Many successful small business owners are continuously looking to expand their customer base and grow their businesses. Business growth can be a difficult and long-term process, though. One of the foundational elements of growing a business is having access to a steady stream of sales leads. A lead is a person, or business if you have a company that sells to other businesses (B2B), that has an interest in the products or services you are selling.

5. Pop up forms – Having great content on your website is not enough if you don’t capture those interested leads. As a best practice, we always tell our clients that if someone is reading the content on your landing page for more than 10 seconds, then the user is interested in your type of business. That is when we hit them with a pop up on the page before they can continue.An example of a lead generation pop up form

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While inbound marketing is getting a lot of buzz, a well-rounded marketing mix should include both inbound and outbound marketing strategies. Inbound works for broad lead generation activities, but outbound is good to amplify your inbound efforts, and target specific opportunities. So what exactly is outbound marketing? It’s using outbound channels to introduce your message and content to your prospects, typically through rented attention, rather than making your content and messages availableon your own properties.

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Service qualified leads are contacts or customers who've indicated to your service team that they're interested in becoming a paying customer. An example of an service qualified lead is a customer who tells their customer service representative that they'd like to upgrade their product subscription; at this time, the customer service representative would up-level this customer to the appropriate sales team or representative.
Not every lead will be ready to convert at that point in time but that doesn’t mean such leads should be ignored. Lead nurturing is especially critical in the lead generation process when prospects are undecided about a purchase. Send them helpful information based on their interests. Automate the lead nurturing process, and set up reminders and a schedule of when to check in with them. You want to be top of mind when they are ready to make a decision.

Given LinkedIn’s tremendous value in converting leads, publishing articles or sponsoring updates on the site is an important strategy. Adding advice and expertise can gain you a following and help to put you and your company in the spotlight as a trusted expert in your field. You might include a call-to-action button on social media or blog pieces to quickly generate a pool of interested people and to drive leads.

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In summary, lead generation is not easy but it is a must have process for any business to survive.  Some companies survive on inbound alone. However, for many B2B companies and start-ups this is not an option. I liken lead generation to mining for gold.  You should never depend solely on one source of leads but have multiple sources for lead generation in case one vein dries up.
Offer your own expertise. When you’re experienced in your own business sector, you might want to write articles of your own for trade publications. Authorship can put you in front of new audiences. The articles you write are also excellent self-promotion just like your press hits. Promote your authored articles as well in your emails, newsletters, social media, etc.

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Create a website that can capture leads. Your website should be easy to navigate and have information about your company and its products or services. Capture customer information through a form that asks them questions about their needs. A price quote form is a good way to do this. You'll receive an email with the potential customer's contact information.
Another way to generate leads from social media is to run a contest. Contests are fun and engaging for your followers, and they can also teach you a ton about your audience. It's a win-win. Read our step-by-step guide for growing your email list using social media contests, which covers everything from choosing a platform, to picking a winner, all the way to analyzing your results.

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With the growth of the internet, the world has changed from one of information scarcity to one of information abundance.  In fact, according to Google chairman Eric Schmidt “there was 5 Exabytes of information created between the dawn of civilization and 2003, but that much information is now created every two days and the pace is rapidly increasing”.  
Don’t use a simple word processing document. You might be more familiar with using a word processing platform or spreadsheet, but a dedicated survey tool is better. Consider using one such as Constant Contact or SurveyMonkey that aggregates results for you.[5] These tools also have helpful features and types of surveys and questions that you might not have thought about.

Set up an email auto-responder. To sign up for an auto-responder, potential customers simply enter their email address. There are various types of auto-responder services that vary in complexity, and some are geared specifically toward generating leads. Types include welcome emails, responses based on specific online activities, and product recommendations.[1]
Gone are the days that a marketer only relied on outbound techniques like trade shows, cold calling, and advertisements to get leads. Today’s buyer is in control. According to Forrester, buyers seek out three pieces of content about a vendor for every one piece sent by a marketer, and for every one piece sent by sales.  Because of buyer self-education, your job as a marketer is to be heard through the noise and come up with new ways for leads to find you. To be a marketer in today’s world, you need a solid grasp of inbound in order to truly amplify your lead generation impact.

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