If you’re a small business owner, then arguably the most annoying thing is when you want to generate leads, but you keep coming up short.
A lack of leads is more than just an inconvenience, because if you don’t generate leads, then your business is pretty much finished.
In this blog post, we’re going to discuss some of the best lead generation ideas for small business owners. We’re going to focus mostly on content marketing, simply because paid advertising can be too expensive if you are just getting started.
If your business is in a mainstream niche, Pay Per Click advertising might be way out of reach. Whenever I study the world of paid ads, I’m horrified to learn that some keywords can cost $5, $10, $15, or even $25 or more PER CLICK.
This ridiculous cost always reminds me that content marketing can be a much more comfortable and less stressful way to generate leads. The sad news is that content marketing takes a ton of work.
The Good News About Content Marketing As A Lead Generation Strategy
Content marketing requires work. But it can be much cheaper than paid advertising!
So if you love your niche, and if you are a halfway decent writer, then content marketing might be your best bet when it comes to lead generation.
Content marketing might be a good strategy for just about any small business owner, including the following:
- Real Estate Agents
- Affiliate Marketers
- Network Marketers
- Coaches And Consultants
- Any Other Business!
Why Lead Generation Is So Critically Important For Small Business Owners
The sad fact is that your business might not last that long unless you can drive quality leads.
I’m ashamed to say that many of my business endeavors have crashed and burned. Simply because of a lack of leads!
Even if you have the best sales team in the world, without leads, you’re doomed for epic and dismal failure.
Even if you have the hottest products in the world, and even if you bend over backward to deliver massive value to your subscribers, your business is doomed for dismal results if you can’t generate leads.
One of the first problems you may encounter is that lead generation can be costly.
That’s Why Email Marketing Can Be Your Secret Weapon When It Comes To Lead Generation
I’m a huge fan of email marketing for a bunch of different reasons. First off, email marketing is very cheap, and it won’t cost you that much to get going.
Another reason why email marketing is fantastic is that it’s probably one of the only platforms that you actually control.
For example, you don’t own your Facebook page. You don’t own your Instagram account. Arguably, you don’t even control the content that you post on social media.
I’m not saying that these platforms are wrong, or that you shouldn’t use them. Social media is so ridiculously popular that you’d be silly not to use them in your overall lead generation and content marketing strategy.
What I am alluding to, however, is that you have more control over your email marketing channels. Your list of email subscribers is a huge asset that you control.
If you read the terms of service for just about any social media platform, third party service, or just about any website, you can see that you do not own the content that you post there.
In other words, the social network can delete your content at any time.
That’s why having your email newsletter is such a big deal. You own the content. Your list of subscribers is one of the most critical business assets that your business will ever have.
You can potentially take things a step further and post your email newsletter content on your blog. You can take that same content and create courses, books, podcasts, videos, or giveaways, or anything else that you like.
Maybe you agree that email marketing can be a great (and cheap) way to generate leads, but you’re stuck? Or perhaps your budget is tiny?
Here’s How To Generate Email Marketing Leads On The Cheap
There’s so much debate on the internet regarding paid traffic vs. free traffic. The truth is that there is no such thing as free traffic. That’s because there is no such thing as free content.
You either spend time writing the content or pay someone else to do it. Therefore, content marketing can be expensive, right?
If budget is an issue, then I would still consider promoting your email list via content marketing. Content marketing is one of my favorite lead generation methods.
The reason for that is because you can write the content. If you love to write, if you love your niche, and if you want to help people, then content marketing can be a great idea.
Right now, as I publish this very content, I can efficiently market my email list. I can invite you to visit my website at MrComputerScience.com/goodies and click subscribe.
Once you click subscribe, you’ll be a part of my excellent email marketing tribe, and I’ll send you awesome email content.
You can do the same thing. You can create excellent blog posts, social media content, videos, and Podcast content that promotes your email newsletter.
Content marketing requires work. A lot of marketers swear that content marketing is easy, but it’s not. Please never listen to anyone who suggests that marketing is easy. Lead generation and marketing take a ton of effort!
I have been blogging for a relatively long while now. MANY of my blogging colleagues no longer blog. I don’t know what the rate of blogging failure is, but it must be pretty high. A lot of bloggers end up quitting, as you probably have seen yourself.
That’s precisely why some small business owners come to a crashing halt when they try to generate leads with content marketing. Because they erroneously believe that content marketing is easy.
Writing, content marketing, and blogging can be a ton of fun. And it can be a smart way to generate leads. But please remember that it’s not easy!
How To Use Content Marketing So You Can Generate Leads Even If You’re Starting From Scratch
Look around you. There are countless ways to publish content. There are dozens of blogging platforms, endless social media channels, and more course and ebook marketplaces popping up all the time.
You can publish blog posts. You can launch a Podcast. You can use social media to share content and to help people.
I would argue, however, that more important than any of this is your lead generation and content marketing strategy.
The main idea is to have a distinct impression as to who you want to help.
Who is your dream subscriber, who is your dream customer, and how can you assist, or benefit them?
Try your best to produce remarkable content that’s designed to offer enormous value.
That’s the golden ticket to content marketing, and it’s the single most crucial strategy in my view. Create outstanding content.
Offer tons of value, and mention your lead capture page, your lead magnet, or your email list in your content.
The First Steps In The Lead Generation Process
Let’s take a quick moment to define all of the steps from a thirty thousand foot bird’s eye view:
- Step # 1 – Design the perfect lead magnet to draw-out your prospect.
- Step # 2 – Build a lead capture page so your end users can subscribe.
- Step # 3 – Brainstorm for HOURS so you can figure out what types of fresh content you can create to entice your prospect.
- Step # 4 – Create excellent content that’s designed to assist your end-users. Promote your lead magnet and your lead capture page in your content!
