Generate Online Leads: 10 Creative, Effective, and Practical Ways
Learning how to generate online leads for your business is exceptionally important. Without generating online leads, you are closing the door to an entire segment of an audience who show an interest in your products/services.
With more than 5.8 billion daily global Google searches, your audience is more than likely searching online for your products and services. Take a look for yourself. Load up Google’s Keyplanner tool, and quantify the audience looking for your products and services.
From a sales perspective, your online lead generation activities should be designated as a priority, and incorporate the some (if not all) of the following lead generation tactics into your overall online lead generation strategy.
Before we dig into these online lead generation techniques, please consider the following statistics:
- Companies that published 16 or more posts a month had 4.5 times more leads generated versus those that published four or less (Hubspot)
- On average, leads that come from SEO’ed content have a 14.6% conversion rate, which is 8x higher than traditional media (Webfx)
- On average, every dollar invested in a User Experience Design of your website, brings 100 dollars in return; ROI of 9,900 percent (Forester Research)
- 76% of people using “near me” searches on their mobile devices, visit a related business within a day (Google)
- Marketers who use segmented email campaigns, recognize up to a 760% increase in revenue (Hubspot)
- 89% of all marketers find ROI from influencer marketing comparable to or better than other marketing channels (BigCommerce)
- 80% of video marketers say video has directly helped increase sales (Wxyowl)
- 93% of brands got a new customer because of a video on social media. (Wyxowl)
- Research shows that using a well thought out lead magnet for lead generation purposes can increase the opt-in rate by almost by 85%
Now that you see the importance of online lead generation, take a look at the sampling of these online lead generation methods. Experiment with those that make sense for your business, keep what works, and discard the rest.
#1 Give Away Free (But Valuable) Stuff
Interestingly enough, one of the best ways that a your business can generate online leads is to provide something of value (but at not cost) to your target audience.
For example, offering a free download in the form of an e-book, guide, or industry report is an efficient method for acquiring customer contact information.
Personally…I call this an “ethical bribe”.
From here, you’re able to use their contact information to provide them with product and service offers in the future, via eMail marketing.
It’s important to note, though, that whatever you provide must have inherent value to your audience. Offering something irrelevant or something that has a low level of quality can actually deter people from interacting with your brand in the future.
Many entrepreneurs tend to forego this strategy due to not having time to create something useful for their audience. However, developing the blueprints and then outsourcing the work is likely to provide the results that you are seeking.
If you decide to outsource this online lead generation effort, I strongly suggest working with a digital marketing company, who is reputable, understands the digital marketing space well, has a solid technical + digital marketing delivery team, and has testimonials to back up their work.
Don’t risk, damaging the trust your audience has with your brand. Find a digital marketing and web design company who you trust.
#2: Paid Targeted Digital Advertising
Running paid ads to drive traffic to your business website is something that should never be overlooked, especially if you are looking for relatively quick results.
Even though it takes about 2 weeks for the digital paid advertising bots to “learn” and “adjust”, you should start seeing targeted online traffic (i.e. your audience) trickling into your website within a few days.
There are many different platforms that offer a variety of targeted advertising solutions (e.g. Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, etc.). These social platforms allow you to capture leads directly with their in-platform capture forms, on your website using your website functionality, and on 3rd party capture platforms such as: Lead Pages, Unbounce or Click Funnels.
You’ll need to select the social platform(s) and lead capture methods which best suits your lead generation objectives (e.g. intent based advertising, post retargetting, sponsored posts, etc.).
Although smaller companies may be hesitant to spend money on generating leads using paid digital advertising, the results can be highly satisfying for those who implement and manage the process correctly (Implementing and managing paid advertising correctly is unfortunately not within the scope of this article). However, here’s a few high level concepts to consider:
- Decide on a digital advertising strategy (intent based, retargetting, etc.) and create a plan.
- Pre determine the campaign success metrics, calculate expected volumes, conversion rates, and advertising costs.
- Build your campaign on the respective platform according to industry best practices.
- Send your audience to the capture pages (aka. Landing pages) on the platform that makes sense for your requirements and budget.
