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Looking for Leads?
by Rieva Lesonsky
September 20, 2023
Handsome man talking on phone at work.

Are you struggling to generate enough leads for your small business? Maintaining a full pipeline of leads is every small business owner’s challenge.

Here are some ideas (ranked from easiest to more complex) to help you attract more leads.

  • Ramp up the phone calls. I’m always shocked at how many small business websites hide their business phone numbers! Even if your phone number is somewhere on your home page, that’s not good enough—it needs to be at the top of the home page so prospective customers see it right away. (Better yet, put it on the top of every web page.)
  • Ask for the action. Whether it’s your business website or your print or radio ads, don’t just hint at what you want customers to do—spell it out! All your advertising and marketing efforts should include a clear call to action. On your website, every page should include its own call to action—whether that's “Shop now,” “Call for a quote,” or “Make an appointment.”
  • Tap into satisfied customers. You probably buy lots of things based on referrals from your friends and colleagues, right? Well, it’s the same for your potential customers. Set up a system for gathering referrals from your satisfied customers and clients. (Make sure they're satisfied—that's important!) Then quickly follow up with those referrals to gauge their interest and provide more information about what you sell.
  • Use local search. Does your business rely on a local customer base? Then being listed on local search directories can generate tons of leads. Visit relevant local search directories to claim your listing and fill in the required information, such as your businesses phone number, address, hours of operation, photos, menu, and more. Make sure to include relevant keywords that your target customers use when searching for companies like yours.
  • Make it easy to call you. If your business website is mobile-friendly, and I sure hope it is, adding a “click to call” button makes it super simple for prospective customers to call your business right away when they discover you during a mobile search. Remember, mobile searches don't just happen when customers are out and about — think about how often you look something up on your mobile phone from the living room couch.
  • Try pay-per-click advertising. If you're not already using pay-per-click advertising, you've got nothing to lose by testing it out. One big advantage of this form of advertising is that it lets you set an advertising budget and target prospects very specifically so you know you only reach the exact audience you want. Visit Google AdWords and Bing to learn more about how to advertise online.
  • Get social. Social media isn't just for getting “likes” anymore. More than two-thirds of marketers who spend at least six hours a week promoting their businesses on social media say they generate leads that way, according to Social Media Examiner.  If you sell to consumers, Facebook is the best way to go; both LinkedIn and Facebook work well to generate leads for B2B companies.
  • Use content marketing.  Whether you sell to consumers or businesses, content — that is information — that educates your prospects about how to do something better, how to solve a problem, or how to fill a need is today's hottest marketing trend. (Of course, that content should also subtly sell how your product or service benefits your customers.) Content can range from a blog post or Instagram photo to a whitepaper or online video. Post content in places where your target customers spend their time and use proper SEO to guide them to it. While creating good content may require hiring outside contractors, the results can be worth it.

Want more ways to generate leads? Your SCORE mentor can help you come up with plenty of ideas—and put them into action. Visit

About the author
Rieva Lesonsky
Rieva Lesonsky is president and CEO of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, and the blog
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1165 Herndon Parkway, Suite 100
Herndon, VA 20170

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