Finding new leads is the primary goal of your combined sales and marketing strategy and your business’s lifeblood—however, some struggle with not knowing to utilize different resources for lead generation. So, if you want to find out what lead sources you can implement in your “smarketing” strategy and how best to do it, keep reading.
The 10 best lead sources for your business
To maintain a proper lead flow, you need to focus on lead generation channels proven to be an effective source of potential customers that fit your ideal customer profile. You should focus your lead generation efforts on several sources rather than waste your time and resources on the latest trend.
Depending on your budget and target market, you can prioritize inbound channels like your website’s content, including landing pages and blog posts, or the more outbound-focused referral and affiliate marketing. You can also experiment with a combination of both, like sending out cold emails with a link to a product page.
Here are the best sources you should consider when looking for new ways to bring in more leads for your business.
1. Content marketing
Content marketing is hands down one of the best and most versatile channels for lead sourcing. Content should be one of your key focus areas as it plays great in combination with other channels for lead generation. Email marketing, social media, and paid advertising, to name a few, are all great ways to implement content.
A weekly newsletter, e-books providing industry insights, case studies detailing your success with a client, or creating videos and hosting webinars that seem to be popular at the moment, are just a few ways content makes a difference. Keep in mind that the content you create must present value to your target audience, as high-quality content takes time and resources.
Also, your content strategy should be based on three main pillars: your website, landing pages, and blog.
Website and landing pages
Your website is the primary touchpoint where new potential leads are introduced to your brand and where they can find information about your product. The overall message should appeal to the audience you are targeting, and a CTA or lead form for gathering their contact information is critical.
A landing page or a lead capture page works excellent in combination with paid advertising, social media posts, or capturing leads from organic search. The messaging should be short and driving home a specific point of information about your product. Landing pages work best with an incentive to nudge leads into giving it out their contact information, the “give and get” method, if you will.
Your blog should be the go-to place for content that is insightful and helpful. And blogging is not just a way to target specific search intent but also nurture existing leads through the sales funnel. A well-thought-out blogging strategy will have long-term benefits and net your quality leads. Include a simple newsletter subscription CTA, experiment with in-text lead magnets, or an exit popup element to improve your blog conversion rate.
2. Email marketing
According to most marketers out there, email marketing is the workhorse and primary channel for generating new leads. And it’s easy to understand why, as email marketing is effective and has a fantastic ROI compared to other media. It is also the preferred way for outreach by professionals as it is convenient and can be used together with your content to increase its effectiveness.
Segmenting your lead list based on different preferences so you can send your leads target messages to improve your emails. It is also good to add personalization to the subject line and email body for better success. You can personalize pretty much any point of data you have on your leads—experiment with using personalized visuals like an image or a gif to make the message stand out more.
Before you start sending cold emails to potentials, make sure that your emails have been verified, as you don’t want to spend time making a great email template for it only to go to spam. Also, thin out your list, a simple lead scoring process to calculate the lead value. Finally, do some testing to master lead scoring and avoid any pitfalls.
3. Cold calling
Although most of your sales and marketing efforts are probably focused on digital channels and email outreach, cold calling remains a viable channel for finding new leads and, more importantly, closing a sale. You can ask a sales representative, and the answer will be that it works. Some prefer to get on a call instead of going through their inbox and reading your email.
Sometimes potential leads prefer you give them a walkthrough of your product or guide them through the demo. So it’s best to have a script ready to go over critical aspects of your product and convert them more quickly if they are interested. Also, being prepared helps, like addressing their pain point or problems that they might be facing. As the buyer cycle has prolonged, try and get their email address and schedule a product showcase to add them to your regular lead nurturing campaign.
Social media channels are mainly used for brand awareness and sharing interesting content. Still, they can also be used as excellent service to grow your audience network, as well as reaching out to influencers. Not to mention that social media can help you understand what your lead’s main interests are. Stay up to date with the latest social media trends if you want your lead generation strategy on social to be successful.
The type of content you will find most effective differs by platform. Users on social media may prefer to engage with different forms of content, depending on the platform. For example, a product video may work best on one platform, while a more exciting and interactive lead magnet post leads to a landing page with a form for them to fill out. Play around with different types of content material and see what works for you best.
Maintain activity on all your social platforms through automation. Maintain audience engagement by regularly sharing news about your brand or product. Doing so will help build a community around your brand and create a direct connection with your followers.
While we are talking about social platforms and lead generation, we will have to mention an important one: LinkedIn.
It’s safe to say that LinkedIn is the most important social platform for marketers and sales representatives. With being business and lead-generation-focused and counting over 740+ million active users, you can see why you must have an active presence on the platform. And one of your main goals on LinkedIn should be to establish your network and hunt for new potential leads.
