Starting a business isn’t easy work. You can have the greatest idea ever and the best product that exists on the market. Still, if you don’t have leads, you won’t sell a single product. And, it’s no secret that without making sales, even the best business won’t survive.
Therefore, generating a steady supply of new leads and building a pipeline is vital in developing a profitable business. Yet, this is by no means an easy process. In fact, generating leads can be especially difficult for startups for various reasons. For instance, startups often have limited resources, including money and time resources. In fact, nearly 61% of B2B marketers put the blame on lack of resources, including staff, funding, and time, as the toughest challenge to successful lead generation.
Also, they have no reputation at all, so no positive word-of-mouth, no referrals, no testimonials, and no social proof. At the same time, they are competing with brands with a well-established customer base.
But that’s not all! As the lead generation experts from Drip Digital explain, “Perhaps the biggest challenge in generating leads is that startups have no experience with it. And, with lead generation, there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy. A strategy that works great for others won’t necessarily work for you as well. Only by gaining experience, you will be able to look back and identify what works to attract leads for your startup and what doesn’t.”
Now, generating leads includes two main strategies: outbound and inbound. Yet, the point is that both have their own specific strengths and weaknesses. Ideally, your startup will use a little bit of both. However, when you’re just getting started, you might need to prioritize one over the other.
Feel confused yet? Don’t worry! We’re here to explain everything to you and share with you the tips you need to improve your lead generation.
Lead generation explained
First things first, in case this is the first time you ever hear about lead generation, we’ll quickly explain what lead generation is to make sure we’re on the same page as far as terminology goes.
Leads are basically people who have demonstrated interest in your business in some way. Basically, everyone who has given you their contact info, be it to attend your webinar, to download your free guide, or to sign up for your newspaper, is a lead. This person has engaged your business and has given you permission to contact them.
Now that you know exactly what leads are, the name “lead generation” is pretty self-explanatory. It is basically the process of attracting and converting strangers and prospects into leads.
So, how do you get leads you need to increase your revenue and exceed your goals?
Outbound lead generation strategies
Outbound strategies are pretty much all about reaching out to your prospective leads in order to engage them and transform them into actual leads. Outbound strategies usually include tactics such as door-to-door sales, cold emailing, and pay-per-click advertising. Outbound strategies include many tactics, both from offline and digital.
Now, outbound strategies generally require a more significant financial investment compared to inbound strategies. Yet, they can often deliver quicker results. So, how do you plan an effective outbound campaign?
Define your leads
What does your potential customer want? Once you’re able to answer this question and tie it to a high-converting landing page, that’s the moment when you’ll consistently generate leads.
It’s no secret that if you want to reach out to customers, you need to know who they are and what they want. In fact, this is one of the most common mistakes made by startups: they believe that what they’re selling is for everyone. So, don’t try to appeal to everyone but rather target a specific audience to tailor your campaign for.
If you already have a base of customers, that’s a great place to start to know them better. If not, don’t worry, you can learn more about your prospective leads by researching your competitors’ customers and analyzing their online activities.
Find your leads
Once you know who your prospective leads are, it is time to find them.
Now, you could buy lists of prospects, but this is not a safe bet because the quality of these lists can vary greatly. You may be paying for out-of-date emails and incorrect information. So, it makes much more sense to build your own list.
Hopefully, you found out enough information about your prospective leads to get an idea of where they might be spending their time. For example, if your target audience is Gen Z, they’re probably spending a lot of time hashtagging on Instagram. So, no need to waste your time and efforts anywhere else.
In other words, based on what you know about your leads, figure out where you can find them online.
Reach out to your leads
Now that you know who they are and where they are, it is time actually to reach out to your leads. You can use tactics such as cold calling, cold emailing, and social selling. Yet, keep in mind that each has its weaknesses and strengths. For example, while cold calls might be interrupting, it can be more effective at getting quick decisions. Social selling might take longer, but can help you build relationships with the prospects before you reach out to them.
Alternatively, you can also use inbound strategies that are all about creating value for your leads and offering it to them to attract them. Inbound strategies include forms of content such as blog posts, ebooks, and webinars, and video content. Pretty much all types of content that brings value to your prospective leads.
With Inbound strategies, things are different in terms of how you capture your leads. You don’t reach out to them directly but rather attract them to you. And, to do this, you have to create valuable content, share it, and finally capture your leads.
The most important step for your inbound strategies is creating valuable content. Yet, to create relevant content, you need to know who the ideal customer is. So, knowing your customer and tailoring your inbound strategies is just as important as it is for your outbound strategies.