Regardless of your product or service, you can’t run a business without leads for new clients. And to scale and grow your business, you’ll need an effective method to generate and attract new leads on an ongoing basis.
Below, I’ve listed some of the most cost-effective methods for lead generation. We’ve used all of these tactics at one point or another, and they can be implemented for virtually any business.
Whether you’re a retailer that’s targeting new wholesale customers, or a mortgage broker seeking new homebuyers, these strategies can aid with sourcing new customers.
Be Active on Social Media
Social media and online advertising are excellent ways to drive brand awareness and gain visibility, but some of the most qualified and willing clients will come from your personal network of contacts.
If have a large personal network on social media, it’s time to leverage that into business. And if you’re new to social media, I strongly encourage you to get active in your industry.
1. Facebook Groups
Facebook groups are a hidden gem that most marketers dismiss. Facebook allows any user to create private and public groups, which are used as a thread to discuss certain interest or topics. They cover a variety of demographics and interests from local mom groups to celebrity fan clubs.
You’ll need to search through Facebook in order to find active groups that align well with your brand and product. As well, you may have to convince an admin for an invitation if the group you’re trying to access happens to be private.
Actively participating in relevant Facebook groups can establish your brand as a thought leader. As well, interacting with other participants can help you find avid brand ambassadors that will become a valuable source for referrals.
Facebook groups exists for nearly any niche. For instance, if I’m selling vegan products, I may join and contribute to several Facebook groups relating to clean-eating or veganism. If I was promoting mechanic or auto-shop, I would probably look to join some local car/racing enthusiast groups
Creating your own dedicated Facebook group can also stimulate dialogue around the issues your company tackles, while addressing potential questions about your product/service.
2. Local Trade Shows
You can find a trade show for almost any industry or professional field. A quick search on Google or Eventbrite is the first step in finding local events. If you’re in a some-what popular niche, I can guarantee you’ll find a trade show directed towards your target audience.
According to a report by Exhibitor, 84 percent of trade show attendees are decision makers with the intent to make a purchase at the show. It’s true, many of the attendees are ‘window shoppers’, but that’ll also depend on your niche.
You Don’t Need a Booth to Market at Trade Shows
If you’re not investing in booth or space, there’s still huge value in networking with the exhibitors. Regardless of how you’re building leads, nothing beats a face-to-face conversation.
Dedicating your full day to canvas trade show exhibitors might seem grueling, but it’ll get your foot in the door with clients you would have never reached otherwise. Plus, it allows you to gather information that should set the stage for a killer follow-up.
LinkedIn is a must-have if your goal is to close large deals, especially in the corporate world. It allows potential clients to verify your experience and background, as well as offering direct marketing opportunities in your industry.
You can find a company’s decision makers and contact them individually via LinkedIn. Simply visit the company’s LinkedIn page, and click See all employees on LinkedIn.
With a premium account, you can even send messages to people outside of your connections and view anyone who happened to browse your account. Best of all, they offer a free one-month trial that lets you evaluate the premium version for yourself.
Direct marketing on LinkedIn is an art of it’s own. Finding the right contacts, writing an engaging introduction, and following up appropriately are all key components.
You don’t need to add every employee from a company if you’re trying to gain their business. But you do need to target a decision maker, and offer a value proposition that catches their attention.
In addition to messaging your LinkedIn connections, you can obtain contact info to follow up via email or with a phone call. Not all of your leads will check their LinkedIn as frequently, but with an email address you can reach their inbox or target social media ads.
How to Export LinkedIn Contacts
Visit your member settings page to archive and save any data from your LinkedIn account. To export all of your connections, select the connections checkbox and click archive
4. Facebook Contacts
Chances are most of your Facebook contacts are family, friends and old acquaintances. It’s naive to think that these aren’t strong leads. If you know someone who’s actively seeking a product or service you’re offering, there’s nothing wrong with reaching out to them. And if you don’t want to outright pitch your friends and relatives, you can open the conversation by asking for ‘feedback’ on your product.
