25 Lead generation ideas for small businesses
Unsure how to get started with lead generation? Supercharge your digital marketing strategy with these top lead generation ideas for any small business. Unlock the secret to successful lead generation, and you’ll unlock the power to generate more business.
What is lead generation, anyway?
Lead generation is the process of using marketing tactics to attract potential customers (leads), following up and qualifying these leads, and cultivating interest to convert leads to customers.
25 Lead generation ideas for your small business
Watch your online reputation transform with Broadly
There’s no one right way to attract potential customers and convert them into paying customers. By using a combination of these proven traditional and digital marketing tactics, you can see what helps your email list, social media platforms, conversion rate and overall business growth.
Lead generation ideas: Using your owned channels
1. Add lead generation forms to your website
If you have a website for your small business, adding lead generation forms, particularly on key landing pages, is a smart lead generation strategy to ensure no website visitor slips through the cracks.
Visitors that check out your hours, services or contact information pages are high-quality leads who are more likely to become paying customers since they’re actively showing interest in your business.
Note: These lead magnet forms should be quick and easy to fill out. Ask these qualified leads to share only the most important information, such as their name, contact information and the services or products they’re interested in.
2. Add a lead generation pop-up to your website
In addition to adding lead generation forms to specific landing pages, you may also want to add a lead gen pop-up encouraging potential customers to claim a special offer or discount or opt into your company’s email list or SMS list.
3. Add a web chat service to your website to convert website visitors into leads
As soon as new leads land on your website, you can use a web messaging service like Broadly’s Web Chat as a lead magnet to capture your visitors’ contact information for your customer relationship management (CRM) system, answer questions your potential customers have, encourage your visitors to book your services and drive up your conversion rate.
4. Create a refer-a-friend campaign
Follow up with satisfied current and past customers and encourage them to refer new leads. Offer an incentive, like a discount, for any friends they refer to check out your services. This is one of the best lead generation tactics because existing customers who can speak about your business from first-hand experience are likely to refer high-quality leads.
5. Ask customers to review your business online
Once paying customers have completed a transaction with your business, remember to ask them to write about their experience on Google, Yelp or social media. Doing so will help you get more online reviews, helping you drive new leads.
Pro tip: You can use Broadly’s lead generation tools, templates and automation to request online reviews via SMS and email.
6. Encourage existing customers to opt into your email marketing campaigns
You can use a lead generation pop-up to get website visitors to sign up for promotions and coupons. You can also ask customers in-person to opt-in to newsletters, service reminders and email marketing campaigns from your small business. Check out this email marketing lead generation guide for even more ideas.
7. Get customers to opt into receiving SMS text messages from your small business
Ask customers to opt in to text messaging so you can send automated appointment and service reminders as well as special offers, helping convert new customers into repeat customers. Additionally, a mobile invoicing platform like Broadly’s Payments lets you easily text invoices to your clients using professional templates.
8. Improve your small business’s local SEO ranking
Search engine optimization (SEO) helps your business rise to the top in search engine results, a sure-fire lead generation strategy since most businesses gain some of their customers from organic search.
According to this SEO checklist, generating online reviews, having a mobile-friendly website and keeping your website up-to-date are some of the most important tactics for improving your local SEO. Keep reading to see why online reviews boost local SEO and how responding to reviews helps SEO.
9. Leverage positive word-of-mouth marketing
Once you have positive reviews about your business, you can use these testimonials as social proof to convert new leads. Add the praise to your website, email marketing campaigns, social media platforms and content marketing (blog content, podcasts, webinars, white papers). You can also showcase your favorite positive reviews as customer case studies on your website.
10. Create business cards and print marketing collateral
There’s no reason all of your marketing efforts have to be digital. By going old school and keeping business cards, flyers and brochures on hand, you can squeeze in some lead gen efforts during your kids’ school drop-off or running errands.
Be sure that your printed materials include your digital contact information, such as your email, website, social media handles and a QR code that links to a complete list of your services.
11. Offer a free trial or promotion
Maybe you’ve already done the work of generating great leads. Now, to increase your conversion rate, you need to educate potential customers about the benefits of your services and products. Consider a free trial or promotion that offers a taste of your business.
12. Provide free quotes or estimates
Once potential clients have their questions answered and meet you or your team in person with an on-site free estimate, they’ll become qualified leads poised to convert. Plus, you get more client contact information for your CRM, meaning you have more leads to follow up with later.
