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A Beginners Guide to Lead Generation for Small Businesses

lead generation for small businesses

Have you heard that the human attention span has fallen from 12 to 8 seconds? This is definitely not your fault nor mine, we are overloaded with lots of information at a given time. Sadly, Lead generation for small businesses has become more complicated.

The simple truth is that statistics like this affect directly our business, especially generating leads. Despite this amazing information overload of potential customers, small businesses need to find how to get the attention of their client and build a clientele database. Before we go into generating leads for small businesses and nurture them, let’s understand the concept first.

What is lead generation?

According to Marketo:

Lead generation describes the marketing process of stimulating and capturing interest in a product or service for the purpose of developing sales pipeline.

Lead Generation is a process of collecting relevant information such as email, phone number and any other details which can give you more information about a potential client

It serves as an entry gate to capture and stimulate the interest of your target audience and convert them into buyers of your product or service. The exchange of contact information reflects the initiation of interest or inquiry in visitors’ mind.

What really makes for a Lead?

The minimum requirement for lead generation is to have an email address. In most of the cases, it is the combination of email and phone number depending on your business. That being said, never mistake these following metrics for lead generation for small businesses:

  • Site visitors
  • Retargeting pixels/tags
  • Push notification subscriptions
  • Some form of opt-ins where people opt-in to receive information from you.

A lead generation goes beyond attracting potential clients but taking them through a sales pipeline by making them drop their details so that you can contact them again.

Lead Generation for Small Businesses

Generating lead can be the most difficult part of a start-up, unfortunately, it is the most important part of your business as well. The reason why this is challenging.

It’s difficult to challenge the big boys in the industry because you cannot have a huge lead generation budget like they do.

What is the best lead generation tool for your small business?

It has to be digital marketing. We all know traditional marketing is facing out. well, some marketers have argued that ignoring traditional marketing completely isn’t wise. However, since we are looking at a lead generation for small businesses with a small budget, focusing squarely on digital marketing is the best. It’s the most efficient and the cheapest.

Why is Lead Generation so Important for Small Businesses?

In this new age of information overload, human attention has become scarce. 2.5 Quintillion bytes of data are created every day. It’d take 10 million Blu-ray disks to fill this information, isn’t that amazing? If we pile up these disks, their height is equivalent to the height of four Eiffel towers on top of one another. If you are visualizing its vastness, let me remind you again. that is just an estimate for a single day only.

Sequel to the above mind-boggling data above, it becomes easy to grasp why human attention has fallen from 12 to 8 seconds. With everything seeking attention from social media to email notifications all full of information. The attention scarcity has transformed the buying activity and sequence. With the increase in noise and the decrease in attention, lead generation for small businesses becomes uphill.

Now, the need for finding new ways to reach customers and get heard in the noisy environment increases with each passing day. As every information is within a snap-of-a-finger, buyers gather tons of information online before the purchasing decision.

Gone are the days:

  • When you target customers with mass advertising. Now, you require one-on-one interaction to understand the audience behavior.
  • When you find your target audience. Now, they find you through search engines, social media channels, and other sources.
  • When you blast emails at a particular time. Now, you have to connect with your audience on a consistent basis for building a strong relationship.
  • When you approach ill-informed buyers for manipulating their decision-making process. Now, prospects approach you with the proper research work to refine their interest accordingly.

Recommended reading: Here is why you should create a website for your small business

How to Generate Leads via Digital Marketing

Lead Generation for small businesses is vital for expansion and business growth. The primary motive for content planning and marketing strategies is to generate leads. Lead generation for small businesses works best on the barter system.

According to Wikipedia,

Barter is a system of exchange where goods or services are directly exchanged for other goods or services without using a medium of exchange, such as money.

So, here is the catch: A person fills out the form for the free case-study, podcast, trial, or and an e-book. A bibliophile signs up for the free weekly subscription of a book recommendation. A business owner tries the product demo for simplifying his business solution.

We see this happen every day, what really is the common link among all these individuals? Every one of them is more than willing to exchange their contact details for receiving the value. that’s everything about lead generation for small businesses, I have tried this with my small businesses and it works.

Here are some lead generation ideas:

1. Webinars

A webinar is a one-to-many communication medium where the organizer can reach a large set of online viewers at a single time. It is an inexpensive approach to impart your knowledge and win the trust of your audience. The leads become easy to capture because the action takes place live and the audience receive the answer to their queries instantly.

2. Downloadable E-book / Case Study / Industry Report

As readers love to extract maximum value in a minimum time, E-books comes out as one of the simplest ways for lead generation for small businesses. Make an easy-to-digest PDF version of your blog articles. To add curiosity element, tell your readers to sign up for the bonus points which you have mentioned in the E-book only. Take emails for sharing the in-depth case study of your satisfied clients and the industry reports.

3. Networking Events

With everything going digital, you can’t underestimate the power of networking events. If you have a promising offer, these events can turn out to be a goldmine of most valuable contacts and leads. Prepare your introduction speech in advance to not sound hesitant and unprofessional. Take your business cards and ask your prospects to share their cards, if they have any.