- Continuously measure the campaign metrics and adjust the campaign as appropriate.
- Celebrate when your audience converts into a sales lead.
There are many factors that will determine the success of your digital advertising campaigns; Budget spend (over or under), advertising copy, landing page copy, your offer, measuring the success metrics, your target audience definition, copy congruence, and the actual campaign configurations itself.
Here, by the way, is an article to help you gauge and adjust the effectiveness of your Google Advertising environment – Is Google Ads Worth It – Making It Work For You.
#3: Newsletter or a Mini eMail Course
A newsletter or an eMail course can be thought of as an extension of giving away something for free.
As opposed to providing access to a single piece of content (e.g. a downloadable pdf), having your audience opt into a monthly email newsletter or signup for a mini eMail course, is a great way to provide something for free, while nurturing the relationship with your clients.
Your newsletter or mini eMail course should provide your audience with relevant, valuable and high quality information. That is what they are expecting!
In addition to educating your audience (via eMail), you have the ability to strategically place calls to action within the eMail body, helping your audience take specific action (e.g. purchase a service, request a call back, join your Facebook business community, etc.)
To illustrate, a few newsletter/eMail course examples:
- Those who function within the real estate industry, you could provide a monthly newsletter that details the performance of the local market, or even signals time to buy or sell a home, etc.
- Management Consultants could provide their clients with a periodic newsletter that helps their clients understand process, organizational concepts, employee behavior, etc.
- Dog Walkers can provide their clients (i.e. the pet parents) with articles that show helpful information on dog grooming, dog health, dog safety, etc.
- Digital Marketing Consultants could provide their clients with a short LinkedIn B2B Lead Generation email course
The technology behind newsletters and mini eMail courses not only provide an online lead generation mechanism, but also puts the nurturing of your ’email audience’ in auto drive, helping you save valuable time. More on eMail nurturing later.
There are various eMail marketing platforms to help you facilitate your newsletter or mini eMail marketing course, such as: Aweber, Constant Contact, Mailchimp, Hubspot, etc. Albeit different, each of these platforms function in a similar way and have a competitive pricing structure.
As long as you establish yourself as an authority in your industry and target location, you’re likely to find a great amount of success with your company’s newsletter and mini eMail course marketing.
#4: Social Media Engagement
Similar to having conversations with your potential clients and business partners at in-person networking events, the various social media channels gives you the ability to dialog with your audience, but in a digital context, resulting in more potential business leads for your business.
These social media conversations give you the ability to display your subject matter expertise and authority. Show casing your expertise (in an non condescending manner) and being authentically helpful, tend to increase the trust between you and your social media followers.
Trust is the hallmark of establishing successful business relationships. Once trust is established, generating leads from your social media channels will become second nature.
Before engaging with your audience on your social media channels, it is however, extremely important that:
- Your branding is consistent.
- Your social media channels are setup to flow your audience to your website.
- Your social media channels are as close to 100% complete as possible.
- Your website is designed to purposely flow your audience to a “contact-like” page on your website (e.g. email form, messenger, phone, calendar appointment, etc.).
“Passive lead capture” is yet another method to capture leads from your social media channels. Passive lead generation is a method by which your social media profile is built with specific demand keyword phrases. Your audience uses these demand keyword phrases to search for your products and services, resulting in your social media profile being displayed in the users search results; And thus, passive lead generation.
Besides social media conversations, running digital ads on your social media platforms also gives you the ability to capture business leads. Please see the section on paid digital advertising for more details on digital advertising as a lead capture mechanism.
#5: Video Marketing
Creating video content may not seem like a step in the right direction for many brands. This is especially true for those who have a limited budget when it comes to content creation.
However, YouTube has essentially grown to become the second most popular search engine. So you would be foregoing thousands of potential leads by not taking advantage of the demographic that YouTube gives you access to.
Fortunately, you have plenty of options when it comes to the type of video that you choose to make. For example. it could be:
- Something as simple as a brief announcement regarding your brand.
- A look into how your company operates behind the scenes.
- A product or service demonstration.
- A tip of the week.
