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Lead generation is quickly becoming a popular topic and emphasis among small businesses throughout the United States. In recent years, marketers have increasingly realized the favorable return on investment of this inbound-focused method, leading to an explosion of lead generation among small business beyond the traditional B2B industry.

But, as with any marketing efforts, lead generation has to be strategic in order to be success. Here are 4 tips to help your small business lead generation efforts succeed.

1) Target Locally

Small businesses often compete with national corporations for their audience’s attention. Especially in retail, national chains like Walmart and online warehouses like Amazon.com can be tough to compete with – unless you focus specifically on your greatest advantage: local reach.

Lead generation has a much greater opportunity for success if you engage in local targeting, emphasizing your knowledge of the area and its residents and providing content that speaks directly to that audience. Some aspects of local targeting include focusing your content on local keywords and establishing a community atmosphere on social media.

As a small business, your audience will most likely be local. Emphasizing that local connection will help you improve both your lead quality and quantity.

2) Capture Effectively

Of course, you also need a backend system that captures your leads as they come in. Let generation can only be successful if you’re sure that you can capture each lead, and no contact gets lost. To accomplish that feat, we suggest using sign up forms throughout your website, which can integrate directly into your preferred Customer Relationship Management Software (CRM).

An effective CRM feeds in contacts from your sign up forms automatically, allowing you to contact them and slowly convince them to become customers. Of course, you can also supplement your lead pool by manually uploading lists with contacts you may have gathered via other, offline methods.

3) Segment Strategically

Once the leads enter your system, you need to make sure that they don’t turn into a unified, undifferentiated audience. As you can probably imagine, even an audience of local customers will exhibit a wide variety of characteristics. Depending on your business, you might find parents, students, and empty-nesters as part of your audience – and that’s only the beginning of the multitude of characteristics differentiating your leads.

For the biggest chance of marketing success, find a way to segment these leads into individual groups. Doing so allows you to send very specific messages, from back-to-school specials to coupons specifically for retirees, targeting only the audience for which the specific promotion makes the most sense. Again, an effective CRM can help categorize and segment leads for you.

4) Follow Up Reliably

Speaking of sending messages: lead generation means little if your contacts land in your database, only to never be communicated with again. Instead, it should always be connected with follow-up efforts designed to turn your leads into loyal, return customers.

Capturing and segmenting your leads are only the first steps in following up reliably. You should also follow up quickly after the initial contact, as your initial time of response directly impacts the likelihood of a lead becoming a customer.

To make sure you follow up with your leads reliably and effectively as soon as they enter your database, set up autoresponders that send out emails to new leads, thanking them for signing up and delivering on the promise you made to get them to sign up.

Throughout this post, you may have seen a common theme emerge – and it holds true here: an effective CRM can help you set up these autoresponders as well as future automated emails throughout your lead nurturing process, ensuring that your lead generation efforts are not for naught and you enjoy the positive ROI that so many small businesses get for their inbound marketing efforts. For more information on how an effective CRM can solve your marketing woes, contact us!

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