When you are bootstrapping a small business, lead generation is the most critical task you can have. Without customers you have no sales and without sales you have no business. Here are some free ways that you can generate free customer traffic:
1. Use your business card. Leave it everywhere. Have thousands printed. They should have as much information about your business as possible. Use both sides. A business card is a tiny sales letter for your company. Leave it with every tip at a restaurant, leave it on bulletin boards, give them to friends, give extras to customers to give to people, throw them like confetti, just keep spreading them around everywhere you go.
2. Create a squeeze page on the Internet. A squeeze page captures the name and email of each person that visits. Drive traffic to the page and make them sign up before you will give them any more information. You can also accomplish this with direct mail by keeping a customer database, and use a guest-book every time someone comes in your store.
3. Write articles. Article writing is a good way to generate traffic towards your squeeze page. You write an article about at topic that you are an expert in, and drive that traffic to a squeeze page. Once an article is posted to the Internet, that information is out there forever, driving content to your page for a long time without you having to do anything extra. This is a great way to multiply your sales efforts.
4. Offer an incentive program. If you create some kind of customer loyalty program, people begin to feel obligated to go to your business so that they can earn more points. The points are turned in for merchandise or credit.
5. Give a guest lecture for free at a library. Give a talk about your particular niche. Many times you can reserve a room for free if you are benefiting the library’s patrons. Librarians work hard to bring in good content and they are always on a budget crunch. Make sure people have to register in advance so that you can get their name and address and follow up with them for a long time.