Did you know that more than 2.5 million small businesses in the US are veteran-owned? This translates to more than 9% of all American businesses. Veteran-owned businesses are a key part of the American economy employing over 5.8 million people all over the country. Any successful entrepreneur will tell you that starting and running a business is not for everyone. You need dedication, good leadership skills, the ability to make quick decisions under pressure, teamwork, and a strong desire to overcome hurdles. These are all standard traits for servicemen. While all these characteristics give veterans a better chance in the entrepreneurial world, reports indicate that many veteran-owned businesses are struggling to stay afloat.

Even with all the skills and determination, if your business isn’t making enough sales, it is bound to fail eventually. For your business to grow and consistently turn a profit, you need a constant and steady stream of leads. And this is where lead generation comes in.

What is Lead Generation?

A lead is anyone who has expressed genuine interest in the products or services your business offers, making them a potential customer. This can be by initiating a conversation, providing their contact details, inquiring about your products or services, or providing some sort of indication that they may want to do business with you.

Lead generation is the process of stimulating or capturing interest in your products or services. With proper nurturing, you can successfully convert these interested individuals or prospects into paying customers. Businesses that have mastered the art of lead generation have unbridled control over the market and tend to grow at an exponential rate.

Lead generation involves the use of a wide range of marketing tactics, you just need to find the ones that work best for your business. The point is always to focus on the strategy that allows you to find and engage with more qualified leads. You want to avoid the mistake of marketing to anyone and everyone.

In this article, we are going to take a look at some inexpensive yet effective lead generation techniques that you can do yourself.

Blog More Consistently

Ask any digital marketing expert and they will tell you that content marketing, more specifically blogging, is by far, one of the most effective lead generation tools. Not only does a blog add value to your website, but it also offers a wide range of short-term and long-term benefits to your business.

First of all, a good blog offers value to your website in that it gives visitors an additional reason to visit your website – wanting to read and learn from your content. This helps to increase traffic to your site and increase interest in your products and services. Secondly, a good blog keeps visitors on your site for longer, which increases their likelihood to convert into buyers. Thirdly, and most importantly, a good blog help to increase your SEO rankings which helps to bring in more organic traffic, helping your business to achieve long-term sales.

Through your blog, you get to showcase your knowledge and expertise in your field. This helps you to position yourself as an industry leader and build trust with your audience.

However, when it comes to blogging, you need to maintain consistency, both in terms of quality and frequency. Don’t just focus on promoting your business. Try to address different topics within your field and offer relevant and helpful information to your audience.

Remember to include some well-placed call-to-actions throughout your blog posts highlighting how your specific products/services can help meet their needs. Also, add a sign-up section for your email newsletters.

All these steps will go a long way in attracting and converting leads.

Answer Forum Questions

This is one of the most overlooked yet effective ways of generating leads for your business. Many people use forums to try and find answers or solutions to their problems. Answering forum questions relevant to your field not only helps to demonstrate your expertise in the subject matter, but if done strategically, it also offers an excellent opportunity to promote your business.

Ensure to provide a clear and helpful answer and include a call-to-action briefly describing how your product or service can help resolve their problem. Adding a link to your company’s website can also work well for your business’s SEO campaign.

Use Lead Magnets

This is a very useful technique for capturing quality leads. It is important to acknowledge the fact that, in most cases, people won’t buy your product or service on their first visit to your website, perhaps they still want to shop around or aren’t yet ready to buy at the moment. However, you definitely want them to come back to your site later on when they are ready. One of the best ways to go about this is to offer a free item or service. This can be a free trial subscription or something like an e-book. These are given away with the intent of collecting contact details. For example, you provide an enticing blog post highlighting what is contained in the e-book, and ask the readers to enter their details to get access to the e-book. This way, you acquire important details that you can use to follow-up with them until they become paying customers.

In the case of trial subscriptions, after users sign up, you can periodically tease them with paid features through e-mails and encourage them to convert into paying customers.

Use the Power of Testimonials and Reviews

When looking to buy a particular product or service, most customers, nowadays, will do some internet research and find out what the general public’s opinion is about the particular product or service. What’s more, what they find can heavily influence their final decision. With this in mind, you can ask your happy and satisfied customers to post testimonials and reviews on your website as well as other review sites. The more positive reviews you have online, the easier it will be for you to build trust and attract leads.

Ask for Referrals from Current Customers

Word of mouth is one of the oldest and most effective ways of generating leads, especially for local businesses. If a customer is happy and satisfied with your product/service, they will naturally recommend it to others. This is how most small businesses survive and thrive. When you are trusted in the local community, you will always have a ready market for your offerings.

However, you can go a step further and set up an incentive system. Here, you can offer certain rewards or give discounts to customers who refer paying customers to your business. This can go a long way in promoting your business.

Write Guest Blogs

This is another form of content marketing. You can easily generate leads for your business by guest blogging for authoritative sites in your field or other sites in your field that don’t directly compete with you. For example, if you are a flooring company, you can guest blog for a roofing company or another type of home maintenance company in your area. In this case, you know that a homeowner interested in making some roofing repairs or installation will be interested in flooring services at some point. By providing a link to your site in the blog post, you will be able to gain some additional leads.
Backlinks from authoritative sites will be more impactful, so try to focus on these.

Harness the Power of Social Media

Over 80% of your customers are on social media. Thus, as a smart business, you need to find your customers where they are.

Having a social media marketing strategy is absolutely necessary. You need to set up a business profile on all the relevant social media platforms. Promote your blogs and other content to your target audience on your social media profiles to attract traffic to your website and potentially convert them into customers.

When it comes to social media marketing, businesses that actively engage with their audiences are more attractive to customers and tend to build lasting relationships with them.

LinkedIn users have twice the purchasing power of the average web audience, thus exploiting this platform can help you generate more qualified leads especially if you sell to other businesses. LinkedIn allows you to connect with business leaders and create more business opportunities.

You can also connect with other non-competing businesses in your field and share businesses ideas and get access to their pool of customers, thus generating leads for your business.

Email Marketing

If you’ve already built up your own email list, it is highly likely that you have a lot of untapped business potential. You can consider putting together a special offer or a limited-time offer to prospects as well as your existing customers. This is bound boost sales as well as motivate passive bystanders to finally convert into your customers. For better results, you can also consider sending this email offers to the email list of complementary businesses that you’ve partnered with and let them use you email list too. This will be a win-win situation for all involved.

So there you have it, some of the simplest and most effective techniques of generating leads that you can do yourself. Hopefully, with the above guide, you can take your business to the next level.