5 Ways to Generate Leads for Your Startup

Anyone starting a business will have several immediate challenges: getting the proper funding, facing fierce competition, and having to push well outside of comfort zones, etc. Then there’s finding the right people to help, developing impeccable time and financial management skills, and planning a business strategy, and this is all just to get off the ground.

Once a business is established, the biggest challenge of all begins — making sales. Whether you’re a new car dealership looking for automobile leads, a software management company looking for clients, or a local plumbing service looking for jobs, you need sales leads to survive. Here are a few ways to generate leads for your startup and take your business to the next level.

Use social media

This may seem like a no-brainer, and you can certainly try marketing campaigns on Facebook, Twitter, and other popular sites. But you should really be taking full advantage of LinkedIn.

Salespeople are all over LinkedIn, and it’s a great tool for professionals in general. A sales lead is really just anyone you can talk to who may be interested in your company, and LinkedIn is a low cost, and relatively low effort, way to make a high volume of connections.

A blog post on the site is an easy way to describe your business to prospective customers. And it’s an opportunity to explain exactly how you can help them and what puts you ahead of competitors.

Attend networking events

While social media makes it easier than ever to communicate with others, it’s still worth your while to look for and attend local networking events. Some people can be nervous about meeting strangers, but you can narrow down the events you think will give you the best results.

These events can be fun opportunities for all involved, and making a good impression in person will be much more memorable than other methods. Bring your business cards and express interest to stay in touch with potential clients or references after the event.

Opt-in opportunities

Your website, blog posts, and other online efforts are all great ways to let potential customers opt in to your services. For example, you can create a popup for your site that asks visitors if they’d like to receive regular updates from you.

You can also allow visitors to download PDFs of your materials or view webinars about your business. The more opportunities a potential lead has to engage with your business, the more likely they are to follow through.

Smart ads

It’s likely that you don’t have a big pile of money lying around for a marketing campaign, particularly at startup companies. That’s OK, because you don’t need one. You can do your own content marketing through your social media and blog posts, and you can create a low-cost Gmail ad campaign to handle to rest.

The latter is a powerful tool that can actually let you use your competitors to your advantage. You can target your ads to those who already receive emails from competing businesses. Simply sign up for competing emails lists and target the keywords you notice them using. This way, your ads will be sent to leads who already use similar services, and you can show them how your business stands out.

Referrals from existing customers

Once you start to develop a customer base, they may be able to generate more leads themselves. Always follow up with clients to ensure they had a good experience, and if they didn’t, see if there’s a way you can make it better.

If they seem interested in future business, never be afraid to ask them if they know anyone else who could benefit from the same service. They’ll likely be glad to help, and sending a small thank you gift later can go a long way to ensure repeat business.

You won’t need to pursue every lead generating strategy under the sun, and attempting to do so could even spread your resources too thin. Diligently pursuing even one or two methods, however, can make all the difference in your startup’s early days.

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