Small business owners can easily get stuck in a rut when it comes to lead generation. Maybe you have relied on referrals from your loyal customers to generate leads for your local business in the past, but you are no longer seeing any growth. You may still receive consistent business and a steady revenue flow, but if you are not bringing in new clients, your business may suffer down the road. So, how do you generate local business leads and connect with new customers in your area?
Luckily, there are many strategies local businesses can use to reach new clients and generate valuable leads. Modern digital marketing makes it easy to target local customers who are interested in what your business has to offer. With the days of word-of-mouth marketing in the past, you can now use effective online lead generation strategies to connect with local leads more efficiently and effectively.
In this article, we will show you how to generate leads for your local business and outline 10 lead generation best practices and strategies for local businesses.
How to Start Local Lead Generation
Lead generation is essential for the health and growth of any local business. When done well, lead generation connects your business with potential customers in your area who are most likely to convert through subscriptions or purchases. These high-quality leads are customers who share the personality and values of your brand and are looking for exactly the solution your business offers.
However, before diving into new lead generation strategies, your business must build a foundation for lead generation. This includes identifying your ideal customers, building an identity online and connecting with potential customers through social media. Here are a few steps to help you start local lead generation:
1. Identify Your Target Market
The first step to building a successful lead generation strategy is to identify the niche market and target audience for your business. Every business has something unique to offer that appeals to customers with shared demographic characteristics and interests. Identifying these qualities and values allows you to tailor your marketing campaigns to best reach that target audience and connect with valuable leads.
To determine the target market for your business, look at the types of customers your business already attracts. Consider the characteristics that your current best customers share, such as their:
- Relationship status
- Family size
- Interests and hobbies
- Personal values
Think about the problems your customers are trying to solve through your services and what motivates their purchasing decisions. You can then create buyer personas to represent each of your ideal customers and help guide your lead generation efforts.
Clearly identifying your target market allows you to highlight products your customers are most interested in, craft a brand personality that connects with your customers and convey your marketing messages using language that resonates with your niche audience.
2. Establish an Online Presence
In our modern world, creating an online presence for your local business is essential. Fifty-six percent of consumers search for local businesses online at least once a week, and 27 percent search for local businesses online daily. If potential customers cannot find your business online, you may miss out on new leads and potential sales. If your business does not already have a website, now is the time to get online.
When creating your business website, make sure it is easy to navigate, has an attractive design and provides all the essential information that your customers need — including an about page, your business hours, your location, your contact information and information about your products and services. Once your website is established, you can build it out with additional features like a blog, news page and other valuable resources.
Your business website should also be mobile friendly. More and more consumers are smartphone users and search for local businesses on their mobile devices. Even more importantly, many local searches on mobile phones result in a purchase.
After creating a business website, here are a few other steps to take to create a strong online presence for your business:
- Make sure your business is listed on Google Maps: Sixty-seven percent of smartphone users choose Google Maps as their preferred navigation app and a majority of consumers use Google Maps to find the location of a local business. Make sure your business is listed on Google Maps and your address is correct so customers can find your business both online and offline.
- Claim your Google My Business page: Local business owners can use their Google My Business page to respond to Google reviews, monitor their online rating and upload content to engage their target audience.
- Join local business listings: You can also boost your online presence by adding your business to local directories or joining your local chamber of commerce. When your business is listed on other websites, this can also build your online credibility and drive more traffic to your website, which can result in more leads.
Creating a strong online presence allows your business to employ effective digital marketing lead generation strategies to connect with more customers in your area.
3. Engage on Social Media
The last step for setting up your local business for successful lead generation is to connect with potential customers on social media through sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Creating a Facebook business page is a great way to connect with new leads and promote your business to a wider audience. When customers interact with your business through Facebook, you can also collect demographic information to easily learn more about which leads are converting.
Social media sites also allow your business to show more of its unique personality and capture customer attention by posting engaging videos or eye-catching images of your products. When your loyal customers can easily share your social media content, your business also enjoys free marketing and increased exposure.
Lead Generation Strategies and Best Practices for Local Businesses
Now that you have identified your target audience and built an online presence, you are ready to start implementing winning lead generation strategies for your local business. Here are 10 effective lead generation strategies and best practices for local businesses:
1. Build a Local SEO Strategy
Building a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy is essential for business success online. If you want your business to be seen by customers, your website needs to rank well in the search engine results. This means choosing the right keywords that your customers are searching for and using them in blog posts, sales copy, social media posts and other online content. However, local businesses must also make sure that their website is optimized to reach leads in their region specifically. This is where local SEO comes into play.
A local SEO strategy uses local and geographic-specific keywords to target potential customers in your area. For example, if you are a health insurance provider based in New York City, you might choose to target keywords like “health insurance companies in ny” or “health insurance new york city.” By tailoring your keywords to the area your business serves, you can connect with more quality leads and reduce the number of disqualified leads your sales team has to weed through.
2. Create Quality Content
Producing quality content on your website and social media pages is another crucial factor of effective SEO and online lead generation. Search engines reward websites that answer consumer questions clearly and quickly by ranking them higher in the search results where they are more likely to be seen by potential customers. Blog posts on your website are a great place to answer questions that your target market may have about your products, services or industry. High-quality and informative blog posts also help position your business as an expert in your field. When visitors see value in the content on your website, you earn their trust and generate more leads who convert.
3. Create Compelling Landing Pages
One of the most critical online lead generation best practices is to create compelling landing pages on your website. Landing pages appear when a customer clicks on an online ad, call-to-action button or link on your website. Landing pages are specifically designed to convert website visitors into actual leads by collecting valuable visitor information through a lead-capture form.
