Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way you could generate leads online for free, without having to pay for tools to help you do it?
Well, it might not be as impossible as you think.
Of course, I’m not saying there’s a silver bullet than can generate you quick and easy leads overnight. However…
What if I told you that by utilising some of the best free online marketing tools out there, you could soon have a system up and running that would help get more leads coming in to grow your business? It’s all about attracting the right people to your website, and findings ways of turning them into leads that you can then convert into sales.
In this blog post, I’m going to use my 20+ years’ experience as an marketer to show you ways of doing this that won’t cost you ANY money at all.
The only real cost?
Your time – and don’t get me wrong, it WILL require a lot of effort and hard work.
DISCLAIMER: Before we get started, there is one caveat to this. By only using free tools, you’ll be limited as to the results you can achieve, as many good things that come for free also have paid versions that are even better. However, doing it this way WILL get leads trickling in, so you can eventually start investing in upgrades that will do the job even better.
So, are you ready to learn how to generate leads online for free? Let’s get this thing started.
1. Attract plenty of traffic to your website with a blog
If you want to generate leads, you have to start at the beginning; by attracting plenty of traffic to your website. One of the best free ways to do this is by creating helpful content that matches what your ideal customers are typing into Google search. And where’s the best place to share this content? Your blog.
A blog is a dedicated space for posting the best content that your customers will find helpful or interesting – and they should ideally be able to find it when they visit your website. Don’t have a blog yet? It’s fairly simple to get one.
One of the best free blog tools available is Wordpress – which currently powers 26% of the web. Your hosting site may even have a setting that allows you to add it to your website with one click. It’s also very easy to install!
2. Guide them into taking the next logical step
Once your blog is up and displaying lots of fresh content, you want your readers to keep interacting with your site – otherwise they’ll just click away and go elsewhere, without converting into leads. You can help guide your visitors into becoming leads with call-to-actions (or CTAs).
These are clickable buttons ideally placed at the bottom of your blog. They could say something like ‘subscribe to the blog’ or ‘download our free ebook’.
You can do this by using Inbound Now’s free CTA tool. Or, if you want to be a bit more creative with your own custom CTAs, you could also try Canva. I use the latter all the time, as you can put together professional-looking images with hardly any effort!
3. Convert them into leads with persuasive landing pages
Once your visitors click on your CTAs, they’ll be taken to what’s known as landing pages. These pages tell them more about why they would want to take the action described in the CTA. For example, if it’s to sign up to your blog or newsletter, tell them the benefits they’d gain.
Or if you have an ebook or guide (more about that below) for them to download, tell them what they can learn by downloading it in return for filling out a form with their contact details. Landing pages shouldn’t be overly salesy, but they should tell your customers why they’d want to take the action on the page. This is how you get visitors to become leads.
You can create free quality landing pages using ONTRApages.
4. Give them what they want for free with downloadable content
You know how I was just talking about ebooks or guides? This is also known as premium content, and you can offer it for free to download on your website – in return for just a few contact details. This really gives your visitors a reason to become leads, as they’re getting something really useful back in return.
You can put together professional-looking images for your ebook on Canva. As for the writing part, all you need is around 1,000 – 1,500 words that provides more detailed guidance for your customers. If you can match them to your blog content in some way, all the better.
TIP: If you don’t have the time to create ebooks on top of your content, you can collate some of your best blogs on a particular topic and make that into a comprehensive ebook or guide – all it needs is just a little editing!
5. Nurture and engage your leads with email drip campaigns
Now that you have some quality leads, you need to keep them engaged with clever email messages and content. This helps you stay in the forefront of their minds. One of the tools you can achieve this with is MailChimp. It isn’t exactly email automation, but it’s very similar – and free. It essentially allows you to create drip campaigns containing carefully planned content to specific contacts every 3, 5, or 10 days.
Email marketing automation is a little more advanced – for instance, MailChimp has no way of determining when people become customers. You’ll also have to segment your lists manually – which is something I highly recommend you do for maximum effect.
6. Grow a regular audience for your blog with RSS-to-email
Now that you’re publishing regular content, you don’t want people to read one blog and just forget about it. So, how can you get regular visitors to read and engage with your blog? Well, MailChimp, as mentioned above, also have a handy RSS-to-email feature which allow people to easily subscribe.
It’s very simple to use, and all you need to do is publish your content as usual – it will land in your subscribers’ inboxes! You can control how many posts go out, and the frequency, too. You can even combine multiple RSS feeds into just one email newsletter – it’s up to you how you use it.
7. Share your content with the people that need to see it
If you want the right people to see and engage with your posts, you have to share it to the right places. It may only be one piece of the puzzle, but you probably don’t want to be going to all the effort above without including social media such as Facebook, Twitter etc. That way you can start to build a following and connect with more of your ideal customers.
Buffer allows you to schedule, publish and analyse your social media posts all in one place – handy! So, if you want to increase engagement on your posts and see how people are reacting, I highly recommend it. It will also save you some time and even help your blogs get found quicker on Google!
More in-depth but still free…
Below are some other free tools you may find useful, although they might take a bit longer to get the hang of:
- Google Analytics – Very valuable for understanding your audience, and what they’re doing on your site.
- HotJar – Let’s you use heat maps, scroll maps, funnel analysis and more.
- Google Optimise – A bit clunky, but great if you want to try A/B split testing for free.
- Peek User Testing – This is basically someone filming their first impressions of your site. You can easily get some great insights and ‘a-ha!’ moments.
TIP: If you’re not necessarily only looking for free tools, check out my blog ’15 Must-Have Digital Marketing Tools to Grow Your Business’.
One final thought
Well, that’s the basics to help you start generating those much-needed leads online for free! However, you might be reading this article and thinking there’s one clear disadvantage staring you in the face. If you don’t have the time, or the inclination to learn any of the above tools and systems for yourself, you may have to bite the bullet and pay someone to help you.
There’s also the issue of the above tools being very segmented, which means they won’t really talk to each other very well. This can lead to things getting overly complicated and messy. However, it IS a way to save money, and it IS entirely possible – as long as you’re happy to put in the time and effort.
If you have any questions, please leave a comment below, or get in touch. I’ll be happy to give you some more free advice that might be able to help.