We have written extensively on lead generation as one of the key strategies for growing your client base and creating loyal customers who, in turn, will become brand ambassadors for your business. However, as more and more companies compete for the same market share, lead generation strategies have become more and more sophisticated and expensive.
This is a huge blow for small business owners who do not have a large marketing budget as they see their strategies become less and less effective and their customer base taken away by larger companies which afford complex lead generation and customer loyalty programs. However, there are still ways for start-ups and small businesses to attract their customers using cost-effective online and social media strategies.
These strategies will take less of your money, but need more of your time. As always, there is a balance between the costs and benefits, but if you want to grow a successful business, then you will find ways to plan your daily schedule to include sufficient time to execute your lead generation strategies.
Without further ado, these are the top cost-effective lead generation strategies you should include in your marketing plan:
- LinkedIn Networking
LinkedIn is one of the best online places to seek qualified leads. It is a public forum where professionals, headhunters and business owners meet, connect and find meaningful ways to collaborate and do business together. By joining LinkedIn groups in your specific niche, you are instantly introduced to a large group of people who are interested in what you have to offer – once you have won their confidence and trust.
You can build your reputation both by being active in group conversations and by publishing in-depth articles on LinkedIn Pulse and then sharing them on your own profile and in the groups you have joined.
- Webinars and Live Chats
Don’t just say it, show it – this is the best way of growing your reputation. And it is very affordable, in some cases free, to host a webinar to share your expertise and answer questions on a topic which matters to your followers and potential leads. Whether you decide to host a live webinar on your own website or initiate a Facebook™ Live session, you can educate, entertain and help your audience, and subtly promote your products and services too.
People who attended a free webinar which was of real value in helping them understand and solve various issues are most likely to become customers.
- White Papers
Reputable and popular blogs are valuable lead generation platforms. This is the place where various experts and professionals publish in-depth articles and white papers which are truly valuable for the readers. Since they want to maintain their high standards, blog owners and administrators have designed specific rules for creating and posting content on the respective blogs.
Even if it is more difficult to get published there, always aim for professional blogs in favour of general purpose ones. Your potential leads are most likely to browse verified and high quality content than websites were practically anyone can post articles.
- Gated Website Content
Remember the golden rule: before you ask for something, give something of value. If your blog or website content is only accessible by signing up with an email address, you should offer a free preview or free downloads which will convince people that that it is worthwhile giving you their contact details.
When executed correctly, the gated content strategy is a very effective lead generation strategy. People will be looking forward to discovering your content, interacting with your business and, ultimately, buying your products.
- Email Marketing
Social media has not killed off this highly effective lead generation and marketing tool. Email newsletters containing interesting and easily sharable content are very effective in building relationships with your followers. Test and perfect your CTAs for each email and you will see your conversion rates going up.