4. Purchase of Front-End Products

These are low-cost, low-risk products to acquire new customers without making any profit. They are easy to sell because first-time buyers don’t want to spend a lot of money on their first buy. The same people become a lead for future products from where the actual profit comes. It’s as simple as render your first service for free or at a ridiculous amount so that leads enjoy what you have to offer and will be willing to pay subsequently.

5. Inbound Phone Calls

Lead generation for small businesses can be subtle, If a lead calls you, it means they are already interested in your offer. They just want to decide whether your business is the right fit for them or not. Ask their name and email address to stay in touch after the call. Be prepared to take care of their needs in a personalized way.

Here’s What To Do After Lead Generation

In the competitive marketplace, where every marketer is eyeing for buyer’s attention, consistent communication is the key for lead generation for small businesses. One of the best ways to communicate consistently is via Email marketing.

Today’s prospects don’t become customer overnight. To position your business or company as the best choice, you must start educating your prospects for building trust with your vision, product or service.

NB: Generating leads doesn’t necessarily mean that they are ready to become a customer or buy any of your premium product. Leads determine the right time for that.

As a lead holder, my prime objective is to establish a healthy relationship with prospective buyers before their buying decision. I have to nurture them to convert the cold leads into hot ones who are ready to become the paid members. They drive and control my research process.

Lead Nurturing: Converting Cold Leads to Hot Leads

Lead nurturing, an integral part of a successful small business model is the process of building a long-term relationship with your leads who might turn out to be an ideal customer in the future. Nurturing requires time and patience to wait for the right moment to present your paid offer.

Keep the following points in mind for building a healthy connection:

Build Relationship: In the introductory mail, ask your leads to introduce themselves. Give them a chance to share their expectations and aspirations. Treat them as your friend and build a relationship.

Respond with Utmost Care: If you get a response, read it carefully to understand their current state. You’ll know where a particular lead stands in the buying process. If you blog like me, then you have to read tons of emails.

Develop the Art of listening: Frame your future mail interactions based on subscriber response. Let your leads take the lead in formulating the content.

Fill the Gap: Intensify the need of your offer by filling the information gap. When someone up signs up for my free blogging course, the person is not entirely sure about the scope of digital marketing. My primary purpose is to free them from the insecurities about the blogging industry with the help of blog posts and emails. I tell them how they can blog like a pro. With this information, their desire to blog and learn digital marketing shoots up.

Involvement: Take feedback from your leads to understand their mood. As one-way conversation becomes dull, keep your prospects engaged by asking them questions. Help them to choose the right product offering through email or call. Lead generation for small businesses can be a little demanding, but It shows that you are not after money but your leads. Share the testimonials of your existing customers to highlight the reliability of your offer. The more you show involvement, the more your conversion ratio for paid product increases.

How to Transform Hot Leads into Customers

If you struggle to follow up on leads, all your efforts go in vain. Without lead conversion, you can’t thrive and survive. A mere delay in the follow up might mean losing the business to your competitor.

With every lead, you don’t only lose your money. You’re wasting the time which you invested while generating the lead. The money, which you’ll lose from the non-paying leads, will balance out through payment from other leads.

Never aim for the 100 percent conversion. Say, you generated 100 leads through your free giveaway. It doesn’t mean you’ll convert all those 100 leads into sales. To increase the conversion rate, aim for the high quality leads in the first place.

Keep the following pointers in mind for transforming your leads into sales:

1. Focus on the User Action

Attribution highlights the user actions (behavior, events, or touch points) of your paying customers. Keep a close check on your Google Analytics reports determining which channel is converting more. It helps in understanding your desired outcome – turning your leads into paying customers.

Customer journey analysis brings together those user actions to identify the areas for improving customer experience with the intention of achieving the desired goal.

2. Follow up Emails and Phone Calls

Most of the times, leads are interested in your offer but not ready to make the buying decision. In that case, you must convince them with follow-up emails. For high-ticket items, one-on-one conversation converts better than emails, depending on the niche. A phone call will be best if you are into real-estate for example.

So, make the phone call and make your prospects think ‘what am I going to miss if I don’t avail this offer?’ Also, don’t test the patience level by irritating your prospects with endless emails and phone calls!

3. Use Lead Scoring

Lead scoring kicks in when you have to separate the good quality leads from the ‘I-want-some-time-to-decide’ leads. First and foremost, evaluate the worth of lead scoring system. If you are not getting enough leads, don’t waste time in this filtration process.

Say, you are generating 100 leads a day for your weekend high-ticket training program. But, each salesperson can’t make more than 25 calls. For that, lead management becomes necessary to pick the high-quality leads, these are some details that must be attended to in lead generation for small businesses.

Analyze the demographics, activities, and behaviour of your leads. Converse with your team members about what factors determine the perfect make for a qualified lead.


Lead generation for small businesses and also lead nurturing are the two side of the same coin. You will be very wrong to generate leads and not nurture them, it’s like a wasted effort. On the other hand, it is impossible to nurture leads you have not generated.

Personalize your interactions. Build relationships. Make your free offers so irresistible that leads never stop thinking “If I’m getting tons of value for free, what will I then get from the paid offers.” You owe your leads at every stage to convince them you are here to help them achieve their own goals and not yours.

With this, you are on top of your game.

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