If someone thinks of a great business idea but nobody knows, does it even exist? Without leads, your business, no matter how great, is in serious trouble. But, with the right online lead generation strategies, you’ll attract customers who love what you offer and keep coming back for more.
However, marketing doesn’t exist in a vacuum. You have to consider how technological advancements, customer preferences, and competition shape how you approach generating leads online.
That’s why we’ve gathered these specific online lead generation strategies. They’re both time-tested and flexible enough to deliver leads even as the market evolves.
Here are the seven online lead generation strategies you’ll find below:
- Get found on search
- Claim and optimize your Google Business Profile
- Generate online leads from social media
- Live chat it up
- Use lead magnets
- Prioritize quality leads
- Host online events
What is online lead generation?
A lead is anyone interested in your business. An online lead is someone interested in your business that happens to come from an online source. So, online lead generation is the practice of attracting leads to your business using online channels so you can stay connected with them and convert them to customers.
Businesses invest a lot into getting leads, so it pays to have a solid online lead generation strategy.
It’s worth pointing out, lead generation is vastly different from brand awareness. Brand awareness encompasses any campaign or effort that aims to get more eyes on your brand. While brand awareness campaigns can result in leads, these campaigns are often more high-level than lead generation campaigns.
7 online lead generation tips for a great 2024 (and beyond)
We’re focused on connecting with potential customers in a way that lets us continue to nurture a relationship. That could mean collecting their email address and sending them newsletters. Or it could mean getting them to peruse our website so we can retarget them with future ads.
No matter how we want to reconnect, these seven strategies are sure-fire ways to attract more people who need what we offer into our sales funnel.
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1. Get found on search
Search engines offer a huge pool of potential leads for just about any business. In fact, 87% of people surveyed said they use Google to find local businesses.
There are two ways to get your business in front of those eager searchers: search ads and SEO.
Search ads are those sponsored listings you see at the top of search engine results pages.
Sponsored ads get top billing on Google results pages.
With search ads, you pay a fee to the search platform every time someone clicks on your ad, which is why it’s also called pay-per-click advertising. They work by auction, where you bid on PPC keywords. If your bid wins, your ad shows up in searches, and clicks can come right away. Google Bard can help you write winning ad copy.
On search engine results pages, organic results sit below the paid ads. You don’t pay for those spots, but you do have to show search engines that your web pages belong in those results. All the actions you take to do that is called search engine optimization, or SEO for short.
When your website is optimized for search, it’ll show up in the coveted Google 3-pack results section more often.
There are several technical and non-technical ways you can optimize your website for organic search. These tactics offer a lot of SEO bang for a relatively small effort:
- Add title tags and meta descriptions
- Add relevant keywords
- Make sure your website is mobile-friendly
2. Claim and optimize your Google Business Profile
A Google Business Profile (GBP) is the business listing that shows up on Google Search and Google Maps.
A completed Google Business Profile gives searchers lots of information about your business, encouraging them to become leads.
Here’s the tricky bit. Google will create a profile for your business on its own. The problem is that if it scrapes incorrect information, you’ll be misrepresented in the results. This means someone could call the wrong number or show up when your business is actually closed.
The solution is to claim your Google Business Profile so you can keep it updated with the right details. You’ll also be able to optimize your profile by filling out all the available fields and adding images.
3. Generate online leads from social media
Some, if not most or all, of your audience is likely on social media. It’s important to meet your audience where they are.
Being active on social media can help you reach your audience, boost online lead generation, and even drive general brand awareness at the same time.
Educational social media posts are a great way to generate leads while garnering trust with your audience.
Here are a few types of social media posts you can use to drive new leads:
- User-generated content: Get happy customers to share their experiences with your product or services.
- Polls: Ask your social media followers about your products, their feelings, or what their favorite pizza topping is.
- Celebrate holidays: Share happy New Year’s posts or celebrate National Beer Day.
Social media is a different beast than on-site content. Be conversational and casual, have fun, and track and tweak your efforts.
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4. Live chat it up
Ask for an email address from people who use your chatbot to turn website visitors into leads.
Here are some tips for using live chats or chatbots to generate leads:
- Pick the right chatbot platform: If possible, look for one that can assist with product and service-related questions so they’re offering help while collecting leads.
- Look for an AI-powered chatbot: AI-powered chatbots offer contextual answers to a wide range of questions.
- Don’t neglect your chatbot script: Keep your chatbot fueled with updated information.
- Make your chatbot a lead gen agent: Include chatbots on your online lead generation pages and have them ask for customer information at an appropriate time during a conversation.
Don’t stop there. Is someone off your lead gen page and elsewhere on your site? After the appropriate prompt from a visitor, have your chatbot guide them to the lead gen landing page, or ask for the right info and act as a form right then and there.
5. Use lead magnets
A lead magnet is something you offer in exchange for someone’s contact details. They’re great for generating online leads because there’s an instant benefit to someone becoming a lead.
Discounts are a great offer to include in a lead magnet.
Most often, you’ll place lead magnets in popups on your website. You can set popups to trigger as soon as some visits, after they’ve scrolled a bit, or when they show signs of leaving.
6. Prioritize quality leads
Casting a wide net and focusing on capturing as many leads as you can may sound like a good idea, but you’ll likely wind up overwhelmed by poor-fit leads and waste precious time focusing on mismatched prospects. Avoid this by changing your online lead generation prioritization and focusing on quality.
- Make sure you know your audience. Keep in mind your online lead gen efforts don’t have to target your entire audience, but can focus on a subset. Focusing on a subset of your audience can allow you to more finely tune your efforts.
- Implement lead scoring tools if you’re not already using them. Lead scoring is a core part of lead management, and helps you ensure you’re talking to the best potential fits.
- Set lead scoring thresholds to prevent salespeople from losing time talking to mismatched leads. While it can be scary to reduce the number of leads you’re talking to, focusing on quality leads will help you spend more time with leads that have the best chance of converting.
- Fine-tune lead gen forms to capture necessary detail. Making sure you’re getting the right information, from job titles to company to education and so on, can help you get the right leads into your system from the beginning.
Keep in mind you’ll have to tweak your quality thresholds over time, as audiences shift, your business will change, and so on. This is also another opportunity to involve your SMEs. Their expertise can help you evaluate your audiences and lead scoring, as well as lead capture forms.
7. Host online events
If you run a brick-and-mortar location, you may be familiar with the benefit of hosting events at your store. The buzz of a contest or celebrity appearance brings lots of people through the door.
You can do the same thing digitally using your online channels, too. For example, have an expert answer customer questions.
Online events, like ask me anything sessions (AMA), generate buzz and leads for your business.
Just make sure you’re collecting email addresses or adding new social media followers so people who attend become leads.
Building success that lasts with online lead generation
Building an effective online lead generation process takes time and effort, but it’s worth the heavy lifting.
Figure out what’s working and not working and replicate your successes. Focus on new pain points, create fresh content that follows in the successful footsteps of previous efforts, and don’t shy away from testing out new and inventive ideas. Your brand will thrive, ideal leads will find their lives improved by your services, and you’ll have more sales than you know what to do with.
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