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9 Ways to generate leads without investing in ads » Portal Insights
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Investing in internet advertising is without a doubt one of the fastest and most effective ways to generate profit for your business through Digital Marketing. However, we know that it is not always possible to rely on this channel – accounts are blocked, internal company resistance arises and sometimes there simply is no budget for it.

Fortunately, Digital Marketing is not just about advertising – quite the opposite. There is a wide variety of channels that can not only be taken advantage of in times where paid media is prevented, but must also be present in any mature strategy.

Below we list the most recommended alternatives, with a very practical step-by-step guide for you to put into practice in your company as soon as possible.

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1. Google My Business

Despite being ignored by most small businesses, Google My Business is your business's page within the Google search engine.

In this tool you can configure various relevant information about your business, such as opening hours, menu, appointment calendar, photos, reviews and much, much more.

The more complete Google My Business is, the greater your chances of appearing ahead of your competitors and the more organic demand your business will have – especially if there is already a significant search in your region.

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How to put it into practice:

  • Create a Google My Business account
  • Complete the profile with as much information as possible
  • Request honest reviews from customers and friends
  • Follow the weekly reports to get ideas for optimizations
  • Follow the comments weekly and respond to everyone, politely and with a focus on resolving the situation (remember that all of this is public)
  • Always ask customers to review your company there

2. Marketplaces

Although marketplaces are already widely known to those who deal with e-commerce, it is still rare to see other business models taking advantage of these channels.

There are niche marketplaces for practically anything – from cars (like SóCarrão) to various services (like GetNinjas). It is often on marketplaces that your company will find a channel of quality leads, probably without any competition and with a very low acquisition cost.

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How to put it into practice:

  • Map out all potential marketplaces according to what you sell
  • Sign up to these marketplaces and keep up with demand
  • If there is demand in any, study ways to scale with positive evaluations

3. Groups on social networks

Groups on social networks such as Facebook and Linkedin concentrate a niche audience, with a high level of engagement. Furthermore, the reach of group posts is much higher than the reach of your company's feed, or even your personal feed.

Who has never received a notification like “So-and-so posted in group X”?

With this power in hand, it is possible to generate a significant volume of leads. But there are two challenges that are important to keep in mind:

  1. Quality: people in these groups are generally “vaccinated” against generic posts, which just want to push some product or service. Knowing this, it is important to always look for extremely high-quality content and, preferably, very practical, to attract people's attention in a positive way.
  2. Frequency: unless engagement with your initial posts in the group is very high, it is important to know when to stop posting – many groups even have rules to ban members who post too frequently wanting to sell or offer something.
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How to do it in practice:

  • Make a map of at least 10 groups on Linkedin and 10 on Facebook with themes related to what you sell
  • Create extremely high-quality content
  • Share in groups
  • Monitor the results and evaluate whether it is viable to post regularly in some of them

4. Email marketing

You've probably heard someone say that email marketing is dead, but my experience and various market data show otherwise.

It is still possible to generate leads, sell and engage a lot of people via email. Obviously, like any other channel, it is important to keep in mind good email segmentation and personalization practices, thus adopting techniques to reduce hard bounces and spam.

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How to put it into practice:

  • Make a survey of all contacts (leads) stored in spreadsheets and platforms.
  • Clean this database, removing all invalid contacts – you can save time using tools like Neverbounce.
  • With a clean base, create a sequence of emails with the aim of segmenting leads by interest. For example, you can send an email with theme X, another with theme Y, and categorize leads according to who opens each email.
  • Create a consistent newsletter strategy to keep a base engaged, sending at least one email per month and at most one email per week, always in a segmented manner.
  • In parallel to newsletters, create emails with special offers to monetize the base. Important: these emails must be sent at most once a week, only to engaged leads who have opened at least one of the last three emails (most marketing automation platforms already do this separation automatically) .

5. SEO

Although the term scares most professionals, even those most experienced in Digital Marketing, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is nothing more than optimizing your website so that it can be found more easily by your target audience.

