By Neil Patel
Every brand needs new customers.
Those of you who have been in business for a while may be doing fine generating high sales from your existing customers.
But that business model isn’t sustainable forever. There comes a point when you won’t be able to grow without new leads.
This is especially important for newer companies. Since you haven’t been operating for a long time, you definitely need new leads just to survive.
But where do you find them?
It’s a common misconception that generating new leads is costly. Here’s something to consider. Yes, it’s more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to retain an existing one.
In fact, research shows that customer acquisition costs can be six or seven times greater than those of retention campaigns.
That said, this doesn’t mean generating new leads has to be outrageously pricy.
According to research, 69% of marketers say lead generation is a top organizational goal for their content strategy.
It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in or whether your brand is new or old. Everyone can benefit from this guide. I’ll show you my favorite cost-effective lead-generation strategies.
They are easy to implement, and I can assure you you’ll notice results fast.
Automate your marketing process
What are your highest marketing costs?
Time is money. If you’re spending endless hours each day sending out emails and updating social media pages, it’ll cost you big bucks in the long run. Each minute you spend on marketing takes away from your other daily business operations.
Depending on the size of your business, you may have people in place to run some of your marketing campaigns so you don’t have to.
Great, right? Wrong. Think about the costs associated with paying these people. Rather than paying your employees to manually send emails to subscribers or post new content on social media, you can use technology to help.
As you can see from the data, only 24% of companies aren’t using marketing automation at all. The majority of businesses are using some form of automation.
But only 14% of these marketers describe their automation usage as higher than intermediate.
Even if you are doing cold email outreach, you can save much time by automating the process using a combination of tools such as Voila Norbert, Gmass, Dux Soup, and Zapier.
Yes, the majority of these tools won’t be free. But you can still get them for a fraction of the cost of what you’re paying someone else to complete these tasks.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying you need to get rid of your employees completely, although some of these tools could potentially save you a salary or two. But with the added free time, you can use your employees for other business operations that generate growth.
Automation needs to become a priority for your brand. These tools can save you money and help you create new leads.
Grow your email subscriber list
This method is somewhat related to the previous tactic.
Before you can use automation tools to email your subscribers, you need to have subscribers in the first place. Run campaigns specifically designed to get more people to sign up for your emails.
For the most part, this won’t be very expensive.
Sometimes, all it takes is a quick redesign of some of your website elements. Make it easy for people to opt in on every page of your site. Give them an incentive to subscribe.
Just saying “sign up for emails” isn’t always enough.
Are you selling something? Give them a discount off their next purchase for signing up.
Email marketing is inexpensive and highly profitable. Most software will cost you a reasonable monthly or annual fee based on the number of subscribers on your list.
While these costs may not sound appealing, research shows email marketing yields a high ROI.
This explains why it’s such a popular marketing tactic.
I get it. It’s 2018, and you’re looking for some new or sexy way to market your brand. But sometimes sticking with the basics is your best bet, especially when you’re trying to save money.
Email marketing isn’t dead. It’s still alive and thriving.
Growing your active subscriber list needs to be an essential component of your content strategy.
Once you add people to your list, you’ll have endless opportunities to market to them. It’s a great way for you to directly drive sales with your new leads.
Start a blog
Blogging is one of my favorite ways to generate new leads. That’s why all my websites have blogs.
There are many benefits to blogging. I could go on and on about this topic, but I’ll spare you for now and just give you the highlights.
For starters, your blog will serve as a way for you to constantly post new content on your website. It’s a great opportunity for you to use keyword research to improve your SEO ranking.
Now you can generate new leads just based on organic search traffic alone because of your blog. Furthermore, the topics of your blog can also encourage sales.
I’m not saying you need to be a salesperson 24/7 with everything you publish. You can still have some fun with your posts.
But ultimately, your blog posts need to have some kind of unifying goal. Use them to create brand awareness, provide informative guides, or, in this case, generate new leads. And your blog post goals can be a combination of these.
Another reason why I recommend blogging as a top lead-generation strategy is because it’s not going to cost you much. The only major cost is going to be your time spent writing.
If you currently have a blog, make sure you are constantly updating it with new content.
Having a blog is one thing, but if you’re only posting once a month or so, it’s not going to be an effective strategy.
Try to establish a group of regular readers to maximize your results and generate as many leads as possible.
Add videos to your YouTube channel
If you don’t have a YouTube channel, you need to create one ASAP. I have my own YouTube channel, and I use it all the time.
Here’s why. First of all, video content is taking over the Internet. Research shows that 82% of Internet traffic will be videos within the next three years.
It’s what consumers want and what they’re used to seeing online. People will search for content directly on YouTube, but that’s not the only way you can use these videos to your advantage.
YouTube content is easy to repurpose.
After you upload something to YouTube, you can simply add the video to your website as well. You can even embed links directly into your blog posts, which I previously discussed.
Send videos to your email subscribers. Share them on social media.
By uploading one video to YouTube, you give yourself an opportunity to add new content on multiple channels, which is why it’s such an effective strategy.
Video marketing is the type of content that consumers prefer the most.
But you may be thinking this sounds like it’s going to be expensive. That’s not true.
Video marketing doesn’t need to be a major cost.
It’s free to add content to YouTube and distribute your videos on all your marketing channels. Really, the only costs will be for the equipment you may have to purchase.
