A budget and lead generation don’t always go together like peanut butter and jelly. It’s extremely easy to fall into the trap that creating leads will eventually pay off because surely, the lead generation will not only pay for what you paid to get them, but also, the ones that do not end up working out. Luckily, in this age of technology and the potential for cheap advertising, generating leads doesn’t have to be a costly endeavour. In fact, you can do a lot of lead generating for free!
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What is a Lead?
Just to ensure that we all begin on the same page, lead generation is generating consumer interest or inquiries into the products or services of a business. Basically, all generating leads really is building consumer awareness of your product to a level that they would at least be curious enough to ask questions about your company.
Using Social Media to Generate Leads
A powerful tool for lead generation on a tight budget is the Social Media. Sure playing games, watching silly videos, and catching up on the latest celebrity gossip is fun, however the Internet can be a powerful tool for small business owners who are looking to boost their bottom line. There are literally thousands of ways to do this, but today, we are going to focus on the aspects of social media that can help generate leads. Specifically, we are going to talk about using Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ for more than just playing Farmville and trying to get a retweet from the President.
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Generating Leads Using Twitter
Twitter, for those who don’t know, is a tool where an account holder can send out a message up to 140 characters long to all the people following their account. This text message can go to the follower’s email inbox, text message bank onto their phone, and on their computer screen. This means that your message could possibly hit someone in three places! What an opportunity. In these tweets, a company can send out a link to their company website, an advertisement of a specific product/sale, or even just a tweet to generate a discussion. Usually, the last one generates the most leads for a company. By not having a direct advertisement, this generates a curiosity among a customer base. What is their angle? Why is a furniture business tweeting about sports? By doing this, you are drawing the ever important eyeball from just reading past your tweet to the next one that came right before yours to directly to your Twitter timeline.
If the visitor goes to your page, you have to take advantage of this power. You need to have a visually appealing Twitter page. Use the colors of your logo (which should be your profile picture) as the background, but avoid harsh colors like bright yellow, orange, or other neon colors. In your “about me” section, be sure to include what you do, how you do it, where you do it from, and your website link. Obviously, you can not tell your whole story in 140 characters, but that is the point. You want to whet the appetite of your audience enough for them to keep wanting to dig deeper and deeper. The best part is, unless you hire a social media manager, a Twitter account is free.
Generating Leads Using Facebook
Facebook is not usually seen as a profit driving tool, but simply a social web site. However, it is also a major tool for business lead generation and potentially find new customers. Many businesses have a Facebook page of their own. It allows people who already use and love the product to “Like” the page, which then pushes it onto the timeline of their friends’ home pages on Facebook.
Business pages on Facebook allow you to give all the information you give on a Twitter page plus things like pictures and more fan interaction. By listening to your customers on your Facebook page, not only can you advertise for repeat business, but it shows how invested you are in making your customers happy. Also, like the Twitter page, you can do a little bit of advertising on your Facebook page in order to try and create leads. Remember though, just like the Twitter page, if you simply advertise and don’t spice up the page a little bit, people will be turned off to your page. Mix it up a little bit and eyeballs will come to the page and stay there. There’s more on the line when using Facebook, as more people use it when compared to Twitter.
Generating Leads Using Google+
The final way to create some free leads on the Internet that we are going to talk about how to use the newest of the social media sites, Google+. Banking on the backing of the Google brand, Google+ is trying to become the Facebook in the Facebook and MySpace relationship. In just a few months, Google+ has garnered 40 million active members. That growth is something that needs to be taken advantage of by people desiring to create leads.
Google+ recently added the ability to create business pages. Simply having a Google+ page will show that your business is ahead of the technology curve. You can create a page for your company, not a complete Google+ profile. Once you do that, you have to have people +1 your page, which is basically an endorsement for your product. At that point, you enter the person’s circle, where you are specifically advertised. A great way to get in on the Google+ game is to create your own Google+ profile and endorse yourself, and get in on your circle. Friends can then +1 you and then their friends will see your page. Eventually, if you get enough +1 clicks, you will move up in Google’s algorithm when it comes to their search results on their main site. That is the most powerful tool you can have on the Internet, as Google has been the most hit webpage for quite a while now. To be completely successful, you will probably have to start out with current customers on Google+ and have them build your presence.
Next Steps – Generate Tons of Leads Now!
All these platforms are free for businesses to use and there is nothing that fits better in a budget than free. Try these web sites out and make as many new contacts as possible before paying someone else to do it for you. Remember, in order to generate interest, you can not appear to be simply advertising. You have to be a little more creative and talk about current events, sports, and gossip in order to get attention, and then sell them your product when you’ve drawn them in.
If lead generation using social media is something that you are interested in but don’t know how to get started, contact us today to schedule your free marketing analysis.
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Image Source: HubSpot, “The 2011 State of Inbound Marketing”, E-Marketer.com
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