7 Lead Generation Strategies that Work for Startups

Lead generation is the initiation of consumer interest or enquiry into products or services of a business. Leads can be created for purposes such as list building, e-newsletter list acquisition or for sales leads

What is lead generation?

Real quick—before we dive into the strategies you can use to grow your business, let’s make sure we’re on the same page as far as terminology goes.

A lead

is simply someone who’s demonstrated interest in your business in some way. Basically, you can think of anyone who’s given you their contact information—to attend a webinar, to download a free guide, to sign up for your newsletter, etc.—as a lead. Because this person has engaged your business’ website and given you permission to contact them (typically through email, but sometimes over the phone), they’re now inside your sales funnel.

7 lead generation strategies for your startup

Disclaimer: You absolutely do NOT need to try all of these. In fact, doing so would probably be a bad idea. Why? Because no two startups are the same. Although these seven lead generation strategies have worked wonders for our companies, that won't necessarily be the case for yours.

You may only find success with one or two of these strategies. That's OK. Evaluate each one carefully in the context of your revenue, your resources, your marketing goals, and your competitive landscape. As much as we believe in the effectiveness of these lead generation strategies ,there's no universal formula for growth.

1. Create a LOT of opt-in opportunities and make them irresistible.

Webinars, free reports, live demos…don't stop at just one or two opt-ins. Turn every blog post into an opt-in page. You can give away recipes, PDFs of your blog posts, worksheets, resource guides and more

Get the opt-in box out of the sidebar and make a pop-up. Force users to make a decision. Do you want this or not? It's easier to say no when the option is just sitting there in the sidebar and saying no is as easy as ignoring it.

In testing, this increased conversion by 32%.

You can't make them say yes, but you don't have to make it so easy for people to say no.

2. Always be testing, but test the right way.

Getting great advice is a good thing, but it's dangerous to think that because it worked for someone else, it'll work equally well for you. That doesn’t mean you should ignore great advice, but that you need to test, test, test – and do it right.

Split test even where you think you don't need to. Sometimes the results amongst your audience will seem counter intuitive, but this is why testing is critical.  In this test, for example, you might think the use of "my" or "your" would have little effect.

Other aspects you'll want to test for are immediacy, concreteness, images, and more. Split test your headline, your button copy, and your background image. The results might surprise you, but you'll be making better, more informed optimizations in your lead generation process.

3. Make landing pages clear and easy to take action on.

That it doesn't require the user to process very much information, like a 3-minute video or a whole page of copy would. It out performs a free report because a lot of people are feeling information overload and don't want to download something even longer to read.

Video lead magnets have suffered an image problem lately, in part because of the proliferation of launches and lack of time. For these reasons, this landing page was a hot performer .It also helped that people genuinely want to know which tools other people are using and this fulfills that desire.

Anyone can do this – dentists, plumbers ,architects, whoever. This type of lead gen landing page can be set up in under a half hour and is definitely worth trying out.

4. Write better ads!.

Most ads just suck. They're boring, they're all the same, and one isn't any more compelling than another.

If you're the searcher, you really have no reason other than price to choose one over the other. This is what I call an AdWords Jackpot for an advertiser. When everything looks the same, there's a huge opportunity to come in with something different and blow the competition away!

Writing better ads can raise your CTR above the expected average, giving your Quality Score a boost. Learn more about writing killer ads and how doing so can lower your costs per click

5. Give better offers.

Unless you're one of the very top advertisers, there's a ton of room for conversion rate improvement. In fact, the top 10% of landing pages have conversion rates 3x to 5x the average. How do they do it?

One creative way is to give better offers. This is far more meaningful than your typical, run of the mill optimizations – changing button color, font type, spacing, etc.

Every software company offers a free trial. Every plastic surgeon offers a free consultation. What do you have to offer that is unique, compelling, and offers real value to the visitor?

If your conversions are 2% or lower, you need to try something drastic like changing up your offer big time. Small optimizations will be get small results. The top 25% of advertisers have an average 5.31% conversion rate and the top 10% are hitting over 11%, on average! You have a ton of room to grow.

6. Go nuts with remarketing.

Remarketing enables you to tag site visitors and get back in front of them as they go about their business around the web ,checking their email, watching YouTube, searching Google and even hanging out on Facebook.

It helps turns abandoners into leads, which is huge considering that 97% of people will leave your landing page without converting. Remarketing amplifies the effect of all of your other startup marketing activities – content marketing, social media marketing, etc. – by positioning you in front of your audience again.

Remarketing using the Google Display Network gives you 92% reach in the U.S., across millions of websites, videos, and devices. We've found that remarketing ads fatigue is about half the rate of regular ads, so be aggressive! Use our Remarketing Cheat Sheet to get started.

7. Use Gmail ads to target competitors’ customers

Here's another tip for generating tons of leads, at the expense of your competitors.

Gmail Ads are powerful tools for getting right in front of your target audience.

For a SaaS startup, no audience is more valuable than your competitors’ customers. With Gmail Ads, you can target your AdWords campaign to only ever reach people who receive emails from your competitors, giving you direct access to people that already use similar products.

There are several ways to do this. One is to target keywords that your competitors are likely to use. Sign up for your competitors’ email lists and take note of any words and phrases that they use frequently, then add them as target keywords.

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