5 Ways to Generate Leads Online for Your Small Business

You’ve got your kick-ass product ready and a team of all-star employees prepped to win over prospective customers, but your sales funnel is looking a little emaciated.

To fill your funnel to the brim with leads (and qualified ones, at that!) you’ll need to move your marketing tactics online and strategize from the lens of your potential customers.

In this blog post we’ll review concrete tactics you can employ this month to get you more leads online and some of the tools to get you there.

1. Host a Monthly Webinar

Capturing leads through webinars happens by having interested parties fill out a form to participate, or to get the recording at a later date. In other words, you’re collecting leads for talking about what you’re probably spending your Friday night talking about with colleagues anyway.
If I asked you to identify the three most commonly faced issues your product/services solves, could you chat about the subject comfortably for more than 20 minutes? If you can, you can host a webinar.
Think of hosting a lead generating webinar as a speaking opportunity at an event, but with better benefits (click to tweet!)

  1. Your only investment is time preparing the content, keeping in mind webinar content is easily repurposed for content on your website and blog!
  2. You cast a wider net because your audience can consist of more than just those who can attend in person at a specific time.
  3. You can host your talk from the comfort of your own home or office!
  4. You don’t need to harass (or pay) a conference organizer to give you a speaking spot – you just need to get the news out there that you’re hosting the webinar (with the good SEO I talk about above).

Pro Tips:

  • Co-host a webinar with another company that shares a similar audience. Since you’ll both be promoting the webinar to your current customers and leads, your brand will get exposed to your co-host’s email list as well!
  • Use the questions asked during the webinar as inspiration for your next blog post since you know leads are looking for these answers already

2. Use a Web-to-Lead Form on Your Website

I ask you this: How easy are you making it for leads to put their hand up and say they’re interested when they’re on your website?!
Think about it.

So it’s a best practice to make sure it’s really, really easy for visitors to indicate they’re interested in your product, or would like their questions answered. You’ve got them this far! Don’t let them leave without getting them to introduce themselves!You’ve put a bunch of time and money into creating a spiffy website to stand out from the competition, and your website visitors are already qualified leads because they are either finding you via a keyword search, a referral from a friend, or via your traditional advertising.

Web-to-Lead forms are the easiest and most organized way to do this:
A web-to-lead form is a form on your website a visitor fills out with their contact details and questions. This puts the ball in your court to get back to them. And, because a web-to-lead form is connected to your Method:CRM account, when your potential customers fill out your “Contact Us” page, they are automatically placed into your CRM as a lead, an opportunity is created, and a follow-up reminder is created and assigned!
If you want to see this awesomeness in action, check out this 3 minute video on web-to-lead forms here

More bang for your buck with Web-to-Lead:

  • CRM integrated Customer Portals work in the same way as web-to-lead forms, but you’re giving access to your current customers to view and pay invoices online, without ever having to contact you. And who doesn’t want to get paid faster?

3. Maintain a Business Blog

I realize this suggestion may seem biased, but according to HubSpot’s Marketing Benchmark survey, companies that blog once or twice per month generate 70 % more leads than those that don’t blog at all.
But keep in mind – the best practices for creating a business website are different from creating an ongoing business blog.  Think of your blog as the conversations you have at an industry conference (personal, varying topics, knowledge sharing) and your website as your go-to sales pitch (“Allow me to show you how my product is the perfect solution to your problem”). Both are important, but the conversations you have (your blog) provide context to buyers, bring people down your sales funnel, and help to qualify leads.
To ensure you’re treating your blog differently from your website, I recommend asking yourself if you’re achieving at least one of the three E’s of business blogging: (click to tweet)
EDUCATE: Are you educating your audience on a subject that really matters to them?
ENTERTAIN: From sharing a personal story to a funny anecdote, are you entertaining your audience? After all, you probably only have a few moments of their attention on the internet!
ENGAGE: Are you creating content that encourages audience engagement by allowing readers to post questions and comments?

Tools I Recommend:

  • WordPress is inexpensive and user-friendly for someone just starting to blog. Register your company blog name, pick a theme, and get going. SEO plugins can ensure you’re on the right track for blogging using SEO best practices.
  • Spokal – if you’re already using WordPress.org, this is a great tool that speeds up your blogging and integrates your social accounts to streamline the distribution of your blog posts.

4. Optimize Your Website – ‘All Hail Google!’

As a curious kid, I bombarded my teachers and parents with questions. Now, as an adult who’s just as curious, I pose all my questions to the all-knowing Google. Or Siri, but she’s just a Google broker, really.
As a result, I feel pretty confident saying most people head straight to Google when searching for product/services to satisfy their need. This is why it should come as no surprise that I’m recommending SEO (Search Engine Optimization) to generate leads online.
With that being, I can’t stress enough the importance of ranking on the first page for the keywords most relevant to your business. (How many times have you gone past the first page of results on Google?) Have a really niche product/service? Even better! The more popular the search, the harder it is to rank for, but more “niche searches” result in more qualified website visitors for your business.
Now, don’t get me wrong, SEO work is a marathon, not a sprint and you may even want to bring on an expert to help you out in this area.

Resources for getting started:

5. Create New Business with Current Customers

You need to fill your sales funnel with new leads, but what if new leads are right under your nose in your CRM? Generating new business from current customers is a great way to improve brand loyalty, increase your Revenue Per User (RPU), and it costs you less to sell to current customers than acquiring new ones.
 
Some ideas for turning current customers back into leads:

  • Feature product news or service announcements on your online customer portal, where your customers will see the news when they’re paying their next invoice or checking their balance online.
  • Send promotions to customers through a CRM integrated email marketing program (like MailChimp!), so you can easily segment customers, track open rates, and A/B test email templates)
  • Train your sales team, account managers, and customer service teams to up-sell. Think of – as educating your customers about the various other ways your product/service can make their lives easier
  • Invite your current customer base to a webinar on your available products/services – they may not realize these products and services even exist
  • Send your current customers using product/service A a sample/trial, discount offer, coupon for product/service B

Different techniques work for difference businesses. What are the most effective ways you’re generating leads for your small business online? I would love to hear your techniques for filling up your sales funnel, so feel free to leave a comment below or tweet me!

[Feature image designed by Freepik.com]