For startups, lead generation strategies need careful consideration and these 6 examples can turn leads into conversions.
You’ve climbed the impossible mountain and started a business. And yet, as you turn the corner, you realise that what comes next is an even bigger beast: finding customers.
I’m going to run through the best ways to generate leads if you’re a startup. These are practices that will get easier as you execute them, and you’ll be able to tailor them to your individual needs as you go.
The 3 main elements of lead generation
- Lead capture
Lead capture is what is says on the tin: a way of capturing your leads. Leads are defined as people who have the potential to become your customers. Lead capture is the hook on the end of your fishing line – you need it in order to reel them in.
Lead capture is most commonly found in the form of an email capture on a website. This can be in a newsletter sign up box, contact form or pop up.
- Lead magnet
You can think of a lead magnet as like an exchange: you give a potential lead something, for free, such as an eBook, webinar, tool, or trial and they give you a way to contact them, typically an email address.
Lead magnets are a great way of enticing new leads as well as proving your value. Not only do you get their information, but you are more likely to stick in their minds because they’ve engaged with your content.
- Lead scoring
You can attribute lead scores to each potential customer based on their level of interaction with your brand. This can be done in any piece of software that provides lead management. These scores help you sort leads into high and low-quality categories, meaning if you only have a limited amount of resources, you can prioritise those who are more likely to be receptive to your marketing.
For instance, you can score someone as higher quality if they’ve watched your full-length video and stuck around, over those who have simply read your email. If you get to the stage where you need to filter your leads, I’d say you’re doing a pretty great job at lead gen by this point.
What does a lead generation strategy need?
To get its priorities straight, first and foremost.
You won’t be able to generate good, high-quality leads without giving people value. The way to give people value is through your content. Whether this a blog post about your product, a free sample or trial, an explainer video, or something else entirely, it’s important that your energy is focused on what you’re providing your customers rather than the customers themselves.
Your target shouldn’t be lead generation, it should be providing a strong, seamless customer experience which in turn will generate leads. Better yet, by providing value, your leads will be of a higher calibre: if they’ve digested the content you’ve published and they’re sticking around, you know they’re likely to be interested.
There’s no point in generating hundreds of leads if only a few of them convert. You’ll waste time and resources chasing them, to get little in return.
A few extra points before we dive in: I’d like to highlight the importance of displaying your contact details loudly and proudly. There’s nothing worse than wanting to get in touch with a business and having to spend ages looking for the right details. So, spend some time identifying your customer personas. Whilst I know as a new business you’re striving for customers in any form, knowing who exactly your audience is will make all the difference.
1. Write kickass ads
There are too many merits of online advertising to ignore: getting yourself listed on the SERPs is imperative if you want to win customers. As a new business, you’re probably sceptical as to how well you can rank on search engines such as Google. If your industry is particularly saturated, and you don’t have a huge budget, it can be easy to waste your advertising spend in the blink of an eye.
As a startup, you have to be smart – smart, and highly targeted. By doing the basics well, you’ll put yourself ahead of a lot of people using Google Ads. Spend some time studying up on what makes a kickass ad and you’ll be raking in those clicks before you know it.
Similarly, there are many benefits to advertising on Facebook as it’s a great place to find leads – it offers an entirely different audience. If your potential customers are social media users, and you know their interests, you can really narrow down who you target on this platform. Facebook also offers ways of embedding lead capture forms into an ad, so that the user journey isn’t disrupted and you have less chance of losing them.
2. Build the perfect landing page
If the term for a potential customer is a lead, then we’ll name potential leads as fawns. Stick with me.
The reason why I’m calling them fawns is because they’re delicate, scare easily and are on wobbly legs when it comes to your business – one wrong move could send them running for the hills. They have no trust or loyalty with your brand, so they can easily press that dreaded back button and choose another business.
That’s why if you get your fawn to click your ad, you need to tread very carefully. The way to do this is to build a dedicated landing page for their expectations and gently guide them to the lead capture form (or whatever your goal is.)
