Finding clients is easier than ever with the internet–if you have the right strategy. Here are 10 proven online lead generation strategies.

If you’ve been in business for a while, you remember how difficult lead generation was before the internet.

In those olden days, we relied on Rolodexes, address books, and the dreaded cold call to find potential customers.

The internet has changed all of that. Thanks to the world wide web, finding leads is easier than ever. The internet is chock full of potential customers looking to buy your product.

But if you want to change those potential customers into actual customers, it’s not enough to just put up a website and wait for customers to come rushing your way.

You’re going to need some more sophisticated online lead generation strategies than that.

In this article, we’ll show you ten lead generation strategies that will connect your business with customers, which might even boost sales.

1. Focus on SEO

How do you find new businesses online? If you’re like most people, you do a Google search.

And when you do that, how far do you scroll through the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) before you find what you’re looking for?

Not very far, probably—the data shows that the top result receives around 35% of all clicks. It falls off steeply after that. The second position only gets 15%. That’s less than half.

So obviously, you want to get to the top of the SERPs for your industry.

You can do that through SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation. SEO utilises a number of strategies, such as targeted keywords, internal links, and more to increase your ranking and get more traffic.

And because more traffic creates more leads, SEO is one of the best online lead generation strategies out there.

2. Don’t Neglect PPC

When you search on Google or Bing, have you ever noticed sponsored results at the top of the search?

These listings utilise PPC or Pay Per Click advertising.

PPC listings are sold auction style by keyword. The highest bidder receives top ranking. Like its name suggests, you pay for each click on your listing.

When used wisely, PPC can be a very effective marketing tool. However, if you don’t keep an eye on your results, costs can balloon out of control.

3. Create a Lead Generating Website

Most websites aren’t built with online lead generation strategies in mind.

They reward visitors who passively interact with their content. There might be a web brochure here or an advertisement there. But there’s very little to convince your visitors to engage.

When a visitor comes to your site looking for a product, they need to find clear information quickly or they will search elsewhere.

Optimise your landing pages to put necessary information front and centre. Give visitors opportunities to purchase your product, join a mailing list, or follow you on social media right away.

4. Get Social (Media)

Social media isn’t just for teenagers anymore. Everyone is on Facebook.

That includes your leads.

Because your potential customers are already on social media, this opens the door to business-customer engagement like nothing before.

And thanks to Facebook’s targeted ads, you can reach potential customers exactly where they are.

This makes social media is one of the most effective online lead generation strategies.

5. White Papers and E-books

In business, you are your reputation. If you want your business to succeed, you’re going to need to build a respectable reputation.

The best way to do that is to establish yourself as an authority in your field.

Unlike other online lead generation strategies, you can’t do this with keyword strategies or Facebook posts. This is going to require some grunt work.

White papers are a great way to increase your brand’s credibility. Creating an authoritative resource is a sure way to create a reputation that demands respect.

You can offer white papers for free in exchange for a client’s email address, or you could put it behind a small paywall.

If you want to make an even more serious resource, create an e-book. e-books are typically much longer than white papers, offering a more in-depth look at the subject.

6. Webinars

If you’re really serious about becoming an authority in your field—if you want to become the Socrates of whatever you do—white papers and e-books aren’t going to cut it.

Nothing says, “I know what I’m talking about” like a webinar.

Webinars allow you to pass on your wealth of knowledge to a large number of people. But unlike white pages or e-books, webinars can be interactive.

Many webinars feature live chat rooms where the viewers can communicate with the instructor. This is a great way to build relationships. And as we all know, relationships are the heart of all great online lead generation strategies.

Webinars are also a great way to gain a footprint in the market. In a world with more entrepreneurs than ever, webinars attract a huge number of people trying to emulate your success.

If you run a series of webinars, soon your company will gain a reputation as an undisputed authority.

7. Industry Research Reports

Another way to gain credibility (and leads) is to produce your own industry research reports.

These can either be birds-eye-view summaries of your field or an in-depth report of your industry. Offer a ranking of the players in your field or an analysis of the effectiveness of different products and services.

This won’t only strengthen your brand. It will also offer an important resource for anyone interested in your industry. And that generates leads.

Find out what potential customers are asking and set out to get them an answer. Search related forums for common pain points or areas of confusion. Answer the questions that people already asking.

Industry research reports can also be a great way to build partnerships that may be beneficial later on the road.

8. Say It with Video

As smartphones screens get bigger and clearer, and as our internet speeds become ever faster, video is becoming the King of Content.

It’s easy to see why: video is engaging.

Video hits that sweet spot at the intersection of entertaining and shareable.

YouTube alone receives one billion unique visitors a month. Most of that traffic is driven by people posting them on social media or texting them to their friends. A phenomenon we’ve come to call “going viral.”

And while it’s true that the lion’s share of the views on YouTube is going to music videos and cute kids, that doesn’t mean there’s no place for well made, professional content.

In fact, if the trends continue, people may soon receive most of their information through video rather than the written word (he said, in a written article).

If you’re going to stay ahead of online lead generation strategies, you’re going to want to take advantage of videos sooner than later.

Just don’t worry yourself about making a viral hit.

9. Make a Mailing List

Just because video and social media are swallowing the internet, don’t think that you can abandon the tried-and-true online lead generation strategies.

Experts show that the best way to contact your customer base is through good old fashioned email.

Email is still the most used method of communication on the web. Yes, more than Facebook, more than Twitter.

Your email list may be smaller than your social media reach. But your click through rate is much higher.

On average, an email newsletter has a click through rate of 3.57%. That might not seem impressive, but Facebook’s click through rate is only 0.07%—a fraction of one percent! Twitter’s is almost half that.

But it’s not enough to just send a weekly email. Make it easy for leads to sign up for your email list. Place a sign-up button on your website or flyout on your landing page.

Email also bypasses the song and dance of trying to get customer’s attention on their newsfeeds. You can cut around the nonsense and get right to the point. Communicate clearer and more effectively, upping your conversion rate.

10. Get Blogging

There’s about a nine in ten chance that you’re already doing this. But for that last ten percent of readers here: start a blog.

Blogging is one of those online lead generation strategies that everyone talks about. That’s because it works.

Not only does a consistently updated blog help search engine ranking, but it also adds an effective forum to communicate with your customers.

If you intend on using any of these online lead generation strategies, a blog is a great place to use them. Post videos, promote webinars, and answer frequently asked questions about your industry.

A blog also opens up another method of engagement with leads. Allow comments, and take the time to respond to them.

Plus, you can link to your blog through Facebook and Twitter.

Get Smart with Online Lead Generation Strategies

Don’t let your online presence slack off. Make it pull its weight.

With these online lead generation strategies, you can turn web surfers into customers and get more business.

Which of these strategies have you found the most helpful? Did we miss one?

Let us know in the comments!

Photo by Alan Bishop