A startup lead generation is most likely the most important aspect of growing a new business. This article gives you a clear roadmap of what you should focus on. Lead generation for startups is not complicated. Still, most of the startups lack a proper lead generation strategy and knowledge of how to do it in an efficient way.
Lead generation in startups is often the biggest bottleneck and we definitely understand why. Usually, the product or service is brand new in the market, and your potential customers might not even understand the value you are offering for them. The concept doesn’t really differ whether the startup operates in the B2C or B2B market. Online lead generation methods are always the same. However, there might be differences in best practices depending on the case.
This article helps you to understand how to generate leads for a startup. Please, read the whole article. Bear in mind that all of the listed things might not be relevant for you right now. You should always prioritize and plan ahead before implementing any of these.
Lead generation strategies for startups
The most successful startups have managed to build a system around lead generation. They aren’t just blindly doing SEO and paid advertising with the hope of succeeding.
Early-stage startups often don’t have massive marketing budgets to acquire leads. This makes it even more important to make sure that you have a clear strategy and growth system, which embraces resource efficiency, time, and money wise.
Create S.M.A.R.T goals
Create S.M.A.R.T goals. SMART is an acronym for specific, measurable, agreed, realistic and time-bound. These are elements that a smart goal has to have. In digital marketing, people often create some vague goals like “increasing leads and sales”. This is not smart at all.
Some examples of S.M.A.R.T goals:
- Generate 100 new leads by the end of Q4.
- Publish 2 SEO articles per week based on keyword research
- Double organic SEO traffic in 3 months
Keep it simple and SMART!
Setting up proper key performance indicators (KPIs) are not important only in marketing. It’s beneficial for your business in general. In case your company is looking for investors and VC money, proper KPIs is a must thing to have.
By tracking your marketing KPIs, you easily stay on track what really works. It makes your decision making and goal setting so much easier.
This has been a golden advices already for a decade. And it’s not going anywhere. Whether your company is in B2C or B2B market, you should always build at least an email list. Email list building is my favorite lead generation method because it allows you to collect contact details of your prospects and turn them into clients very effectively.
By offering a lead magnet, such as webinars or eBooks, you are providing real value and build your authority as a company. You can do this easily with opt-in forms or launching a webinar that you promote on your website and with paid advertising.
The best part of this is that you can use this email database as a look-a-like audience when you launch retargeting ads on Facebook, for example.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization is another golden ticket to get high-value leads and customers.
SEO might also be a very cost-effective and great long-term lead generation strategy if you’re not facing too fierce competition. By applying an 80/20 rule, you might see significant SEO results just within a few months if you do it properly.
In case your organization has anyone with marketing experience, you can easily just do it in-house with the help of SEO tools and basic knowledge of SEO. We have conducted a great list of SEO tools for startups. It’s definitely worth checking out. It is also worth noting that SEO for startups doesn’t really differ from large corporations. The only difference is to realize that you might not have all the resources available to do every little nitty-gritty fixes. Prioritization is always needed.
This is vague advice for a reason. Every startup is different and there are no magical traffic sources that are the best for everyone. However, often startups in the B2C market can reach their customers from Facebook and Google Search ads. B2B companies often should start with LinkedIn InMail ads and Google Search ads.
Whatever you decide to choose, always track your key performance indicators, often conversions or leads. Use advertising platforms’ own algorithm to optimize your campaigns for generating these conversion goals instead of vague metrics, like website traffic or something else.
Use your money wisely and track your customer acquisition costs constantly.
To maximize out your paid advertising benefits, always use retargeting ads. If you’ve set up your tracking setup correctly, you should be able to promote your offerings to the audience that have already engaged with your company in some way.
Once you’ve got enough leads, you’re able to launch a look-a-like campaign on other channels, for example on Facebook and LinkedIn. This is very important if you’ve had difficulties to target your campaigns on your own. Look-a-like campaigns allow you to let, for example, Facebook, to figure out the optimal audience based on your seed list (f.e. an email list of your existing leads).
Whatever you do marketing-wise, do always use social proof. When a new company enters a market, nobody knows you, nobody trusts you, and nobody wants your offerings. Whether this is true or not in your case, it’s better to optimize your product and landing pages by using social proof.
Social proof is a concept where people have a tendency to see an action as more appropriate when OTHERS are doing it.
This could be done by using endorsements, reviews, and other elements like transactional popups that are showing users that other people are also either viewing your website, buying your products or converted as leads. These simple social proof elements can have a HUGE impact on your conversation percentage.
We compiled with an ultimate list of the best social proof tools, which is full of different product comparisons. Most of the social proof tools offer a free trial, so it’s really a no brainer to test these out
Landing page Optimization
Launching campaigns and doing proper SEO is not enough, it’s only the traffic acquisition part of the funnel. Having massive amounts of traffic doesn’t matter if the users land on a page that doesn’t work or convert.
Every single page that is optimized for SEO should have a business goal. This is often overlooked and this applies especially with paid ads. Let’s say that you have a Google Search campaign for a SaaS product. Where you actually push the traffic to? Is it a homepage? Most likely you’re doing it wrong.
Let’s say you have an email marketing company. If you’ve done your keyword research properly and you have a keyword, say “email marketing tool for startups”. Where would you send your visitors? To your homepage or a page that’s designed for this specific keyword?
This is really crucial. A user that is looking for an “email marketing tool for startups” is most likely a startup founder with a high purchase intent. A page that is designed for this person’s pain points and customer profile will outperform a generic homepage lander, I PROMISE.
This definitely doesn’t mean that you should ignore your homepage. Homepage of your site should also be optimized to convert as well.
In case you want to make landing page creation super easy and efficient, I highly recommend using some of the best landing page tools. These tools are super helpful in case you don’t have the time to configure all of the landing pages on your own.
This is not only my favorite SEO link building method, but also a great method to build real authority, build a brand, and get highly-targeted website traffic and leads.
Guest blogging refers to the act of producing content for another website or blog. The main idea is to offer valuable content for others while increasing your domain authority, building your own brand and getting tons of traffic.
Actually, in my opinion, guest posting is the most efficient way to build backlinks. With a proper guest posting strategy, you’ll be able to systematically boost your domain authority and build a great backlink profile, that is needed to rank on Google.
A Startup Lead Generation Doesn’t Need to Be Complicated
For fresh growth companies, I highly recommend starting with pure SEO, landing page optimization, and smart paid advertising. Just start with planning first. Figure out what is your monthly growth budget and create customer personas. This gives you a solid idea where you are able to reach the customers.
We are launching our Startup Growth Academy soon. It will be a crash course for Startup lead generation, and it will be completely free. Stay tuned and add our website as your bookmark so you won’t miss it out.