For 99% of businesses, the number one priority is finding leads – but with so many channels and strategies on the table, it can often be an overwhelming process. Four tech companies share their experiences of lead generation – and how you can follow in their footsteps.

lead generationInbound marketing

The digital era has empowered modern consumers, allowing them to cut through sales patter and get to the heart of what businesses really have to offer.

With 80% of searchers ignoring Google adverts and 53% of users actively avoiding all sales departments, you simply can’t rely on traditional in-your-face marketing tactics to generate new leads.

“Cold-calling, pay-per-click advertising and direct mail will generate a response. Unfortunately, that response tends to be negative and usually sounds like a phone being slammed down,” Will Craig, founder and managing director of digital agency Digital Impact, told us.

To find new leads, Digital Impact turned to inbound marketing, a marketing methodology devised by HubSpot. Instead of fighting for your prospects’ attention, inbound works by using your marketing to attract potential customers to you.

“Our customers are usually the sort of digitally savvy types who will naturally fall into the inbound funnel,” Will added.

“If you’re planning on adopting the inbound methodology, the one piece of advice I’d give you is this: don’t half-ass it. Without that level of investment, all you’ll do is waste your time and money.”

Events

Events can give you a platform to reach new customers directly and experientially.

Salesforce recruiters Mason Frank released its third annual salary report exclusively at Dreamforce 2016 – in line with the company’s sponsorship of the event.

“We launched our latest report at Dreamforce for a few reasons,” explains Nicola Lloyd, Senior Event Marketing Executive at Mason Frank.

“First and foremost, there’s no bigger stage than Dreamforce – it’s an incredible event that we love sponsoring and attending. As the market leader in Salesforce recruitment it’s important for us to have a strong presence at the event.

“From a lead generation perspective it gives candidates a real incentive to visit our stand and collect the report, chat to our consultants, and find out if we can help them find a new role.”

Mason Frank sold out of the printed copies at Dreamforce – such was the demand for the report – but added interested attendees to a unique mailing list so that they would be the first to see the findings ahead of its public release.

“We also released the report on our website, meaning we could reach more candidates across various channels and hopefully help find them their dream job.”

Social media

Miriam Schwab, founder of web development agency Strattic, learned that the best way to generate leads for her company is by cultivating her own online network.

“Until recently, I focused mainly on Facebook,” Schwab told us. “My strategy there is to be myself, and intersperse interesting and funny posts with posts about our business successes. It’s not really a strategy, actually, it’s who I am, but it works.”

Six months ago Schwab joined Snapchat started posting about general life, and the start-up life.

“I developed a network of followers there who are from the start-up sphere, but one of the most significant steps was when I did a takeover of the Women In Tech account. This led to many new targeted followers on my personal account.

“And when I announced that people could sign up for our beta, many of the new sign-ups came from Snapchat, and some of them are from serious players.”

So what advice would she give to other start-ups looking to generate leads using social media?

“Be yourself, be friendly and helpful, promote your business rarely but in a targeted fashion, make friends.

“The best leads are word of mouth, so even if your online friends aren’t potential leads, they may recommend you to their friends who are.”

Direct email campaigns

As a marketer for leading IT service provider PMGC, Alan Man admits building a successful lead generation and healthy new customer list can be overwhelming.

However, as he explains, it’s easier to look for leads when you focus on identifying segment of customers you want to pursue.

“Direct email campaigns can be a very effective way to promote your product or service and a way to establish trust with your target mailing list,” he said. “You can try to capture more information about their needs by offering something away.”

“Free consultation, whitepaper or guides can increase your conversion rate in exchange for their details. By consistently focusing on a steady stream of new customers, you will reduce the risk of failure and grow your business in a sustainable way.”

Where do you get your best leads from? Leave a comment and let us know.

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