For any business, whether in the US or in Pakistan, clients mean everything. They are the driving force that brings profit and inspires heroism. But how can you, as a startup owner or representative get hundreds of new clients?
Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to gain clients right away. First, you need to find leads and then, convert them into clients.
Did you know that 89% of marketers are sure that email marketing is the best lead generation method? This is why in this lead generation comprehensive guide for a startup, I’ll be speaking about growing your email leads’ base.
Who a lead is
A lead is a person who may potentially be interested in the service, tools, products you provide. This person includes all the information you have about them. There are a few categories of leads.
Depending on the data you have, leads can be:
- Non-enriched, the ones with basic information like their name
- Enriched, those with full persons’ profiles that contain personal and professional demographics, needs, pain points, etc.
The second criterion that defines leads is their interest:
- Warm (aka inbound) leads show their interest in your product. They initiate communication with the brand
- Cold (aka outbound) leads are the ones found by you thanks to outbound lead generation methods
What lead generation is
Lead generation is the process of discovering and attracting leads through different channels. Once collected, your aim is to pique their interest. And then, convert them into loyal customers. If we have a look at the stages of the customer lifecycle, we’ll discover that it represents the awareness stage.
As a professional, you do understand the importance of lead generation. It helps you fill in the sales funnel. Thus, the more leads you have, the more potential clients you will get.
How to generate leads online
There are two ways you can find leads online: inbound and outbound. Here’s the key difference between these two:
Inbound lead generation methods
Inbound lead generation is the process of attracting leads through various channels. Professionals say that it’s easier to collect leads using inbound methods. This is because they are warm, thus, they are interested in your product. As a result, it’s easier to convert a person who already knows your product. They only need a push from a professional.
Here are the ways you can attract leads:
- Content marketing is one of the best ways to attract leads. Create valuable pieces of content and wait for the leads to come. This includes blog posts, videos, podcasts, infographics, knowledge base articles, and much more. The more content channels you use, the more visible your brand becomes. The more visible your brand is, the more leads you will finally attract.
- Guest blogging is also a part of your content marketing strategy. Find influencers within your niche and reach out to them through an email. In your email, offer them a collaboration, and write an article for them. You can also agree on barter with influencers and bloggers.
- SEO is an integral part of your content strategy and is the most natural way of lead generation. This content strategy helps it appear in a higher position on search engines. This means that more people will see it when they search for respective information.
- Lead magnets are specific pieces of content that you can share with people for free. Or almost for free. Do not ask for money. Instead, ask for the leads’ contact details. This will help you build your own base of warm leads.
- Social media platforms are also one of the best ways to grow your leads’ base. Be active with your both personal and corporate social media profiles. Share content, offer people to join your mailing list, become friends with people. And then, when they suspect nothing (ha-ha), move them to a conversion. Also, find relevant groups within your niche and be active there. Ask questions, comment, share something valuable, etc. In brief, be as active as you can. Besides, you can later combine social media activity together with paid ads.
- Use on-website forms to generate highly-interested leads. Opt-in forms, pop-ups, hello bars, timed pop-up surveys, scroll boxes, and so much more! Each of them serves the only aim: to collect leads and information about them. Yet, remember that basic info is not enough for a personalized approach to people. Ask your leads for more details. This could be the company they represent, their position, and the company size. If you are in a B2C niche, ask for the details that will help you later segment people and be relevant. For example, that type of product interests them most.
Note that for most inbound strategies you may need professionals who will be doing this or that work. It’s too difficult to cope with everything on your own. You will need front-end devs, copywriters, an SEO specialist, illustrators, an SMM manager.
Outbound lead generation
Outbound lead generation is the opposite of inbound one. In this case, this is not the lead who initiates business relationships, but you. A few professionals claim that the outbound lead gen is dead and doesn’t work anymore. This is because it's difficult to convert people who know nothing about your brand. This is a myth, and my aim is to prove that outbound is alive. Well-performed, the highest level of targeting and personalization will show no worse results. Or even better.
Mainly, outbound marketing and sales include two strategies:
- Lead sourcing stands for collecting leads from different sources. You can do this either manually or with the help of email finder tools. First, you need to create a buyer persona image to clarify what kind of leads you need. Then, choose the source of lead generation. Use LinkedIn, corporate websites, search engine results pages, or directories for B2B. Once the source and the tool are chosen, start collecting leads. This method is rather time and money-saving. The email finders are cheap and even a solopreneur can afford it.
- PPC (also addressed as an inbound technique) is a way to attract leads with the help of paid ads. This is a rather targeted but pricey method of lead generation. So analyze your budget and think twice about whether this method fits your budget at this very stage.
For a startup, it’s important to save money as much as possible. Thus, when choosing between lead sourcing and PPC, my heart leans towards the first option. It’s cheaper, time-saving, and, with the right targeting, highly-profitable.
A few more tips
For any online startup, lead generation is a must-have attribute of their development. To gain clients, you need to first generate leads and move them down the sales funnel. Each of the above-mentioned methods performs well independently. But to generate more leads for your Pakistani business, combine them. United we stand, divided we fall.
Besides the above-mentioned inbound and outbound techniques, take advantage of referral marketing. Also, ask your loyal clients to write reviews and feedback and then share them with leads. People trust more to what others say about you, not you yourself.