Everyone is vying for more leads.
“How do I get to more people that want to buy from me?”
So here are 5 of my favorite lead generation strategies to explode the number of inbound leads, without spending spades of money!
Two Important Definitions First:
For this article, I define leads as a name and some variety of contact information.
Leads are not necessarily prospects. Prospects are leads that are also prospective customers.
You need a process to determine which of your leads are prospects, but when you learn to separate the two, it becomes much easier to generate both.
2: A Strong Funnel
Obviously, once you have a lead, you need a plan for how to determine which leads are prospects or cultivating prospects out of your leads. Having a strong funnel in place is important.
It could be as simple as: Lead comes in, gets added to mailing list & receives three or four phone calls to try and schedule a discovery appointment from a sales rep or three or four emails requesting that they book an appointment through an online scheduler like Calendly.
It could be more complicated and involve a series of offers designed to weed out leads who aren’t willing to invest in a more expensive program before they receive a phone call or offer to book on your calendar.
One important and often overlooked key to your successful sales funnel requires consistent branding throughout. Your leads need to feel like they are interacting with the same company the whole way through. It helps build trust and without that trust, conversion is nearly impossible!
That said, let's break these Lead Gen Strategies down.
Strategy #1 -- Networking.
This is one of my favorites.
I live in San Antonio, Texas. It seems to be the networking capital: everybody knows everybody despite being a city of 3 million people & growing!
No matter where you live though, there are a lot of people networking, without generating very many leads.
Here are 4 tips on how to make it into a lead-generation powerhouse:
Have an Elevator Pitch that works across the board.
It works when you stand up for your 30-second pitch as everyone goes around the table, and it works when you’re talking to someone at a happy hour. It should be a succinct, powerful way to introduce yourself in a way that stands out from your industry. Two tips to creating a great elevator pitch:
Story Based: It needs to be story-based. To connect with people, you need to tell a story about someone you've worked with and how you've transformed their life for the better.
Different is Better: It needs to be different. Listen to what everyone else in your industry is saying/doing and find a way to do the exact opposite. As one of my new favorite thought leaders Jesse Cole says, “Average gets average results.” If you want to get something better out of a networking event, you've got to be different.
Despite needing your perfect “elevator pitch,” this is not the opportunity to go out there and start trying to pitch your products. I've had people literally start pulling product out of their bag trying to get me to buy it at the event and it’s a huge turn-off.
Instead, focus on connecting with as many people as you can!
Side Note: Connect, don’t meet.
You can meet a ton of people, get all their business cards, and have no true connection. That is pointless. Come up with a list of three or four questions, to start conversations where you can actually make a heart connection with that person - it will help them remember you when you reach out to them afterwards to move them into your funnel.
Organize Cards Onsite
Take the cards that you receive and put them into different pockets.
Place the people you need to follow up with quickly into your right pocket. Put the rest into the left pocket. This way, if you’re short on time when you get back to the office, you know who to prioritize reaching out to.
That drawer of 400+ cards on your desk is useless. Just stop!
Take 15 minutes after the event and add them to your CRM and mark them for follow-up appropriately. Remember, they are going to as many events as you are (possibly more!), reach out quickly so they remember your face as well as what you do when you contact them!
Strategy #2 -- Opt In Offers Online
These are great - if you can set up offers that people actually want.
So often, people put out things like “Get Our 10 Tips to Better Copywriting,” which can work! But think for a couple of minutes about what your prospect actually wants. I. E., What will pique their interest enough to give away their contact information?
If everyone has 10 tips for ______, why would they care about getting yours? Interview your current customers to see what information they needed when they started looking for someone like you, then create an information piece that gives them that information as your Opt-In. Use that for your opt in.
The key to this strategy? Drive Traffic!
Use SEO friendly blogs (Blogs that are designed to rank on social media), and regularly post those blogs out through social media. Constantly driving traffic to those blogs is the key here.
Yes, it takes a little time to get the wheels turning on this one.
