8 Lead Generation Strategies For Small Businesses That Actually Work

Dave Schaaf
Dave Schaaf


A smart small business owner never stops trying to generate new leads. Even if you are as busy as you can be this week, we all know that small business has its ups and downs. Next week is not guaranteed.

That’s where smart lead generation strategies come into play.

If you have developed a lead generation strategy that can acquire customers and leads from various angles, you will likely stay busy at all times of the year. However, some lead generation strategies just don’t work. Take a look at 9 lead generation strategies that we have seen great success with.


What Makes A Good Lead Generation Strategy?

Before we get into our best lead generation strategies, here are a few things to look for to ensure you choose something that works for your business. Sometimes it’s wise to look back in history and combine that with what is working today. The combination of the old and new strategies can be quite powerful.


Knowing Your Customer 

To succeed with your lead generation, you must know your ideal customer. Know what your customer needs and, most importantly, why they may need you. Also, pay attention to how your customers absorb information and what avenues you have to reach them.


Make Sure You Use Quality Content 

There is a big difference between good and bad content. Customers are marketed to constantly, and they appreciate truthful information, to-the-point facts, and details. Sometimes even a bit of humor and professionalism! Can’t say we blame them!


Combination of Online and Offline 

One lead generation strategy is not the answer to your needs. You will need several lead generation strategies to appeal to your entire target market. Make sure to consider opportunities for both online and offline lead generation.


Measurable Lead Generation

One of the most important parts of setting up a quality lead generation plan is ensuring you have some way to measure its success. If you send postcards or letters, use a code or coupon that lets you track how many customers are utilizing the discount you sent or calling based on the offer they received.


8 Lead Generation Strategies For Small Business Owners

Lead generation consists of both identifying and then pursuing customers for your business. If you are looking to grow the customer base of your small business, then lead generation is the way to do it. Here are 8 of our favorite methods and some tips to make you more successful.


Send Out A Yellow Letter 

The power of the handwritten letter has never died. In fact, in a world where customers are increasingly aware of scams and untrue claims, a handwritten letter on a piece of yellow paper can feel like a bit of comfort.

When customers see that you are sending them a handwritten note on yellow paper, they feel the ability to relate to you and your business.

You are no longer just a money maker but also a real person that is genuinely trying to win their business over.

In addition, the yellow letter will stand out from all of these other pieces of mail, with window envelopes and typed addresses that likely never get opened. We have noticed that some customers are comfortable with print that looks like handwriting, and others are sold when the handwriting is from an actual human.

Yellow letters can be sent to a large area of potential customers, like an entire zip code, or more detailed lists can be created. At Yellow Letters Complete, we specialize in the yellow letter and can show you various examples that will work for your customer’s needs.


Have A Strong Online Presence That Guides A Potential Customer 

As we mentioned, combining the online presence with the offline presence is incredibly important. Customers are savvy, and they are going to check you out online. Even if they open one of your yellow letters and are ready to call you, they may first check social media or your website.

It has become much easier for a customer to do background research on a company.

Don’t let this scare you; it can be a great thing!

Make sure that people have access to your business from a variety of angles. Search for your own business and see what comes up.

If you see something you don’t like, change it! For instance, the Facebook page may need an update, or maybe your hours of operation are not correct. Potentially you have a poor review showing a bad star rating; respond to that customer publically and let them know what happened.

A strong online presence can take a little time to develop, but it has to be in place if you want to keep generating more leads.

Remember, if you start an Instagram page today, it’s likely not going to lead to an immediate first customer. However, if you are smart about building up the online presence and staying consistent with it, there is a strong chance it will get you some new leads.


Direct Mail Drip Campaigns 

Think that one mailing to your potential leads isn’t enough?

We can certainly understand.

A direct mail drip campaign puts you in front of the customer multiple times. You won’t have to worry about whether or not they chose to act on the first letter they received.

Instead, a drip campaign puts together a series of direct mail options to appeal to a customer over time. Drip campaigns let customers know you are serious. They see that you continually send them mail, and it’s not just the same thing being sent.

