While your business should always focus on customer retention since it's cheaper than customer acquisition, acquisition should always remain part of your strategy. You need to keep your sales pipeline fed with fresh, relevant leads.
This means you must always have some kind of lead generation strategy in place. And matter what kind of strategy you develop, you'll need to use a number of tools for lead generation. But lead generation isn't necessarily easy. Follow these nine tips to help you keep the high-quality leads flowing into your funnel.
1. Make Twitter Searches Work for You
Twitter's search feature can do far more than track a hashtag. The advanced search feature makes it easier to find and interact with your potential customers, thus bringing in more leads from social media.
Use the advanced search feature to find tweets about any topic related to your niche. You can go so far as to include only tweets from people in your local area, or tweets that mention your competition, too, if you'd like. You can even save each of your searches so they are easy to come back to and monitor over time.
One of the best ways to use Twitter's search feature is to find questions that your potential customers are asking. Gather a list of common questions, and create a blog post with a thorough answer for each of them. Then, when you've published the post with each answer, go back to the relevant tweets and reply with a link to the blog post to let them know you've got them covered.
2. Create Twitter Lead Cards
Sure, Twitter’s search features make it easy to identify relevant leads, but the platform also supports a special feature specifically for lead capture.
Lead cards allow you to collect a user's email address in exchange for an offer. It's a one-click signup that can help boost your conversion rates. This is an excellent feature if you've got a free trial, a report to give away or a weekly curated newsletter. Twitter cards are great for promoted tweets, but you can also use them in organic tweets, which you can pin to the top of your profile’s timeline.
Check out the complete list of types of Twitter cards you have available – and how you can use them to get more leads flowing into your funnel.
3. Include Content Upgrades
You need lead magnets to attract people to your website, and to give them something of value when they offer up their email address to you. Content upgrades don't need to be attached to every single blog post, of course, but fit them in wherever you can – and you'll have yet another valuable asset to pull people in with.
For nearly every blog post you write, there's a content upgrade you could include at the bottom of the post, with an email opt-in. For example:
- Planning worksheets to help readers execute the strategies you recommend
- Spreadsheets with lists of resources relevant to your content
- Printer-friendly versions of long-firm blog posts or other resources
- Process diagrams to map out complex workflows step-by-step
- Checklists of the items required to get a job done, or a list of mistakes to avoid
4. Get Busy at Industry Conferences
No matter what industry you're in, you can likely find numerous conferences to attend. Simply head over to Google and search for [industry] conferences or [industry] events, and you’ll probably find more options than you know what to do with.
Making a point to attend one or more of these conferences can help you connect with influencers – more on that below – for more product promotion. It's also possible to apply to speak at these conferences, if you have something that can add value to the event. Speaking gigs can give you excellent exposure, and once you speak at one conference, it becomes easier to speak at others.
Popular marketing, blogging and SEO conferences include:
- Affiliate Summit
- SXSW Conference
- Social Media Marketing World
- Digiday Brand Summit
- Marketo's Marketing Nation Summit
5. Connect with Influencers
Want free promotion and more lead generation paths? Connect with influencers, then give them free access to your products or services – so they can talk to their audiences about them.
Yes, it's going to cost you money to give away the products and service licenses, but it's an advertising cost that’ll probably yield high returns.
Use Twitter searches to find influencers in your industry who are most worthy of connecting with. Start a relationship with these people, though, before asking them to do any kind of promotion for you – or risk getting ignored completely. There are plenty of other tools available for finding influencers, including Little Bird and Traackr.
6. Craft Query-Driven Content
Whenever you search for something on Google, either for personal or business reasons, you've no doubt noticed the auto complete feature. Use this to your advantage to get topic ideas, but take it a few steps further to really get the most value.
Type in your competition's name, and take a look at what their top pages are. When you type in the competition's name, look at the auto-completed phrases, so you can see the phrases that are being searched.
Now, look through your Google Webmaster Tools to see which keywords are driving traffic to your website. Add the similar keywords to your articles, or create new content to help boost your SEO. If you're not much of a writer, consider outsourcing the content creation to a highly qualified freelance writer or agency.
This is a quick and easy way to find out what your customers are searching for, so your content can be query driven. But, if you want to dig deeper, look into using competitive research tools like SEMRush.
7. Develop an Affiliate Program
If you want to build a sales team without the pressure of paying a full salary for each person, then an affiliate program may be the perfect solution.
You pay a percentage of each sale – only paying for the success they bring you. It's a win-win situation for you, because if they don't bring in sales, you don't have to pay them. And successful affiliate marketers work with multiple programs, and can earn a full time income, without the stress of creating their own products and services to sell.
8. Build Trust with Security Seals, Testimonials and Reviews
Security is a major issue for many online consumers – so adding trust symbols to your website, like the Norton and McAfee security badges, or the Verisign security badge, can go a long way in helping your customers learn to trust you. And since Google has added a ranking boost to secure sites using SSL to create https:// connections rather than http://, you've got even more reason to invest in keeping your website secure.
While SSL and security seals can add trust, you want to really drive the point home using social proof. Do this with testimonials and positive reviews of your company. You can reach out to customers who've made purchases and ask them to share their thoughts – offering a discount or a free shipping code for their next order to entice them.
You can also look through recent customer support tickets, or find recent positive mentions on Twitter. Whatever approach you take, make sure you ask for permission to highlight their testimonial or review. Your new leads will only trust you if they’re confident your existing clientele does.
9. Use a Variety of Tactics and Tools
The bottom line is that no matter what kind of lead generation strategy you develop, you'll need to find the mix of tactics and tools that works best for the specifics of your business.
The more diverse the tactics you implement, the higher the volume of qualified leads you can likely bring in. And the more efforts you put in towards optimizing your lead generation strategies, the better quality leads you'll end up with – increasing the chances that you’ll eventually be closing deals with customers who stick with you and sing your praises to their peers.