When you went into business, you did not just do it for your own freedom, although that is a great reward, you went in to build and gain customers, and hopefully a healthy profit along the way.

So, with that in mind, what are some of the best ways to gain customers? What are some of the best lead generation tools that you have available to you in order to reach your target audience?

There are those who say a website is not important to a business, but I have to disagree.

Nearly everyone on the face of this planet is on the web whether they are 5 or 75. When someone wants to know something about a business, like what products or services they offer, they look for their website. Plain and simple.

If a business doesn’t have one, I can nearly always assure you, people will look for another business that does. Today people want the information they are looking for right at their fingertips. They want to find out all they want to know about a business right from the comfort of their home or office, and at their own convenience.

No longer do people want to have to pick up the phone and start calling around, waiting on hold, being passed along from one department to another to get the answers they are looking for.

Your best and most reliable lead generation tools begin with your website.

With that takeaway, you build your site; but now what? You need to get your site working for you.

Start by engaging the traffic that comes to your site. This can take on many different approaches.

We have all visited a site that has a pop-up or call to action of some sort asking for your name and / or e-mail address. If the traffic that is coming to your site is your ideal client or target audience, 7 times out of 10 they will complete the required form in order to get more information. This is especially true if they are offered something in return, and if the form you present them is engaging. Perhaps you run a publishing company, and maybe you offer a resource or guide of some sort to help those who are wanting to publish their book. The word FREE, nearly always reigns in a good amount of leads.

Be sure your form is clear and offers a good amount of white space. Too much reading can throw people off. Keep the target’s attention with bold colours that stand out and be sure that a lot of attention is focussed on what you want them to do – SUBMIT THE FORM.

Leads generated through a pop-up can then be added to a mailing list for you to maintain contact with those potential customers. You will want to be sure you are following the proper legal guidelines when doing so though. Constant Contact offers a guide to ensure best practices with your e-mail list.

Remember how I mentioned that people don’t like to sit on the phone to get the information they want? Well, they don’t mind chatting. In fact, because most people want answers now, and at their convenience, a live chat is a great way to get the conversation going, and perhaps seal a sale.

Social proof is huge in today’s world.

People want to know if Johnny and Sarah are doing business with you, and if they are – how happy were they with your products or services? Ensure your page has a testimonial page. When you do business with someone and they are happy with your product or service, ask them for a testimonial. It does not have to be super long, but just a few words about how your business helped them. People reading these testimonials feel they can trust your business if Johnny and Sarah were happy with you, especially if the testimonial offers what the problem was and how your business solved it.

You can take this a step further by offering a referral incentive. For example, for anyone who refers someone to your business, gets 25% off their next product or service

Another fantastic tool that can be used is to work with another business that compliments yours. One that offers a product or service that is in line with yours but does not compete. For example, you have a wellness practice that offers several modalities but not nutritional counseling. In order to work together to gain more leads, you offer referrals to the nutritionist’s business, and them to yours. Your businesses complement one another, and by being connected you both benefit from the potential business.

There are many creative ways to generate leads for your business, and these are just a few.