This is a guest post by Lisa Michaels, a freelance writer, editor, and content marketing consultant.
In the current business environment, lead generation is the most effective way of bringing in new clients. Instead of aggressively reaching out to cold buyers in a futile attempt to win them over, you can get them to find your business on their own.
SEO and pay-per-click ads are the most widely used mediums for attracting leads, but videos and social media are also effective. Other approaches to lead generation include getting a customer to join a webinar or enticing them to download a course.
Most lead generation strategies are built around the goal of obtaining the email addresses of potential customers. Once you have a potential customer's email address, you can reach that person directly in their inbox on a regular basis. If you work on making these emails highly targeted to the individuals, these nurture campaigns can be extremely powerful and result in more sales.
How can small businesses who have never thought about lead generation before get started capturing emails, creating campaigns, and growing their sales numbers?
Before diving into some of the lead generation approaches, it is important to first understand the unique challenges that small businesses face.
World-class lead generation requires resources, such as marketing automation software and highly specialized marketing teams, that are often out of reach for many small businesses, either due to a limited budget, staff sizes, or other obstacles.
The reality is that economies of scale are more important than ever before. Unlike most small businesses, large competitors can afford to spend millions of dollars a year on content, infrastructure, software, and talent. More content will boost a website's domain authority, so large providers usually have a natural advantage in search rankings. Taking into account the other resources at their disposal, large businesses usually have an enormous advantage in lead generation.
It’s easy to see the challenges that small businesses face and the importance of providing adequate strategies that not only fit into the frame of a small business, but offer equitable lead generating assistance.
Don’t get discouraged: Here are some things you can do to maximize success.
Small businesses tend to do better in lead generation when they focus on channels that have already been proven. If you have already created content for your business, you should be able to see traffic statistics in your analytics dashboards that will tell you what strategies have achieved the best results in the past. You can then use this information to capitalize on past successes by creating more content about topics that have performed well.
Not all businesses should use the same marketing automation channels, however. There are, for instance, some businesses that have found a profitable niche by generating leads on social media rather than by using content marketing channels that are often oversaturated. If you know of a lead generation channel that has worked well for your business, continue to focus on it instead of copying market leaders.
One of the main reasons why larger competitors are often more successful in lead generation is because they have the infrastructures to develop personalized experiences for different segments of buyers. Likewise, you should strive to personalize experiences as much as possible. Develop different campaigns for each of the main buyer segments that purchase from your business.
You should also create campaigns that target buyers who are facing common issues that arise at various stages of your pipeline. By targeting buyers in a personalized way, you can market your business in a manner that is comparable to what larger competitors are doing, but without incurring enormous costs.
One way to address the wide range of buying concerns that customers might have is to create bite-sized videos designed to address specific issues. These videos can be created quickly, so you can afford to create more of them. Most importantly, bite-sized videos can squarely address major objections. Buyers can then find them on their own through search, or you can link them to targeted customers through email.
As an alternative to creating small videos, consider creating tutorials. Video tutorials offer benefits that are similar to those of bite-sized videos, because they can be designed to address specific issues. In the process of viewing one, buyers will get to see how your product actually performs.
In some cases, it will make sense to create an entire course that is designed around your product. You can then use the videos in this course to nudge buyers into creating a trial account. Once buyers have registered, you can continue to reach them through email or even through direct communications until a purchase is made.
The days when small business content could be designed around simple keywords, such as "landscaping Las Vegas" or "buy baskets now," have long passed. Today, small businesses need to build content around what customers are intending to discover through search engines.
When content addresses the deeper intentions behind specific keywords, customers will spend more time consuming the content and be more likely to convert. Consequently, small businesses can get better results by seeking to optimize content for search intent.
Nearly all small business websites lack the domain authority to have a viable chance of getting the top search ranking for highly competitive terms. Instead of reaching for those terms, small businesses should target long-tail keywords that have less competition.
Since such keywords are less competitive, you can use them to have a viable chance of getting targeted traffic. Long-tail keywords are especially effective when you target terms that address issues that your business is uniquely capable of solving.
You could also consider using the long-proven strategy of using case studies and lead magnets to get potential customers in your pipeline. Case studies are especially effective for expertise-based businesses that need to demonstrate their capabilities.
All businesses can benefit from using lead magnets that encourage customers to provide their email address in exchange for receiving more information about your solution. When you demonstrate your expertise with high-quality case studies and white papers, customers tend to become very interested in buying from your business.
To compete with the market leaders of today, small businesses need to use lead generation effectively. Thankfully, all businesses that take the time to learn how to go about lead generation in the right way can develop a pipeline that drives growing revenue. If you run a small business, there are numerous strategies at your disposal to achieve your goals, so consider the tips listed above to get the best results.