How to Export Facebook Contacts
Facebook contact info can also be exported although it has to be done through Yahoo. You’ll need to open a Yahoo mail account if you don’t already have one.
From the Yahoo website visit the contacts page and click the import button beside the Facebook logo.
If you’re seeking new B2B clients, online directories offer a variety of prospects that can be targeted by industry. Scraping leads from directory sites is one of the oldest marketing tactics, but it’s still highly effective for business development.
Depending on your business, you should be able to find a directory that fits your niche. Since many online directories include business details such as reviews, company size and address, you can also use this info to qualify and rank your leads.
Popular Directories for Generating New Leads
Yelp – Primarily for restaurants, but Yelp also offers categories for other business types. I’m a fan of their filters, which let you narrow businesses by price range, location and popularity.
Yellowpages/411 – The Yellowpages website hosts a massive directory of local businesses. The information is relatively accurate since businesses on Yellowpages are required to pay a monthly free for listings.
Homestars – Directory for renovation and trades company’s. Homestars also includes the social handles for their business listings, which is useful for gathering additional information on a company.
Houzz – Houzz is an online community for interior decor professionals and renovators. Their platform has a variety of features to connect and view content from local design businesses and entrepreneurs. As a marketer, I’m personally a fan of their user forum, which allows you to build threads and create an actual dialogue with your potential clients.
Classified Ads (Kijiji/Craigslist) – Whether you’re generating leads locally, or across the country, classified ads websites offers a plethora of qualified clients that are actively checking their emails.
For many entrepreneurs, the typical day consists of constant multitasking and switching between various assignments. The last thing that should be compromised is productivity. There’s probably an app for each of your daily tasks, but which ones will actually make a significant difference in your day-to-day?
As an agency, we’re constantly seeking new tools that can improve productivity and reduce stress. Below, I’ve highlighted some of our favorite tools to manage daily-work faster and more effectively.
Asana is a web and mobile application that we frequently use to track tasks and the progress as a team. The app allows you to create categories for tasks, projects and teams that can all be interconnected for a high-level view. On a daily basis we use Asana to assign tasks, check to-do’s and share notes.
We’ve also used Slack and Basecamp to manage team projects, though Asana offers a more aesthetically pleasing dashboard that requires barely any instruction to understand.
How often do you forget your business/personal passwords? Frankly, it happens quite often for us, especially when we’re managing various accounts across different devices. With 1Password, you can access and autofill any of your stored from a browser extension. 1Password manages all of your credentials and allows users to actively store passwords and sensitive content with a PBKDF2 guarded-master password.
3. Find that Lead
Seeking the email address for a lead or company that you’ve been tirelessly targeting? Find that lead is a browser plugin that pulls relevant contact emails from a company website or media link. The app only requires a name, and company domain to start scanning the web for relevant email addresses. Their dashboard also includes a validation score that indicates the accuracy for the email addresses it generates. Find That Lead offers a free-version with a limit of 10 leads per day, which is stored automatically in CSV format for easy export.
4. Hello Sign
Hello Sign allows you sign documents through email, without any paper or physical copies. The browser extension can be downloaded for free. You’ll be able to to sign documents in less than thirty seconds. As well, all signed documents are legally binding and automatically backed up. It’s perfect for long-distance proposal, and obtaining signatures urgently.
Canva is a free mobile and web app that allows user to produce content using a variety of editable templates that are constantly being updated. Whether it be a magazine, postcard, social media post (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn), Canva has templates for almost any design format. Photoshop is still our go-to, especially for highly-customized projects and print displays, however Canva is also fantastic for sourcing new design ideas.
Honorable Mention: Google Trends
Trends uses Google’s powerful algorithm to determine hot topics based on search history and new articles that are being indexed in real time. It also offers a demographic view of where certain trends are most prominent. For content driven brands, Google Trends offers an amazing breadth of engaging topics that can be used to produce new articles, videos and social media posts.