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How to Generate Low-Cost Leads for Your Small Business

Grow your business with regular leads.

Every business is faced with the pressure to generate leads, but thanks to low-cost digital marketing strategies, small and mid-sized firms can snag a larger share of the customer market, and compete head-to-head with big business.

“There are a lot of small companies that are running circles around their larger, more established competitors because they’re taking advantage of these new marketing channels,” says Matt Heinz, president of Redmond, Washington-based Heinz Marketing Inc. Among these channels and strategies are social media, targeted email marketing efforts, and the offering of free infoproducts such as webinars and white papers.

Not only is the cost per lead when using these strategies lower than the cost of traditional advertising, but these efforts involve engaging with potential customers for the long haul, which could encompass several sales cycles. If you’re ready to accelerate your sales in 2015 and beyond, here are some skills you can use to generate low-cost leads.

Listen to identify quality leads. “The biggest opportunity in social media isn’t to talk or to tweet, but to listen,” says Heinz. Every follower on Twitter isn’t a qualified lead—someone who has the budget, authority and interest in buying your product or service. Filter social media accounts to identify tweets and posts about certain topics. For example, you might have a member of your sales team contact Twitter followers that mention a certain keyword or phrase.

Create a lead scoring system. Some leads are closer to making a purchase than others. You can employ a fairly basic system of rating your leads in which you assign certain points to different activities. For example, a lead that signs up for your newsletter may have a higher score than one who simply likes your Facebook page. This helps you to determine whether a particular lead needs more education about your product or service or whether they are ready to hear a sales pitch.

Encourage leads to further the relationship. When a client shows an interest in your company you want to turn that into engagement, Heinz says. “If every once in a while you tweet out a number for a white paper, a webinar or a free trial, you’re allowing those prospects to self-select themselves into a more advanced relationship with you.”

Carry on multiple conversations. When people sign up for your e-mail list, track what they respond to so you know what message to send them next. “You’re not just sending the same email to 100,000 people,” Heinz says. “You’re sending a message that is the precise next step in the conversation or relationship with that prospect.”

Take a long-term approach. Just because a lead isn’t ready to buy doesn’t mean they will never make a purchase. By maintaining a dialogue through emails, social media updates and blog posts, you stay front of mind when that lead is ready to close a deal. “I’ve had some leads change jobs twice before they had the conditions internally to actually engage with us,” Heinz says.

Remember content is king. No matter how you communicate with your leads, you have to know what they want to know. “Whether you use email, direct mail or social media, none of those channels work without good content that aligns with what the customer cares about,” Heinz says.

At the end of the day you must determine which digital marketing activities are converting interested prospects into closed business, Heinz says. “There’s a leveling effect that’s available to a small business that a lot of their bigger competitors still aren’t using to their fullest potential.”

Want to learn more savvy business strategies? Take a look at our business resource center. And, one of the smartest business decisions you can make is being proactive about protection. Connect with an agent today to learn about customized coverage for your business.

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Related Topics: Business Growth , Marketing , Finance