Any of these video concepts could be expanded upon, and the content can be repurposed into a vlog series, where you periodically showcase different parts of your office, members of your team, provide a business tip, etc.
Not only are you able to provide offers to your target audience within the video itself, but you can also add calls to action and destination links to the description of your video, to drive traffic away from YouTube, to a landing page on your website, in order to facilitate the capture of the lead information.
#6: Emphasize User Experience
One of the most important things you can implement regarding online lead generation, is to optimize the user experience of your entire website for your audience. As you may expect, people won’t be very likely to interact with your brand if:
- Your website does not load quickly. Recent statistics suggest your website should load fully in under 5 seconds.
- Your website messaging is not crystal clear to your audience. Your audience should be able to tell (in under 5 seconds for content based sites and under 2 seconds for ecommerce sites) that you understand their issue and how you are going to fix the issue.
- Your website navigation is overly complicated. Your website navigation must have a simple navigation structure, especially on mobile devices. Quick access to specific parts of your website should be extremely intuitive to your audience.
- Your website does not function correctly on mobile. If your audience, for example, has to squeeze and pinch for the correct font sizes, click on multiple website elements by mistake because they are too close together, filling out web forms is complex and laborious, or business phone numbers are not made tappable, then it’s time to rethink your website design
Designing a website is part art and part science. An aesthetically appealing and technically sound website will give you the ability to substantially generate online leads. Conversely, not having the correct website elements will make it very difficult to convert website leads.
A few steps to take toward a better website design:
- Establish the objective of your website. What do you want to achieve? Do you you’re your audience to book phone appointments? Purchase a product? Attend an event? Your website should be designed with its objective in mind.
- Simple is better. Keep the messaging of your website congruent and simple.
- Keep the layout of your pages simple and streamlined. Overly complicated websites will not convert a business lead efficiently (or at all).
- Keep contact information highly visible. Your audience should be able to easily able to establish contact with you.
- Make it easy for users to navigate to the information they’re looking for.
#7: Optimized Blog Content
You should consider blogging as an online lead generation mechanism. It’s strategic for your business.
Blogging, on average, produces 67% more leads per month compared to not blogging.
Your blogs are typically found by your audience on the major search engines. The closer the search engine results are to page 1, the better chance your audience will find your content. Thus, you’ll have a better chance of generating leads with the found blog post.
The best chance to make your article appear at the top of the Google search results heap, is to pay attention to the following five elements. These elements are not exhaustive, but serve as a minimum baseline for better ranking content:
- Select in-demand keyword phrases: Write content which your audience is requesting, which you can establish via keyword research. These keyword phrases will serve as the foundation for each blog post to be written.
- Identify keyword competition: From your keyword research, establish the best keyword phrases to use (or not to use). Gauge the saturation levels of your selected keyword phrases. If the competition is fierce, find an alternate topic (with keyword variations), and make sure you are able to ‘play’ with the competition.
- Produce high quality content: Googles search engines have evolved dramatically since they first started ranking websites. One of the most significant ranking signals to Google is the quality of the content you produce. To match their expectations, it’s advisable to incorporate Google’s E. A. T. principal and their content quality guidelines into your content writing. E = Expertise. A = Authoritative. T = Trustworthiness.
- Create blog post meta information: The meta information for a blog post should be thought of as an “elevator pitch” for a blog article. Construct the meta information for the blog from your audience perspective, giving them sufficient information that will result in a click of the searched result and ending up on your website.
Don’t under estimate the power of blogging. Not only does it help towards online lead generation, but can be used to produce presentations, create workshops, write topical books, and help your audience move through your sales funnel.
#8: Proper SEO
SEO doesn’t stop with blog posts, though. Optimizing your entire site to give you the greatest chance of ranking well on search engine results pages as one of the best ways that you can drastically increase your business leads.
Keep in mind Google accounts for more than 70% of all global desktop search traffic, followed by Bing at 13.06%, Baidu at 11.96%, and Yahoo at 2.26%. It is sensible to, therefore, focus on initially optimizing your website for Google traffic.
