Are you a local business owner looking to generate more leads?
Maybe you operate locally or even nationally, and you want more leads to fill your pipeline?
Sure, that flyer drop around the houses might generate some customers. But with an expected response rate of 1%, there’s got to be a better way of catching the attention and imagination of your local community.
Spoiler alert: there is.
And that’s what we’re here to reveal: 17 local lead generation tips, tricks and tools to help you generate more leads for your local business.
But first things first:
What is lead generation?
I’m almost certain you know what lead generation is, but just so we’re on the same page…
You have a business: tick. You have a unique service that’s serving your local community: tick. But, just because a business is local doesn’t mean that people know who you are, what you offer, and how you can change their lives.
Lead generation is about connecting strangers and potential customers to your business. And, in the context of digital marketing, lead generation is usually about getting people from online to offline (i.e., from Facebook to your website and eventually through your door).
Therefore, lead generation is the process of getting someone from a state of not knowing who you are to raising their hand and enquiring about your services.
What is local lead generation?
You don’t have to be Einstein to guess what local lead generation is…
But if lead generation is about getting people who don’t know you interested in your services…
You guessed it: local lead generation is doing that but to people in your locality. That can be people in your village, town, city or country.
It’s just another branch of lead generation. And there are lots of ways of gathering interest in your brand.
That’s what this article is all about.
How to generate leads locally
I’m going to share 17 local lead generation tips that are guaranteed to generate more leads. In no particular order…
1. Search engine optimisation (SEO)
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. And our friends at Moz explain SEO beautifully as “the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.”
Think about when you search for something online. Typically you’ll see ads as the first few recommendations, and then you have the organic results.
SEO is the practice of getting your website and pages as high up in those search results as possible – because the higher you are, the more traffic (and thus leads) you will get.
For example, let’s say you’re an optician based in Edinburgh. Your potential customers might search for “opticians in Edinburgh”, “where can I get an eye-test in Edinburgh”, or “why am I getting headaches?”.
All of these search terms COULD lead Google (or whichever search engine they’re using) to your website if it has been well optimised.
A good SEO strategy will include things such as ensuring your website is mobile-friendly; quick to load; has a good, logical internal linking structure; and includes important keywords. More on this below in the content marketing section.
One of the things we ask all clients to make sure they do at the very least is to create a Google My Business account. This means that anyone who searches for “opticians in Edinburgh”, for example, can see photos, map position, reviews, and opening times.
Of course, this is a skeleton overview of local SEO. For a more detailed explanation and walkthrough, check out this article.
2. Join local Facebook groups
An SEO campaign is a slow-burn – it can take a lot of time and effort to ascend to the top of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).
Social media marketing, on the other hand, allows you to find a way into people’s timelines instantly.
And with local businesses like yours, it’s possible to reach people in your area via Facebook Groups.
Go to the search bar on Facebook and simply type in the name of your town/city. Then click on ‘Groups’. Scroll through these, and you will find plenty of groups that are active with your target audience.
Don’t just go into these groups and constantly spam them with details about your business or offers.
Join the groups and provide value. And if you do it consistently enough, people will visit your business page to find out more. You can join most groups with your business page profile, making the whole process even easier!
Don’t be afraid to share your special offers, though – everyone loves a good offer now and again!
3. Create content answering the questions your customers have
Okay, peeps. Let’s get real here.
If you don’t implement content marketing as part of your overall strategy, you’re gonna get left behind. Trust me.
Think about your perfect customers in your area.
Consider the questions and problems they often have, relating to your product/service. And, chances are, they’re actively searching online for solutions to those specific problems.
They might be listening to podcasts, reading articles, or consuming videos.
And guess who should be answering those questions?
Your goal should be to address every question and problem you know your customers face. Your goal should be to become the Wikipedia of your market.
Think about it: you have two chiropractors in a town. One of them has a huge amount of valuable content answering all the questions relating to back pain, neck pain, and the likes. They actively promote that content, and they have 100’s of people consuming it.
The other chiropractor has no content, but they post the occasional offer on their social media.
Who do you think is going to be the most trusted option? And based on that, who do you think people will visit when they have a sore back?
Instead of explaining more, I want to share the story of a good friend of mine, Marcus Sheridan.
Marcus set up his pool company, River Pools, with a couple of partners in 2001, and they were doing well until the big financial crisis in 2008. This caused the bottom to fall out of their market and the business almost folded.
