Even as a small business, there is a lot you can do to increase your visibility among the target audience, thereby increasing your sales. Here are some clever lead generation hacks for small businesses.

1. Defining Target Audience (TA)

Before you start talking, you must decide who you want to talk to! Clearly defining your target audience is the number one step towards generating high quality leads. The best approach to this is to look at your service/product and ask yourself – who would benefit from this the most? That group becomes your primary TA, and they are the easiest to convert. Under no circumstance should you miss out on even one such lead.

Second question you ask is – who would welcome this in their lives? These are people that may not have a direct need for your product/service, but would still be benefited by it, were they to invest in it. This becomes your secondary TA. Finally, you ask – who would be interested in getting to know about this? This group becomes your tertiary TA.

Each of these groups will have a different response to your product/service when you bring it to them; hence your sales pitch for each of these groups should be different too. Once you’ve done this, you can start targeting each of the groups using the strategies enlisted below.

2. Social Media Optimisation (SMO)

As a small business, Social Media Optimisation (SMO) should be the first thing you get right, since it is the fastest way to generate leads that are more advanced in the purchase cycle (as compared to other leads generated through other campaigns). Spreading the word should be your focus in the initial phase of your business, and nothing does this better than Social Media.

Depending on your business, get on all the required platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.), but get onto LinkedIn without exception. Once you do, start building a brand personality. A good approach to actually start doing this is to ask yourself – what words do you want people to associate with your brand? Smart? Chic? Classy? Responsible? Once your page is created, start talking about who you are and what you do. Also, start populating your Social Media pages by creating as well as curating content that is all these things.

Remember – you have about a 5 second window within which to grab your potential lead’s attention. Make sure the content you create can manage to do that!

3. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Social Media Optimisation is going to have a bigger impact on your numbers than Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Having said that, it is SEO that is going to benefit you in the long run. However, it takes a lot of time for SEO to start showing results, and hence it ranks second in our list of lead generation ideas – because you need to start early to nail it. While you are waiting for your SEO efforts to bear fruit, continue with the following strategies.

4. Advertising

All kinds of advertising work – Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads YouTube Ads, etc. It is up to you to decide where you want to spend more money. Certain businesses will render themselves better to advertising on certain platforms. Explore your options and then create a plan. In general, though: Google Ads is better for service related businesses, while Social Media Ads are better for visual products (since that is how the two kinds of platforms differ).

5. Email Campaign

An email lead generation campaign is one of the first ‘serious’ lead generation campaigns that any business typically invests in and runs. This is so for various reasons: ease of execution, competent return of investment, etc. Lead generation tools make it even easier to actually run an email lead gen campaign.

Couple of things you need to remember to prevent from your email going into the target user’s SPAM folder are:

  • Getting the subject line right
  • Avoiding the use of ‘SPAM words’

If you don’t take care of the above, you may well be pouring money down the drain!

6. Networking

The more people you talk to, the wider your network, and the better the chances of acquiring good leads. No one can sell your product better than a happy customer, so make sure you get testimonials and referrals from your users. You can incentivise this by offering loyal customers some sort of pricing benefit or additional services. Your service/product should be such that every lead that you manage to convert should turn into your extended personal lead generation army.

Couple of examples of good networking and referral techniques are –

  • Influencer marketing campaigns – where you get influential people in your field to ‘say good things about you’
  • Partner marketing campaigns – where you partner with a parallel business and work out a marketing campaign that is ‘win-win’ for both of you
  • Community marketing – where you build a platform for your target audience to interact freely with each other, and with you

Networking is all about building a loyal tribe, the keyword being ‘loyal’.

7. Genuine Vs. Salesy Marketing

Your audience today – no matter the business you have – is much smarter than it was a couple of decades ago. They can spot an advertising and/or marketing gimmick without much effort. That does not mean, however, that you stop advertising and/or marketing your service/product! All it means is you have to genuinely care about your target audience, and not just about how tight their purse strings still are.

The best way to do this is to be genuine in your dialogue with your target audience. Do not constantly try to shove your product/service in their face. Instead, talk about your field. Strive to educate them. Even better, get other people to talk about you rather than talking about yourself. The more organic you make your marketing look, the better chances you have of actually converting a lead you have generated.

Also, always keep your eyes and ears open to what your target audience is talking about, especially when it comes to problems they are facing. Every problem is a potential chance for you to be of service to them (by providing a solution). This not only builds trust but also loyalty.

While you may want to market aggressively, always remember that in today’s world, it is very easy to lose people. Make sure you have more than just ‘conversion rates’ in your mind when you approach your consumer, and you will find them more than willing to invest in your product/service.

Mrunal Belvalkar

Mrunal Belvalkar


Having completed Masters in Microbiology, a fluke job she took up fresh out of college made Mrunal realise her true calling – writing. Since then, she has gotten her hands dirty with every kind of linguistic job she could find – from working as a writer for a website, to editing educational books and novels, to working as a German Language specialist for the e-commerce giant Amazon. Currently she is working on translating a Marathi novel into English, while trying to pursue the scores of other creative activities she likes to indulge in, in her free time – reading and traveling being right at the top of the list.