How To Get Leads Online: Generate Your Own Business Leads
is the Head of Marketing at Lean Labs. His experience ranges from higher education to SMBs and tech startups. When not doing digital marketing, he's sure to be enjoying some kind of nerdy pastime.
Every business survives on a reliable influx of new leads. Thanks to the internet, every business regardless of size has access to a growing pool of free leads.
You don't have to buy overpriced and under-performing lists anymore. You don't have to spend thousands of dollars on magazine ads or billboards anymore either. Those old-school methods of lead generation are hitting rock bottom in effectiveness and getting more expensive.
But how do you generate new leads every month from your website? That's a question we get all the time, and it's very fun to answer. In this article, we'll explain exactly how you can start using your blog and website to generate new leads every month.
The Best Way To Get Leads Online
There are three major phases in turning your website or blog into a lead-generating tool for your business. We have helped many companies generate a ton of leads through their website, and the process is always the same. You have to setup, discover what your leads want, and then act on plans for long-term success.
1. Setup For Success: Optimize for Lead Generation
Your website may be pretty, and it may not require redesigning, but most websites need to be tweaked to allow for lead generation. Think of it this way, what if every department store kept their merchandise locked in cages. When you went to buy something, you would have to look for a salesperson.
But, there were no salesperson, only cashiers. How frustrating would that be? How much more frustrating would it be if everything was 90% off? Better deals would only make it that much more frustrating.
Too many websites are like that. If you want your questions answered, you will have to go out of your way to call us, talk to us, e-mail us, or whatever else, to find what you need. If your website is Mr. Lockdown, you will need to make some tweaks.
Website Tweaks to Convert More Leads
Every website should have the basics in place to provide the best user experience possible. Often, these small additions or tweaks can go overlooked. But if your website is missing one of these elements, you should ask yourself, "why?"
'Follow Us' on Social Media Buttons
Some companies don't have a significant social media presence. In fact, a lot of small businesses see social media as a waste of time. For the most part, if your social media strategy is to spam with your blog content once and then go away, you are mostly wasting your time. However, if you spend the time to make your primary social channels helpful and informative, you can reap big benefits from being social.
One often forgotten "follow" button is the RSS feed. A lot of people use RSS readers, and including this link easily on your website helps them to subscribe to your blog much easier.
Share on Social Buttons
Creating content is not easy. Creating useful and helpful content is even more difficult. You want to maximize the return you get from every piece of content you create. You need to allow for viral marketing. If you aren't giving your readers a chance to share your content, you are missing an enormous opportunity.
Make sure social share buttons are easily located on all of your content.
Subscribe To Our Blog Options
A lot of people prefer to get your blog posts through email rather than having to come back to your website every day. This is an excellent way to build a brand audience and keep potential customers engaged with your brand. Give them an easy way to subscribe to your blog articles, either through RSS or by e-mail.
Call to Actions on Every Blog
This is fundamental information, but many people are still not doing it. Every piece of content needs a call to action! This call to action will send the readers to a landing page where you will offer them something of value in exchange for their contact information. This is where the vast majority of your online leads will originate. So put the extra work into making compelling calls to action.
At Attractive Top-of-the-Funnel Offer
Your blog and your website content are not so much to close the sale as it is to generate leads. Don't pitch your product or service in your blog articles. Instead, use that medium to supply valuable, helpful content that connects with your target customers. Then, offer them something they will find valuable; like an overseas traveling checklist.
You're not looking to close customers; you are looking to attract leads. So offer something valuable, something your leads would want even if they didn't like your product. Then, trade that for their contact information. This will bring in a lot of leads!
A Landing Page Optimized for Conversion
You need to have great landing pages, and they need to be optimized for the highest possible conversion rate. This means streamlining the page and removing page leaks, like links to your home page or other navigation links.
This page should focus on three things, in order:
1. Value Prop (What is the value of the offer?)
2. Emotional Connection (Show me an image that drives home the value prop.)
3. Conversion form (Fewer fields equals more conversions.)
2. Find the Pain Points of Your Ideal Customers
When you are creating your target personas, you should always dive deep into the area of customer pain points and problems. This is how you are going to get thousands of new visitors to your website every month.
You must create content that helps your ideal customers solve their problems. If you do this, you will increase your website traffic, and you will have a lot of leads to deal with every month.
The easiest way to connect customers to solutions to their problems is to create the content that does that. The easiest method is to write blog posts, but you can also do it with infographics, slideshares, or videos.
Let's look at an example:
Acme Coffee Sweet wants to attract leads that are looking for sweetener alternatives to sugar. There may be a myriad of reasons why someone would want an alternative from health to just not liking Splenda. But you want to find out the pain points of that customer and create content that helps them solve their problems.
Let's do a little research on Google for potential content ideas.