At this point, Marcus and partners discovered content marketing, and set about creating content on their website that answered EVERY question they’d ever been asked about their business. Cutting a long story short, his decision saved their company and turned their fortunes around, making River Pools an industry leader. You can read more about Marcus’ story here.
Marcus’s golden rule is “They Ask, You Answer”.
- A quick-start guide to the strategy is this:
Sit down with your team and write down ALL the questions you’ve been asked as an organisation
- These will often come under one of the “Big 5”:
a. Cost & price (e.g. How much does X cost?)
b. Problems (e.g. Top 5 problems and solutions)
c. Comparisons (e.g. X vs Y: which is better?)
d. Reviews (e.g. X tool: A comprehensive review)
e. Best of & Top # (e.g. Top 10 ways to…)
- Create a content calendar to start answering these questions and topics in your articles, videos or podcasts.
4. Google Ads
Ah, Google. What would we do without you?
Love them or hate them, Google has developed a web presence for authority and diversity like very few other brands.
Google receives 3.5 BILLION search enquiries EVERY SINGLE DAY and has over 92% of the search engine share worldwide.
Pretty impressive stats.
And a huge opportunity.
In point number 1, we mentioned SEO as a strategy. The goal, of course, is to get your website to the top spot in Google – which results in more traffic.
With Google Ads, you can achieve the same results and “beat the system” by paying Google to be there.
Google ads are commonly seen to be a little more expensive than the likes of Facebook ads. But Google Ads are mighty because the searcher is consciously seeking out an answer. So, when somebody sees your ad on Google, they are searching for something. With buying intent.
For example, on Facebook, we target people based on their demographics or interests. All good; but that means your ad will be seen by people who aren’t necessarily interested in your specific offer.
With Google, on the other hand, your ads appear based on what someone is consciously searching for.
For example, a dentist in Dublin might bid on the term “Dublin Dentist”. And, if the ad is compelling enough, you can almost guarantee a good chunk of traffic.
5. Email marketing
While you might think that email marketing is the crumbly old 90s grandaddy of advertising (that smells a bit of wee), you might be surprised to discover that the ROI on email marketing is 4300%!
Yes, you read that correctly.
You’re reading this article because you want to generate leads. But here’s the thing: not every lead you generate is going to be ready to buy straight away.
Some leads might only convert weeks, months, even years down the line.
Email marketing allows you to stay in touch with those leads in the meantime, maintaining visibility in their inbox until the time they ARE ready to buy. In fact, 80% of sales require five follow-up calls after the meeting.
We recommend that you send an email to your list at least once per week, sharing useful and valuable content with them; occasionally throwing in an offer you think they will want.
We have our own agency newsletter, the Monday Yatter, which you can subscribe to here.
Each Monday, we share a marketing lesson, a resource, and something that’ll make you laugh.
For more tips on how to turn leads into sales, check out our blog.
One of the most productive ways of reaching local audiences is running a competition. Again, like email marketing, the financial commitment is relatively low, but the brand awareness reach is high.
And if the prize for your contest is free access to your services, it won’t cost you a lot – but it will help garner favour with your local audience.
When considering the prize for your contest or giveaway, steer clear of giving away random gifts like iPads. EVERYONE wants a free iPad, so you’re likely to attract a low-quality audience – you only really want to engage with people who are potential customers.
Think about the things your dream customers are interested in, and give that away but make it relevant to you business. That way, you only attract relevant leads.
Once people have signed up to your competition, it’s down to you to nurture them and get them to a place where they are ready to buy.
Everyone’s a winner, babe
A couple of years ago, a local ribbon printer company offered a free ribbon printer as a prize in a contest at their local village fair.
The company knew that anyone who entered the contest would want a ribbon printer – it’s not the kind of thing you enter a competition for if you don’t want it.
So, everyone who entered the competition had the potential to become a buyer. This competition was playing to its niche.
They ran their competition and got 310 entries, which doesn’t sound a lot, perhaps – but, let’s remember, ALL of those people wanted to win a ribbon printer, making them high-quality local leads.
After the winner claimed their prize, the company owner still had the contact details of everyone else who had entered. So, they followed up the contest with a 72-hour limited special offer for a discounted ribbon printer – exclusively for the “losers” of the competition.
This special offer resulted in $6000 in sales, which led them to run the contest twice more, eventually bringing in a total revenue of $35,000 from around 1300 contest entries.