In recent years, talking about SEO has become less common due to the exponential growth of the paid traffic area – after all, it is much simpler and more convenient to generate demand by investing money than thinking about a process of analysis, content production and optimization.

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In addition, of course, to the fact that an SEO strategy brings results in the medium and long term. Most experts agree that a good organic traffic strategy will generate results from the sixth month of execution.

Despite this, it is important to remember that the results are more permanent, the target audience tends to be much more qualified and, unlike paid traffic, organic visits are independent of how much money you are investing at that moment.

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How to put it into practice::

6. Referral and Affiliate Program

Have you ever stopped to think about the number of customers who already recommend you to their friends, without you ever asking? Imagine if your company, much more than asking customers to refer you, started rewarding people for doing so?

This is the logic of referral and affiliate campaigns. With a rewards program, attractive advertising and a way to organize all of this efficiently (there are even tools for this such as Viral Loops and Buzzlead) you can create a new channel of extremely qualified leads for your business.

How to put it into practice:

  • Create a referral and affiliate plan
  • Define goals, prizes and/or commissions
  • Choose the platform (it can even be manual)
  • Implement and disseminate to the customer base

7. Recycling old leads and customers

You know all those people who have requested contact in the past (or added it to the cart in the case of e-commerce) but didn't buy it, for some reason?

In the ideal scenario, we know that every strategy should include taking advantage of these contacts, through recycling actions such as follow-ups and objection-breaking content, but we know that this is not the reality for most companies.

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Therefore, if your company has been around for a few years, there is most likely a base of old leads that we can classify into two types: people who bought and people who didn't buy, for some reason.

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Thinking about a recycling strategy for these leads is not only a good idea in terms of diversifying traffic channels, but also making your investment have a greater return. After all, these leads and customers were hardly obtained for free.

How to put it into practice:

  1. Map lost customers and opportunities
  2. Define upsells and cross-sells by customer type
  3. Identify leads in the CRM (if you don't have it yet, now is the time to implement it)
  4. Develop an approach script by customer type and missed opportunity
  5. Contact everyone

8. Outbound Marketing

While most Digital Marketing strategies focus on attracting potential customers, Outbound Marketing consists of going after them (prospecting them).

In practice, every Outbound strategy consists of creating a list of potential customers, defining an approach plan (email, telephone, both…) and starting prospecting. Today there are already several tools that facilitate this process, some at very affordable prices for small and medium-sized entrepreneurs.

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It is common for some marketing professionals to turn their nose up at Outbound due to its more proactive and sometimes even aggressive approach. Furthermore, a good Outbound Marketing strategy must involve the sales team, which often discourages older professionals, who still believe that marketing is something separate from sales.

How to put it into practice:

  1. Define the ICP (Ideal Customer Profile)
  2. Create a list of potential customers with the help of Google, Linkedin or other tools.
  3. Instruct the client in the approach and pre-qualification process
  4. Map the results and show the potential ROI of this type of strategy

9. Co-branding (partnerships)

In the race to generate more and more leads through traditional channels, it's a lot like ignoring our own networking. Therefore, thinking about partnerships and co-branding can be a lead channel option for your company, especially if you know people or companies that have a similar target audience to yours.

Therefore, if you sell automotive insurance, you can think about a live with another company that sells used vehicles. Thus, both take advantage of the potential of the same target audience, which in this case are people with the potential to buy a vehicle and take out insurance.

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How to put it into practice:

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  1. Survey potential partnerships using client networking
  2. Brainstorm themes
  3. Prospect partnerships
  4. Produce content and promote it together

Final considerations

When presenting alternative traffic channels in addition to paid media, I usually hear objections such as “but that will take a lot more work”, “I don’t think it will work”, etc. For these people, I like to remember that thinking about alternative channels is essential for any company – what will you do if you suddenly can’t advertise anymore?

About giving more work, that's true. It is much more difficult to develop more elaborate strategies involving content than simply pressing a few buttons on Facebook Ads and waiting for the leads to arrive.

But as they say, if you made it easy, everyone would do it, and if everyone did it, it wouldn't be a differentiator for you.


9 Ways to generate leads without investing in ads » Portal Insights

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