It is the golden age of small businesses and the continuing SME (small and medium-sized enterprises) boom in North America isn't slowing down. Did you know that small businesses make up over 50% of the US GDP?
The fact that you landed on this article tells us that you have a great local business idea, have probably spent time putting together a business plan and gathering resources to launch your business, and have a steady stream of customers calling you or walking through your doors...
Chances are you're wondering how to get more leads for your local business.
Every local business owner must find sustainable ways to market their business among their local customers and communities. Finding a reliable, local customer base is crucial, especially in their early stages. So how exactly can you do this?
Enter local lead generation!
What is local lead generation?
Local lead generation is the act of finding potential customers located within close proximity to a business. This type of marketing is most commonly used in specific geographic locations, making it a highly effective way to to reach and convert your target audience.
The main purpose with generating leads is to find potential customers with high buying intent and convince them to buy your products or services. Like any other form of lead generation, local lead generation relies on various tactics to help local business owners identify prospects.
The biggest difference is that local lead generation is usually carried out within a particular area. While this makes it easier for businesses to target potential customers, the focus must be on maintaining a high conversion rate.
So how can you set yourself up for higher conversion rates? Keep scrolling to find out.
2 Types of local business lead generation
The primary purpose of local lead generation is to identify high-intent leads within a certain location.
Local lead generation methods can be split into two broad categories:
Offline lead generation
Online lead generation
Some local lead generation methods can even overlap between the two categories. For instance, you can collect promotional contest entries with both online and paper forms.
Let’s dive into the two categories of local business lead generation for a better understanding.
Offline local business lead generation
Offline lead-generation strategies can prove especially effective in close-knit communities. Person-to-person interactions and word-of-mouth marketing work better in such settings than most other marketing strategies.
Here are a few examples of offline local lead-generation strategies.
Hosting contests and lucky draws are among the most common local lead-generation strategies. They give incentives (like gifts for contest winners) to encourage customers to share their contact information with you.
Just make sure that the net value of your announced prize doesn't exceed the value that the contest is estimated to generate.
Hosting live events can be another effective local lead-generation strategy. Events can be anything from a simple business or product launch to a seminar on a topic the local community is interested in.
It’s important to keep live events relevant to your business and the products or services you sell to attract the right kind of customers. If you’re starting a business that sells sporting goods, it can be a good idea to host a weekend basketball camp, for instance.
Try to make the most of advertising your business during these events. If you’re hosting a tennis training camp or something similar at the local YMCA, make sure to place company banners and flyers around the venue.
Community outreach programs help you kill two proverbial birds with one stone. Not only are they a great local lead generation strategy, but they also double up as effective brand marketing campaigns.
Community outreach efforts like providing free training and counseling for underprivileged youth or soup kitchens help you market your business as a good-hearted, community-focused venture.
Outreach programs such as these let people in and around your community identify your business as a value-centered brand. Shopping with you then becomes a way of supporting the local community.
Online local business lead generation
Online local business lead generation strategies often target Gen Z and millennials. These customers prefer shopping from the convenience of their homes but still care enough about community-centered brands.
Here are a few online local lead generation strategies you can use.
The easiest way to understand local SEO is by relating it to the concept of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in general. SEO practices help increase the online visibility of your website by getting it to rank higher on search engines. Local SEO works to the same end, except that it is specifically aimed at boosting your ranking on location-based search results.
Let’s say someone in Portland, Oregon, types in a location-based online search like, ‘pizza shops near me’ or ‘best pizza shops in my area.’ In this case, the search results will display pizza shops closest to the searcher’s location. If you have a pizzeria in Portland, local SEO can help your shop rank higher on results for the search query.
Here are a few handy tips for boosting your local SEO.
Focus on keywords specific to your overall geographical area and your particular location.
Slip in the location and address of your store naturally in blogs and other online content that you put out.
Register your small business profile on Google Business Profile.
Get more customer reviews on social media platforms like Google and Facebook.
The same scratch cards and coupons that you use for in-store contests can be used as e-cards and coupon codes redeemable on your e-retail website. Online contests and lucky draws work pretty much the same way as their offline avatars.
Incentives like gifts, discounts, and loyalty benefits can boost customer engagement. You can also add other strategies to the mix to customize the contest to your brand personality.
For instance, you can have participants share the contest link a minimum number of times on their Instagram to be eligible. Or you can hold invite-only contests that work on customer referrals. There can be many other creative ways of advertising your contest to as many potential customers as possible.
Use web forms
Web forms are a tried-and-tested digital lead generation technique. All of the resources on your website, including blogs, product information, and landing pages can be embedded with webform pop-ups. Together with a request for visitors to spare a few minutes, this method can help you reach out to prospects with targeted messaging.
Web forms are a simple yet effective way to encourage customers to engage with your business in exchange for access to your content. However, it’s best to avoid making it mandatory for customers to fill out web forms. This can prove counterproductive and discourage people from visiting your site altogether.
It makes better sense to flash web forms as an optional pop-up that explains their utility clearly.
The image above is an example of NiceJob's Collect Leads widget which you can embed on your website to easily collect leads!
Get quality leads without spending a dime on ads
In 5 minutes, you’ll gain credibility by showing website visitors honest reviews, recent bookings, and real customer purchases with NiceJob’s social proof tools.See how it works
Local lead generation software
Lead generation software can help you organize and streamline the entire process from lead capturing to cold contacting. Here are a few digital local lead-generation tools that you can consider using.
Mailchimp is one of the most popular email marketing and digital lead generation software available today. It allows businesses to create everything from interactive sign-up forms and landing pages to email templates that can be used to run effective digital marketing campaigns.
All of these tools can be customized to capture high-quality leads for your business.
HubSpot is a CRM (customer relationship management) solution that comes with several integrations. These can help you capture, organize, and retarget local leads much better. HubSpot offers all the features of a standard CRM, together with advanced data analysis and report generation.
HubSpot’s unique selling point (USP) is its ability to scale with your marketing campaigns. It is a CRM that grows with your business and helps you generate leads at scale.
Sites is NiceJob service that will grow your business with the best done-for-you website builder for small business owners. NiceJob even guarantees that the website you get will win 10% or more website sales — or it’s free!
With a high-converting website your customers will love, you'll be generating leads around the clock. Whenever a lead develops, you get instant email and SMS notifications, allowing you to reply within seconds and always be there for your customers.
NiceJob Sites is the perfect software for small businesses looking for a local lead management solution that allows them to store, access, and connect with their leads.
Lead generation for local businesses is key
We hope you feel more confident and have a better grasp on local lead generation after this article.
Remember: strong customer relationships are at the heart of the most successful local businesses.
After all, if you can generate local leads who turn into customers and fuel growth by each bringing you at least one more, your business will be around for a long, long time.