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How to Generate Leads Online for Your Toronto Small Business

Despite how easy it looks, generating leads online is just as labor-intensive as going door to door or planning a multi-media promotional saturation campaign. Part of the problem is that getting leads offline is often easier if there is a personal peer-to-peer connection. The problem is that such qualities rarely transfer online.

For example. You were to have each marketing employee personally research information about each potential customer. They then write a very personalized and very clever promotional email. The recipient would still naturally assume you sent the same email to everybody else. This negates any personal or peer-to-peer feelings (advantages) that the marketing employee may have leveraged into turning the recipient into a warm lead.

Get Leads Online with Referrals

Here are a few referrals generation pointers that your college courses will not tell you. These are the sorts of things you learn after years of marketing experience.

• Even a small incentive will encourage others to refer their friends to you
• Social media is a terrible place to generate referrals
• The ROI on referrals is 5x more than money spent on any other form of advertising
• Encouraging referrals actually solidifies the loyalty of the referrer
• Make referring as easy as clicking a link
• Offer a genuine monetary reward for referrals rather than a discount or a prize
• Reward both the referrer and referee to encourage new customers to refer

You may have been taught that paying media websites and social media programs is the best way to draw new customers. The fact is that referrals have always had the highest ROI, so spend your money on them. Dropbox's referral program helped them grow from 100,000 to 4,000,000 users in just 15 months.

Use Affiliate Advertising

There are hundreds of affiliate networks that will allow you to run ads and generate leads. Try to stay away from Google-related networks (such as Google Ads). These are optimized to reward advertisers at first and punish them over the long term.

Targeted ads are a great way to gain direct access to your target audience. In fact, if you work hard enough on your targeting, the people who see your ads become almost-warm leads. This is important if you are considering how to structure your affiliate advertising.

For example, let’s say you have run a series of trial and error tests and discovered a way to gain access to people who are both President Trump supporters and Marvel movie fans. This suits you because you are selling Captain America merchandise with the “Make America Great Again” slogan. Since you know your target, you can dispose of things such as introductory elements (i.e., you need not explain your product or meaning). You may even remove any branding messages because they are not required in this context.

You may even make bold esoteric statements that other audiences may need explaining, but that this audience doesn't. In essence, the commonalities that exist between your brand (or your marketing campaign) and the target audience is what makes them warm leads. It is almost like humming the tune to a song and knowing that your audience can sing the words.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Really, you ask? Isn’t this like saying an offline shop should have a door or an ice cream van should have a freezer? No, there are good reasons why SEO matters, and it has nothing to do with Google.

The truth is that Google’s old slogan of “Do No Evil” has now changed to, we rank up whoever’s influence bags us the most affiliate money. Work on your off-page and on-page SEO to rank up Google, but do not rely on it. There are better reasons to invest time in your off-page and on-page SEO.

Dominance Created A Uniformity You Can Exploit

Google’s dominance has solidified and unified what we call modern SEO. This means there is not one rule for Google, and one for Bing, and one for Ask, etc. This unification means almost all webmasters use the same SEO methods, practices, etc.

If you follow the same rules, you not only gain the attention of search engines, you also gain the attention of online tools, apps, comparison websites, shopping websites, and so forth.

For example, spider programs are operating right now that use the same meta-keyword function that people use for SEO. They search out prices for goods and services using the keywords they find in web pages meta tags.

If you do something as simple as add meta keywords and descriptions to your product pages, then these spiders will find you. They will even send warm leads your way.

SEO Applies To Far More Than Just Google

There are online shopping websites that curate their content by finding images, web elements, meta information, etc., from websites all around the world. By simply conducting and administrating your website's SEO correctly, you also gain leads from these websites.

Some programs, online tools, apps, etc., will use the Google index to find websites, services, and products. However, they scan by their own parameters. This means that even if your web page appears on page 100,000 of most Google searches, it appears top of the list on something such as an app because of its specific search parameters.

For example, Google may disregard the fact that your business operates in Toronto, even if people from the Toronto area are looking for you. However, there are some apps that search engine both for locations (aka Toronto) and search districts within a search area. They then curate the results based in a way that eliminates all those websites that were ahead of you in the Google search engine results.

The Conclusion is That Experience Teaches You More In-Depth Detail

The three methods listed in this article are the best ways to generate leads online, but how do I know so much about something such as what web spiders are doing or how referrers act? The answer is experience.

For example, I learned that people need very little encouragement to refer a company because I used to offer big rewards for referrers. Then, when my budget stretched, I lowered my rewards and was shocked at how many people were still willing to refer.

Experience is a great teacher if you allow yourself a little contemplative cognizance whenever something new or unexpected occurs.

If you want to learn more about generating more leads for your small Toronto business or how to improve your online presence, are here to help.

Headshot of Nik Paprocki, head of growth at WebSuitable.
Nik Paprocki
Head Of Growth
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