How to Generate Local Business Leads

The market is tough for local businesses. Amazon dominates the eCommerce market, and megastores like Walmart and Target dominate brick-and-mortar. Without a way to generate local business leads, many are struggling. 

Given the fact that Amazon and Walmart are going anywhere any time soon, companies need to find a way to target their local market. While most digital marketing strategies focus on putting businesses in touch with global visitors, we’ve highlighted five of the most high-impact strategies for generating targeted local business leads.

Five Ways to Generate Local Business Leads

1. Use Targeted Facebook Lead Ads

Facebook has more than 2.4 billion users, and its targeting capabilities are unparalleled. It stands to reason, then, that Facebook is one of the best ways to generate local business leads. With Facebook’s advertising tools, you can be extremely precise with your targeting.

As an example, imagine you run a small day spa, looking to encourage more bookings for Valentine’s Day. With Facebook advertising, you can target men in your area who are listed as “In a Relationship” on Facebook with a message encouraging them to book a couple’s massage as a Valentine’s Day gift for their loved one. 

There are multiple ways to generate leads on Facebook:

  • Using the “Conversion” objective when you set up your ad, directing anyone who clicks on your ad to a landing page. When they submit their details through your form, it registers as a conversion on Facebook
  • Use the “Traffic” objective to drive visitors to your website
  • Use the “Message” objective to drive visitors to your Facebook Messenger. 
  • With the Lead Gen objective, which is probably the best option.

How Do Facebook Lead Gen Forms Work? 

local business leads

Facebook Lead Gen ads simplify the lead generation process by removing unnecessary clicks for the user. Rather than being directed to a landing page on a different site, they can submit their details through Facebook.

  1. As a person scrolls through their News Feed, they see your ad and click the call to action
  2. A form pops up in their News Feed, with many of their details pre-populated. They fill out whichever fields are still blank, and hit submit. 
  3. Their information is automatically sent to your CRM, provided you’ve set up an integration. If not, they are kept in a spreadsheet for you to download at your convenience. 

These types of ads work. According to WordStream, Facebook Lead Ads convert 19.77% more effectively than regular conversion ads which direct visitors to a landing page. 

local business leads

2. Create a Localised Lead Magnet

A lead magnet is something which incentivizes prospects to give up their contact information. This can take the form of an eBook, MP3 download, whitepaper or anything else which users may find valuable. Lead magnets, therefore, are one of the easiest ways to generate leads. However, it’s no use attracting leads from Singapore if your business is based in London. 

So creating a generic lead magnet which could appeal to people all over the world is probably a waste of time. It’s important to create a lead magnet which will only appeal to users in your target market, and in your area. 

Some examples of localised lead magnets include:

  • How to Plan the Perfect Romantic Getaway/Bachelor Party/Road Trip in [Your City]
  • The Complete Guide to Buying a Used Car in [Your City]
  • Best Restaurants in [Your City] in 2020

These lead magnets can take any form – videos, eBooks, webinars or MP3s. 

If you are creating videos, you can even embed a lead form within the video, to increase conversion rates.

3. Run a Local Contest or Giveaway

One the most reliable ways to generate local business leads is to run a contest which gives away a prize specific to your area. Similar to lead magnets, contests and giveaways incentivize prospects to exchange their contact details for something they deem valuable. Rather than an eBook or webinar, though, you’re giving them an opportunity to win a prize. 

The most important thing to remember when running a contest with the intent of generating local business leads is to give away a prize related to your service or product. 

For instance, if you are generating local business leads for a gym, and you create a contest giving away an iPhone or a MacBook, you’ll get thousands of mostly useless leads. This also happens with Youtubers trying to grow their audience through giveaways. Everybody wants a MacBook. 

Remember, it’s not the quantity of leads you get, but the quality. A single lead who becomes a customer is worth more than 100 leads who clog up your CRM and never reply. The number of leads you get from a contest is actually a vanity metric, like social media likes or Youtube followers. The most important thing is the number of leads who go on to become customers. 

If you offer a prize directly related to your company’s niche, you may receive fewer entries and get fewer leads, but those leads will actually be worthwhile. 

Local Contest Best Practices

  • Include a countdown timer. Timers can add urgency, and have been shown to increase conversion rates by as much as 332%
  • Make sure your headline is explicit. Tell your visitors exactly what they can win
  • Include the value of the prize. In case the value of your prize may not be clearly understood, a clear amount in your local currency helps your visitors to understand exactly what they could win.
  • Include all the form fields you need, but nothing more. Most users aren’t comfortable with giving out too much personal information about themselves. A name and email address is usually enough, and possibly a phone number. Asking for too much information can actually decrease conversion rates. 
  • Make sure your call-to-action is eye-catching so that there’s no confusion about what to do or where to click
  • Don’t include any external links. Each landing page should have a single goal, and a single path for users to follow. Don’t include anything that could distract visitors from that goal. 

Top Tip: Adding social share buttons to your contest or giveaway, and possibly offering extra entries to those who share, can greatly increase your reach by incentivizing entrants to share the contest with their family and friends. 

4. Create a Localised Landing Page

For a business which has multiple branches, or targets multiple local markets, one strategy for generating local business leads is to create location-specific landing pages. Take a car dealership as an example, with branches in multiple locations such as Sussex, Cambridge and Edinburgh. They can create landing pages for each location. Prospective leads are far more likely to engage with a branch that is local to them. 

To drive people to these landing pages, you have a few options:

  • Local SEO. Use location-specific keywords, such as “Cambridge/Edinburgh/Sussex used Toyota dealership”
  • Build a local lead generation campaign, as mentioned in step one, sending them to the localised landing page in their area.

When running Google ads, you’re also more likely to convert well if people are directed to their nearest branch, rather than a generic landing page. Google also allows for extremely precise targeting. Here’s an example of just how targeted you can get with Google’s location targeting. 

local business leads

5. Go Offline

While many digital marketing strategies can be great for generating local business leads, there’s nothing wrong with going the old-school route. The fact of the matter is, many offline lead generation methods still work, and people may enjoy the personal touch. 

For example, trade shows, conferences and events can be a good way to generate local business leads and build relationships in the process.

Just for good measure, here are some offline lead generation tips to add to your marketing strategy:

  • Attend conferences and tradeshows, but choose them wisely. It can easily become expensive, and you want positive ROI from attending. Rather than booking as many as you can straight away, choose a few as a test run, and check whether the investment is worth it.
  • Determine your KPIs. Are you focussed on lead generation, or are you interested in making connections and getting product feedback?
  • Bigger doesn’t always mean better. As we mentioned with the local contests, it’s better and safer to go with highly-targeted and smaller tradeshows and events, rather than the biggest one available which may not have the same number of qualified prospects in attendance. Find out which trade shows or conferences your customers attend, and go there.
  • Offer merch. Everybody loves merch. If you want to generate local business leads, it’s important to offer incentives like merch or discounts. 
  • Have a good follow-up protocol. It’s easier to contact leads you generate online, because you probably already have systems in place to deal with them. Before attempting any offline lead generation methods, make sure you have a protocol for following up with them, such as automated welcome email. 

local business leads

Time to go get some leads.

While these are not all the strategies you can use to find local business leads, they are a start. A quick recap for those who skimmed:

  • Use Facebook Lead ads to target users in your local area
  • Create a lead magnet which is localised for your target market
  • Run a giveaway or contest to get people excited
  • Create localised landing pages for your business or branches
  • Get offline and generate local business leads face to face

Many online lead generation strategies often seem targeted mostly to SaaS companies or much bigger firms with international appeal. This isn’t necessarily true. Local businesses can have just as much success with these types of lead generation strategies.