The Small Business Lead Generation Mistakes You’re Probably Making

It’s important for every small business to generate leads.

That’s how you find new customers and keep the doors open week after week.

However, it’s easy to make mistakes.

Generating leads the right way takes a level of work that many small business owners don’t have the time for.

It also takes a foundational understanding of the technologies and techniques involved.

That’s why it’s so common for small business owners to generate leads inefficiently or ineffectively.

Today, I’m going to cover some of the most common lead generation mistakes that small businesses make.

I’m also going to tell you how to fix them.

If Your Small Business Isn’t Growing Fast, It’s Probably Because Of One Of These Lead Generation Mistakes

Great lead generation is key to making your small business grow.

Every customer has a lifespan, and despite trying everything you can to extend it, your customers will eventually stop needing your services.

Without new ones, your small business can only shrink.

That’s why generating leads is so important.

Generating leads could be the difference in survival. Click To Tweet

And poor lead generation leads to more failed businesses than anything else.

While there could be a ton of reasons you aren’t generating enough leads of the right quality, the ones I’m going to cover are the most common.

If you can fix these, you should see an increase in the number of high-quality leads your small business generates relatively quickly.

Remember: when you take care of the basics, the big stuff handles itself.

These Lead Generation Mistakes Are Common Among Small Businesses

For most small business owners, lead generation isn’t their best talent.

For many, it isn’t even a talent they can list.

If it were, they’d be running a marketing agency.

But all of them understand that finding new leads is a must.

Unfortunately, they don’t often know what to do with that understanding, and that’s where the mistakes get made.

You Do Nothing Because You Can’t Decide What To Do

Nearly every small business has made this giant lead generation mistake.

Some correct it quickly, deciding that the wrong kind of lead generation is better than none.

However, many simply don’t know what path to take and the fear of making the wrong decision cripples them.

Let me assert that indecision is a decision, and it’s always the wrong one.

It’s better to make a wrong decision and adjust it along the way than it is to do nothing.

Indecision can kill marketing quickly.

Don't stand idle. Make a decision. Click To Tweet

Thankfully, this problem is easy to fix.

If you’re faced with uncertainty when deciding how to generate leads, make an educated guess.

Study up on what your competition is doing.

If you find that they’re growing faster than you, take the same approach they do.

By scoping out their website, social media, podcast, and vlog (if they have them) you can easily see the ways they’re bringing in leads.

If they don’t have any of those going on, you can literally do anything to get ahead of them.

As long as you make a decision to do something, you can make adjustments as you gather information.

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You Have No Idea Who Your Audience Is

Let’s assume you’ve decided on a lead generation tactic for your small business.

However, you’re either not getting leads at all or the people that contact you aren’t interested in what you do.

If that’s the case, you’re probably aimed at the wrong people.

The leads you want to get will come to you because of a marketing campaign you started.

To get the right leads, you need to speak to them directly.

That means you need to know who the right leads are.

As the great Yogi Berra once said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you might end up someplace else.”

“If you don’t know where you’re going, you might end up someplace else.” - Yogi Berra Click To Tweet

In this case, you’re going after the right market.

Better get to know them.

Do a little research into who your ideal market is.

Don’t just assume you know them.

Dig in and get the real answers.

How old are they?

What do they do for a living?

Do they have any hobbies?

The more you know about them and what they want from your products and services, the better job you can do attracting their attention.

You can deliver a marketing message they care about.

You’ll be able to show them the ways your brand can solve their problem or improve their quality of life.

Then you can earn them as a lead.

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You Stick To One Form Of Lead Generation

Some small businesses get lucky and find a form of lead generation that works.

Maybe it isn’t super effective, but it’s at least simple to handle and consistent.

It happens all the time at the beginner level.

It’s usually the social network you’re most familiar with.

Most of the time, it’s Facebook. If you’re daring, it might be LinkedIn.

But no matter what it is, you can’t stay confined if you really want to grow.

Don't be a slave to a single source of leads. Click To Tweet

A single source of leads can disappear quickly, especially if it’s a social network.

All it takes is an algorithm change. We’ve all been impacted by that.

Worse yet, though, is that you’re not likely collecting data from that source.

Even if you are, you have no other sources to compare it to.