If your PPC ad promotes an offer or specific product, taking them through to your main website is just going to confuse them. If they have to hunt for what they were expecting to see, you’ll lose them. By taking them directly to a separate page, designed with their particular journey in mind, you can guide them straight to their destination. This handholding technique is needed far more than you may think and will result in many more leads.
3. Decide what your hook is
As we discussed previously, a lead magnet is designed to entice people in. There are many ways of offering something to your audience, but it’s all about deciding what the right one for your specific user base is.
Better yet, think of it the other way around: what is the most valuable thing that you’re prepared to offer people for free? Is it your knowledge? Then create an eBook, a series of blog posts, a guide. If it’s a tiny piece of your product, promote a free trial, sample, taster. Maybe it’s an offer, a coupon, an introductory discount. Whatever you choose, the next stage is more important – how you package it.
You can decide to give away the best thing in the world, but if people don’t recognise its value then it’s meaningless. Use your content to frame your lead magnet in the right way: educate your audience if they don’t know why they need what you’re selling, shout about the benefits. As a start-up, you have to tackle many things at once – establishing brand awareness and trust goes hand-in-hand with lead generation. Picking a lead magnet which quickly demonstrates the value of your brand over others is a good way to win.
The goal is that for whatever you offer, you get a lead in return. But you need to choose which form is going to be most valuable to you. Do you want people to opt-in for an email so you can gain a direct line to their inbox? Would you rather a social media follow because that’s where you promote your business the most? Is an on-page form expected because of the details you’d need to know?
There’s no strategy that wins all as every business is unique. You don’t need to adopt multiple different lead magnets, pick one and give it your all. There’s no need to get stuck for lead magnet ideas as there’s plenty of examples out there.
Just because you don’t capture a lead the first time around, doesn’t mean you won’t the next time. If you’ve invested in online advertising, then remarketing is the next step to warming up potential customers.
Remarketing tactics allow you to generate brand awareness, nurture the leads you already have and, most importantly, capture those who passed you by the first time. With only 2% of shoppers converting on their initial visit, remarketing offers a way of getting back some of that 98% – without it, they’re lost.
Remarketing also offers you many strings in its bow: engaging with customers at various stages of your sales funnel. So once past the lead generation stage, you can utilise it for reengaging with customers who have previously bought from you, for example.
For now, our concentration is on generating those initial leads. Create your remarketing list based on those who have interacted with your brand. This can include those who have previously clicked on an ad but headed back, those who have partially filled out contact details but then left, or those who have read your content but gone no further. There are many tools out there that can help you identify where people have dropped off in your sales funnel, which you can then use to patch the holes in your user journey.
A shortcut to getting more customers is to introduce a referral scheme. After all, who is most likely to know people who would like your product or service? Other customers!
A little sweetener can push those who already enjoy your services into mentioning them to someone else. Word of mouth advertising is still a strong force to be reckoned with, so referrals can be a strong lead generation source.
6. Content marketing
Content production should never be overlooked. It’s the backbone of your business as you can have the best product or service in the world, but if it’s not marketed properly, you’ll have no customers.
Lead generation through content marketing is fruitful because they come from a qualified source. If they’ve engaged with your content and are still around, you’re likely a good match for each other. Setting up a blog, a Facebook page, social media channels and the like are great communication lines between you and your audience. But they’re going to be pretty dull if they just contain your contact details and nothing more.
Producing well-thought-out content that informs and advise people is valuable. Even if after watching your video, reading your article, participating in your webinar or whatever form your content takes, they leave, you’ve spent all that time in their minds. So the next time they need a service like yours, they think of you. Better yet, they think of how helpful you were, so you must know your stuff. They also think of how you weren’t just trying to sell them something, you cared about them as a person. Again, this is valuable. Through content marketing, you can not only build up leads but craft a loyal customer base who have a reason to come back for more.
At the end of your content – and throughout – be sure to have clear CTAs (call to actions) so that your audience know exactly what they’re supposed to do next if they’re interested. Don’t oversell, it comes across as disingenuous. The brands that survive the long haul, even global pandemics, are those who are more than just money-making schemes. Show your potential customers you care, and they’re more likely to care about you.