As we edge closer to the end of the year businesses start to plan for the year ahead, and these plans include how they’re going to grow their business. For SMEs lead generation is a fundamental aspect of their day to day business as without it their sales pipeline will start to dry up, and without these incoming prospects businesses can start to struggle.

With lead generation an intrinsic part of every small business it is more than likely your competitors are chasing the same prospects as you. So, what can you do to improve your lead generation process and get ahead? Take a look at these tips…

1. Content Marketing

When creating content for websites everyone puts most of the focus on the written word for page optimisation purposes, this shouldn’t be forgotten as SEO should play an important part in your digital marketing strategy but, other types of content normally get overlooked. Videos often get brushed aside when it comes to creating content as the majority think that they’re very time consuming or might cost a lot of money but, with 65% of us being visual learners if you don’t create visual content you’re missing out.

You don’t need to make an Oscar-worthy short film for your products or services, a few short minutes concisely explaining what you offer is enough. If you decide not to hire someone to create a video for you it’s easy enough to do it yourself in house providing you have a good enough quality camera, there are quite a few tools available to aide you in the editing of your videos so you can add songs, text etc. but remember, make sure it’s relevant and interesting.

2. Telemarketing

When people think of telemarketing they usually think of cold-calling and nuisance calls but, it’s a lot more than just calling to sell. Carrying out a telemarketing campaign for your product or service can help you to; gather information about your target market, increase the effectiveness of your direct marketing, increase efficiency of your sales team, and achieve sales targets. For small business particularly, telemarketing is a great way to start connecting with potential new customers by starting a conversation about their product or service.

A top tip when making calls is to be enthusiastic and confident in what you’re talking about or selling, no one is interested in buying from someone who doesn’t believe in their product as this suggests that your product or service isn’t worth buying. Many businesses choose to outsource their telemarketing to companies which have experience as undertaking such a campaign can be overwhelming especially if you have never done something like it before, it can also be time consuming as most prospects have to be rung multiple times before they convert, so for telemarketing to work you have to keep at it regularly.

3. Social Media

Social media has been a large player for the past few years but it will just continue to get bigger in the years to come. It’s important to keep all of your social platforms active by creating and sharing interesting and insightful content to garner interest in your company but, how do you generate leads from this? It would be very time consuming to directly contact individuals who show any interest in anything that you post on your account, and typically you can then only contact people through their social media account as email or home/business addresses aren’t typically available.

There is a solution to this though, gate your most interesting content, if you have a really useful or in depth guide only allow someone access to it once they’ve filled in a user-friendly form with information such as name and email address. Gating content allows you to track interest of a particular piece of content and to gather information from individuals who you know are genuinely interested because they supplied you with their information themselves. With this information you can then create follow up direct marketing content based on the content that individuals showed interest in or tailor it more specifically to the individuals.