The takeaway from this is:
- Give away something specific to your business – that way, all entrants have expressed a potential buyer’s interest in the product by entering
- Stay in touch with the losers – they’re high-quality leads. Offer them a special deal for entering; making them winners as well.
7. Facebook Ads
We weren’t going to go through this list without mentioning Facebook ads, were we?!
Love it or hate it, Facebook has completely rewritten the rule book when it comes to online advertising. It is by far the best advertising platform you can use to reach people in your local area.
When creating a Facebook ad campaign, you have the ability to pinpoint your ads to people solely in your area.
So – let’s say you are looking to target 45-50-year-old men in Richmond, Virginia? No problem; you can do that!
Not just that, though. Facebook’s tracking capabilities mean you can see exactly where your advertising spend is going, which is crucial as a local business owner.
For example, you can see that you’ve spent £1000, generated 500 clicks, and created 100 leads that resulted in 10 sales. You can be THAT precise.
We’ve worked on 100’s of lead generation campaigns for local businesses, and nothing beats seeing the faces of our clients when they first start seeing the leads we generate for them come in. You can see some of our case studies here.
8. Sales funnels and landing pages
Marketing/sales funnels are a hot topic in the business and marketing world just now. But what the heck are they? How do you create one? And do you even need a funnel?
A marketing funnel (also known as a sales funnel, conversion funnel, sales pipeline, or just ‘funnel’) – put simply – is the steps that someone has to go through from being a stranger to your business to purchasing from you.
Chances are you already have one because they mimic your sales process.
When we talk about funnels, we tend to think about them from a paid advertising perspective. In other words, if you direct people to your funnel using Facebook ads, how many click and then convert?
Successful funnels introduce people who don’t know you and take them through a sequence of content that convinces them to purchase from you – profitably.
I.e., you spend £1000 on Facebook ads and make £3000 back.
Let’s say you run a gym.
A perfect (and common) funnel is to offer people a free session at your gym. After all, who doesn’t love a freebie?
They sign up and enjoy their free session. Then, you sit them down to talk about their goals, and you try to convince them into becoming a paying member of your gym.
It’s simple maths from there.
Think about it:
- How much is a new member worth to your gym?
- Keep in mind the number of free sessions typically result in a paid sign up
- How many sign-ups from Facebook do you need to get people in the gym?
From there, you can work out how much you need to spend on Facebook (or any other paid channel) to acquire a customer.
9. Google My Business
As mentioned, Google My Business is a free listing service that Google uses to determine your location. So, when somebody searches for “*something* near me”, Google knows that your services are in close vicinity to the searcher.
Say you want “shoe shops near me”, this is what you’ll get:
When you register with Google My Business, your business details get included in Google Maps and appears in the Business widget at the top of the SERP.
Additionally, Google My Business allows your customers to leave reviews for your services (as represented by the star rating) and find you on the map. It lists your opening hours and provides a description of your USP.
You control what information is listed – as long as you manage your Google My Business account.
You can also add photos that show what you do. Business profiles that include images get 42% more requests for directions via Google Maps and 35% more clicks to websites (as opposed to businesses who don’t add photos).
All of these features help increase your local leads. Never neglect the power of Google My Business to place your brand on the SERP of your local customers.
10. Hire a local lead generation agency
If you follow the tips in this article, you will increase the number of leads you generate. But, of course, it all takes time and effort. And, chances are, you’d rather focus on what you do best: creating and delivering incredible services for your customers.
This is why I wanted to include hiring a local lead generation agency as one of the strategies.
A lead generation agency doesn’t need to be local to you, but they do need to understand your business.
When choosing an agency, you’ll often find there are two types:
- Full-service agencies (will do everything in this list)
- Specialist agencies (will focus on 1-2 things in this list)
Neither is notably better than the other – so who you decide to go with should ultimately depend on your specific goals.
For example, if your main objective is to focus on PPC campaigns specifically, you’re best going with a specialist. Like us 😉
11. Start your own show
Yes, start your own show.
When I talk about starting your own show, I don’t mean taking acting lessons, learning to channel your spirit animal, and getting a spray tan.
I simply mean that you should consistently produce your own content.
Create a blog, set up a YouTube channel or a podcast, and produce something valuable for your audience every single week.
If content marketing is your thing, starting a show is your unique medium to communicate your helpful ideas.
Take a look at our good friends Michael Ulloa and Jason Auld – two fitness professionals based in Edinburgh. They’ve done an incredible job in creating their own show: Just the Fitness Tip.
