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 an interest in your company by contacting you. However, 73% of leads generated from a website are not ready to buy. A lead, therefore, shows you that your product or service arouses interest, that it meets a certain need or problem. The right thing to do is to try to obtain more information about it: who is it? Which company? Why did he come to my site?
But how do I generate leads?
If you do your research online, most sites will offer you expensive tactics and strategies. How do you do this when your budget is limited or non-existent?
The five solutions we give you 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
No, it’s not an espionage mission, but almost… Your customers usually belong to groups or communities, online and offline. We realized that it is in the heart of these communities that we could gather the most beneficial information to generate leads. Identify the groups and communities that are relevant to your target audience. Are your primary customers predominantly moms? There are a multitude of groups for moms. Do you target web designers? The same goes for a multitude of groups and communities of web designers.
But how do you join a group and generate leads? Share knowledge, tips, events and more. Then, you can gradually start to make them aware of your solution and your product. Answer questions, test reactions, ask for opinions, but most importantly, collaborate with group members to develop the best message and understand your weaknesses.
It’s a proven method! 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 allergy sufferers 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 page a professional commercial look. The objective was to test the interest and demand for this still fictitious product. Users could place items in their shopping cart, but could not enter their credit card number. This way, we could see how interested people were in buying our product. Our best results were obtained via Facebook groups of mothers whose children are in elementary school, and communities of allergy sufferers. We simply showed the product and waited for reactions. Within a few days, we had a 6% conversion rate, and received orders totaling 41 self-heating Tupperwares!
This example illustrates the importance of testing your services or products with your target audience, to seek to improve it, to redirect your target or objectives, or simply to give you visibility.
Identify the events, real or online, that you might attend and where your potential customers are located. You don’t have to target large conferences and trade shows that will cost you an arm and a leg. Start smaller: networking events, webinars and so on. 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, present your business card. In short, make sure people remember you.
If your company’s main objective is to educate your clients on a particular subject, organizing your own event will have more impact. Find partners who will help you set it up. You can also organize live educational events on Facebook and/or Youtube, and gather all the information and contacts of your participants to establish a follow-up.
LinkedIn has more than 450 million members and has become one of the largest networking hubs in the world and one of the leading channels for online social 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 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 recruit in large numbers and would, therefore, be interested in using such software. Establish your list of prospects, examine the groups they belong to, and then join these groups, as seen above. Use Inmail on LinkedIn or install Sales Navigator to directly approach, at low cost, individuals or companies that might be interested in what you offer. However, be careful not to try to sell directly or advertise aggressively through these channels! Just educate, inform, suggest, dialogue.
Like most social 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 present your activities, your strengths, your team, your expertise. 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, a testimony or an impression 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 (link), your content is a very effective way to optimize your organic search engine optimization and to make your company known to 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. Convenient! So don’t hesitate to invest your time and energy in creating original and accessible content that will bring you visibility and notoriety.
You can also share articles directly on your personal LinkedIn page or on content sharing platforms such as Medium that will allow you to make yourself known.
Having educational content focused on the questions most frequently asked by your customers will certainly help you for your SEO but don’t forget the other basics of SEO: 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 generate 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 people with enough clout to get into the right circles, make themselves known and start generating leads. 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 phone calls and emails from some of these companies, thanks to the participants of my workshop who had taken a closer look at them following my training. Since then, these companies have 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.
Still have questions? You can book a free one-hour consultation with one of our experts right here.