Industry-specific lead generation is the different strategies for cultivating qualified leads for a company based on their specific type of business. Every company will have varying degrees of success generating leads with different strategies based on the products and services they sell and where their prospects spend the majority of their time.
As you generate leads, using customer relationship management (CRM) software to track them can help ensure nothing falls through the cracks. For example, with HubSpot, you can capture a lead’s email address, and the software will auto-populate information like where they work and which pages they visit—all in real-time. Check out HubSpot’s CRM for free.
What Is Lead Generation?
Lead generation involves the methods that sales and marketing teams use to find prospects who will develop into customers. There are a wide range of ways to cultivate qualified leads, many of which depend on your specific industry, so different strategies will work better for some than others.
For example, if you are a business-to-business (B2B) company selling computer software, email campaigns work well because those in technology fields communicate with other businesses via email regularly. If you are opening a new restaurant in a hip, trendy area, social media marketing or influencers are more likely to reach your audience and entice them to visit.
3 Principles for Industry-specific Lead Generation
There are best practices you should consider as you build a strategy for generating leads. These principles apply no matter what your industry, and will help you make sure you have the most effective strategy to bring in new customers.
Here are a few things you should keep in mind while you build your lead generation process:
- Consider your competition: One of the most effective ways to build a strategy is to research other businesses in your marketing and industry. Evaluate the kinds of advertising you see your competitors using.
- Research your prospects: Look at where your potential customers spend their time. You might see them at the grocery store, and their kids’ soccer practices, or dining in high-end restaurants, depending on your industry.
- Talk to your customers: Ask your current customers how they found you and what made them decide to purchase from your business. It gives you insight into what works for your business and which lead generation strategies you should focus on.
There’s no shortage of lead generation strategies for any small business in every industry. Read more about what worked best for a broad range of business leaders in our list of lead generation tips from the pros.
Common Lead Generation Strategies by Industry
Lead generation has many similar aspects and methods despite the industry. However, every industry is unique and some lead generation tactics work better than others to reach your target audience and cultivate quality leads.
Here are several common industries and outlined the best lead generation strategies for each:
In the manufacturing industry, most customers are looking for the highest quality product per unit price. The most effective form of lead generation is often attending trade shows to connect with potential buyers. Finding the right shows depends on your industry, but having a presence where you can meet and talk with potential new customers can help generate high-quality leads.
Pro tip: As you meet potential customers, collect their contact information. Save their business cards and enter them into a CRM like HubSpot so you can organize leads and keep track of your conversations. HubSpot’s mobile app has a built-in business card scanner, making it even easier to record leads.
Contractors & Construction Companies
Contractors and construction companies work with customers who are looking to either build new projects or renovate existing buildings. One of the best ways to generate leads is to provide industry-specific content to your potential prospects in exchange for information about them.
For example, you could offer prospects the ability to download a guide on building a new patio in exchange for filling out a form with their email address. You can also include questions in the form about their level of interest in having a new patio built to help you hone in on the most qualified leads.
It’s also a great idea to stay in contact with your previous clients. People often need additional work done on their home or business, and you want them to remember their experience and hire you again. Record each client’s birthday on your calendar and send them a card on their birthday and at the holidays to keep your business top of mind the next time they need to hire someone for a new project.
Professional Services Firms
These are people with a professional license who provide services to individuals and other businesses, such as lawyers, accountants, and doctors. When someone is looking to hire a professional, they expect to see an online presence that communicates expertise and competence. This means having a sharp, modern-looking website and social media pages.
If you don’t have the ability to make a modern website on your own, consider hiring someone to do it for you. Your website should include your contact information, clearly explain the services you provide, and give the prospect an easy way to reach out and provide their contact information. Ideally, you’ll also have testimonials and a blog with relevant, engaging posts that entice leads to learn more about your business.
Your social media pages should also promote your blog posts, feature testimonials from current clients, and highlight any specials or promotions you are currently offering. You should also offer the ability for leads to contact you on Facebook Messenger to make it easy for them to connect with you and learn more about your services.
One of the best ways for freelancers to increase quality leads is to stay up to date on what’s happening in the market. Look at what’s trending on social media in your industry and find ways to incorporate it into your own social media posts. For example, if you offer web design services as a freelancer, talk with potential clients about the latest developments in creating responsive websites that look great on mobile devices as well as desktops.
