“no, search engine optimization, SEO!”
“Ohhhh… I have more questions now”
There are three ways to get down a hill: walk, roll, or ride down on an ice block.
I was unaware of the third method until I was 15 though.
I grew up in the Mormon (LDS) church, and have since left. But I grew up with weekly activities for “the youths” that range from scripture study to service projects to… riding down hills on ice blocks.
Now I was 200% skeptical and 100% sure I was not going to go until a few people had gone and not died (everything was fine, obviously).
One person after another straddled the ice block and held on for dear life as the wind whipped into their face and Gravity took them wherever she damn well pleased. It wasn’t long before a few clear final destinations were established though.
Now here I sit, seven years later, at my keyboard thinking about a topic for this next blog entry, and I can’t help but compare the parallels to growing a business.
As “9 to 5-er entrepreneurs,” we are 200% skeptical and 100% sure that we’re not engaging until we see other people have been successful.
What is lead generation?
Lead generation is a process of generating leads for your business. It’s the first step in the sales process. And it’s important to have a lead generation strategy in place before you start generating leads.
There are a lot of different lead generation methods: social media, email, ads, and SEO can all drive results and new leads for a business. But most folks don’t know heads from tails when it comes to SEO!
But much like ice blocking down a hill, there is more than one way to get to the same result!
Seven ways to generate qualified leads
It’s not always easy to generate qualified leads. That’s why this list of the easiest methods to generate leads exists:
- Use a brand marketing strategy – Brand marketing involves creating a brand and awareness around the services and products without directly selling. Think about how Tesla and Coca-Cola advertise their business. Note: this is not always the most appropriate choice, talk with a marketing consultant if you’re confused.
- Social media advertising – Creating quality content and attracting interested followers is just the beginning of social media. Using groups, and pages, and interacting with your supporters is where the biggest ROI comes in.
- Record videos – I’m personally a huge fan of short-form videos and try to keep my profiles snappy with fresh, relevant content. But that doesn’t mean you can’t also do live streams or longer videos that go more in-depth on your project!
- Cold emails – There’s a difference between being an “inbox pest” and using cold email to generate leads and appointments. Using a “not-too-cold” approach to writing your emails shows potential leads you’re there because you care, not because you’re chasing a quota or milestone.
- Warm emails – On the flip side of email marketing are warm emails, your warm emails (or newsletters) are formal communications that can help you move people who are already interested in your work to move down your funnel.
- Networking events – I’m lucky. I live in Las Vegas, the best place in the world to find casinos, cigarette smoke, and the attendees of networking events scattered among the tourists, letting loose.
- Collaborations – You don’t have to wait until you have a huge following to collaborate with other creators and brands. Start making connections and starting authentic conversations in the name of growth! #YoureAnInfluencerAlready
This is just a starter list, there are hundreds of ways to generate qualified leads. Some of them, like SEO, require more work and “know-how” but ultimately your promotion method is up to you!
Lead generation tips from my three-plus years as a brand strategist
Use a CRM or lead generation software
A CRM is the best investment I ever made into my business. To be clear, you don’t need a behemoth CRM like HubSpot when you’re small – a simple CRM like Monday or HoneyBook will suffice.
Lead generation software can help generate leads for your business by automating some of the things that you would do manually. You can automate tasks like emailing, finding contact information, and following up with prospects.
Split testing is a method of comparing two versions of a web page, product, marketing campaign, or other variables to identify which one performs better. It’s key to split-test your posting times and post styles.
It’s OK to focus on one or two platforms
Focusing on only one or two platforms is a good idea because it saves time and money, both of which a startup or “low-budget, high-impact” marketing strategy needs.
For example, if you’re a small company with limited resources or a personal brand with lots of experience on Instagram then you should focus on what you know best! Start in your comfort zone, just don’t stay there.
If you’re a larger company and you have people to help, you can use multiple platforms and keep them up to date.
Interactions are keys to the kingdom
80% of the results come from 20% of the effort. Interactions with your supporters are the 20% effort that will yield 80% (or more) of the results.
I used to be very bad with interactions. I only posted content, responded to comments, and kept track of my DMs. But take it from me, the first month I started interacting, the stats increased. They haven’t reversed since.
Automations are your friend
Zapier, Make, and IFTTT are my besties. Recently, Repurpose.io also joined the list (welcome in guys!) of automations that make LJ omnipresent.
By automating the sharing and re-sharing of your own work, you’ll end up getting more eyes on it, even if you’re sticking to just one or two platforms.
Human = better
Making a human connection is hard to do online, it’s key to text and write as you talk. I’m fairly stoic and have a dry sense of humor, which is why you’re sitting there snoring.
Human-centric interactions, in addition to mass interactions from your work and produced content, put your brand in a great position to continually generate the best leads and even better relationships.
As much as we’d love to keep going like Jason Sudeikis at the Emmys, it’s time to create your lead generation strategy, choose which platforms are going to be your “scaffolding”, and start creating a presence there!
Don’t forget to stay human and focus on your most comfortable areas first before expanding out!