12 Proven Lead Generation Strategies For Your Small Business

Generating leads is what keeps your pipeline filled with qualified leads. Let’s take a look at 12 winning lead generation strategies to help your small business attract more customers!
Picture of Soundarya Jayaraman
Soundarya Jayaraman
Reading time: 9 minutes

If your business doesn’t have any strategies for lead generation, what are you even doing? 

No lead generation = no qualified leads = no buyers = no sales. 

Okay, you get it. But with 68% of companies reporting that they struggle with lead generation, it’s easier said than done, especially for budding startups and small businesses that don’t know where to start. The good news is there’s more than one strategy to generate leads for your business in this digital world.

The good news is there’s more than one strategy to generate leads for your business in this digital world. 

In this post, we’ll look at proven lead generation strategies to help your business attract more customers. From search engine optimization (SEO) strategy to referral programs, we’ve got you covered!

Contents

12 best lead generation strategies for your business

Whether you’re a startup, a small business, or an enterprise, the goal of lead generation is simple: target a particular audience, get a list of potential customers and qualify them to convert. 

In our digital world, lead generation usually begins with websites. Businesses collect leads through forms, calls-to-action (CTAs), and landing pages on their site. Apart from these, there are many other effective lead generation strategies. Let’s go over specific strategies to help grow your business.

1. Implement an SEO strategy

“Got a question? Just Google it.” 

Getting your business ranked on the search engine results page (SERP) is one of the easiest ways of gaining leads. Because more than 50% of all website traffic comes from searches, your first job as a business owner is to get your website to appear on searches quickly.

List and claim your business on Google and other search engines. If your company has a physical location, implement a local SEO strategy. This makes it easier for users in your locality to find your business.

Once you do this, start optimizing your site content to appear in SERPs.

Sites that understand user intent and offer a proper answer to a user query earn a place in SERPs. That’s where your SEO efforts come in! 

Make sure your website is easy to find. Focus on your business niche and provide great content with blogs, case studies, and any other kind of content that search engines want to show in SERPs. Implement an SEO strategy that involves the following: 

  • Identify demand. Do keyword research to find out what your target audience is searching for.
  • Create content. Offer high-quality content on keywords your audience uses.
  • Build your authority. Boost your domain authority with internal links and backlinks from other websites (off-page SEO).
  • Optimize website. Ensure search engines can find and index your site (technical SEO) 
  • Benchmark. Compare with your competitors and assess areas for improvement. 
  • Measure impact. Keep track of your website performance and optimize further.

SEO tools like Ahrefs and SEMRush can give you a hand with getting the most out of your website. 

If Google sees you, congratulations! You’ve cracked one of the most notoriously inexpensive ways to generate leads. 

2. Up your content game

Stellar content creation along with marketing is an absolute must if you’re serious about lead generation. Have a clear action plan for your content marketing, for it is a long game. 

Map your target audience, goals, brand voice, and distribution channel and tactics. 

For instance, suppose you’re an online retailer looking to capture the interest of potential buyers. Your content strategy will include many product photos distributed through visual channels like Instagram and Tiktok. 

Plan an editorial calendar for publishing to keep track of all your content marketing efforts. Produce relevant, comprehensive, and valuable content for your readers. Think blogs, eBooks, guides, listicles, infographics, podcasts, or videos. Enhance the content for search engines with tools like Clearscope and Market Muse.

For a startup or small business with limited resources, try out AI writers like Copy.ai. These tools craft all forms of content – from headlines to entire blogs – with just a few prompts. Grammarly and Hemmingway can help you edit your copy.

Always market your content via social media platforms – post quick quotes on Twitter, images on Instagram, and excerpts on Facebook and LinkedIn. Repurpose your content in multiple channels.

3. Use opt-ins

People love incentives. And they’re okay with sharing something in return. Put the same strategy into place to capture your website visitors via opt-ins. 

Create a lead magnet – something valuable that users want. It can be gated content like eBooks, newsletters, whitepapers, or offers and discounts on your products.