If you’re a freelance writer or photographer, create a great website with an excellent portfolio that showcases your best work. When someone is hiring a freelancer, they want easy access to your previous work so they can make a buying decision quickly, so make sure it’s readily available and link to your best work on your social media channels.
Retail locations often have to rely on visual marketing that attracts a prospect’s attention. If you run a retail store, you can generate leads by having a window display that demands attention as people walk by. Put your best-selling and newest items up front to draw people in.
It’s also important to collect email addresses from customers when they check out. You can then automatically add them to your email list and send them information about new products, sales, and promotions. While advertising on-site is important, don’t forget about fostering a robust social media presence. Advertise your deals and showcase your products. Create live videos and stories on Instagram and Facebook to educate leads about promotions and product line.
Ecommerce businesses rely heavily on online marketing to generate leads. The competition for any product or service is high since so many online businesses exist that sell the same thing, whether it’s sunglasses or software training courses.
Ecommerce sites can generate leads by cultivating a robust social media following. One great way to do this is by running contests on your social media pages and offering discounts or products for getting people to follow your page and tag others who will become followers of your page. You can incorporate Instagram and Facebook stories to keep viewers engaged and generate excitement about your products and services.
If you have the budget, you can also run paid search ads. That way, if someone searches Google for something relevant to your industry, your ad is likely to show up and engage more leads to click on it and learn more about your business.
Real Estate Agents
Real estate agents knows that networking is essential for generating leads. Any real estate agent can make a website and advertise on social media (which is essential), but the most successful real estate agents get out of the office and spend time with potential buyers and sellers.
Attend chamber of commerce luncheons, talk with people at community events, and host open houses for your current properties. Every person you engage with can provide a lead, even if they aren’t currently looking to buy or sell a home. Chances are, they know someone who is, and if they have a positive experience with you, they are more likely to refer others to your business.
“When connecting with owners who need to sell their properties, we have found that inbound marketing overall is more effective than outbound marketing. We have tried various forms, such as texting, calling, mailing, and a few others. The ones we have had the most success with have been when owners have searched for and found us. This is why we are investing the majority of our profits back into building our credibility and presence online.”
— Melanie Hartmann, Owner and CEO, Creo Home Solutions
Social media marketing is a powerful lead generation tool for restaurants. People spend an average of 45 minutes a day on social media, so grab their attention with images of your most popular dishes, new specials, and customer testimonials. Leverage any positive customer testimonials on Google local search and Yelp in your social media marketing.
Make sure you use Facebook and Instagram stories so people can see what’s happening at your restaurant in real-time. You can also pay to boost posts to get more traffic on your social media content so more people are exposed to your posts. Consider using a tool like CoSchedule to plan out your social media posts for an entire week so you don’t forget to post regularly.
Everyone needs to buy insurance at some point, so it’s wise for insurance agents to make it easy for prospects to find them. Create a modern, engaging website that describes your services, and make sure people know exactly what they need to do to get a quote. It’s also a good idea to put a chatbot on your website so leads can initiate a chat with you in real-time.
Insurance agents can also generate leads by starting a referral program. Ask former or current customers to keep you in mind the next time they hear about a friend or family member looking for insurance. You can also offer incentives to those who refer you, such as a gift card or movie tickets.
“I found early on that I had to have a steady flow of prospects or I would fail. When I found out how to generate insurance leads organically through my website, the game changed. I found that if I was consistent in my workflow, my website traffic increased and my leads continued to grow. Although this is not an overnight process, if you do it right you can start to see the fruit of your labor in six months to a year. Now, my websites generates enough leads for myself and a few other agents to thrive on.”
— Doug Mitchell, Insurance Agent, Ogletree Financial
Read more about the best lead generation strategies for insurance agents from the pros.
Technology companies live on the internet, and they are typically selling to other businesses and individuals who also spend a lot of time online. Content marketing such as blogs, whitepapers, and case studies work well for technology companies for generating leads. You can also make leads fill out a form that gives you their name and email address in order to download content.
