Cracking the Code to Lead Generation for Small Business Clients

In today’s tech-driven digital marketing ecosystem, small players require complex solutions for local lead generation while often lacking the resources to handle the job in-house. By mastering lead generation for small businesses, you can build a profitable revenue stream for your agency while becoming a valuable partner to your small and medium-sized business (SMB) clients.

SMBs face distinct challenges when finding local business leads, and the strategies that work for their larger counterparts don’t always map 1:1 to small business lead gen. By the end of this blog, you’ll have the tools and insights to position yourself as a local business lead generation hero.

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What Makes Lead Generation for Small Business Clients Different?

Every business needs quality leads to succeed, but small businesses face extra hurdles when filling their lead generation funnels. Understanding these concepts is the first step in creating lead generation systems that deliver consistent results for your SMB clients.

Limited Resources

Today’s small businesses can’t coast on traditional marketing tactics. They must compete with larger companies for visibility everywhere from ad campaigns to organic search results. But unlike those big players, their pockets are nowhere near as deep. 

There’s no getting around the reality that lead generation costs money and requires effort, so SMBs have to maximize their return on investment (ROI) on every lead gen dollar they spend. What they lack in cushy budgets, they must make up for with expert management of unique lead sources, laser focus on lead generation metrics, and a strong, attention-grabbing unique value proposition. 

Need for Highly Targeted Leads

A lead generation business model focusing on small businesses must account for their audience being narrower than larger businesses. For example, they’re often focused on SEO lead generation in their immediate geographic area. 

Lead generation for small businesses must successfully capture high-quality leads from this smaller, more targeted pool of prospects.

Relationships Matter

Local business lead generation tends to have a more significant relationship component than big business lead gen. This is true for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, since they have a smaller customer base, maintaining existing client relationships and protecting their reputation is essential to ongoing success. 

Secondly, since the businesses belong to the local community, prospects have a greater expectation of relationship-building than from a more faceless large corporation. This is both a challenge and an opportunity for SMBs, since word of mouth and a strong reputation are powerful components of any winning lead generation plan.

Tools You’ll Need to Generate Small Business Leads

The right suite of lead generation tools can be game-changing for small businesses.

Whether you’re growing your agency by white labeling and reselling solutions or offering lead generation outsourcing services to your clients, the following should be in your toolkit. 

  • Customer relationship management (CRM) software: CRM lead generation refers to using a CRM to find and manage leads, and it’s the gold standard in lead gen management for businesses of all sizes.
  • Email marketing tools: Email lead generation is a powerful component of any lead generation strategy thanks to its relatively low cost and the ability to segment audiences. Email marketing tools make it easy to create segments, track metrics, and keep leads engaged.
  • Social media management platforms: Social media platforms are important for content marketing lead generation, and having a single dashboard from which to manage multiple platforms boosts efficiency.
  • Analytics tools for tracking and measuring results: Data is king when making campaign decisions, and analytics tools put important metrics at your fingertips. You might track slightly different metrics between lead generation vs. demand generation campaigns, but in both cases, it’s important to have precise insights into which sources are producing the best results.

Tip: Business App is an example of a powerful lead generation and management tool for small businesses—check out this video for more insights into how it works:

10 Tactics to Master Lead Generation for Small Business Clients

Use these techniques to help your clients get in front of their dream customers through organic lead generation and paid strategies.

1. Host Webinars or Online Events

We’ve talked about how important relationship building is when it comes to generating leads for local businesses, and one of the best ways to put this principle into practice is through online events.

By hosting webinars, your SMB clients can help prospects attach a face to their business, reminding them of the real people in their community behind the brand. Online events are a chance to demonstrate their expertise, build up their profile locally, and capture valuable, highly motivated leads.

2. Optimize Your Website for Lead Generation

Your client’s lead generation website is the primary hub where emails are captured and added to the lead gen database, so optimizing it for conversions is essential. 