They brand the show as Edinburgh’s number one fitness podcast, which opens up a vast number of doors for them:
- Their perfect customers are listening to the show (people in Edinburgh interested in fitness)
- It allows them to interview potential partners (networking opportunity)
- It builds a tremendous amount of brand equity and trust (they are seen as the experts)
These are all incredibly important things to do if you want to generate more leads.
12. Set up joint ventures with other local businesses
In any market, you have direct and indirect competitors.
Direct competitors – businesses that offer the same services to the same people as you
Indirect competitors – businesses that offer different services to the same people
Developing relationships with indirect competitors in your local area could help bolster your offering and increase your visibility in your business region.
Say, for example, you’re a building firm, constructing extensions on people’s homes. You probably specialise in the build, while you might rely on a partner business to supply the glass for the windows, a reliable sparky to wire and test the electrics, and a skilled plasterer.
Establishing partnerships is beneficial for local visibility in several ways. It gives you:
- An established supply chain
- An associated reputation
- Reciprocal recommendations
- A more complete client package
And you can invite your new partners onto your show.
See, look how easy it is!
13. Work with local influencers
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, social media influencers are here to stay.
Influencers gather a niche following from developing their brand around a particular subject. And people follow them because influencers tend to offer great insight into topics that followers are interested in and passionate about.
Influencers are commonly looked at as people with thousands of followers, but that’s not the case at all.
But somebody with 100 engaged followers can have just as much impact as a supposed influencer with 10,000 disengaged followers.
To find influencers in your area, using Instagram hashtags is your best bet.
- Search for relevant hashtags influencers may use (For example, if you’re a gym, it might be #gymlondon).
- Reach out to that person via Instagram DM’s and start a conversation about how you could collaborate with them
- Do this with 100+ people, and you’ll be able to generate a considerable buzz
Please expect to pay them – it’s their job, after all.
14. Run local seminars
If you’re selling badges in the street, perhaps the buying decision is a simple one. Somebody peruses your wares, likes what they see, and they spend a couple of quid. And they walk off with a new badge on their lapel.
But when your product or service has significant ticket value, the buying decision is less flippant.
In short: the more expensive your service or product, the more you need to develop trust from strangers. And a great way of creating trust with strangers is to run local seminars.
Seminars (or webinars) offer a unique opportunity for locals to get to know you. They allow you to stand in front of your perfect customers and deliver a presentation that provides them with a considerable amount of value regarding your topic of expertise.
We’ve worked with several Regenerative Medicine Practices that offer Stem Cell Therapy. And we’ve encouraged them to use Seminars as a way to create demand for their services.
In each case, we set up:
- A locally-targeted Facebook ad, taking leads to a single-purpose landing page
- Single-purpose landing page, asking for sign-ups for the seminar, leading to a thank you page
- Thank You page, which helped us track the conversions using the Facebook pixel.
We were often able to get 100+ people in the room. The client would run the seminar and – at the end of it – offer interested parties a consultation which would hopefully lead to a sale.
Over the course of a year, we spent $300,774.82 on Facebook ads, generating 5205 leads. 40% of those leads attended a seminar, and half of those attendees booked an appointment (that’s 1041 appointments if you’re not keeping up. 🙂 ).
And half of those consultations resulted in sales.
So for a spend of $300,774.82, we got them 520 high-ticket sales – bringing their ROI to the grand total of $3.64m.
That’s 12x ROI.
Of course, we knew the Lifetime Value (LTV) of our client’s customer before we allowed them to spend over $300K on Facebook ads.
Read more about this particular case study here.
The best local lead generation software
If you’re a web-whizz, then you probably know how to set up landing pages and funnels. But if like most enterprises, you’re experts in your field and not necessarily master marketeers, you probably need a little help with the techie stuff.
That’s why I wanted to include some examples of excellent lead generation software as part of this list; all of which will help you with the strategies above!
15. Funnel builders
There are many funnel building applications available out there, but there are three that I enjoy the most (in no particular order):
With a funnel builder, you want a:
- Simple Drag & Drop visual editor
- Straightforward integration with your CRM system and email marketing function
- Accurate and insightful analytics to demonstrate performance
Leadpages offers a simple-to-use interface and a responsive support team. Some funnel-building applications take ages to get your head around, but there’s virtually no learning time involved with Leadpages. It’s a simple Drag & Drop platform with tons of templates to get you started.
