By Lilach Bullock.
So, you’re looking to generate new leads and you’d like them generated yesterday? Well you’ve come to the right place. If you’re eager to generate leads ASAP, you’ll find five practical suggestions in this guide plus plenty of tips to optimise your campaign and maximise the ensuing conversion rate. As for why any business would be in such a hurry to bolster its list of prospects, well, pick any reason you like. The faster you can grow your database, the faster you can start marketing to them.
Express lead generation will particularly appeal to:
- New start-ups that haven’t had a chance to organically develop leads
- Established businesses whose lead acquisition rate has stagnated
- Businesses preparing to launch a new product or service
- Brands that are seeking to promote an imminent event, campaign or webinar
- Businesses that have just been acquired, are under new management or have just received an investment in capital
In short, most businesses can benefit from shortening their lead generation cycle. You can’t grow a successful business overnight, but what you can do with the right strategies is grow your audience and then develop a content marketing strategy that addresses their needs and interests. To paraphrase Field of Dreams, “If you build it, they will come”.
Okay, let’s start with the most obvious one: Google AdWords. There are lots of well-meaning articles on the web about fast lead generation strategies, but the truth is that starting a blog, creating an infographic and posting on forums don’t constitute express solutions. This sort of stuff is fine if you’re following a two-year lead generation strategy, but when you’re in a hurry, you need instant results. Basically, you need Google AdWords or failing that Bing Ads or possibly even both.
Yes, it’ll cost you, but that’s the price you pay for the luxury of being able to directly tap into a ready-made audience. When you’ve just started a new business, getting your first few followers, leads and customers is the hardest part. After all, no one wants to engage with a business whose social channels look like a ghost town. That’s unavoidable at first, not just on social but also with your email database. To ensure your marketing newsletters go out to more than just your secretary and your mum, a well-targeted AdWords campaign will work wonders. This could be for a landing page on your site complete with a lead generation form and ads that appear in paid search, on YouTube or the Display Network. Paid advertising is sometimes what’s required to get the ball rolling – the organic traffic will come later.
2. Sponsored Content
Speaking of paid advertising, another lead generation strategy that will yield rapid results is paying for sponsored content. LinkedIn and Facebook are the two most obvious platforms where this approach can be effective, but there are also other channels such as Instagram and Twitter which may be suitable depending on your business model. If your content is strong, promoting it on the right channels can give it the critical momentum it needs to start accruing reads, shares and – oh yes – conversions.
LinkedIn’s sponsored content is particularly good for attracting B2B customers. Since the network introduced Lead Gen Forms, capturing the details of your readers, especially on mobile, has gotten a whole lot easier. Then there’s Facebook, which is now a genuine rival to Google as an advertising platform. Oh, and don’t think that Facebook is for B2C only: it’s also a great B2B platform thanks to precise targeting options that allow you to zero in on the sort of prospects who constitute your ideal customer.
3. Product Videos
If you’re a bold and brand new business with big ideas that are going to disrupt your industry, change your space and generally make the world a better, more exciting place, video is the platform to get your genius across. Creating a strong product video will likely be a far more effective use of your time and resources than a corresponding blog post, white paper or webinar. ‘Strong’ doesn’t mean producing a generic whiteboard animation that you bought off Fiverr before crossing your fingers and praying it goes viral incidentally. It doesn’t work like that.
Once – or rather if – you’ve created an epic video, the first place it should go is on the homepage of your website. Most people tend to be visual learners and a short video will convey your product or service far more effectively than a wall of text ever could. You should also pin that video to the top of your Twitter and Facebook pages or even use it in place of a cover image on Facebook. And that’s just for starters. If you’ve got the budget to give it a bump, your content can be promoted everywhere from YouTube to Insta.
Number four on this list is another suggestion that – wait for it – is gonna cost you. If you’re smart though, enlisting the services of influencers can provide a substantial return on your investment. It’s commonly assumed that influencers – typically thought leaders or social media personalities with a sizeable following – are only good for promoting products. While it’s true that influencers will do a great job of bigging up your snazzy collection of lip balms or trainers, they can also be used as a lead generation tool.
Whatever it is you’d like them to shout about, be it a forthcoming webinar, a landing page, an e-book or industry event, rope in the right influencers and tap into an engaged audience that would be the envy of any business in your sector. Tools such as Grapevine, Shoutcart and Famebit will enable you to link with influencers who’ll be a good fit for your brand.
We’ll finish with a free option, because some businesses won’t have the budget at first to pay for traffic. With tens of millions of visitors a month, SlideShare is a platform that rewards strong content. The most popular SlideShares can generate hundreds of thousands of views; if your slide deck links to your landing page, that’s a whole lot of potential leads. Realistically, you’re unlikely to strike gold with your first attempt at publishing content on SlideShare. That’s okay though: you don’t need that level of traffic. Even a few thousand views can generate substantial referral traffic. In fact some businesses have reported in case studies how SlideShare is one of their most potent referral sources.
With all that traffic that will be hitting your landing pages, be it through paid advertising, organic or a combination of both, you’ll want to make sure your lead generation forms are working smoothly along with your marketing automation software. With a targeted audience engaging with strong content and everything shipshape behind the scenes, it won’t be long before that trickle of leads becomes a torrent.