Here we have common searches that give us two ideas of areas of interest for content: first, sugar alternatives for coffee connects directly with our product. Why is this a common search? Ask why over and over again to get as many possible questions you can find. Then, create content to answer all those questions.
The second idea is that there is diabetes. That gives us a wealth of content to create, talking about the adverse effects of sugar, and how people with diabetes can find the best alternatives for what they need. Here's an article that comes to mind: The Best 10 Ways for Sweetening Coffee for Diabetics.
Here are some ideas of the type of content that connects well and attracts leads:
For a coffee sweetener company: how to blend coffee, how to make the best coffee, how to get the best tasting coffee from traditional drips, how to make your Keurig coffee stronger. There are so many possibilities.
One of the most powerful types of content is cost related. We all want to know how much something costs, and we do that research on the internet. You will make a tremendous impact on your ability to generate leads if you talk about cost in an honest and transparent way with your website visitors. It builds trust and website traffic, believe me.
Depending on what your company offers, you will find a lot of successes writing articles that include some -est word. Fastest, best, easiest, cheapest, prettiest; all of these are the types of things people search for. Best articles are by far the most effective. If you're trying to attract people to talk about ways to make something faster, realize that people aren't searching the web for ideas to speed up a little bit, they are searching for the 'fastest.'
3. Plan For Long-Term Success
If you're determined to see success in bringing traffic to your website and turning them into leads and customers, it will take time. This is one area that does not bring instant gratification. But for those who slug through the introductory season of planting, the reaping is amazing.
You have to decide if leads through your website are worth the effort. If you're not 100% sold on the results it can drive, you will quit before you start seeing a positive ROI. We see people stop prematurely all the time. It's sad, and it's frustrating knowing what they are missing.
But, you can't make a horse drink water, no matter how thirsty they are, right?
So here's how to plan for long-term success:
Create a Consistent Publishing Schedule
Once you know the content you need to create, you need to plan our a publishing schedule you can keep consistently. This means if you are going to publish once a week, you follow through on that promise for the long term. You can't write 20 posts one month, and then not publish for three months. You will never see success.
Adopt a Constant Content Mindset
Everything is a possible blog post. Every problem you encounter, every complaint from a customer, every question or problem a client faces is a great idea for a blog post. Remember, if your leads are having to ask sales or customer support a question, it's a good indicator you don't have that information on your website.
Have a way, either in a journal or spreadsheet, to document ideas for content as they come to you. Keep that list growing over time and you'll never be wondering what to write about on your blog.
Enforce a Culture of Being Helpful
Some people are angry that all the information is now in the hands of the consumer. But we have moved beyond the company holding all the information. When you encounter a customer today, it's a good bet they already know everything you can tell them. They know the quality of your product, problems people have had with it, and what your competitor's claims are.
And even more impactful, they detest being 'sold to.' So do not do it.
You need to ensure that the content you are putting on your website is not focused on beating your competitor. It's not focused on telling readers how great you are or how bad your competitors are. Nobody cares!
Instead, focus on being helpful. For the coffee sweetener company, there's very little content you can create that will tell them how great your sweetener tastes. And they don't care. They will try it once if they think it's worth the try. If it is gross, no amount of ad copy will make them buy more.
This is why I hate car commercials like this one.
First, we are told these people are not actors. Which makes everyone think, yeah right. It's dishonest and insulting to my intelligence. Why would I have an open mind for the entirety of the commercial?
Second, the person when the Chevy plug finally comes says, "I want to learn more about Chevy!" Really? You are a middle-aged man, and you've never been in a Chevy, known someone who drove a Chevy, or anything else? Where have you been all your life?
Then, for the kicker, there is no one in this group of "real people" who says, "ehh, this car isn't my favorite." Or "I wish it could do this thing it can't do." It's all, 100% "wow, this is the perfect car in the history of cars!"
This is just not realistic! Haven't you heard that you can't please all the people all the time? Chevy apparently hasn't.
So what is the purpose of this commercial? It solves for two things:
First, it allowed them to spend their budget like they have for the last 30 years. Great!
Second, it made all of us want to run out and buy a Chevy to replace our Audi and BMW. Not really, but that's what they were hoping for, I guess?
Yes, I hate car commercials because they all take place in the land of "we are the greatest." I don't like people who think they are God's gift to earth, and I don't like car commercials that try to convince me of that either.
And people don't want to come to your blog so you can do a Chevy impersonation.
How To Get Leads and Customers Online
The bottom line is, to take action. You can ready blogs like this all day long, and still push out Chevyesque articles five times a week. You can blog all day without CTA's and wonder why you're not getting any leads.
You have to take action and cover the fundamentals.
If you do, you will find more traffic on your website. You will find more people interested in what you have to offer. And you will have more leads to nurture into customers and brand promoters.