Small businesses often struggle to come up with new ways of bringing in traffic. While online strategies are great for reaching a target audience, ignoring offline lead generation may impact your bottom line, especially in service or retail industries.
HubSpot surveyed 3,400 marketers and discovered that around 61% of businesses believe lead generation is their top obstacle to growth. Knowing how to grab the public’s attention isn’t as easy as it sounds. Some things fall flat, or there is so much noise from other advertisers it gets lost in the shuffle.
Your best plan is a mix of both online and offline lead generation. Fortunately, even with less foot traffic, there are some tried-and-true methods working to bring in new customers.
1. Ask for Referrals
Word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most powerful forms out there. Gaining referrals is as easy as reaching out to your best and most loyal customers and asking if they’ll tell others about you.
You could also offer a reward program where you give a free item or discount to clients when they refer a new lead that becomes a customer.
2. Place Outdoor LED Signs
Adding signs in just the right location grabs the attention of passersby. While there may be less foot traffic, remaining sensitive to your target audience’s needs helps encourage them to enter your store.
In one study, LED signs gained 63% more attention than static versions. You can also program an LED sign to reflect sales offers and inventory changes.
3. Embrace a Social Project
There are some local causes everyone can get on board with, such as helping an animal shelter or cleaning up a park filled with debris. Now is a great time to look at the world around you and figure out how you can make it better. While you shouldn’t do a social project only for the free publicity, you’ll likely gain some as the organization you help tells its patrons and news media covers the results of your efforts.
Finding a project that ties into what you already do is most beneficial because you can lend your expertise, and the work shows off your skills. For example, a local children’s home needs some repair work on its roof, and you run a local roofing company. The match is a perfect one and showcases your ability to the community.
4. Take Out a Print Ad
As coronavirus forces everyone to stay home more, people’s behavior is changing. In a study by GlobalWebIndex, researchers found people are watching more online TV and reading more print news. In the United States, people report reading print news 13% more than before the outbreak.
If you’ve ignored print advertising, now is a great time to jump back in for lead generation. Think about your audience and how you can reach them. What question can you answer in a small ad that would encourage them to call you for a solution?
5. Sponsor a Team
Another way to generate leads is through sponsorships. Most communities have school teams as well as local Little Leagues. Buy the team uniforms and put your name on the front pocket. Many sports groups also place banners around the complex stating who sponsors the kids. You’ll get your name in front of parents and family members and show the community you care about being a part of it.
Another idea is to take out an ad in the local high school newspaper or yearbook. Even if teens aren’t your age demographic, many parents and faculty read the publications. You’ll sponsor something worthwhile for the students and get your name out there in the process.
6. Send Out Postcards
Postcards are still relatively inexpensive to buy and mail. Purchase a list of potential leads in your area and send a note to them. Offer a free estimate or discount if they bring the postcard with them.
If the idea of addressing and stamping all those mailings is more than you can handle, you could also print up flyers and place them in newspaper boxes. The method is a little less targeted, so much of your effort will be wasted, but if you gain a new lead or two, you’ve accomplished something.
7. Try Radio and TV
Your local radio and TV stations are great resources for reaching the masses. What shows relate to what you do? If you sell hunting gear, perhaps there is a Saturday morning show for hunters. Reach out to the hosts and ask if you can lend your expertise.
Develop a relationship with show personalities, so you can send them news when you have it. If you then run a big social project or sponsor a sports team, the TV host might mention it and give you some free air time.
You can also take out paid advertising on a local level, which will cost you far less than for a nationally syndicated show.
Look for Opportunities
Offline lead generation requires creativity. There aren’t many events going on right now, so hosting a gathering or attending a conference may not happen for the foreseeable future. However, you can still find new leads by telling people what you do for a living and asking them to help spread the word. Look for any opening to talk up your business. You never know where you’ll find your next customer.