You won’t need to hire a professional cameraman or director. The majority of your video content can be shot and produced in-house.
Just buy a camera, microphone, and maybe some lighting tools. That’s it. The right equipment can also help you run a successful video blog.
These are all one-time purchases, and you don’t need to spend a ton of money on them.
Don’t turn down guest blogging opportunities
I’ve got to admit, years ago when I first started to get approached about guest blogging, I had my reservations. As I mentioned, blogging takes time.
I thought to myself, why would I spend my valuable time producing content for some else’s website when I could be spending that time on my own brand?
I’m assuming that if you have turned down guest blogging opportunities in the past, you had the same thought process. But that’s the wrong mentality.
Guest blogging does promote your brand.
You can generate new leads by guest blogging because your content reaches a wider audience.
People who may not be familiar with your company could be avid readers of the website you’re writing for. Now is your chance to introduce yourself.
Here’s an example of a guest post I wrote for Forbes:
As you can see, Forbes gives me a nice bio at the beginning of the post.
In addition to this information, readers have a chance to hear my voice and learn about my brand. This is a great opportunity for you to add inbound links to your site as well.
And as with your personal blog, this is another great opportunity to improve your SEO strategy.
I’m not saying you need to write for every single website that asks you to blog for them. It’s important for you to make sure the site is reputable and won’t hurt your image, so do your research before committing.
If people aren’t reaching out to you about guest blogging, you can contact them directly and just ask.
What’s the worst thing that could happen? They’ll just say no. This is not a big deal at all. Just move on to the next one and keep trying.
Sites may be relieved to hear you’re willing to write a guest post because it makes their lives easier. It’s one less piece of content they’ll need to produce, and it’s a great way for you to generate new leads.
In addition to guest blogging, there are other ways for you to get featured on other websites.
I recommend using a tool such as Dead Link Checker to look for broken links on websites within your industry.
Then, reach out to the web administrator to let them know they have broken links.
You’ll be doing them a big favor because broken links can hurt their SEO.
Instead of them removing the link completely, you can offer a solution. Send them a piece of content from your own website that’s a suitable replacement for the broken link.
This isn’t a guarantee and may not work all the time. They could just take your advice and not use your website as the replacement.
But that’s a risk you’ve got to be willing to take. The fact that you’re doing them a favor should help your cause and increase the chances of you getting featured on their site.
Contribute to forums
There are plenty of places online where users connect with each other through forums.
Some may be industry-specific, while others are for the masses. You may want to consider answering a question on platforms like Quora.
Here’s a scenario to show you how successful this strategy could be for your company. Let’s say someone asks a question related to your industry on a forum.
You answer the question and provide a link to your website—maybe even a link to one of your blog posts or informative guides on the topic.
You just generated at least one new lead from the person who asked the question. But do you think they are the only person on the planet who needed help with that topic?
If the forum is popular enough, your post could become a top search result when other people look for answers to that same question by using a general search engine.
The more traffic gets driven to that page, the more traffic your website will get.
In addition to writing on forums, you can comment on other blog posts. The idea is the same: contribute to the discussion, and drive traffic to your site.
Just don’t spam other posts. That won’t be as effective.
Use the Twitter advanced search query
Similarly to our last example, you can use Twitter to discover prospective leads.
Use the Twitter advanced search query to look for general terms related to your brand.
As you can see, the search options give you a chance to get specific with what you’re looking for.
See what some of the most recent tweets are on a topic. Reach out directly to those users, and offer your services.
The reason why this is such a great option is because you can narrow your search based on a wide range of factors.
For example, you could make sure the prospective lead is in your geographic market territory and that their tweet is recent enough to be applicable.
Responding to tweets from a year ago wouldn’t be a valid strategy because that person probably found a solution by now.
Respond to comments on social media
Businesses need to have an effective social media strategy to be relevant in 2018.
You’ll have to pay for some of your advertisements. But sometimes, you can get new leads just by reaching out to your followers directly.
People have questions. Answer them. It’s that simple.
I’m talking about direct messages and comments on your social profiles.
Responding to people on social media will help improve your engagement metrics. Ultimately, this will help you generate new leads.
Here’s an example from the Best Buy Facebook page:
A customer had a question, and the BestBuy team responded with a helpful answer. They even provided a link to their website.
I know this can be difficult, depending on how many social media followers you have. Some of you may get hundreds of messages and comments among all your channels on a daily basis.
Don’t be overwhelmed.
You should be thankful so many people want to interact with your brand.
Now is another reason why you should take advantage of the automation tools we talked about earlier. You can get all your social media messages delivered to one inbox.
Then you can respond to them in the order they were received, as opposed to having to go to each platform independently.
Again, this type of software isn’t usually outrageously priced. You should consider it if you feel you’re getting bombarded with social media comments.
It’s possible for businesses to generate lots of new leads without spending a ton of cash.
You can use automation tools to help save you time and money on marketing. Do everything possible to get more subscribers to your email lists.
Start a blog, and contribute to it on a regular basis. And don’t turn down guest posting opportunities.
Add content to your YouTube channel to increase your video marketing efforts.
Contribute to online forums and build backlinks to increase traffic to your website. Use the Twitter advanced search option to find prospective leads.
Don’t forget to respond to consumer questions on social media.
If you follow these tips, you’ll be able to generate new leads on a tight budget.
What cost-effective strategies is your brand using to generate leads?