Effective lead generation and startup marketing require smart goals and a clear vision of where you want to be, and how you will get there. This is particularly important, given that just 10% of startups actually succeed. To make it in a crowded and competitive space, it is essential to think outside the box and experiment with different funnels, so your products will be discoverable to the most relevant target audiences, smoothing the path to generating maximum leads.
Lead Generation Strategy for Startups
Lead generation is a strategy for driving traffic to your product or business. Not just any traffic, but potential customers who may be interested in what you are offering. Essentially, it is a set of marketing activities and processes that bring leads into your business, but lead generation for startups is not the same as lead gen for other types of companies. Startups are marketing new and innovative products, often competing against other innovators and trying to gain mindshare in untapped audiences and markets. Let’s examine how startups can get started with lead generation ideas that drive actual sales.
1. Free startup listing
When it comes to marketing and growth strategy for startups, focus on organic promotion first. This will not only help you save money at the early stages, but also give you insights on building business traction with your target audiences. One way to promote your startup organically is free listing websites where you can submit your product/business. Bring your startup into customers’ awareness and see how others perceive you in the startup jungle. Make sure to track the effectiveness, engagement, and traffic in relation to platforms you target with your product or small business. Here are some of the free listing websites that startups can use:
- My Startup Tool
- Product Hunt
- Indie Hackers
2. Host a webinar to get new leads
Webinars, otherwise known as “live sessions” or “live workshops”, have become a highly effective marketing and sales strategy in recent years. The global webinar market is estimated to reach 800 million by 2023, up 253 million from 2015. Live webinars allow you to share your knowledge, spread information about your business or services and assert your brand as an authority in its niche. Ultimately, webinars are a good tool for generating leads and turning them into paying customers.
Before you start with webinar promotion, make sure to do the research. Explore the pain points of your target audience and home in on the most salient ones for your prospective customers. Think about how your product or service may help them solve these problems, and how you can use the webinar structure and format to present these benefits to them. This will help you build trust with your audiences, and generate leads among those who were really impacted by your presentation.
Tips for effective webinar marketing
- Set a KPI for your webinar attendance. How many registrants do you expect to actually participate? The average webinar attendance rate is around 40%. If you don’t hit the mark, don’t worry – you are still building a solid mailing list of potential leads that can be nurtured in other ways, like email campaigns or retargeting campaigns.
- Craft a marketing strategy that will help you attract new prospects and potential leads. Where can you find potential leads? In which communities and networks are they active? Test different channels and see what works best for your buyer persona.
- Advertise your webinar on your website in every possible way. Write a blog post, create a dedicated landing page for webinar registration, use pop-ups and banners to inform website visitors about the event.
- Prepare engaging email communications to promote the webinar among your current distribution lists. Experiment with copy and test which messages translate into webinar signups.
- Focus on social media. Use your team’s network, business partners, and connections to organically grow your social reach. Employee advocacy costs very little but makes a huge difference.
- Run paid campaigns to reach new visitors. But also focus on remarketing to potential leads who already know about your business and have even visited your website before.
- Prepare a post-webinar strategy with an email flow that will help you turn leads into paying customers. On average (based on my campaigns), between 2% and 5% of webinar leads convert into paying clients.
- Make your webinar accessible on-demand to drive new organic leads. This is a long-term strategy that leverages the valuable content of past webinars, and it relieves the pressure of having to constantly create new initiatives.
- When you can, rely on a ready-made strategy with tasks already mapped out to guide you. This is a great way to generate leads to your startup when you are just starting out and still finding your feet.
Social groups for lead generation
Over the years, there has been a dramatic decrease in organic traffic on social media, due to algorithm changes, however, generating leads organically at no cost is still possible. Social groups, communities, and forums are the new loci for reaching specific audiences organically. The conversations and interactions that happen in groups and forums are a great way to engage with active, interested people who may well become leads. Here are a few tips on how to do it:
- Make a list of groups where you can find potential target audiences on various social networks, such as Facebook and LinkedIn.
- Prepare interesting or useful materials, such as a template, ebook, or special offer, that addresses the pain points of your audience. Offer a free trial or gift of your product and engage people to share their feedback and initiate conversations among their networks. Here’s an example of how I attracted more than 1000 leads who were interested in automated templates for Google Sheets.
- Create different versions of marketing copy for various target groups, and test different solutions. See what gives you traction and what doesn’t, and focus on optimizing the more effective versions, so you can enhance your ongoing activity and generate more leads.
Want to reach new potential customers and increase your startup recognition? Email marketing is one of the most effective channels to reach a wider yet highly targeted audience. Newsletters play an amazing role in communication with customers, driving traffic, and creating brand awareness. Newsletter sponsorship is a powerful tool when done right. Strengthen your content funnel and marketing strategy with these tips for sponsoring newsletters:
- Before you start any promotion and pay for a sponsored newsletter, consider the expected ROI. Is it worthwhile?
- Define how the promotion will look like. Is it going to be one-time sponsorship or a recurring campaign? Do you want the newsletter owner to promote your content or run direct campaigns to buy your products? Or maybe increase your own newsletter reach and overall brand awareness?
- Do the research and choose specific newsletters that align with your product or business. Measure the size of the audience, its engagement, and the quality of potential leads.
- Build long-term trust with the newsletter creators by providing valuable content that will enhance their newsletter and provide a compelling experience for their readers.
- Set up a budget and terms for the campaign, and make sure the newsletter creator is in agreement before you begin crafting the materials. Make sure to provide all assets on time and according to specs so that everything runs smoothly.
- Track the effectiveness of different newsletters and channels. Use analytics tools to understand key metrics, demographics, and campaign performance.
Optimize your landing page
Marketing strategy requires a lot of patience, especially if you are a startup and you’re just getting off the ground. Doing the same things and expecting different results is not a good marketing strategy. Prepare yourself for never-ending changes, and gear up for the necessary improvements that will get you desired results in the long run. Optimizing your landing page and analyzing its performance is a key success factor. Sometimes small changes may lead to an incredible effect on conversions and sales! Here are a few things to particularly watch out for:
- Do keyword research to improve and optimize your SEO. Also, invest your resources in content marketing to support overall SEO strategy and traffic.
- Focus on conversions. What is the first step you want your visitor to take after interacting with your website? Do you want them to sign up and create an account? Leave an email address, sign up for a demo, or a live webinar? Make sure the CTA is clear, so they know exactly what to do.
- Simplify your landing page. Experiment with colors, graphics, and CTA buttons. Run A-B tests and web analytics tools to understand and optimize the user flow and browsing experience.
- Prepare separate messaging for each buyer persona that may interact with your product. Do in-depth interviews with actual customers if possible, and try to emulate their sense of your business. Then transform their explanation into powerful messaging to use in your business communications. This strategy gives you a fresh perspective on how people perceive you and your business, which you can use as the actual base for your copy and text. Words have power, so use them to craft persuasive, compelling copy.
- Improve the mobile experience, and remember to keep the page loading speed fast. The most recent Google changes place much more emphasis on user experience, fast navigation, and clean design, so keep those in mind when developing landing pages.
Marketing is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. When done right, it becomes a source of satisfaction and long-term profits for your startup business. Invest time in testing different strategies and don’t worry if you don’t see results right away. Give yourself time and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Learn from them and incorporate creative lead generation ideas. That’s the secret to standing out in the startup world. Good luck!