But! I love when I wake up in the morning and there's five or six brand new leads sitting in my inbox, while I did absolutely nothing because I put a system in place to get those blogs regularly going out, the blogs promote the opt-in, and they provide value-add fodder to fill our social media content calendar too!
Strategy #3 -- Social Media
Social media is great; here's a couple of tips for actually making sure you use it as a lead generation strategy.
First off, content has to be consistent.
I had a period where I was frustrated because I didn't feel like social media was working for me, yet everyone else in my industry said it was. I had a cold-water moment when I went to analyze which posts were getting engagement and which weren’t, and realized I wasn’t posting anything! Even now, I have to work to ensure we have enough content going out on all platforms consistently and nothing falls behind!
Secondly, be a beacon!
Social media is all about the social aspect -- not about the sales pitch. You want to put out good information without constantly following it up with a pitch. Also, make sure it's entertaining. If you're simply throwing out information, it becomes info overload. People need something that keeps them engaged and interested, something that keeps them laughing and joking along with you. No one likes being thrown up on, it’s a fact. If you're just sitting there throwing up information all over them, they're going to move on to the next person.
Third, engage with others!
It’s a given at this point, but engaging both with people commenting on your posts and on other people’s posts makes you a part of the community. It’s an important part of the social aspect of Social Media.
Fourth, be non-pushy and non-salesy.
You can throw out an offer on occasion. But it drives me, and most people I know, absolutely nuts when every other post from someone is a pitch! I want my newsfeed filled with people I look forward to hearing from, not people who constantly push themselves at me, or pounce on the comments of my posts to try and pitch themselves or their product. Constant pitching makes your audience leery of engaging, and eliminates lead generation!
Strategy #4 -- The Fishbowl Strategy.
This is one of my favorites.
Get a fishbowl, put it out somewhere with some sort of cool give-away connected, and ask people for their information in return for the chance to win. It’s a simple and great way to gather a lot of leads with minimal effort when well designed.
There’s a few different places you can put these out. You can put them out at events, whether you're speaking or not. Getting a booth at an event is a great way to do this at events. And you can also put them out at retail locations that appeal to your clientele.
The key to this strategy is finding something people want. People are often giving away things like a book, or a bottle of wine, or a free party. But unless your customers are actually interested in walking away with a book, it won’t work.
E. G., I worked with a massage therapist a couple of years ago who did this perfectly. She went to all the gyms in her area and offered to put a fishbowl out and picked up 40+ hot leads in two weeks because she offered a sports-therapy massage. It was a perfect merge and a perfect connection. Takes a little bit of time to find places that will agree to having you put your stuff out there. But it is powerful!
Design your sign to be clear about what they can win, the retail value, and how to opt in. Promise that you’ll protect their info and not share it with anyone! “Wine Basket Giveaway, $150 Value, Add Your Info Below!” can be as simple as it needs to be!
Once you figure out what people want, it’s just a matter of getting eyeballs on it consistently!
Strategy #5 -- Reference USA
Reference USA is available through most of the libraries in the United States (If your local library doesn’t offer it, they likely have something similar).
Reference USA is an incredible database of all the SIC and NAICS code registered businesses in the U.S.. You can filter by size, industry, region, city or even zip codes. In a matter of minutes, you can pull hundreds of leads that fit whatever criteria you listed! Check it out here! Or Here if you’re from the San Antonio Area!
The beautiful thing about some of these lead gen strategies is that you don’t always have to be there to make it work. And that’s the mark of a business that you own, rather than a job.
Make it a really awesome week!
Want to turn your LinkedIn into another awesome Lead Generating tool? Try our free LinkedIn Profile Challenge to turn your LinkedIn into something that brings leads to you without you having to constantly work at it. Check it out here!
About the Author:
Stephanie Scheller is a TED speaker, a two-time best-selling author and the founder of Grow Disrupt: a San Antonio based company dedicated to disrupting the way the world does business through training. In just under a decade, Stephanie has been behind the scenes with nearly 2500 small businesses. She has worked in groups and one-on-one to create total business transformation & help business owners live the life they got into business to create!