Marketing Technology & Online Lead Generation for Small Businesses

by Melanie, on 18 Nov 2019

First published on the Marketing Interface blog on January 23, 2015

We read JP Maroney’s article 7 Tips for Generating Profitable Leads Online for Small Businesses in the Huffington Post last week. He shared pointers for how to find new business while minimizing spend. Most, if not all of them, highlight common marketing paradigms for large and small companies alike.

We’re not just trying to add to your to-do list! The good news is that marketing technology can make each of the seven tasks easier without burdening your team.

Here are some ideas to consider implementing to action Maroney’s tips. Note: We’ve grouped complementary tips together.

Know Your Market | Speak Their Language

It’s great that you are excited about what you do, and we want you to share that excitement. We want your customers to be excited about what you do, too!

If someone asked you to describe your best friend, what would you say? Can you describe your target customer as well as you can describe your best friend? You like hanging out with your best friend, right? Go hang out with your customers wherever they are.

Know how to talk to (have conversations with) your customers. It’s so common for technical business owners to speak technical, even when their target customer is not only not technical, but also intimidated by technology. Meet your customer at their level.

Check out this awesome article, “Making Customer Support Part of Your SEO Program”, which gives tips about how your customer service team can help educate your marketing team about what questions people ask. Turn these into FAQs or other types of content and, while this article focused on search benefits, you will also be better equipped to speak your customers’ language.

Ask for a Small Action First

Landing pages are an effective way to put this tip into practice.

HubSpot published an article, “15 Great Landing Page Design Examples You Need to See.” Here are some of our takeaways about key landing page elements:

  • Make forms as short as possible
  • Cue your reader visually so they know what to look at and do next
  • Display general information above the form and detailed information below
  • Consider eye-grabbing visual contrasts

The first bullet point is particularly relevant to “Ask for a Small Action First.” HubSpot highlights the Wistia website that just has a single field in their form: email address.


Simple optimized landing page. Lead generation.


You don’t need to ask for tons of information up front. Entice with breadcrumbs. The key is that you at least have their email address and can follow up with more information.

Developing detailed customer personas and knowing your market will help you know when and how to follow up with a new contact. Marketing automation tools and CRM systems can make this process easier because new contacts will experience a marketing drip campaign you have already set up!

Give First Before You Expect to Get / Maximize Value for Every Lead & Every Buyer

Simply stated, if you want to build trust and a relationship with a prospect and, if you want to be the ultimate authority, you must give, give, give. Share with them and talk to them about how to fix their problems. Give content and give quality information to build trust with every single piece of information you give to them.”

Content marketing has been around in one form or another for centuries and is, without a doubt, one of today’s most popular marketing buzzwords.

Maroney encourages following up with everyone in your pipeline and continuing to put fresh offers in front of them. Do you have a company newsletter? Since you have (hopefully!) already implemented your CRM, you can send targeted and personalized communications en masse. Depending on your business and market, think about different groups of customers so that you can segment your database and send only relevant communications to each group.

Not convinced that segmentation will impact your revenue? 84% of customers claim that personalization impacts their retention and loyalty (source: ExactTarget). Putting in a system that will positively impact 84% of your customers is probably worth the time! There are few other activities that will directly impact such a large proportion of your customers.

Know Your Numbers

Maroney lists several business metrics that you should know before running ads or increasing marketing efforts. We could not agree more. Knowing key numbers and identifying levers for growth will help focus your marketing. At the end of the day, we all have limited time and budgetary resources, so focus is an imperative.

Before changing any aspect of your marketing, it is useful to have a baseline of results. That way, when you start executing your marketing plan, you can immediately measure what kind of impact it has on your business. You can evaluate what has a strong ROI and a weak ROI. You can figure out where best to spend your money!

Test, Test, Test

Don’t be afraid to experiment! Marketers can advise you on what has worked and general principles that either work or don’t. However, all marketing consists of experimental – albeit hopefully data-driven – experiments, so until you have tried something, you will not know if it works for you or your business.

Since you already know your numbers from the step above, you can now measure what the upside (and hopefully not downside) is from your new messaging, advertising channel, or website navigation.

One trap that we see marketers and business owners fall into is not letting tests run long enough. Marketing is a long-term strategy, and it may take three months, six months, or even a year before you can really see the results your marketing is generating. Make sure you have the resources and commitment to truly seeing a marketing campaign through. Also, include leading indicators in your key metrics so that you can tweak your marketing during the campaign.

Continue to look at the numbers, and think analytically and creatively about what is going on and how to improve what you are already doing.

Wrap Up

Finding and nurturing new leads does not have to be a tedious and labor-intensive process. Setting up a system of marketing technologies will help you generate new sales opportunities and retain existing customers. Be patient, experiment, and wow your crowd!

(P.S. Interested in more marketing advice for startups? Keep reading our blog and check out the marketing section of our guide to Getting Started.