When users show interest in accessing it, get their information and permission to send newsletters and marketing material to them in return. Yoast, a WordPress plugin company, used opt-ins and added over 12,000 subscribers to their email list in just a month.

Capture leads with opt-ins like these:

  • Pop-up forms
  • Embedded forms 
  • Top bar 
  • Fullscreen cover 
  • Scroll boxes
  • Sidebar
  • Slide-ins

You can use opt-ins when a user enters or exits your site. Make sure to include a straightforward CTA in your pop-ups. For example, ”Get the free report.” 

Mix and match these opt-ins and test what works best for you. About 50% of marketers use at least two different opt-ins. 

Also, make sure your opt-ins aren’t spammy – nobody likes that. 

4. Employ chatbots

Chatbots are an excellent way to convert passive visitors into interested customers. You can deploy these 24/7 sales agents across multiple channels, like on your site, WhatsApp, Messenger, or any other social media. 

The bot initiates conversation with a prospect, answers simple inquiries, sends visitors to the right page, and provides them with product recommendations. If it finds the queries too complex, it seamlessly escalates requests to the human support team.

Chatbots make lead capturing easier by simplifying the prospect data collection, so it’s subtle and smooth from the customer’s point of view. 

Look at the sample lead generation template from Landbot.io:

A sample lead generation template from Landbot.io.
A sample lead generation template from Landbot.io.

Powered with conversational AI, a chatbot analyzes the interactions in real-time and qualifies and segments them for the sales team.  These AI bots not only help generate leads but also dramatically improve the customer experience. 

The best part is the price range; you can get them for $0 to $1,000/month or higher, depending on the features you want.

5. Show social proof

People always want reassurance that their choice is correct. Social proof gives you that validation.

Social proof on a website. Source: Novocall
Social proof on a website. Source: Novocall

Use tools like ProveSource, Provely, or Fomo to display how many people showed interest in your product or signed up for your service.

You can simply plug these tools into your site and present recently acquired customers, sales, and reviews to your site visitors. After all, 92% of online consumers look at customer testimonials before making a purchase.

On your homepage, make it easy to find:

  • User-generated reviews 
  • Experts opinions
  • Industry certification
  • Brag-worthy customer 
  • Influencer/celebrity endorsement

Another way of using social proof is to show prospects what other customers are buying or a list of bestselling products.

6. Track website visitors and retarget them

97% of first-time visitors to your site leave without buying anything, and they remain anonymous unless you bring them back.

Keep tabs on these unknown visitors with website visitor tracking tools or by adding a tracking code to your site. With this, you’ll know who your website visitors are and where to find them online. 

Target them with personalized ads on other sites, to stay on their mind even after they leave your site. Retargeted prospects are three times more likely to click on your ads than people who haven’t interacted with your brand and are 70% more likely to convert

Use software like AdRoll, Mailchimp, Google Ads, or Facebook Custom Audience to do this effectively. 

Suppose you are a software as a service (SaaS) or business-to-business (B2B) company. You can use tools like Leady or Leadfeeder. These tools track website visitors and information like name, company, email, phone number, or even LinkedIn profile. 

7. Automate email marketing

47% of marketers believe email marketing is the most effective lead nurturing tactic. You promote your content to your leads to nurture and convert them.

Power up your efforts with automation. Today, email automation tools find leads, segment prospects, and trigger personalized campaigns.  

They track customers across platforms and trigger drip campaigns based on where the prospect is on the customer journey. For example, a prospect who didn’t complete their purchase gets an email reminding them to complete the purchase, while a potential first-time buyer might get a message with offers for a first-time purchase.

Some email automation tools include MailChimp, Keap, Zoho Campaigns, Campaign Monitor, MailerLite, and Klaviyo. These tools are affordable, starting from $5 per month to $2500+ per month, depending on your needs. You can easily and quickly connect these tools with your current marketing stack or customer relationship management (CRM) software.

8. Leverage social media

Social media is often seen as the best for the top-of-the-funnel marketing channel. But it can be a source of low-cost lead generation.

