13 Strategic Methods for Small Business Lead Generation

In the ever-growing and competitive landscape of small businesses, lead generation is vital to your sustainable growth. Effective lead generation enables small businesses to expand their reach and build robust, loyal customer bases. To effectively generate leads, however, it is essential to consider and employ strategic approaches that maximize results. The top three strategies for effective small business lead generation include content marketing, social media marketing, and networking and partnerships. Other strategic methods for small business lead generation are listed below:

small-business-lead-generationSmall business owner. Image Credit: Shutterstock.com/Monkey Business Images

Niche Directories

Niche directories are online platforms that help small businesses reach target audiences who search using niche-specific keywords. This improves the company’s online visibility, helps it reach a wider audience, and enhances its authority and credibility within that niche. 

As a small business owner, your first step is to identify which directories are tailored toward your industry or domain and choose from them. Then create profiles with detailed information about your business, and create listings for your products with niche-targeted keywords.

For many industry players, Thomasnet is an important niche directory to consider. Thomasnet is an authoritative niche directory in the industrial and manufacturing sector that connects suppliers and buyers. The platform allows suppliers to create detailed profiles about their products/services and also allows buyers to access relevant suppliers based on product type, certification, location, and capabilities. This, of course, will enable suppliers to reach their audience, and buyers to choose from numerous supplier options.

SEO Strategy

SEO, or search engine optimization, is a lead-generation strategy that can help all businesses with an online presence. In short, you optimize your online outlets to be as discoverable as possible on search engines like Google. The right keywords will drive organic traffic to your website.  

A successful SEO strategy will improve your visibility on search engines and allow more prospects to find your business. It is important to conduct thorough keyword research to understand what terms your customers search when they are interested in products like yours. Then, you optimize your website and create content that addresses your customers' needs with the targeted keywords.

If you are looking for a platform that comes with SEO as part of its package, Thomasnet is a good option to consider. Thomasnet enhances online visibility and search engine optimization for the businesses listed on its platform. It has an authoritative reputation and a strong presence on search engines. 

PPC Strategy

PPC, or payment-per-click, is a strategy that lets you reach prospects with targeted advertisements. Online ads are this scheme’s weapon of choice, and you pay based on how many times the ad gets clicked. To do this properly, you must create targeted ads communicating your product's unique selling point. Then, place these ads on search engines and similar platforms. This strategy provides precise targeting towards your niche and yields maximum results.

While PPC ads look simple, that’s not always the case. They may not yield the expected results unless managed with expertise. Thomasnet is your best bet for running a successful PPC strategy. They have over three decades of experience creating digital ads that integrate the data suppliers give them into their prospect-targeting efforts. 

Social Media Marketing Strategy

Social media marketing creates an avenue for small businesses to build awareness and exposure among their potential customers. It allows small businesses to expand their reach and connect to a larger customer base.

In social media marketing, the first step is to identify the social media platforms where your target customers are most active. Next, establish yourself on these platforms as an authority in your niche. You can introduce your business to them by creating promotional content with engaging props and visuals that describe what your business is about, what your product does, and how it meets your customers' needs.

Start a Referral Network

Referral networks can become robust lead-generation tools that yield great results. The foundation of every referral network is trust. You create a program where customers refer your business to new and potential customers. By directing new customers to you, your existing customers are automatically vouching for both your product and your credibility. It also produces word-of-mouth marketing, a proven marketing strategy that helps generate organic traffic for your business. This means referral networks give you a high chance of converting potential customers into leads. 

To encourage your existing customers to refer others to your business, offer them discounts, rewards, or exclusive access to certain parts of your product or service line. These rewards benefit your customers, and they return the favor by pushing new customers your way. 

