Running a successful and profitable business—whether online or offline—is difficult enough, but it's especially tricky when you're just getting started. Studies by different organizations such as Bloomerg, Inc. magazine, the National Business Incubator Association (NBIA), among others, show that 80% of new businesses collapse within their first three years, and a substantial number of them don’t survive long enough to enjoy their first year in business. Reasons for failure may vary from inappropriate choice of business to lack of market and lack of funds. However, one of the main reasons most startup businesses fail is poor or inadequate advertising.
More often than not, competition will eventually edge out weaker players and businesses from the market. That’s why you have to ensure that you offer customers the best product, ensure it is effectively marketed and sold for just the right price. If you are on a tight budget, you can still compete with bigger players in the industry if you utilize numerous lead generation techniques that don’t cost much. Below are five amazing ways to generate leads for your business on a tight budget.
1. Content Marketing
Content is king, and its reign is unlikely to end anytime soon. 86% of B2C and 91% of B2B marketers actively use content marketing. Its utilization might still be low, but with Internet adoption and penetration increasing by the day, more people are turning to the Web for information.
Good content should offer prospects with problem solutions, meets the specific needs of the readers, is flawlessly written, and is visually appealing. Crafting the right content that speaks to your target audience is a demanding job, and it takes thorough market analysis as well as trial and error. It has to be consistent, closely monitored, and frequently tweaked to meet the ever changing market environment. This is a service that you can outsource to millions of professional copywriters and content marketers at a very affordable rate.
2. Online Discussions/Webinars
How well do you know your customers? How often do you connect with them? You might already use your Twitter and Facebook accounts to generate social media buzz. However, some form of back-and-forth dialogue is what leads to successful conversion. Use Google+ hangouts, Skype, or any of the online business communities that allow you to discuss business in real-time. Make it possible for prospects to ask questions and offer instant answers through webinars. Doing this builds trust with your customer-base. Webinars are affordable and can be attended by anyone, regardless of their location.
3. Social Media Marketing
Social media has revolutionized marketing. Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, among others let you connect with your prospects, converse, reply to their enquiries fast, share feedback and generally understand them. According to the 2014 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, 92% of marketers believe social media is very important to their marketing efforts. For example, Pinterest has more than 100 million monthly users who use the “discovery engine” for inspiration on what to purchase. Use the site to create a strong brand presence, enjoy free advertising, and generate leads.
4. Design Landing Pages
When a person clicks on a link from the SERPs, it shows that they're interested in whatever they think the site has to offer. Your landing pages offer a great opportunity to make an impression and convert prospects into clients. You shouldn’t disappoint, because if they don't find anything of value on the site, they'll feel cheated and will likely leave with a feeling that your site wasted their time. Ensure that the landing page is aesthetically pleasant, packed with useful, flawless content. Hire a creative designer and copywriter at a small fee to get this done.
5. Email Marketing
You might already be running a good content marketing campaign on the Web, but that alone is insufficient. Many people might read your nice article and even leave a positive comment, but also end up leaving, never to return. It is for this reason that you should consider RSS feeds, plus an opt-in newsletter. Email marketing is one of the best and trusted ways to generate leads, increase sales, and boost your conversion rate. Instead of simply soliciting for email addresses, offering a freebie such as a free eBook, a trial offer, or newsletter subscription to those who sign up can be an effective way to spread the word.
These low-budget lead generation strategies are not rigid. Keep an analytical eye on your activities and compare them with the results, then change accordingly. Note that before you even think about converting the leads to buying customers, you first have to find them.