That means you have no idea if you could be gathering more leads for the time you spend.

What if you could be gathering better quality leads from your efforts on another platform?

Without that additional knowledge, you’re strangling your growth potential.

Thankfully it’s easy to fix.

Add another source of leads.

That simple.

Add additional social networks to the mix alongside your blog, vlog, podcast, and anything else you can fit time in for.

Compare the sources that provide high-volume leads to the ones that provide high-quality leads.

Find out where your time is most profitably spent.

Extract all the data about the leads and use it to segment them.

That’s going to make it easier to target them with the right marketing message.

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You Buy Your Leads Instead Of Gathering Your Own

As a small business, it might be tempting to buy leads.

An instant list of prospective clients seems like a huge upside for the cost.

You have an opportunity to make sales immediately, which could add the cash flow you need to stay in business.

However, there’s an impact of purchasing a cold list that you may not have considered.

In fact, there are a lot of reasons to avoid it.

Let me put it in perspective.

Have you ever started receiving emails from a company that you’ve never heard of before?

What do you do with those emails?

Spam. Exactly.

Cold emails are almost as bad as cold calls. Click To Tweet

When you hit the spam button, you let your email provider know that company is a nuisance.

That’s going to reduce the likelihood of those emails getting to anyone else’s inbox.

You’re not just stopping them from bothering you, you’re helping everyone else as well.

Now imagine if someone started marking your emails as spam.

That’s going to stop you from getting to any inboxes in the future.

How good is that list if your emails don’t make it to them?

It’s not.

Email providers are keeping a score, and that score is tough to recover once it’s been damaged.

Then there’s the other problem.

These people have no idea who you are.

Aside from the chance at being labeled “spam”, you’re going to make your brand look annoying.

Nobody works with a company that annoys them.

Even if you can get around the spam problem, you’re not getting another chance to fix your reputation.

That means every person on that list has likely lost any potential to be your client in the future.

You can’t buy a good lead. They aren’t for sale.

Focus on generating your own leads.

You can’t nurture leads that don’t want to hear from you, which means you can’t make them into customers.

If you produce your own leads, you have the assurance that they want to hear from you.

That means your future marketing has a shot at working.

If you’ve bought a list, throw it out.

There’s no point in keeping something that’s going to do more harm than help.

Instead, make sure you have all the tools in place to start gathering leads from the internet.

While you’re at it, prepare to do some hand-shaking and networking so you can generate leads offline as well.

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You Have An Incomplete Lead Funnel Or Are Completely Missing One

This is the scariest lead generation mistake I see from small businesses.

And I see it often.

Lots of small business owners are smart enough to get a website in place.

The problem is that most web designers don’t let their clients know that a website doesn’t generate leads just by existing.

It’s a tool, and it can’t get the work done unless you use it.

Websites need certain features to generate leads.

Those features, known collectively as a lead funnel, are what do the actual work of converting site visitors into leads.

You need a lead funnel if you want leads. Click To Tweet

If your site is missing any of them, it’s not going to do its job.

Lead funnels take a visitor who is interested in your content and directs them through the initial phase of the buying cycle.

There are several working components to a lead funnel.

Landing pages, calls-to-action, lead capture forms, email strategies, lead magnets, and marketing content all have to be in place.

If any or all of that is missing, you’re going to lose those lead opportunities.

It’s time to take a lead-gathering inventory of your website.

Make sure you have all the pieces of a great lead funnel in place.

Check to make sure you’re gathering data on every stage and using A/B testing to determine what works the best.

Consistently adjust your efforts to improve your results.

You need a lead funnel in place, and you need it to perform its best.

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Every Lead Generation Mistake Your Small Business Makes Is Correctible

Thankfully, nothing you do is stuck the way it is.

You will always be able to correct and adjust your attempts to gather leads.

And, if you’re collecting the data to study, you should make it better often.

That’s the real secret to avoiding small business lead gathering mistakes and maximizing your results.

Test. Adjust. Improve.

You’ll start to see the results you’ve always wanted.

That’s the best way to grow your small business.

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About the author:

Michael McNew
Web developer, marketing innovator, technology enthusiast, and founder of Visceral Concepts, Michael McNew has developed a passion for delivering value to small business, turning his creativity towards image and reputation building for small business owners.