To maximize conversions, stick to these tried-and-true rules: 

  • Write a compelling, snappy call to action (CTA)
  • Use an attractive but easy-to-navigate design
  • Offer a lead magnet in exchange for a sign-up
  • Minimize the number of form fields to reduce friction when signing up
  • Ensure your site and any lead generation landing pages consistently reflect the business’s branding

3. Create Valuable and Relevant Content for Your Audience

No matter who your client is, chances are their audience spends much of the day scrolling the internet and consuming content. Creating blogs, videos, infographics, ebooks, and other highly relevant and valuable content is one of the most effective ways to get in front of audiences and boost lead generation for small businesses.

4. Utilize Social Media to Engage with Potential Leads

Community building is key to lead generation for small businesses, and thanks to social media, much of it can take place online. 

When it comes to lead generation best practices for social media, don’t fall into the trap of using these platforms solely to post content. They’re best used for two-way conversations, and regularly engaging with prospects by answering questions, leaving comments, and interacting with their content is a great way to build rapport with local leads.

Tip: Partner with Vendasta to resell AI-powered social media management software where you can manage thousands of client accounts, streamline workflows, and unlock revenue opportunities with rebranding.

lead generation small business: social media management software

5. Implement Email Marketing Campaigns

Once leads are captured in your database, it’s time to nurture them toward the desired goal: conversion. Email is an excellent way to do this because it’s limitlessly scalable while being affordable and effective. 

Create email drip campaigns that begin with a welcome email and move prospects along the sales funnel. Use segmentation tools to create appropriate groupings for your campaigns: these might be based on lead source, user behavior, or lead age, for example.

Create A/B tests for all your email campaigns to see which tweaks deliver the most conversions. It can be surprising just how impactful small changes in design, copy, or CTA can impact conversions.

6. Offer Incentives or Promotions to Capture Leads

Lead generation for small businesses is all about give and take. You can’t just expect prospects to sign up to your email list and receive nothing in return. That’s where lead magnets come into play.

Let’s say you’ve used social media content, SEO strategies, webinars, and ad campaigns to drive leads to your client’s landing page. Next, it’s time to seal the deal with a promotion or offer. This can look like:

  • A free guide to small business lead generation
  • A content calendar for social media lead gen
  • A free 15-minute call with one of your team members to discuss lead gen needs

7. Use Paid Advertising to Reach a Larger Audience

Nothing beats paid advertising when it comes to speed. It’s one of the best ways to build up your lead gen funnel quickly, while other methods take time to deliver results. If your client is hesitant about using paid advertising, educate them about how it can be a useful component of a lead gen strategy that includes multiple lead sources. 

8. Network and Collaborate with Other Businesses

The fact that small businesses are embedded in real communities is their edge when competing against larger companies. Ensure your clients take advantage of this by collaborating with their peers. This could mean hosting joint events with complementary businesses, attending networking events, or supporting local fundraising initiatives. 

9. Attend Industry Events and Trade Shows

Just because digital methods of lead generation are the bread and butter of most strategies, doesn’t mean good old-fashioned in-person events shouldn’t be part of the equation.

Industry events and tradeshows enable small business owners to meet with prospects face to face, which can forge stronger bonds and lead to a quicker sales cycle.

Pro tip: Ensure your clients have a plan for continuing the conversation immediately after the event when the connection is still fresh.

10. Implement Lead Capture Forms and Exit-Intent Popups

Lead capture forms are the fields that prospects fill out on lead generation landing pages. These should be unmissable—above the fold of your website is best—and should have the minimum number of fields required to get the information your client needs. 

It’s normal for users to get distracted even on a highly optimized website, so capture some of those extra leads by enabling exit-intent popups. These detect when a user will leave a page, and pop up prompting them to take action. Consider offering an extra-engaging lead magnet on these popups to seal the deal.

About the Author

Lawrence Dy is the SEO Strategy Manager at Vendasta. His career spans from starting as a Jr. Copywriter in the automotive industry to becoming a Senior Editorial Content Manager in various digital marketing niches. Outside of work, Lawrence moonlights as a music producer/beatmaker and spends time with friends and family.

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