The Battle for Attention: Here’s What Your Business is Up Against
Startups with a strong social media presence understand that it takes more than a funny cat meme or inspirational Facebook post to get customers. In a world where over 300,000 Tweets and over 30,000,000 Facebook messages are created every single minute, startups face an uphill battle in the search for potential customers, funders, and advocates. (Note: this doesn’t include the 11,000 online ads per month and 200,000,000 emails being created each day.)
Getting the right attention, at a high enough level, is harder than it looks – but lead generation can be developed as a strategic way to solve that problem.
Tweets to Leads: Why Lead Generation on Social is Critical
While increasing their social media audience is an important goal of most businesses, it usually isn’t the primary goal. Most businesses, especially startups, use social media because they want to make more money.
How do they get more money? By generating leads.
A lead is someone who has expressed interest in your business (usually contact information, like an email address). An example could be online (like an email subscriber) or offline (a person who asks for your business card). A lead is not a customer yet, but they are on the path to becoming one.
Leads are high-value marketing targets because they increase the number of potential customers who are more likely to listen to your marketing messages and get more involved with your startup. The more leads you have, the more your business can grow. Without leads, your small business’s online presence slowly dies.
To get these leads, though, you’ll need something to attract them.
Attracting Leads: Quick High-Value Types Content to Add to Lead Generation Strategy
Businesses can use various types of content to attract leads. Some can be implemented quickly for fast results (like a contest), while other content types take a little more time (like email nurturing). Your business should include a mixture of different types of content to reach out to your leads.
In this post, however, we’re going focus on five specific types of content. These value-packed types of content are quick to set up and offer a great bang for your marketing budget. If you are looking for quick ways to bring some social media attention to your startup without spending a lot of time, try adding the following to your content portfolio:
Most of the content on social media and the Internet is provided free of charge. After all, sharing free content is the reason most people go online. There is value, however, in limiting some of your free content. Using a content gate, you can require an interested user to exchange their contact information (like an email address) to get access to your content.
Simply direct users to your website through social media, and gate the content once they get there. This is commonly seen on online publications, such as the New York Times. They let you read a certain number of articles before you have to subscribe in order to see additional content.
However, gate content mindfully. Take a look at HubSpot’s “Should I Gate This Content?” Flowchart.
Infographics and blog posts, or even combinations of the two, probably shouldn’t be gated. Users will be more willing to trade their contact information for content that is more valuable, such as an eBook or Webinar.
When should you use this? To increase the number of qualified leads.
Social Media Advertising
To make social media advertising work for your small business, focus on specifics and figure out which social media channels are right for your business. You want to create highly specific content for highly specific audiences.
An important part of creating highly specific content is making sure that your content is consistent. You want your audience to immediately recognize your brand, no matter what you post. Stick to a specific color, text, and image theme.
Renovate America’s Instagram feed below is a great example of consistency in colour, text, and images.
You also want to focus on the end goal. What do you want a potential customer, funder, or advocate to do? Do you want them to go to your website? Do you want to announce a campaign or update? Breaking down your social media advertising goals by specific audience and action is key to getting the best return on your advertising expense.
When should you use this? When you want to increase the number of your leads or the number of times your leads see your marketing message.
Pro-Tip: If you are trying to direct users to the ads on your social channels from the Internet, be sure to include icons on your website that link to your social media, similar to the example below. Image Source
Webinars are a popular social media tool for businesses of all types because of the quality of leads and the level of engagement from those leads. Unlike signing up for a newsletter or social media updates, attending a webinar is a big investment in time for a lead. Because of the time commitment, webinars get fewer leads.
On the other hand, fewer leads also mean higher-quality leads. By investing time and effort upfront in a good webinar experience for your customers, you can generate high-quality leads that view you as a credible expert in your industry. Getting viewed as a credible expert is one way to get consistent leads, especially if you hold webinars on specific topics regularly.
When should you use this? To improve the flow of leads into your business.
Contests remain as one of the fastest ways to increase leads if you do them right. If you offer a prize or gift that is “on brand” (meaning something that your potential leads would value), then you can also increase the quality of the leads who enter your contest.
To leverage a contest for leads, ask for contact information (at a minimum, email address) via a landing page, similar to the example below:
Once your leads have entered the contest, you can further boost your online presence with online social sharing buttons.
When should you use this? To temporarily Increase the number of your leads.
Geo-targeted search is a great way to build leads, especially on a local level. Using advanced tools like Twitter’s Advanced Search, you can target specific followers based on their location and deliver a message specifically targeted to them. Similarly, you can also engage a conversation with local leads, building a relationship that can potentially increase local referrals and traffic to your page.
When you should use this? To increase the number of and engagement with your local leads.
Completing the Lead Gen Process: The Necessary Mindset to Automatic Lead Generation
No matter what content you use to generate a lead (including the five mentioned above), that content needs to be a part of a well-structured machine. As a small business, you can’t rely on a single contest or email to generate leads. You must continually find creative and relevant ways to identify and nurture new leads. Without that process, your business won’t stay “in business” for long.
The lead generation process doesn’t begin when a person gives you their email address or phone number. It starts when the people in your team decide on the content, create that content, and release it to the world. By taking some time before you go after leads, you will save time in the long run converting those leads.