Lead generation is a major challenge for any company in today’s digital age.

But back to the basics: what is a lead?

A lead is an individual who has shown interest in your products or services by interacting with you. A lead indicates that your product or service creates interest and meets certain needs or problems. However, according to marketing studies, 61% of leads generated by B2B marketers are not sales-ready. What can you do about it? The right thing to do is to learn more about your customers and use proven lead generation techniques to acquire qualified leads.

But how do I generate qualified leads?

A qualified lead is your prospective customer. If you research lead generation strategy online, most sites will talk about expensive tactics and marketing strategies such as advertising, having a booth at large trade shows, etc.

When you’re starting your company or you’re just trying to validate your idea with your first lead or you simply do not have a big budget, there are ways to generate leads without spending a lot of money.

The five solutions below will not only allow you to generate leads without emptying your wallet but also allow you to test market demand before investing in marketing campaigns. A winning strategy in every respect.

Here are 5 ideas to generate leads that cost almost nothing:

 

1. Groups and communities

 

Your customers usually belong to groups or communities, online and offline. It is in the heart of these communities that we could gather the most beneficial marketing information to generate qualified leads. Identify the groups and communities that are relevant to your target audience and ideal customer. Are your primary customers predominantly moms? There are a multitude of online groups for moms on Facebook and on different forums online. Are your target audience web designers? The same goes for a multitude of groups and communities of web designers.

But what is the best lead generation technique?

Share knowledge, tips, events, and more with relevant groups or communities to attract potential leads.

Your lead generation efforts start with content marketing.

Content marketing is a strategic marketing method that involves sharing valuable content online through social media, blog posts, videos, etc to a clearly defined group of audiences. You want to provide value then you gradually focus on demand generation to make them aware of your solution and your product. These communities are a platform to ask and answer questions, test reactions, ask for opinions, but most importantly, collaborate with group members to develop the best message and understand your weaknesses. If you are unsure of which communities to target and you are still struggling to define your potential customers, Facebook ad manager allows you to create and run lead ad. You can run a lead generation campaign to gather more information about your potential lead and identify which community they belong to.

It’s a proven method for lead generation! While I was studying the Lean Startup method (which I highly recommend to any entrepreneur), our team and I decided to test an idea: a self-heating Tupperware for children and people suffering from allergies who cannot use microwaves due to lack of access or fear of cross-contamination. The product didn’t exist yet, but we quickly created a website with fake mock-ups giving our landing page a professional commercial look.

The objective was to generate quality lead through inbound marketing and to test the interest and demand for this still fictitious product to generate our first sale. Users could place items in their shopping cart from the landing page, but could not enter their credit card number. This way, we could truly validate the interest in our product.

Our best results were obtained via Facebook groups of mothers whose children are in elementary school, and communities of people suffering from allergies. We simply showed the product on the different online Facebook groups and waited for reactions. Within a few days, we had a 4% conversion rate, and received orders totaling 24 self-heating Tupperware!

This example illustrates how we develop a lead generation process to reach potential customers and validated the interest for our product with our target audience.

 

2. Events

 

Events are a great tool for generating leads and increasing visibility for your business. Identify the events, virtual or physical, that align with your company’s interests and your potential customers are likely to attend. You don’t have to attend large conferences and trade shows that will cost you an arm and a leg. Start smaller: networking events, webinars, and so on. Look for events on social media. But before you get there, prepare your pitch! A good presentation and a well-written pitch will give you more credibility. Find out a little bit about the people who will be there, adapt your speech, and add your new contacts on LinkedIn to be able to engage with them later.

If your company’s main objective is to educate your clients on a particular subject, organizing your own event will be more impactful. Find partners who will help you set it up. You can also organize live educational events such as webinars or live events on social media, and gather all the information and contacts of your participants. This will also help you generate new social media leads.

