Lead generation is one of the most important parts of starting up a successful business. You constantly need new prospects to fuel your sales and build your customer base. While there are many ways to generate leads for your new business, the unique, out-of-the-box concepts are the ones that stick.
Find a business that sells a complementary product, then see if you can cross-promote your own offering. With a little work, this can be both an effective lead generation strategy and an effective lead nurturing strategy.
“Wait a minute,” you might say. “I can see lead generation, but what about nurturing?”
By devoting the necessary effort to the partnership, you can absolutely move prospective customers down the sales funnel. Try to cross-promote your startup’s products or services via sponsored blog posts on each other’s sites.
Seth Godin notes that special offers and contests can help build up a sales network, and you might try running combined social media or PPC campaigns targeted to customers of both businesses. You can generate ongoing value if you keep the partnership going for the long term.
Webinars are great for both lead generation and lead nurturing. A webinar is a lead magnet that creates demand at the top of the sales funnel. Webinars are categorized as owned events (i.e. events that you host, like seminars and conferences), and are absolutely key for leads.
Think about it: If you run an aggressive marketing campaign for a webinar, you’ll bring in potential customers who are interested in the subject, but not necessarily in your business—at least not at this point.
“When participants register for a webinar, they have to do this using their e-mail address. People will gladly do this if they know that they are going to get value in return … Having e-mail addresses also builds your marketing lists, allowing for long-term engagement with your customers … The leads that you build in the end are of much higher quality and there is more chance that they will convert to a sale,” Agnes Jozwiak, marketing director at ClickMeeting, said.
Webinars are key for bringing in those leads, and as you continue to send marketing material to leads captured through this process, you’ll be able to bring them along and nurture them.
Create a lead generation score
We all know that there are some leads that are useful, while others never pan out. Entrepreneurs who are best at lead generation and nurturing keep track— and if you can’t afford customer relation management (CRM) software yet, just use a spreadsheet. But whatever you do, keep track somehow.
Once you’ve got that information tracked, keep some basic metrics:
- Have your leads re-engaged?
- What are the open rates on marketing emails?
- How many times have you reached out to these leads?
- How many times have these leads visited your site?
Come up with a system that incorporates all of these criteria and you’ll have an easy way to segment your customers by hot or cold leads. Figure out what your ideal customer looks like and what stage of the buying process your leads are in and you’ll be well on your way to more effective leads.
Entrepreneur Grant Cardone recommends getting uncomfortable and meeting at least five new people per week.
“When you are starting a business, it is very easy to dive into work so much that days can go by without interacting with anyone new. You have to put yourself in situations where you can meet new people. Introduce yourself, ask people questions and see how you can help one another,” he said.
When you’re building a business, you’re running a one man (or woman) show. It’s not always practical to go to networking events or in-person breakfast meetings. What’s a good way to make this kind of networking possible even if you’re not able to attend in person?
LinkedIn is by far the most effective of the major social media platforms at B2B sales lead generation, responsible for more than eighty percent of a business’s social media leads. Join industry groups on LinkedIn, then reach out and share your experiences. You can even use the lead gen platform to create new leads—90 percent of B2B marketers reduced cost per lead with this method.
LinkedIn is great for nurturing, too. If you put out solid content that people in your industry begin to follow, they’ll continue to engage with you, and in time, some of those contacts may turn into new business leads.
No matter what industry you’re in, there are some unique and creative ways to build and nurture new leads. Take advantage of these methods and you’ll be able to keep growing your customer base, your sales and your business as a whole.