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Lead Generation: Tips for Free

This article is presented by our colleague Rianne van der Heijden, Customer Success Manager at Spinpanel. 

Imagine this: you work for a company that offers services or solutions that can really help people. You can literally save them time and money. If this is the case for you, take a second to appreciate this fortunate position you’re in, because not everyone is as lucky. A product offering clear benefits can almost sell itself. Still though, people don’t know what they don’t know, so you will need to somehow announce your presence to the world, make your target audience aware of your solutions and educate them on the options available to them.

Just last week I organized a brainstorm session for our team to tackle this exact question: how to approach our target audience and make them aware of our solutions and benefits, with of course the hope that they will see the light and schedule an onboarding right away. In preparation for this meeting I scoured the web for ideas and came up with an extensive list of things you and your sales and marketing team can do to create awareness and hopefully generate leads. Since I’d already put in the work, I thought I’d share some of our findings with the world. There’s bound to be other people out there looking for new lead generation ideas.

The theme of this brainstorm session was that we would just throw everything on the table, and that no idea is too crazy. To illustrate this point, I found a nice example on Reddit shared by an MSP sales manager in answer to a question about lead generation tips:

“We had a sales guy who was killing it on finding new customers out of the blue.

Turned out he had the idea of looking in local job ads for companies hiring IT resources, and would go in and simply convince them why bringing us on as their MSP was a better idea.

I thought that was pretty ingenious.”

Without further ado, let’s dive into some lead generation ideas.

Digital marketing – focus on content

It goes without saying, but if you’re not already actively generating awareness and reaching out online, it’s time to start doing so. Some of the basics here include optimizing your website through SEO/SEA, using email workflows to follow up on leads generated through website forms, using Google Adwords, and creating content (blogs, articles, videos) and sharing these across your social media channels. In addition, LinkedIn Campaign Manager provides very specific ways to target audiences. You can for example target people based on location, job title, skill, and organization.

  • Increase website Google ranking using SEO/SEA.
  • Be present on social media (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook).
  • Target specific lists of people/organizations/roles using LinkedIn advertising campaigns.
  • Post content that educates your audience about your services and share this across your channels. However, don’t just advertise your own product all the time, no one is going to want to follow you if you’re only always tooting your own horn. Share content unrelated to your services but relevant and valuable to your audience all the same.
  • Get employees involved in posting and sharing content on social channels.
  • Share content that humanizes your business in the eyes of customers – for example also talk about the challenges you face as a business (kind of like I’m doing here), make yourself relatable.
  • You might consider reaching out to people who respond to your social posts (use your own judgement if this is appropriate).
  • Consider using LinkedIn marketing software. There is quite some nifty stuff out there.
  • Have a chat option available on your website that’s answered by real people, bots can be a real turn off.

Networking

What stood out as one of the best ways to gain leads time and time again, is word-of-mouth. Getting out there and talking to people. There are plenty of events, community meet-ups, and conferences to visit where you should be actively approaching people. Don’t try to push your product on people (we all know the type). Don’t sell – offer solutions. Ask them about their processes, get them to open up about the pain points within their business and then explain how you can help them. Educate. It can of course also be a good idea to sponsor an event, especially if it gets you some nice perks like an audience to pitch your solutions to. Some ideas of where and how to meet people are listed below.

  • Conferences. Big or small, international or national, it’s see and be seen. Be present, talk to people, work your magic.
  • Networking events. See what’s happening locally (or perhaps not so locally). Some networking events are recurring, and though this might be a slow burn, they can definitely be worth the effort.
  • Community meet-ups. Join a lunch & learn! Try to get in there with the front-runners in the industry. The innovation hunters. This also happens to be a great way to stay up to date with developments.
  • Join LinkedIn groups relevant to your industry.
  • You may even consider joining Facebook groups relevant to your industry, guaranteed they’re out there. There’s groups for everything these days.
  • Develop a referral program. Partner up with other businesses in the industry that offer services complementary to yours and agree to refer leads to one another depending on what prospects are looking for. If you do this right and really build it out it can be a fantastic lead generator.

Collaborate with existing customers

The best advertisement for your business is a happy customer. Collaborating with current customers to show this to the world can be a great way to get others interested.

  • Create reference cases in collaboration with customers. This is valuable content you can share on social media but also put up on your website.
  • Motivate customers to leave positive reviews of your business on for example Google, Microsoft AppSource, or Yelp by providing incentives. Do the same with testimonials.
  • Organize round table sessions with your customers and other interested parties from the industry. If you do this well people will remember and associate your brand with positive experiences/insightful discussions.
  • Organize your own lunch & learn, you can do this for both existing and potential customers. They will come for the food, and (hopefully) stay for the benefits of your solutions.

Trial and error

Overall, there’s a myriad of things you can do to try to generate leads. The only way to find out what works for you is by giving it a go. This is what we’ll be doing with Spinpanel in the coming months as. Although our session was focused on lead generation ideas, we came to the conclusion that our main challenge is letting the world know we exist, and that we can help. With that in mind, we aim to put our own twist on many of the classic ‘lead generation’ methods, and focus on education and awareness. See where it takes us. Who knows, maybe I’ll be back in a few months with another article highlighting what worked for us and what didn’t.

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