect user experience feedback, such as broken links, confusing content, and poor navigation layouts.

Here are some ways in which a live chat feature can help with lead generation:

  1. Providing immediate assistance: Live chat allows you to provide immediate assistance to website visitors, which might ready to convert if a quick question is answered.
  2. Qualifying leads: Through live chat, you can qualify leads by asking specific questions during the chat. This can help you determine if the person should be added to an automated email campaign.
  3. Building trust: You can establish trust with the person on your website that notices a live chat. If a person knows you are there for them before the sale, they will assume you’ll be there to offer support afterward as well.

How to Boost Your Website Conversions

Best Practices of SMB Lead Generation

Regardless of whether you sell products or services, these best practice tips will help you plan a successful lead generation strategy.

Tips on What to Do:

  • Draw audiences to your website with SEO-focused content to address their pain points. 
  • Track conversions and visits to your website, lead magnets, and other micro-conversions.
  • Make use of social media ads, search engine ads, and other related ad platforms.
  • Keep advertisements short and concise. Also keep them fresh – don’t let ad decay destroy performance.

Tips on What NOT to Do:

  • Avoid spamming your prospects with sales emails and promotional content.
  • Avoid writing content without a purpose. Make sure you have a long term plan and your content fits the plan.

SMB Lead Generation FAQs

Can a small business survive without lead generation?

Lead generation is an important part of running a small business because it helps to attract new customers and drive sales.

While it is possible for a small business to survive without actively pursuing lead generation, it is likely to be more difficult to sustain growth and achieve long-term success.

Most businesses that don’t rely on lead generation instead rely on existing customers to keep their business afloat. This can be risky, since losing a few key clients can quickly result in a downturn of the business.

Final Thoughts on SMB Lead Generation

There you have it! Everything that you need to know about small business lead generation from the experts at WebCitz! 

Of course, generating quality leads isn’t as easy as it may sound, particularly for business owners who have just ventured into digital marketing. However, with the strategies and tools mentioned above, we are sure you’ll be able to identify and nurture your target audience and turn them into customers! 

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Disclaimer: WebCitz, LLC does not warrant or make any representations concerning the accuracy, likely results, or reliability of the information found on this page or on any web sites linked to from this page. This blog article was written by David W in his or her personal capacity. The opinion(s) expressed in this article are the author's own and may not reflect the opinion(s) of WebCitz, LLC.