Here are the essential components of a compelling landing page:
- Catchy header that clearly expresses your offer
- Brief description of the details of your offer
- Lead capture form that collects customer contact information and relevant demographic information
- Call-to-action button for submitting their lead capture form
Links to landing pages can be scattered across your website, added at the end of blog posts and used in ad campaigns to collect valuable information about your new leads from all of your marketing channels.
4. Use Website Pop-ups and Forms
Website pop-ups work in a similar way as landing pages to collect information about customers who visit your website. Pop-ups can be designed to appear when a visitor first arrives on your website, as they scroll through a page, when they leave a window or after they have been on your site for a certain amount of time. Pop-ups can present an irresistible offer or invite visitors to subscribe to your blog or newsletter. Like landing pages, all you need for an effective pop-up is a catchy header, brief description, form and submission button.
If you prefer not to use pop-ups or landing pages on your website, you can also embed lead capture forms directly into your blog posts or informative pages on your website. This allows you to generate leads right from the same page as your high-quality content without redirecting the visitor to a new window.
5. Run Targeted Ad Campaigns
Like local SEO, targeted ad campaigns allow you to target only the regions that your business serves to generate more high-quality local leads. When you run a targeted ad campaign, you also save on advertising costs and reduce the number of disqualified leads you receive.
Facebook and Google Ads are two simple ways to run a targeted ad campaign for your local business. When you create targeted ads through Facebook or Google, you can enter your business location and then choose to target only users who live within a certain radius of your business. Using your knowledge of your target market, you can narrow the audience of your ad campaign even further by entering details about their interests, income, gender, age and more. The more specific you make your targeted ad campaign, the more effectively you can reach your niche audience, leading to a higher conversion rate for your new leads.
6. Nurture Your Online Reviews
Online reviews are an increasingly important factor in determining whether a potential customer will choose your business or go elsewhere. A 2018 survey by BrightLocal revealed that 86 percent of consumers read online reviews for local businesses and 57 percent of consumers will not use a local business that has less than four stars. If your target market is Millennials, you should take your online reviews even more seriously, as 95 percent of consumers between age 18 and 34 read online reviews.
To make sure your online reviews generate new leads rather than scare business away, consider asking your loyal customers if they are willing to write a review for your business. Customers who enjoy your business will be happy to bolster it with a good review, and you can even offer them an incentive to do so, such as a discount on their favorite product.
You can also manage your Google reviews through your Google business page. Respond to positive reviews with appreciation and resolve any negative reviews that your business receives quickly. While this may not eliminate bad reviews, it will show potential leads that your company cares about its customers and make them more likely to give your business a shot.
7. Offer a Free Trial or Demo
If a customer is not sure about investing in your product or service and they cannot test it out first, they are not very likely to make a purchase. However, when you offer a free sample, trial or demo, customers can try your product risk-free without making any commitments. Once these potential leads see the value your product offers, they will happily become paying customers.
If your business cannot offer a free trial or sample, you can still demonstrate the value of your product or services in other ways — product demonstration videos, informative blog posts, downloadable white papers and eBooks can all demonstrate the knowledge and expertise that your business offers.
8. Hold Online Contests
Contests are another tried and true lead generation tool that can attract lots of interested customers if executed successfully. When you hold an online contest, choose a prize that is both exciting and relevant to your business. An exciting prize — something new, unique or of high value — will attract a lot of attention, while a relevant prize will generate leads who are actually interested in what your business offers.
Each person who enters your contest will fill out a form with their contact information and then becomes a valuable lead. After the contest is over, you may even choose to offer a special discount or promotion to the leads who did not win to encourage them to make a purchase.
9. Incentivize Referrals
Referrals can be an effective lead generation strategy for local businesses when done correctly. Instead of hoping that your happy customers will tell others about your business, provide them with an incentive to do so. For example, you can offer a discount on their next purchase if they refer a friend to your business.
Create a referral strategy that works best for your business. You may choose to send a referral request as part of a customer satisfaction survey or ask for referrals after a customer makes a purchase. If you receive referrals online, you can also track which leads are giving you the most referral traffic to gain an even better understanding of your target market.
10. Generate Leads Offline Too
While digital marketing lead generation has certainly taken center stage in recent years, local businesses can still benefit from taking their lead generation offline as well. Your business can create a stronger presence in your community by attending conferences and other local events such as fairs, parades and festivals. Bring a laptop or tablet that allows you to capture information from leads as you engage with them at conferences and events. Visitors can enter their information into your landing pages or contest entry forms, while also connecting with your business in person.
When determining the best lead generation strategies for your local business, remember that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to local business lead generation. The right strategy will depend on your unique business, your target audience and your lead generation goals. Take time to consider the best lead generation strategies for your business and don’t be afraid to test out a few different techniques. By paying attention to what works best, you can hone your lead generation skills and continue to grow your local business.
Improve Your Lead Management With LeadMaster
With these lead generation best practices for local businesses, your business can connect with so many new leads that you won’t know what to do with them. Luckily, lead management software from LeadMaster makes it easy to capture, track and convert leads.
When your business connects with new leads through your website, blog, emails or ad campaigns, lead management software from LeadMaster captures that customer information and stores it in your customer relationship management (CRM) tool. These leads can then be sorted, filtered and categorized in LeadMaster’s user-friendly CRM so your sales team can easily manage your new and existing leads all in one place. By keeping your leads organized and visible, our CRM software ensures valuable local leads never slip through the cracks and boosts your conversion rate.
Our lead management software also makes it easy to track leads back to their sources — such as a specific marketing campaign or effective landing page. When you can identify which lead generation strategies are working best for your local business, you can continue to connect with new customers and develop an even more effective local lead generation strategy.
Start your free 30-day trial today to see for yourself how LeadMaster lead management software can benefit your local business.