At an affordable monthly price, Leadpages is an excellent template-based platform. It lacks some of its competitors’ customisation capabilities, but for a quick start to funnel building, I couldn’t recommend Leadpages enough.
It does everything that Leadpages can but has better mobile optimisation and is more suited to larger sales funnels. But the monthly tariff is MUCH higher than Leadpages, so it’s a case of balancing what you need with what you want to pay.
Clickfunnels, however, does allow you to split-test; testing one landing page against another, which can be a super-valuable feature.
Unbounce, again, offers a lot of the features that LeadPages and ClickFunnels provide, using a simple drag-and-drop builder. They also supply over 100 free templates. Something I like about Unbounce is their free stock-image gallery. When you’re building a funnel, you can also access Unsplash, giving you access to a massive library of royalty-free professional photographs to use.
Here’s a more in-depth article on the best funnel building tools.
16. Email marketing
If you’re going to use email marketing, you need an email marketing tool.
While there are loads of email marketing specialist applications out there, the two I recommend most highly are ConvertKit and Mailchimp.
One of ConvertKit‘s best features is the facility to resend your emails to those on your list that didn’t open it when you first sent it out.
Perhaps you send your newsletter to 1000+ customers/leads, but only around 500 opens it. Although 500 people reading your email is pretty good, you’re not maximising the marketing opportunity by appealing to just 50% of your list.
ConvertKit allows you to create attractive capture forms, as well as campaign-specific landing pages, exit popups, and slide-ins to embed in your content.
But, by far, the best feature (in my humble) is the ability to create automated email funnels easily.
Say, for example, someone downloads your free digital marketing e-guide. ConvertKit partitions that lead so that they automatically get added to a specific email sequence, based on the lead’s behaviours and actions so far. This is great for companies who offer multiple services – it means that you can keep your correspondence relevant to the service that each lead wants (and you don’t bombard them with fluff they’re not interested in).
Keep ’em sweet is my best advice! And while Mailchimp has similar capabilities, I’ve personally found it easier to navigate ConvertKit’s platform for this functionality.
Mailchimp offers an accessible platform for beautiful email marketing content. You get a marketing CRM platform and a website builder based on Mailchimp’s web-based infrastructure, as well as the ability to create beautiful forms and landing pages. You can communicate with up to 2000 contacts with their free service, going up to over 200,000 with their Premium package (starting at $299/month).
ConvertKit has a free service for up to 1000 subscribers, offering unlimited landing pages and forms. Their Creator Pro account (starting at $59/month) provides a range of powerful tools for maximising your local leads through your email campaigns.
CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management (or Manager), offered in the form of database platforms that help you manage your customers (it’s in the name, really).
CRM software is a key essential in your local sales armoury, digitising the processes that keep your sales team up to date with lead progress. There’s nothing more annoying than leads having to explain what they’re looking for to several different people within the same organisation: CRMs help you monitor progress.
CRM software is ideal for contact- and sales management, as well as productivity monitoring. You can also create a whole range of automations that help you maximise your local lead generation opportunities.
BenchmarkONE (formerly known as Hatchbuck) allows you to action repeatable processes that help you to connect with your contacts to drive sales. With a user-friendly interface, it’s possible to see all of the information you have about individual leads – all in one tab.
BenchmarkONE offers email automation, making your branding appear in your lead’s inboxes through intelligent drip campaigns that help maintain contact with your most valuable leads.
With simple email marketing tools, you can do most of the things email marketing applications can do (and a lot more). For example, you can create landing pages and popups while measuring outcomes to help you scale up your campaigns.
In short, CRMs are local lead generation digital gurus. And, as your business scales up, it’s difficult to do without one.
Pipedrive is another popular CRM platform that helps you manage your leads and deals while tracking your communications; all through growth-driven automations. Pipedrive is ideal for the digital entrepreneur, with a take-anywhere mobile app and integrations into other sales-boosting apps, such as Zapier.
Pipedrive boasts a 60-seconds-or-less customer support response time and a star rating of 4.5 for “ease of use”. Some of the biggest companies in the world use Pipedrive, including Amazon, Vimeo, and Skyscanner.
That’s a wrap!
There you have it… 17 different strategies or tools you can use to generate more leads as a local business. If you take a couple of these, or even use all of them, you will be well on your way to dominating your local market.
As a lead generation agency, we work with a lot of local businesses, specifically on their PPC campaigns, so if you’d like help with that, hit get started at the top of this page!