66% of marketers spend just six hours per week on social channels to generate leads. The following sites are great social media channels for lead generation:

  • Facebook 
  • LinkedIn 
  • Instagram 
  • Tiktok 
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest

Create content, engage, entertain, and capture your audience or advertise and get prospects. Whichever way you go,  set your goals for social media strategy and select social media channels based on your buyer’s persona.

LinkedIn suits you better if you are a SaaS startup and want to reach a professional audience. If you are a small and midsize business in the US, Facebook or Tiktok fits better. 

Based on your brand identity, generate creative content and link to your landing pages. Run contests and promotions, and share testimonials and reviews. Use paid advertisements if you have the budget.

Paid ads on social media channels like LinkedIn and Facebook give your added benefits like targeting audiences similar to your buyer’s persona, increasing reach beyond your organic posts, and offering extra CTA options.

Take a look at Facebook and LinkedIn lead generation. Facebook provides lead ads that are specifically designed to generate leads, while LinkedIn offers options like ads, sponsored content, and messaging.

Like opt-ins, you provide an exciting value proposition to your audiences with a CTA. When a prospect clicks on the CTA, their data is auto-filled, and you have a new lead!

Another paid option is influencer marketing, a growing social media marketing strategy. You partner with suitable influencers who create content and bring attention to your brand as a trusted third-party voice.

Influencer marketing gives you room to be more creative about how you reach your potential customers. The strategy is particularly effective for small businesses and startups trying to get brand visibility. 

9. Create a referral program

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg famously once said, “A trusted referral is the Holy Grail of advertising.

Referrals generate quality leads and drive profit without putting a dent in your bank account. 84% of consumers trust recommendations from people they know and are four times more likely to buy. All you need is happy customers and an incentive for them to refer your product to their friends and family. The more a customer refers, the more leads you get. 

Start a referral program with the following strategy: 

  • Satisfy your customers
  • Select channels to refer customers.
  • Make it easy to refer others with simple referral links and codes. 
  • Give options to share across different channels – emails, Messenger, Whatsapp.
  • Choose the right incentive for the referrer and referred leads – discount/coupon, cashback. 
  • Have a solid CTA. 
  • Promote your referral program.
  • Track and follow up on your referrals quickly.

10. Leverage buyer intent

When users search for your product, click on your ad, or read reviews of your service, they reveal what they are looking for. Once you understand their intent, you can quickly determine who are prospective customers.

You can discover this by leveraging buyer intent data from your site or third-party providers. With buyer intent data, you know what stage of the customer journey a prospect is in. Use this to reach out at the right time with the right message and get ahead of the competition.

If you are a SaaS startup, buyer intent tools like ZoomInfo and G2 will make sure you quickly reach your prospects. 

11. Get creative with your lead magnets

Many businesses think of content like eBooks, Whitepapers, and case studies as lead magnets. 

Go beyond them. 

Create interactive content like checklists and quizzes. You provide an interaction for your lead; in return, you get contact details and some helpful information about them. 

For instance, a skincare brand has quizzes on the skin type of a prospect and offers them skincare tips. This data can be used further to retarget them and personalize recommendations for skin products. 

Another exciting lead magnet would be free tools related to your business. Grammarly provides a free grammar-checking tool to all users. Ahref, an SEO tool, has a free tool to check your website’s domain rating. Tools like these engage users and build brand familiarity before purchase.

12. Partner and co-market

Partnering with other brands helps tap into their customer base and generate potential leads for your business. 77% of companies find them central to their growth. You can discover businesses with similar buyer personas as yours and team up with them for content or a marketing campaign. 

Both brands promote the offer and share the results with each other. It can be as simple as guest blogging and podcasts, hosting events, and producing new research together. 

Test, track and make adjustments

Businesses differ in size, service, product, and target customers, so there’s no one-size-fits-all approach for generating leads here. Experiment with these different strategies and see what works for your business. Track and optimize the channels that do numbers.

Grow your leads now!

Picture of Soundarya Jayaraman
Soundarya Jayaraman

Soundarya Jayaraman is a content community writer at G2.com. She loves to learn and write about the latest technologies and how they can help businesses. When she is not writing, you can find her painting or reading.

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