7 Lead Generation Techniques for Small Businesses

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7 Lead Generation Techniques for Small Businesses

Oct 19, 2022

Wouldn't it be nice to throw money at your problems and watch them disappear? Unfortunately, that luxury is often not available for small businesses. When looking to boost sales, SMEs must get creative with their lead generation techniques.

But don't worry; we've got some budget-friendly strategies to help you succeed. Here are seven lead-generation techniques for small businesses:

Leverage Social Media Marketing (SMM)

Social media marketing is the starting point for many small businesses. Not only is it cost-effective, but it allows you to target a specific audience. Plus, tracking the success of your efforts is easy with built-in insights and analytics. Keep an eye on engagement rates and adjust your strategy accordingly.

Don't be afraid to show off your unique personality when creating content. Social media is an excellent place for small businesses to connect with potential customers on a personal level. 

For example, try sharing behind-the-scenes photos or fun team events. You'll need to put in the effort to maintain a consistent presence, but the benefits are worth it.

Use Referral Programs

Another effective strategy you can use as a small business is word-of-mouth marketing. By offering incentives, you can encourage current customers to refer friends and family to your business. These can be anything from discounts to bonus perks.

You can also expand your reach by partnering with complementary businesses to offer joint referral programs. This way, both parties benefit from a larger pool of potential leads.

In this scenario, offering incentives that appeal to your target audience is essential. It could be a discount on their next purchase or even something outside of your services, such as gift cards. Just make sure the reward is worth it for both parties involved. Don't offer something that will cost you more in the long run.

Content Marketing With Buyer Personas

Before even planning your marketing strategy, it's vital to understand your target audience. This is where buyer personas come into play. By creating imaginary representations of your ideal customers, you can tailor your messaging. Thus, all your communications will speak directly to them.

Write down the needs, pain points, and demographics of your buyer personas. Then, use this information to create relevant content, such as blog posts or e-books. These pieces should address their concerns while showcasing the value you can offer. Maintaining a business blog can also help attract organic traffic from search engines (SEO.) It will help establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry.

You'll want to ensure that your content is easily accessible to potential leads. That could mean optimizing for search engines, promoting on social media, or even reaching out through email marketing.

Try Outbound Marketing

Outbound marketing encompasses traditional methods, such as cold calling lead generation. While it may not be as glamorous as inbound strategies, it can still be a valuable lead-generation tool for small businesses.

Cold calling works best when you have a targeted list of leads, such as past customers or those in your target demographic. When making calls, make sure to have a clear idea of what value you're offering and how it will benefit the potential customer. Don't be afraid to follow up with a personalized email or even a small thank-you gift for their time.

It's also worth considering direct mail, especially for local businesses. With a well-designed postcard or brochure, you can showcase your products and services in a physical way. It will catch the attention of potential customers. Plus, you can target specific neighborhoods or demographics to make the most out of your budget.

Put Your Marketing on Auto-Pilot

As a startup or small business, you probably have a lot on your plate and thinly-stretched resources. One way to streamline your lead generation efforts is by harnessing the power of automation. 

One popular tool is marketing automation software, which allows you to schedule and track the success of email campaigns, social media posts, and website activity. This saves time and helps ensure consistent outreach to potential leads. Additionally, consider using a customer relationship management (CRM) system to organize your leads.

Email marketing automation can also be a valuable tool, with options to send personalized messages based on customer behavior. Additionally, setting up lead scoring allows you to prioritize high-potential leads and personalize their journey through the sales funnel. 

As for your customer service, consider using chatbots to handle basic inquiries and provide 24/7 support. This strategy frees up time for your team to focus on more pressing matters. It also improves the overall customer experience.

Focus on Repeat Customers

There's no reason why you shouldn't focus on your current customers when it comes to lead generation. After all, it costs five times more to acquire a new customer than retain a current one.

One way to retain customers is by offering loyalty rewards or discounts for repeat purchases. You can also gather valuable information through surveys and use it to improve their experience with your brand. Asking for feedback shows that you value their opinions and are dedicated to improving as a business.

Don't forget to stay in touch with past customers through email newsletters or social media updates. This helps keep your brand top-of-mind and increases the likelihood of them returning for repeat business. And who knows? They might even refer you to someone in their network. Overall, never underestimate the power of happy customers in generating leads and boosting your bottom line.

Build a Community

Building a community around your brand can be a great way to establish long-term customer relationships. People love to feel connected and be a part of something bigger than themselves, so creating a sense of community can be incredibly valuable.

Consider starting a Facebook group or online forum where customers can interact with each other and your brand. Offer exclusive content, host virtual events, or provide discounts to community members. This helps attract new leads and encourages customer retention.

In-person events, such as conferences or meetups, can also help bring in new leads. Attending them with your team will strengthen relationships with community members. It allows them to connect with your brand more personally and fosters a sense of unity.


Generating leads is crucial to growing any business, but it can be especially challenging for small businesses with limited resources. However, getting creative with your approach can attract new potential customers and boost your bottom line.

The opinions expressed in our published works are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the National Association for the Self-Employed or its members.

Courtesy of NASE.org