Generating leads is one of the most critical tasks for any startup. Whether your looking to scale your services and grow your customer-base, or you just had a bad month and desperately need the revenue, developing strategies that drive up sales leads will be one of the most important factors in determining your startup’s success. Effective lead generation however often involves offering your services for lesser value, which may be worthwhile in the short term, but is by no means sustainable in the long run. To see what other alternatives exist, we spoke with six different startup founders and asked what their favorite promotional strategies are that drive up sales leads without affecting the value of their services. Here’s what they had to say.
1. Facebook & Twitter
Frankly, I love promoting on FB and Twitter. Those are the real people you are talking to, and can promote to them directly. There is no value loss, because it’s direct. Also if there is something they are unhappy about, they can let us know right then and there in real time.
Saif Rahman, Mobile First Entertainment
2. Targeted Email Marketing Campaigns
Targeted email marketing campaigns. We recently integrated an email marketing feature to the CRM of our Online Scheduling solution. The idea is to give our SMB to enterprise users the opportunity to send targeted email marketing campaigns to clients. It can be to grow retention and make some clients – that haven’t showed up since a while – book an appointment with your business. It could also be used as a way to leverage revenue by sending customers special offers and discounts.
Raphael Iscar, Agendize
3. Social Media Partnerships
Social media promotion has been a company favorite promotional strategy at ExactDrive for a longtime. A couple years ago we partnered with HubSpot and Buffer.com, using them together has helped us grow to more than 90,000 combined social media followers. This growing social media following has lead to a significant amount of sales leads and brand awareness.
Tim Nichols, ExactDrive
4. Reduce the hurdles of entry & increase the hurdles of exit
We try to implement promotional concepts that aim at two main areas: reducing the hurdles of entry and increasing the hurdles of exit. We achieve this by giving rebates, test-subscriptions or additional services for new subscribers for a limited time only, to then keep them as customers when normal subscription fees become due.
Rolf Ritter, People As A Service
5. Media Engagement
I would hope that promotion increases the value of the product and service! We have had great results from engaging with the media – news articles generate new leads, create a backlog of trust and credibility, and perhaps most importantly help tech scouts and RnD managers promote us internally to the product teams and senior management that make big decisions.
Ben O’brien, StretchSense
6. Provide Rebate For Onboarding Service
One of our biggest challenges is turning our free trial customers into fully committed, paying customers. Now, our data shows that if a free-trial customer purchases an on-boarding service from us, then they are almost eight times as likely to become a paid customer. But this upfront cost becomes a serious friction point in the sales cycle.
So why not give the onboarding service away for free? Customers perceive a “free” service as low value and are not committed to the service as they don’t have any of their own cash at risk. What ends up happening is customers don’t turn up to meetings, they don’t commit to the process and ultimately we consume a lot of staff time on wasted efforts.
What we’ve found to work amazingly well is to charge upfront for the onboarding service, but make that cost a rebate against the purchase of our subscription product. The customer gets an an amazing onboarding experience that hasn’t put them out of pocket and we know we are working with a committed customer PLUS we collect the first few months of service fees, upfront.
It’s a win-win without devaluing the value of our product!