You might be surprised to find out just how many of the top lead-generating marketing activities can be done without a big budget for execution. Here are ten key ways to generate leads without spending money.
No budget? No problem. Yes, you can generate leads without spending money.
For most small businesses, attracting new customers and doing what’s needed to generate leads to fill the sales pipeline is a high priority, and some lead-generating activities can be pricey. Here are ten ways you can generate leads and attract new customers, even if you don’t have a big budget for marketing or advertising.
Many small businesses struggle to generate leads and new local customers needed to grow quickly; in part, because they lack the funding needed to execute pricey paid marketing and advertising tactics. However, many of the most effective lead-sourcing marketing tactics can be accomplished with the investment of time alone.
The small businesses that master these 10 no-cost marketing tactics are likely to generate leads and land the new customers they need to grow.
Master these 10 Marketing Skills to Generate Leads without Spending Money
1. Master the art of targeting.
No matter what you sell, “everyone” is not your target markets. The first step in improving your ability to attract qualified leads and new clients is to identify broad target markets to aim for.
Narrow your focus in order to leverage marketing more efficiently by creating buyer profiles. These are the people in your target markets and current client base that represent your “ideal buyer types;” meaning, they are the people:
- most likely to need what you have to sell
- most likely to be able to afford what you have to sell
- most likely to decide to buy what you have to sell
- most likely to be satisfied after buying what you have to sell
2. Master the art of creating inbound content.
600 words – fewer than we needed to write this article! Businesses that master the art of writing and adding target-market-relevant, keyword optimized content to their web sites and blogs will generate more organic web traffic.
If your web site does not have sufficient quality content so that it is working to generate (and convert) leads, then start by turning your web site into a hub of content written with your target markets in mind. To begin, try to add 600-800 words of content to each of your website’s pages, beginning with those that are most important.
Expand efforts by adding a blog where you write about industry or interest-related topics that would interest your ideal buyer types and general target audiences.
Build on your hub by posting optimized content and links on social networks, content curation and external content publishing platforms.
3. Master the art of optimizing… everything.
Help your content get found by optimizing it appropriately with keywords and key phrases, image alt-tags, meta titles and descriptions and most effective use of H1, H2, H3 headline tags as well as text called out in bold, italics or used as anchors for links.
Originally published by formstack.com, this infographic provides a great go-by for building optimized web pages that will bring organic search traffic to your organization’s website.
4. Master call-to-action thinking.
Always tell people what action you want them to take next. Whether you are publishing a link back to your content on social networks and want followers to click, like or share, or you are asking site visitors to pull the trigger in order to make a purchase or contact a sales agent, every piece of content you publish should come along with instructions about what the viewer should do next.
5. Master the art of email marketing.
The 2014 Marketing Measurement Survey Report from voice-based marketing automation company Ifbyphone found that email marketing is the number one source preferred by marketers for generating high-value leads (SEO was number 2). In fact, despite email being among the more mature digital marketing tactics available, marketers said it was even more important to them in 2014 than it was last year.
While not exactly “free,” there are many low-cost email marketing platforms available to today’s marketer, and most small businesses can expect to pay less than $100 a month (or even less than $50 a month) to get started.
6. Master the art of engaging today’s digital consumer.
97% of consumers start their search for a local business online (BIA/Kelsey). That means that today’s digital consumer is today’s consumer.
Today’s consumer expects to be able to find things online, on whichever device they happen to be using at the time they search. Your website should be optimized for mobile and aligned with best practices for web display, design and content optimization.
Today’s consumer is short on time but will respond when interested. Written content – needed for search optimization – is often not the same type of content that will capture the attention of today’s consumer. The types of content more likely to get the consumer’s attention is highly visual (graphics, infographics, slideshows, e-books, stats, webcasts, video, etc.) and/or interactive (apps, games, game-like learning, etc.) and shareable!
7. Become a master of the buying cycle.
Without a strong understanding of the buying cycle for your products or services it will be difficult to engage with buyers at the right time – the point of time where they need more information, an offer or a call to action to take the next step.
Especially important is identifying different types of buying signals that individuals will provide that demonstrate they are ready to buy, consume more information about your goods and services, or learn more about your brand.
8. Master the art of distribution.
Producing content that generates organic inbound web traffic is just one half of the equation. Help your content source leads, and generate inbound links to your web site and blog, by discovering and learning how to distribute your content using press releases, social media, email, content curation, content delivery and other external publishing platforms.
9. Master the art of following up.
When a prospective buyer sends a buying signal, you’ll need a plan for following up. Don’t wing it! Create steps for follow up in terms of if/then scenarios. Such as: If someone fills out a contact form on a landing page for a certain product, then we will do x, y, and z (with actions like, subscribe to newsletter, send a special offer, contact by phone or email with pricing, etc.)
This is another area where a better understanding of target markets and the buying cycle will make or break lead conversions, because following up will always include a call to action. Knowing where your buyers are in the buying cycle makes it far more likely that you can deliver up the call to action to which they are more likely to respond.
10. Master the art of asking for referrals.
Any time you have a satisfied customer, you have an opportunity to ask for referrals, but few businesses take advantage of customer satisfaction 100% of the time.
Plus, it’s really likely that people in your target markets know other people in your target markets. Ask audience members to forward emails to a friend, share posts on social networks or receive referral rewards.
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