They know you are not just trying to get them to see you but instead to win them as a customer.

Drip campaigns can feature a variety of handwritten and typed mail. In addition, you can expect that the drip campaigns have a good balance of text and images to appeal to a customer and showcase your work.

Lastly, you can make drip campaigns timely. For instance, an offer can be made early on in the drip campaign, and the final notice could be the expiration of the offers. One of the best ways to get a lead to convert is to have an expiring deal or incentive.


Referral Marketing (People Love It)

When someone does a really great job for you, don’t you want to see them do well?

We notice that when a power washing company is neat and clean and timely, or an accountant is fairly priced and friendly, we are ready to share their information with our friends and family. Most of us want to do this for free.

However, people are busy. They forget to refer you, get distracted with other things, or simply don’t have enough motivation to go out of their way to help you grow your business.

This is where referral marketing comes into play.

People love the chance to earn something for free by sharing their business name and information. Maybe you offer them a discount on your next service or a gift certificate to a local restaurant. Whatever it is, if you can master the referral marketing strategy, you will have more leads than you know what to do with!


The Power Of A Post It Note 

Who knew a post-it note could be so powerful? Post-it notes catch people’s attention and make them feel as though they need to act or respond.

A letter (especially one with a handwritten signature) that has a post-it note attached to it will get people to focus on the note almost immediately after opening. When you can make sure that the post it note is handwritten, customers feel they need to respond to or handle the message.

You don’t have to do this yourself; Yellow Letters Complete has a variety of letter options that can include a post-it note and give you the results you are looking for from this powerful lead generation strategy.

Small businesses often feel more relatable to customers, and the handwritten post-it note brings your business to the customer level. Personalization like this makes it much easier to convert a lead into a customer.


Host Webinars or Online Video Training and Advice 

Doesn’t it feel like many of the lead generation strategies deal with giving something away? That’s because they do. Potential customers love the give and take. They have lots of options when it comes to choosing a small business for their needs, and they want to know that you are committed to this relationship as well.

When you host a webinar or an online information session, you are giving a little of yourself and your expertise to the lead, free of charge.

Of course, you don’t need to give away too much, but just something that allows them to see that you know what you are doing and you are the one they want to hire.


Here are a few ideas:

  • If you own a painting company and give a webinar about how to choose the best colors for your deck, you can talk about the importance of choosing the right color and the impacts that it will have long term.
  • For real estate agents giving a weekly update on the market and some insight into where you see trends heading could be very beneficial.
  • As a landscaper, talking about the right time of year to fertilize your turf and sharing that across social media will help some potential customers realize that.


Free Trial Offers 

Here we go, back with the free again. We know it can seem difficult to have to give away free services or materials. Still, every business can usually find a solution that balances the amount they are paying out with the cost to acquire a customer.

Customer acquisition costs can get high, but sometimes a customer just needs to see what you can do before they fully commit to you.

For an insurance professional, offer a free consultation to look at the options out there for customers. Real estate agents can offer a commission-based incentive if a house is listed by a certain date. There are endless options and ideas to offer a free trial or some type of savings, and many times the cost is lower than you would expect.


Be Present In The Community 

Last but certainly not least is to be present in the community you are trying to serve. When you send a yellow letter to a potential lead and see them in the grocery store, that is a powerful combination.

Customers like to know the owner of the business and ensure that they are supporting the right people. When they see you and your family out and about in the community, it’s all the more reason to use your business.

There are many ways to do this, by supporting other local businesses, going to networking events, and just being more present.


Do I Need To Do All This Lead Generation Myself?

Luckily a few of these lead generation strategies can be handled by Yellow Letters Complete. Everything from handwritten letters to postcards to list generation to complete direct mail drip campaigns can all be handled for you while you focus on serving your customers.


Final Thoughts

You won’t need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to lead generation strategies for small businesses. Be smart about the variety of ways you are reaching the customer, and ensure that you always have their best interest in mind. Don’t be afraid to give a little; it will come back to you in the end!


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