Host Events

By hosting industry-related events, you will naturally network and collaborate with like-minded individuals and businesses in similar niches. This strategy demands active participation, planning, and organizing for events like webinars, workshops, and conferences. Attendees are almost guaranteed to be interested in your field or niche. This strategy brings your target audience directly to you, so you have the opportunity to showcase your expertise and credibility in the field. Also, it creates an avenue where you can collate information about potentials whom you can contact again later to push them further down the sales funnel. The events will increase your brand visibility and generate leads for your business.

Email Marketing

Email marketing involves the distribution of emails to prospects and customers who have shown interest in your business. You can collect email addresses through contact forms on your websites, lead magnets, and at trade shows. After collation, the next step is to implement targeted campaigns with the latest updates, educational content, and promo options that might interest your prospects. These targeted campaigns should be customized for each customer based on the preferences they indicated in their purchase history, purchase behavior, or website search history.

With email marketing, even a small business can address prospects' pain points, show how its product solves them, and, ultimately, generate leads. 

Add Live Chat

A live chat feature allows customers to communicate with your business in real time. This gives customers and visitors immediate assistance or answers. This feature leaves a positive impression on your customers and puts them at ease because they know they can reach you anytime.

Just like direct communication, live chat gives you insights into the minds and behavior of your customers and prospects. It provides a clear view of their questions, comments, and complaints, helps you understand their needs, and gives you the chance to tailor your solutions toward their specific issue. This, of course, builds trust among your customers.

Write a Newsletter

A newsletter is a non-invasive strategy for staying in touch with prospects and customers. By sending reminders and content from time to time, you keep your business alive in their minds and increase their probability of reaching out to you when the need arises.

Your newsletter can include exclusive promotions, discounts, valuable content, success stories, testimonials, and positive reviews from previous customers. It helps to nurture your business in the minds of prospects over a long period.

Optimize Website CTAs

A CTA, or call-to-action, is a set of clear instructions that tell your customers what steps to take next. It is usually a prompt that urges your customers further down the sales funnel by directing them to answer questions, provide contact information, or subscribe to your content. Your request should be very clear to eliminate friction.  

It is important to optimize your website’s CTA in terms of its keywords and niche. Also, persuasive phrases to push visitors into following up on the CTA are important. Instead of using the generic “Sign up” or “Click Here,” it’s far more effective to provide value in the CTA. Phrases like “Unlock your gift now” or “Get a discount today” are more likely to get clicks. 

Direct Mail Campaigns

A direct mail campaign is a time-honored approach to small business lead generation. It involves reaching your prospects through traditional postal mail. This is a direct, targeted approach made for a specific audience based on demographics and other criteria. Your mailings should be sent to potential customers at their residences.

Personalized physical mail leaves a lasting impression. It creates a sense of personal connection between the sender and the recipient, making further engagement more likely. Physical mail also stands a better chance of being seen rather than getting lost amidst the modern cascade of digital messages. 

Direct mail campaigns are a cost-effective way of generating leads and achieving optimal results.

Start an Incentive-Based Program

An incentive-based program is simply one that rewards your customers for certain tasks. It helps attract the attention of potential customers and also motivates prompt responses to CTAs.

With this strategy, small businesses can gather information about customers’ interests, preferences, and behaviors. Incentive programs can breed loyalty amongst your customers, since they’re more likely to talk about your products to their friends, coworkers, and relatives.

In the end, you get to satisfy your existing customers by offering incentives, and your customer base grows because of word-of-mouth marketing.

Create Downloadable and Shareable Assets

Downloadable assets usually take the form of e-books, white papers, templates, or guides. To access these assets, your customers and visitors must leave their contact info or details. This allows you to create a database of potential leads where you can direct your targeted marketing. 

These assets help you build authority and credibility in your niche and make prospects return to you if they find the information valuable. This is a great tool that helps build trust and attract and nurture new leads for your business.

About Thomasnet

Thomasnet.com® is trusted by millions of industrial buyers who have leveraged our content and expertise. We connect buyers, engineers and MRO professionals to more than 500,000 North American manufacturers daily. Reaching these in-market buyers starts with building a comprehensive Company Profile.

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