13. Create gated content that requires leads to sign up
You don’t necessarily have to go all out creating webinars, white papers or a podcast that requires users to sign up to listen in—though if you want to and you expect doing so will help generate more leads, by all means, go ahead.
At the very least, create something of value with meaningful information and takeaways that potential customers will want to share their contact information, such as their name and email address, to be able to view. A simple idea for landscaping services is to create beautiful downloadable infographics of local plants that homeowners should add to their garden.
14. Generate SEO-friendly content for your website
Round out your gated content marketing with blogs and videos that anyone can view. These should rank highly on search engine result pages to help boost your SEO. Don’t forget to include a call to action to fill out a lead generation form at the bottom of the content that encourages readers to opt into your email list.
Lead generation ideas: Using earned channels
15. Claim your business listing on/add your business to Google My Business, Yelp, Angi and other platforms
Creating a solid presence on these key discovery platforms that drive tons of referrals for local businesses. It ensures you’ll be found right where potential customers are looking for the services and products you offer. Include your website, contact information, hours and services and be sure to respond promptly to your messages and reviews on your page.
16. Develop e a social media presence for your small business and keep it up-to-date
Potential customers vet businesses by reviewing their presence on LinkedIn, Facebook and other social media platforms. Keep in mind that outdated information, old photos and reviews from long ago may turn away high-quality leads.
17. Answer inquiries from potential customers on Google My Business and other channels ASAP
Right now, you probably have unread messages in one (or more) of your company’s social media channels or online review profiles. Those unanswered inquiries are high-quality leads that need information or help before they will commit to booking your services. Don’t wait; respond ASAP before they move on to the competition.
Pro tip: Use Broadly’s Inbox to streamline customer conversations from across channels, all in one central place.
18. Respond to all of your online reviews
Your Google My Business page and other online reviews profiles may be filled with negative reviews, positive reviews or a mix of both. You can shape your online reputation and improve your conversion rate by taking the time to write thoughtful replies to each and every customer.
If someone had a bad experience with your business, make things right. If someone loves your company, thank them for their kind review. Your words will not only influence these reviewers, but anyone reading them as well.
19. Become an expert source featured in the media
Get to know the local journalists who cover topics related to your services and build a relationship with them. Offer home repairs? You can become the go-to guru for all things home improvement. Provide legal services? Become the local lawyer reporters want to interview.
Lead generation ideas: Using partnerships and community opportunities
20. Lean into partnerships
Are there any local service providers who offer complementary (but not competitive) services? Team up and send referrals to each other. Partner with local bloggers and influencers who can help promote your business to their followers.
21. Explore local marketing opportunities in your community
Sponsor popular local events or groups to get your local business’s name in front of potential customers.
22. Join community groups
Join relevant Meetup and Facebook groups, as well as in-person groups, to become known by influencers, thought leaders and decision-makers in your community who can send business your way.
Lead generation ideas: Using paid channels
23. Give search engine marketing (SEM) a try
While improving your SEO will help ensure your company’s website ranks high in Google and other search engines, SEM is another way to get your small business to the top of search engine results.
Paid search engine ads, like Google Ads, will feature your company in the sponsored results section. This is an effective lead generation strategy if potential customers often search for services like yours online.
24. Use paid lead generation ads on social media
In addition to pay-per-click (PPC) ads, social media platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook allow companies to create lead generation forms to capture customer information directly from the ad. These social media channels will even pre-populate the lead generation form with customers’ information from their social media profiles.
Let’s say you run a car dealership, you can use Facebook ads to encourage potential customers to schedule a test drive. If you have a cleaning services business, you could use Facebook ads to schedule an appointment. Once you capture this customer information, you can run re-targeting ads to reach those that don’t immediately convert into paying customers.
25. Consider targeted advertising using specific channels that are relevant to your target audience
If you offer catering services, you might try LinkedIn InMail ads that reach your target audience, such as wedding planners in your area. Plumbers may want to try Angi Ads to reach homeowners looking for local service providers.
Lead generation is easier with Broadly
Broadly is the go-to SaaS (software-as-a-service) for small businesses like yours.
- Campaigns: Launch lead nurturing and lead generation campaigns, like refer-a-friend email marketing campaigns
- Website: Attract potential leads and convert them to paying customers with a responsive, visually appealing website
- Web Chat: Improve the user experience for your website visitors
- Reviews: Grow your online reviews, one of the most powerful lead generation tactics you can use
- Dashboard: Keep track of all of your most important metrics
Watch your online reputation transform with Broadly