Unless you’re a lead generation startup, you’re unlikely to be a master of generating leads. Even the world’s greatest products would fail if a startup’s lead generation wasn’t providing the targeted leads required to keep sales pipelines full.
What Is Lead Generation?
One thing to learn is that lead generation for startups can cover multiple forms of marketing. Small businesses may find that startup leads are best generated using content marketing, while others claim the best lead generation strategies for startups are paid marketing.
In short, lead generation is a tactic used to bring prospective buyers to your product.
For example, let’s assume that you’re selling SaaS software and using social media for marketing. Every lead that is generated from social media is part of your lead generation strategy.
But some leads are better than others.
Your leads, using the example above, will need to be businesses or individuals that can benefit from your product. Your product is filling a void of some kind, and people are willing to pay to have this void filled.
Bad leads are those that have a low chance of buying. An individual going to your site to learn how to code a SaaS product probably isn’t going to subscribe to your service. You want to use your startup leads to generate cash, and this is only possible when you attract the right leads.
What are the Right Leads?
Lead generation for startups needs to attract prospects that show some form of interest in your product or service. These prospects can be in any phase of the buying cycle. In digital marketing, you can view a lead as a prospect that has:
- Entered their email into your form
- Downloaded your eBook
- Called your business
While most leads are meant for revenue generation, others are meant to build authority and trust. For example, you may collect email addresses for your eBook download and then nurture these leads using email marketing.
Email lists are known for being highly valuable because you can gain trust and authority by creating the right email sequences.
Lead generation for startups should involve a complete understanding of what your own strategy should look like. Remember, your leads may be generated differently from another startup’s leads, but a majority of the points listed can transcend across multiple strategies.
Lead Capture Strategy for Startups
Define your Leads
Who is your main target audience? When you generate leads, there needs to be a full definition of what a lead really is. Defining your leads means that you know:
- Who your offer appeals to – it shouldn’t be everyone
- The pain points of prospects
- Industry and age of prospects
- Challenges and concerns of prospects
Does your product offer a solution that will be able to help anxious prospects feel better or make better decisions? What level of education and type of family do your leads have? A good way to determine all of this information is to sit down and create buyer personas.
A buyer persona will map out the individuals that are most interested in your business. For example, you may find that the ideal prospect is someone that is:
- 25 to 45
- Father of 2
- Struggling to make more money
- Unhappy in his career
Mapping out your ideal target audience with the precision of a buyer persona will help you generate more leads than ever before. You may also want to create what is known as “negative personas.”
When trying to find your voice and really master your messaging, negative personas may be able to help. These personas are people that aren’t going to be interested in your product or service and are essentially wasting your resources when marketing to them.
Defining your leads is one of the best lead generation strategies for startups because, while it does take time, you’ll be able to be sure that you’re marketing to potential prospects with a higher chance of converting into sales or taking action on your offer.
Have an Effective Landing Page
A tip from a lead generation startup that resonates across all mediums and industries is that you need to put time and energy into your landing page. The landing page is the first thing that many of these leads will see, and it needs to help you nudge the lead to take action.
An effective landing page has:
- High conversion rates
- Been A/B tested for optimization
- Encourages leads to take some form of action
What is a landing page? It’s the first page a prospect lands on when they enter your site. The page needs to be designed around taking action, whether that action result in making a sale or capturing contact information.
Landing pages can be long- or short-form, but they will all explain your product or offer to the lead. The lead should land on the page and gain a better understanding of what your offer entails.
You may want to experiment with different graphics or even video to improve conversion rates of your landing page.
A few tips to help with optimizing your landing page:
- Make your offer as clear as you can so that the individual knows what you’re offering to them and how it can benefit them
- Create some sense of urgency that pushes the person to take action now or potentially lose out on the offer
- Keep everything simple, asking for just the bare minimum information
- Add in your contact information or a way to contact live chat to answer any pertinent questions potentially holding up a sale
Finally, be sure to optimize and test your copy to see what works and doesn’t work to convert your audience.
Create Valuable Content
Content is “king,” but a lot of startup lead generation is focusing on quantity and not quality. Valuable content requires you to know who your target audience really is and what they’re most concerned about so that you can create content that:
- Focuses on the concerns of leads
- Optimized to answer questions leads may have
- Ranks well in the search results (added bonus)
The content that is valuable to your audience may be completely different from another business or niche. Perhaps you’re catering to super-busy CEOs that are looking to save time by automating tasks.
These individuals have a pain point: time.
Creating an article that explains time management tips and shows how your product can help with freeing up time is a great idea. But there’s a problem: a lengthy article takes a lot of time to read.
You may want to create an article and a video that your prospects can follow along with.
Some CEOs may be willing to read the content you write, but those that are truly pressed for time will appreciate you making videos. Creating valuable content is a lengthy process and may also include you:
- Analyzing the competition
- Creating longer, better content
- Asking questions from past and current customers
- Taking surveys from customers
- Answering the most common customer service inquiries
One tip that can help you create content that is truly valuable is to use tools to help you find questions to answer. A few tools that fit this bill are:
Quora or Reddit can also help you create content that is more valuable.
Distribute Your Content
Creating your valuable content is just the first step in startup lead generation. What’s the second step recommended by a lead generation startup? Distributing your content. You can use paid distribution, such as:
- Pay-per-click advertising
- Ad buys
- Social media buys, etc.
But some of the best forms of distributing content are free. You’ll want to use a mix of paid and free distribution when possible, but a lot of startups will use free lead generation for startups, such as:
- Email newsletters
- Social media posts
- Guest posts
You can and should try being featured in industry blogs or mention some of your content on podcasts. Feel free to reach out to influencers on social media or industry blogs to tell them about your new post.
Distribution is going to be a work in progress because you don’t want to spam anyone in your industry ever. Instead, you want to show how your content adds value to the conversation.
You know your niche better than anyone, so get creative with the channels of distribution that you use. Perhaps you’ll find better luck using Quora, Facebook Groups and Reddit to distribute your content.
If it works for you, good.
There’s no right or wrong way to get your content distributed so long as it’s working to generate leads.
Lead generation for startups is one of the most important aspects of creating a successful business. If you’re generating leads, you have a higher chance of meeting revenue and growth goals.
As your business grows, dedicate more resources to lead generation to continue growing and expanding.
Depending on the audience that you build and the search engine optimization that you put in place, you may find that a lot of these leads come to you organically. What does this mean? You’ll spend less time generating leads and more time making sales.