Lead Generation Basics For Small Business Owners

Business owners of all sizes typically have the same goal in mind for their company. That goal is to make more sales of your products or services. Obviously, the most important goal while running a business is to continue being profitable. The goal is clear, but getting there is where some people may get hung up. How exactly do you generate more business, especially in these trying times? Lead generation material is exactly the way to do that. It helps intrigue strangers towards your services, as well as turn potential customers into paying customers, our common end goal. But do you understand the basics of lead generation — what are the benefits, and what types of lead generation exist?

Benefits of Lead Generation

Perhaps the most obvious benefit is that you are generating leads, just as the name implies. This is the practice of raising potential customers’ interest in your products or services and then turning that into a paying customer.

It will also help you dial in where you are completing sales, and where you’re losing them. It will help you narrow down a target market, able to be seen by what group of prospects decide to use your services

Lead generation also prevents that dreaded cold call. Having no relationship with a person, finding their info however you decide to, and then attempting to contact them. There are very few situations more awkward than that. It’s a far more casual way of informing a potential client of what you have to offer.

Types of Lead Generation

The two main categories of lead generation are outbound and inbound. Outbound is reaching out to your target market to generate the leads. Inbound means driving traffic to your site for your service being offered.

Outbound Lead Generation

Outbound lead generation can easily be thought of as marketing. Some of the most common types are as follows.

1. Newsletters

Newsletters are a great example, and easy to grasp type of outbound marketing. People sign up for your newsletter, and allow you to send them your content on whatever basis they see fit. 

If you are able to generate good quality content on a regular basis, and given permission to send it directly to someone, that is very valuable. Make the best use of this. Also, I think we can all admit to our emails being a little cluttered sometimes. Make sure you do your best to stand out, or you’ll just be “marked as read”. 

2. Advertising

Advertising is another form of outbound lead generation. You’re reaching out to an audience via your choice of platform, and display your product. Most of us already know that advertising can be EXTREMELY beneficial if executed correctly. 

3. Cold Calls

Cold calling is my least favorite method of outbound lead generation, but really drives home the idea of outbound generation. Physically calling members of your target audience and trying to pitch your product. 

Not only does this make the relationship far less personable and casual, but it may drive away would-be customers. I know I don’t enjoy getting unsolicited phone calls, and most people feel the same way.

Inbound Lead Generation

Inbound leads are for driving traffic to your site. Rather than reaching out for leads, these come to you. Examples of inbound lead generation are:

1. SEO

SEO, or search engine optimization, is a popular strategy for inbound leads. If your site is optimized to rank highly in major search engines, the traffic driven to your site will increase. How often do you really go past the first page of Google?

This is a critical aspect of marketing. You could provide the best service in your industry, but if nobody is able to find out about it, it won’t matter. Make sure you optimize your online presence.

2. Social Media

Using your social media as a platform to promote your business can help in many ways. Expanding your brand, connecting with more people through non business related things, or to generate inbound leads. 

Any blog post, tweet, or update can attract clients your way. If you share your blog posts on social media, people will click to read the article and be taken back to your website. That’s the goal!

How to Implement

A lot of lead generation material is written by freelance writers, such as myself, for companies in their target market. Hiring a writer is probably the best way to go about creating this content, but anyone can try their hand at it.

The line between content that generates next to no leads, and content that helps boost sales in a large way is very thin. Maybe just a few words placed in a different spot throughout the piece is enough to turn someone away.

After the material is written, it’s time to decide which way you would like to use it! Try playing around with a few different types of lead generation and see what works best!

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