Email campaigns also work well for generating leads for the technology industry. Use a program like Constant Contact to see who opened your emails and clicked on links in the message so you know who to follow up with. You can also host free informative sessions with industry experts to engage leads and educate them on how they may benefit from your products and services.
The best thing an education company can do to reach their audience is become an industry expert or thought leader in the field. Education companies generate leads in a variety of ways, such as content marketing, webinars, and trade shows.
For example, an education company might create a magazine full of content relevant to educators and send it out to a mailing list on a quarterly basis. They can also host webinars to generate leads by offering professional education credits to educators while helping them learn about your products and services that help them reach their own goals.
Travel agencies have a broad audience—almost everyone wants to travel, but organizing a trip to an unfamiliar place can be cumbersome. Travel agencies use a variety of methods to generate leads, such as content marketing and advertisements.
Content like videos works well for generating leads for the travel agency industry. For example, a travel agency might make short videos about the top reasons to visit a specific area and use those videos in their content marketing strategy. The videos can be used in social media posts, email campaigns, and even television commercials to generate more leads.
“I want my potential customers to understand my service offerings before they reach out to me. To help educate my audience, I record videos that highlight my process and recent successes in my consulting practice. I always include a number of real-world examples, and I am very clear about the type of problems that I can solve. This ensures my sales prospects are familiar with my capabilities before they even reach out to me.”
— Bryce Bowman, Founder, People First Planning
Industry-specific Lead Generation Tools
There’s no shortage of lead generation tools available that help companies in every industry capture, store, and track leads. Many tools also help you qualify leads so you know where you should spend your time following up with prospects and turning them into buying customers.
Here are a few of the lead generation tools and you should consider:
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software
When you’re generating leads, you need a place to organize and keep track of prospects, no matter what industry you’re in. Many CRMs offer a way to set up different pipelines based on the sales process for your industry, so you can score and qualify leads, create profiles, and track conversations as they move through the sales pipeline.
For example, HubSpot CRM is a free tool that makes it easy to capture leads from website visitors and develop email campaigns to engage leads. It even offers a live chat widget so you can talk with leads in real-time to move them towards a buying decision. Visit HubSpot today to sign up for a free account.
List Buying Software
Companies can generate leads by finding prospects on social media, getting referrals, and having great content marketing, but sometimes it’s helpful to buy a large list of qualified leads. Some companies offer tools that target leads based on their social media profiles, industry, location, or job title and allow you to download them to use in your outreach efforts.
For example, UpLead offers a verified business-to-business (B2B) database where you can buy leads that have been verified to be accurate and upload them straight into your CRM without worrying if the emails are going to bounce or if lead contact information is incorrect. Visit UpLead today to learn more and sign up for a seven-day free trial.
Some businesses have the budget to hire someone to create their website, but it’s not feasible for many small businesses. However, that’s no excuse not to have a modern, engaging website with the availability of programs that allow anyone to create an excellent website.
For example, Weebly is an affordable website builder that includes a free plan. It’s great for people who want to make a professional-looking website but don’t have a ton of technical knowledge. It offers a wide range of modern templates that you can customize and includes web forms, blogging, and ecommerce features.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is it important to consider your industry when generating leads?
Different audiences respond better to varying types of lead generation efforts. For example, if you are a real estate agent, you’ll spend more time engaging with people in your community. If you run a tech company, most of your lead generation efforts will take place online.
Is lead generation expensive?
It doesn’t have to be. You can buy lead lists and pay for sponsored ads, but you can also create a website for free, use a free CRM, and generate leads with organic social posts, getting out into your community, and running free email campaigns.
Should my sales or marketing team be responsible for lead generation?
While sales and marketing are often different departments, the work they do goes hand in hand. Both teams should work together to generate leads. The marketing team may do more of the content marketing and email campaigns, but sales teams offer insight and direction, because no one knows the customers better than the sales reps.
The Bottom Line
Lead generation by industry is how different companies that provide varying products and services go about fostering interest from potential buyers. We’ve outlined the best strategies for a broad range of industries to generate the most qualified leads so you can build your customer base and increase company revenue.
Once you generate leads, use a CRM to organize and keep track of your prospects. HubSpot is a free CRM that gives you the ability to score leads, chat with customers, track their activity on your website, and more. Visit their website today to sign up for a free account.