Google’s search algorithm uses more than 200 factors to rank websites. These ranking factors are used as one of the tools by SEO Professionals, and grouped in categories such as: Content, architecture, html, trust, links, the user, emerging verticals, and toxins. A visual representation of these 200 ranking factors are shown in the Periodic Table of SEO Factors.
When optimizing your website, pay attention to the elements that have the highest ranking weight, for example: Production of quality content, relevant keyword phrase research, ability for search engines to crawl your website, mobile device architecture, authority in your domain of expertise, the value of back links, geographical location, etc.
Optimized website results in increased organic traffic. The organic traffic is “free” (i.e. You DO NOT need to pay the search engine companies for this traffic), and mostly relevant/targeted traffic. Relevant/targeted traffic tend to convert your website audience better than non targeted traffic.
#9: Online Networking Meetings
Our global covid-19 pandemic has literally forced businesses to reinvent their lead generation methods. Similar to in-person networking events, online network meetings is already a proven method to generate business leads.
However, keep in mind, if you jump onto an online networking meeting with the objective of trying to sell and close deals online, you will probably be met with strong opposing forces.
Instead (and depending on your products and services), I highly recommend going into these online networking events with the objective of developing business partnerships and relationships, where you can leverage each other’s strengths to grow your respective businesses; Referral Partners.
You probably already know that the basic fundamental principle of marketing is to get people to know, like and trust you. Consistently showing up is already 50% of the battle of people getting to know, like and trust you. The remaining 50% is about your participation and your contribution to the networking group.
Here’s a few pointers for generating leads from online network meetings:
- Before the meeting make sure you are crystal clear on “why you are attending the meeting”. What is your objective? As previously mentioned, my meeting objectives are typically: How can I best help the group and b) Which people in the group would be an ideal business referral partner. Setting your objectives before the online networking meeting will help minimize any disappointment and help keep you focused at the task at hand.
- It’s also important to know what you will be saying to your online networking group. Every group moderator has a different format, so the best premise is to come prepared with a few different versions of your introduction; A short 15 second version and your more detailed 60 second version.
- Before the online meeting, also make sure you are prepared to copy and paste your contact information into the chat box for everyone to see. You may want to prepare a separate copy and paste message which requests a meeting with individuals.
- While in the meeting listen and pay attention to the individual speaking. Once you determine a potential fit to achieve your objective, just request a separate online or telephone meeting.
- Once in the separate meeting, you’ll be in a better position to determine opportunities and possibilities for business partnerships.
Keep in mind, one off meetings with people that you meet in these virtual meetings is probably not going to cut it from a lead generation or business development perspective. Follow up and meet with those whom you’ve already met within these meetings, and work towards developing a relationship that you both get to know, like and trust each other.
#10: Use Email to Cultivate Relationships
As long as those on your eMail list are relevant to your products & services (i.e. they subscribed due to a need or want), they can be nurtured towards purchasing your products or services.
Nurturing those on your eMail list is not directly related to acquiring new business leads. However, nurturing has a direct correlation to converting your email subscribers into sales. In fact, companies that excel at lead nurturing, generate 50% more sales-ready leads at a 33% lower cost than those who do not excel lead nurturing.
For those who are technically inclined, you can implement your own eMail nurturing campaign with relative ease. Use one of the many eMail marketing services, such as aweber, mailchimp, constant contact, etc.
Once you have your audiences contact information, you don’t need to immediately bombard them with a promotion, link to your store, etc. In fact, you should avoid doing this under most circumstances for new leads.
What you can do, though, is to use email to build relationships with your audience. One of the best ways to go about this is to ease into the purchase process as lightly as possible.
Your first email, for example, could thank them for creating an account, subscribing to a newsletter, etc. The second and third time that you email them could include information that’s relevant to their interests.
Information such as: account features, facts about your products, service methodologies, or industry insights, etc. will probably help your audience move down the online sales funnel towards becoming a paying client.
Understanding How to Generate Online Leads Can Seem Difficult
But it doesn’t have to be.
With the above information about how to generate online leads in mind, you’ll be well on your way. Use all these tips alone or in tandem to leverage your presence online and gain more leads.
Want to learn more about how we can help? Feel free to get in touch with us today to see what we can do.
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