3. LinkedIn

 

LinkedIn has more than 630 million members and has become one of the largest networking hubs in the world and one of the leading channels for online social B2B marketing and sales. Less popular than Facebook and Instagram, LinkedIn still channels 80% of the B2B conversion rates achieved on social networks and has a qualified and attentive audience.

LinkedIn allows you to identify your buyer persona, potential customers, influencers, and groups most likely to use your service or product and to expand your professional network. Are you selling software to improve operational efficiency and possibly replace internal and human resources? Create a profile that stands out and reflects your products, services, and values then look for companies that are recruiting in that field and would, therefore, be interested in using your software.

Use Linkedin as a tool for B2B lead generation. Encourage your page visitors to engage with your brand by signing up for valuable informational content.

List your prospects, examine the groups they belong to, and then join these groups. Use Inmail on LinkedIn or Sales Navigator to directly approach individuals or companies that might be interested in what you offer at a low cost. However, be careful not to try to sell directly or advertise aggressively through these channels! What works best is to educate, inform, suggest, and dialogue. Focus on lead nurturing by sharing relevant, targeted content at every step of the customer journey.

 Like most social media networks, regularly publish news or current topics related to your business. This will increase traffic to your page. According to Forrester , 72% of sellers who use social networks get 18% more leads than their competitors and generate 17% more conversation. So encourage your contacts to comment on your publications, your strategy will be all the more effective!

Your LinkedIn page is your CV, take care of it!

Take advantage of this space to highlights your expertise, your activities, your accomplishments, your team. Integrate your licenses, diplomas, certifications. Insert one or more professional photos. Recommendations are also one of the most interesting features of LinkedIn. Your relations or customers can highlight your skills, give an opinion, or write a testimonial about your company and your services. Make the most of it, add all your past clients, acquaintances, friends, former colleagues, etc. You will gain visibility and credibility.

 

4. Content and referencing

 

As we discuss in another article, your marketing content is a very effective way to optimize your organic search engine ranking and increase brand awareness among your target market segments. Your content, directly hosted on your website, can also be shared easily and for free on all social media platforms or by email marketing. Convenient! So don’t hesitate to invest your time and resources in creating original and accessible valuable content that will bring you visibility and notoriety.

your marketing content is a very effective way to optimize your organic search engine ranking and increase brand awareness among your target market segments. Your content, directly hosted on your website, can also be shared easily and for free on all social media platforms or by email marketing. Convenient! So don’t hesitate to invest your time and resources in creating original and accessible valuable content that will bring you visibility and notoriety.

Having educational content focused on most frequently asked questions by your customers will certainly help you with your SEO but don’t forget the other SEO basics: build your content around the most important keywords, add alt text to your images, meta tags and meta descriptions for each web page, optimize the performance and accessibility of the website, add internal and external links to your pages in addition to building a strong online presence with pages that will point to your website to increase its credibility with search engines. Although this takes time and requires a good strategy, it is not necessary to spend a lot of money to get a good ranking on Google that will increase your visibility and eventually support in generating leads.

 

5. Your customers are your champions

 

Can your existing partners or customers become your company or product champions? Sometimes it only takes a few influential people to get into the right circles, create awareness, and initiate lead generation. Don’t underestimate the power of a good referral.

To give you an example, I recently facilitated an educational workshop and mentioned a few companies whose tools I use to make my job easier. The very next day, I received a phone call from one of those companies because of the new lead this has generated for them. Since then, this company has been sending me free, customized content that I can now use for my workshops and training.

This kind of free service is not an isolated case. Your partners and clients can become strong partners and allies if you decide to seize the right opportunities. You can even subsequently create strategic and beneficial alliances.

In conclusion, you don’t need to spend a lot of money on advertising to generate leads. What you need is to identify where your target customers are online, create a website or landing page that is optimized for conversion and develop a lead generation strategy that will fill your sales pipeline and help you achieve your business objectives.

Still have questions? You can book a free one-hour consultation with one of our experts right here.

 

Raphaelle