Let’s Talk More About The Importance Of Your Lead Magnet
When your small business sets out to generate leads, there are a few considerations. The very first variable to think about is your lead magnet.
Your prospect isn’t going to join your email newsletter or enter their email on your lead capture page just for the heck of it. You need to offer them a valuable bribe.
But not just any bribe! You should ask yourself what your ideal prospect would crawl over a sizzling bed of red-hot coals to get.
What’s something that they want?
Do they want to lose weight? Do they want to build a beautiful sales page for their business? Do they want to sell their house? Do they want to make the perfect gourmet cupcake?
Once you figure out the core desires of your audience, it will be much easier for you to brainstorm the perfect lead magnet. But this step is hugely important.
Once you spend time brainstorming, you can then come up with an impactful lead magnet idea. Maybe you can write a book, create a course, create a video, or you can even create an audio file that contains a valuable lecture or lesson.
Much more important than the format of the lead magnet is the substance. Make sure that your content rocks, and that it helps your audience.
Building A Beautiful Lead Capture Page And Marketing Funnel
Once you have an excellent lead magnet, it’s time to build an awesome lead capture page and an entire marketing funnel to capture email leads.
I want you to know that I’ve built countless dozens of lead capture pages over the years. I’ve generated many thousands of leads. Lead generation is something that I’ve spent much of my life experimenting with.
In my opinion, simplicity works best.
On your lead capture page, try to convey what your end users get when they subscribe clearly. Tell them the main benefits quickly and concisely.
If you suck at graphic design, then don’t worry because there are tons of high-quality page builders these days with ready to use templates to make this process much more manageable.
So don’t stress out if you loathe the tech side of things! It’s straightforward to build a fantastic lead capture page these days using a variety of tools.
The main idea is to create a lead capture page that looks great. Make sure that you clearly state the benefits of joining your email newsletter so that your prospect isn’t confused as to what they have to gain.
Creating Tons Of High-Quality Content To Help Attract Leads
Once you have an impressive lead capture page setup and ready to rock, it’s time to start promoting your lead capture page like the dickens. Promote it everywhere that you can!
There are so many ways you can accomplish this. Of course, one of my favorite ways is to create blog content. I create oodles upon oodles of blog content!
Creating blog content can be an effortless and fun way to promote your lead capture page, and to generate leads.
Blogging, of course, requires a ton of work on your behalf. I’m not going to lie or sugarcoat the situation. Content marketing, blogging, and lead generation require work! Especially if your budget isn’t huge.
So here’s what I do. I have an excel spreadsheet with hundreds, if not THOUSANDS of blog post ideas that I want to write.
All of these potential blog post ideas are designed to help my audience in some way.
Whenever I think of a cool blog post idea or a tip that might help my prospects, I add it to the Excel spreadsheet.
This Excel spreadsheet is vital for a few different reasons. First, whenever I have the inspiration to write, I can simply open that Excel sheet and pick a topic that sounds fun.
Another reason this strategy is hugely influential is that it helps to eliminate writer’s block almost immediately. I never have to stress when I’m trying to think of what to write.
Instead, I just pop open Excel, choose a few topics that sound fun and interesting, and then I start writing content.
Then, at the end of the blog post, simply promote your lead capture page. You can also advertise your lead capture page in your widget, with a welcome bar, inside of an exit pop, or with a massive banner on your blog.
Finally, also remember that you could quickly turn that blog posts into other content. You can turn your blog post in YouTube videos, into PowerPoint slides, into audio content, into a short course.
You could even use that same content in your email newsletters! (This is something that I do all the time).
How To Followup With Your Leads Easily
Please never make the great mistake of building an email list, and then never following up with them!
If you’ve put forth all of this seemingly never-ending work, then you owe it to yourself to brainstorm a robust follow-up plan.
Drafting effective follow-ups is much easier than you think, especially if you’ve already put forth a ton of effort creating and brainstorming content ideas.
Want a huge tip? Never stop asking yourself how you can help your ideal client, subscriber, customer, or buyer. Stay in their shoes so you can always brainstorm more and better content ideas.
Another massive tip is to ask yourself what action you want your subscribers to take!
Do you want them to click on your banner ads? Do you want them to buy your products? Do you want them to place a call with your team?
What do you want them to do? Precisely what action do you want them to take?
Never Forget This One Lead Generation Strategy
I kind of touched upon this topic in the previous section. However, it’s worth noting again.
Craft all of your marketing emails in a way that eases your audience into the action that you want them to take.
Make sure that every single follow-up email you ever send includes a call to action.
Maybe that call to action is to call you for a consultation. Or perhaps that call to action is to visit your sales page.
Or maybe you want your client to visit your storefront. It doesn’t matter.
I remember one time I joined an Author’s email list. I thought they were an exciting author.
They sent me a ton of excellent content. I found the material to be valuable, and I appreciated the content.
But they NEVER, not ONCE as I recall, made me an offer. The email newsletter never tried to sell anything. Not one of the emails, to my recollection, ever had any type of call to action.
I was waiting for them to sell something. But they never did. So, I never bought anything from them.
I’m not saying this to be a cantankerous curmudgeon, a jerk or anything. I’m merely saying, that in the world of lead generation, it’s not enough to simply generate a lead.
You also have to sell something, sell anything!
So, when your ideal client joins your email list, your lead generation process still needs to hustle hard.
Hustle hard, creating compelling content. Try your best to deliver fantastic support.
And, for Pete’s sake, include some type of call to action!
I thank you so very much for checking this out.
Please let me know should you have any comments, questions, or if you just want to brainstorm.
Until that time, stay awesome, and never give up!
Mike “Lead Generation Strategy” DeVincent