5 Lead Generation Ideas for Small Business

Where’s my next sale coming from? The answer to that question keeps small business owners up at night. That’s because the lifeblood of any business is a constant stream of revenue, usually from sales. It impacts your cash flow and ultimately your ability to expand. So how do you keep the stream flowing? Here are five lead generation ideas that, when implemented as part of ongoing prospecting plan, can help answer that key question. 

Idea #1: Look in your own back yard.

New sales don’t have to come from new customers. In fact, you’ll spend five times more doing it. The best source of leads is right in your own back yard—current customers. Repeat customers spend 33% more than new ones. So what are you doing to stay connected with them? Many businesses push out relevant content using their social media platforms. Each post reminds followers of your business so when they’re ready to buy again, they think of you. 

And don’t forget to ask for referrals. A satisfied customer is your best prospecting source for new customers. They know your business and can communicate the value you provide.

Idea #2: Put your best face forward.

Facebook can be a great way to connect with potential customers. But if all you’re getting is likes, you may not be getting the maximum value from your business page. Facebook offers these suggestions:

  • Add special features – You can do more than post. For example, you can display your menu, list your services or showcase a new product in the shop section
  • Start messaging – Let people send your business private messages to ask questions. It’s a great way to start a one-on-one conversation and develop a new relationship
  • Add a call-to-action button – Make it easy to contact you, enter a contest or make an appointment with the click of a button

Idea #3: Offer discounts or coupons.

Get potential customers interested by offering them discounts or coupons. A survey of small and medium-sized businesses reported that coupons can increase revenue by up to 40%. The ideal discount amount was 10-20%. The study also offered tips on selecting the right coupon for your business.

One caution, be sure to pair your offer with a service or guarantee you offer every day. For example, free shipping or a no-obligation consultation. A good deal might get them in the door, but your service differentiator keeps them coming back for more.

Idea #4: Trade leads within your network.

Part of why you network with other businesses is to talk with others who face similar business challenges. Connections can be made at a Chamber of Commerce meeting, on a LinkedIn interest group or local PTA. Those contacts can also provide sales leads.

The trick is to focus on complementary, not competing, businesses. For example, a kitchen remodeler might network with a realtor. Each shares the same target market but with different services. The remodeler might refer someone who is getting their home ready to sell. And the realtor can introduce someone who just bought a fixer-upper and needs remodeling help.

Idea #5: Encourage reviews.

Before people try a new business, they often read reviews first. Websites like Google, Yelp, and the Better Business Bureau make it easy for users to evaluate your business with online comments. One study suggests they’re as influential as a personal recommendation.

Rather than wait for customers, encourage them to post a review. Some businesses make this part of their after-sale efforts offering an incentive like entering their name into a prize drawing. This word-of-mouth promotion helps to generate new interest in your business.

Lead generation should be a continuous effort that targets both current and prospective customers. See if one of these ideas can help you answer the eternal question—where is my next sale?

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