Your job will be made more accessible for two reasons. The platform’s focus revolves around finding and reaching out to leads, so people keep their profiles and company pages up to date, which helps for accurate targeting. This means less of a hassle for your sales team to find target market leads. Exporting data and lead outreach is also made more accessible through Linkedin and CRM integration. And the other reason, of course, is the LinkedIn Sales Navigator.
A paid service specifically designed and built to help sales professionals find and generate new leads completely opens up LinkedIn’s data. You get advanced search functionality, expanded market reach, and a set of sales-focused features.
Although the cost is a bit on the pricier side, it has no other lead generation alternative.
6. Paid advertising
Depending on market saturation, competition may be high as you and others fight over the same audience. In this situation, paid advertising can give you an edge and increase your brand’s visibility so potential leads can know about you and your product.
There are many effective ways to leverage paid ads for finding new leads. One of the best practices is to set up retargeting ads for people who have already visited your website and have shown interest in your brand. Since they already know about you, combine your retargeting ads with a powerful lead magnet to get them to convert quicker.
Another popular form of paid advertising is banner ads, as they are visually more appealing and eye-catching. The options you have for paid ads on social media differ by platform. Figure out what works best for you based on where your audience is and what it responds to. But it’s essential to always keep in mind your ROI per lead, as you wouldn’t want to burn through your budget with little to no leads to show for it, as the cost can quickly go up.
7. Affiliate marketing
Having an affiliate program can be a worthwhile addition to the effort of your sales and marketing teams. While your marketers focus on promoting your product and your sales representatives concentrate on your primary market, affiliates can tap into other networks, thus increasing your product reach. Since affiliates get a commission for every new lead or sales, they will focus on viable leads resulting in a deal.
This can mean actively promoting your brand to new leads or other more passive ways of raising awareness for your product. Depending on your product, you can collaborate with affiliate partners in different parts of the market so that you can measure the quality and the number of your new leads. This way, you can see another potentially viable market that you can target more actively.
In any case, you can see how having an affiliate program can be beneficial in your lead generation efforts.
8. Referral marketing
Client referrals are potentially one of your best sources for new leads. If someone is satisfied with your product, it is easier for them to spread the word and promote your business. People are currently more hesitant than before when making a purchase. The sales cycle has increasingly become longer—reading reviews, comparing different solutions, and asking for feedback from trusted sources.
That is why approval from someone they know can have such a powerful impact on your sales metrics. Another great thing about lead referrals is that they will fit your preferred ideal customer profile since people tend to move in the same circles. Often meeting others facing the same issues and needing the same product makes referral marketing a perfect source for finding new leads.
Engage with your most loyal and active customers since they will be the ones most interested in promoting and recommending your product. But you should also not forget about them too. Offer them something special as a way of saying thank you. Appreciate your most loyal customers, and in turn, they will help grow your client base by referring their positive experience with your brand to others.
9. Partner programs
You must’ve heard the expression stronger together, which in this case, you can apply it literally. Partnering with another business is a good idea if your products don’t overlap but cater to the same market. This way, you can partner up in your vertical niche and market your product together. Not only can you create a strong partnership by selling your products in a coordinated manner to a combined audience, but you can also find other audiences by combining your marketing efforts.
If your products are a great fit that can work together to solve different parts of your customers’ problems, this can significantly impact your long-term sales. There are several ways you can do this, from a simple newsletter to a more elaborate marketing campaign, including cross-promotions on a brand and product level.
10. Lead databases
Lead enrichment tools are a great alternative compared to the previously listed. The information you get is already verified, and you can find leads for particular data criteria. This can save you valuable time that you will better spend on outreach and lead nurture. Based on your buyer persona and automating the process, you can potentially find many great fit and high-value leads.
Lead databases often support direct integration with popular CRMs that makes exporting the lead information you find quick and painless. And the best part about lead generation tools is the affordable pricing plans that make this a viable option for small business.
The importance of CRM maintenance
Filling up your CRM with new leads for your business is naturally the focus of your marketing efforts and the drive behind your growth. Also, having lead sources with high potential for quality lead generation that can help you achieve your goal is essential.
However, don’t forget about the leads already in your CRM.
Data decays quickly as people change jobs, titles, or workplaces, and companies expand or go out of business. This can negatively affect different aspects of your own business. Marketing sending campaigns to non-existing email addresses and sales wasting time and effort chasing leads that are no longer relevant.
For those reasons taking care of your existing lead data is vital if you want things to work as they should. Take the time now and then to do a bit of data cleaning and keep every bit of data you have updated.
When looking for new ways to acquire new leads, invest your time and budget in a select number of channels. Concentrate on getting the most of them and remember that lead quantity is not your primary goal but lead quality. This will help your lead conversion strategy. Find out what works for you and your lead sourcing process. Know your target market and their preferences, and you will find the leads you are looking for.
Author bio: Igor is a Growth Marketer with Sales.Rocks, an all-in-one sales enablement and marketing automation platform.