5 Lead-Generation Mistakes Every Startup Should Avoid



Not offering prospects opt-in opportunity is a fatal mistake that any startup will want to avoid. Customers should be given plenty of opt-in opportunities so they could connect any time.


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Taking the first step is difficult for startups with a shoestring budget. Companies with a firm footing have multiple leverage to ease the sales process whereas startups get bogged down by the difficulty of finding qualified leads.

Most startups want overnight success, which is next to impossible in the overly-competitive business vertical. Instead of acquiring leadership skills so that they create thought leadership position in the industry, they desperately search for leads and often end up hurting their reputation and cutting their chances to generate leads by half.

To be successful in lead generation, startups need to avoid mistakes. That’s possible only when they identify their mistakes. In this article, I’ll help them identify the mistakes that they might have been committing all along without even realizing.

1. Losing patience

Startups tend to lose patience and abandon a strategy quickly after seeing no immediate effect. That’s a grave mistake. No strategy should abandoned before applying A/B testing. The rationale behind this is A/B testing can pinpoint the bottlenecks, impeding the strategy from delivering productive outcome. A case study of a dutch financial company’s website revealed something astonishing.

See the two screenshots below:

Figure 1

Figure 1

Figure 2

Figure 2

The previous landing page (Figure 1) was unable to drive the conversion rate up. The new landing page (Figure 2) made that happen.

A/B testing was instrumental in identifying that the woman’s picture in Figure 1 was the bottleneck. In Figure 2, the picture was removed by a man’s picture with sold and for sale signs. This simple change bought a 89% increase in conversion.

Hence, don’t lose patience and don’t dismiss a strategy outright if it fails initially.

2. Audience analysis

There’s a fine-line difference between understanding the audiences and decoding them. Most startups do the former, not the latter. They can show an excuse for this, though. Decoding audiences requires large piles of data and access to state of the art tools, which are expensive.

But in 2016, it’s a lame excuse because obtaining data is not that difficult and plenty of FOSS tools are available for them to use. Facebook’s Open Graph is an excellent tool, it’s not open source but its API is available free of cost. Crucial audience insights can be obtained from Open Graph including fan’s interests, other brand pages they are interacting with, etc.

There are free tools that can assist startups in competitor analysis. Those tools have a visual interface and offer you a qualitative understanding of your target audiences. Use social listening to better analyze audience data. Audience analysis, by and large, is a game where data are wild cards. As data manipulation languages are syntax-driven, you can use them to build audience analysis programs yourself.

The bottomline is go deep and mug up with technicalities. Don’t simply skim through the Google Analytics report.

3. Insistence, not persistence

You have every right to pitch your product/service to a prospective lead, but you don’t have the rights to annoy him. Startups often pressure clients to buy. That’s a mistake. A startup can insist a prospect, but shouldn’t persist if he declines the offer.

This aggressive approach does more harm than good for startup firms. In the sales lexicon, this approach is called hard selling. Some industry analysts hold it’s dead, though it’s alive in the faulty approach of startuppers. The very few benefits such as getting down to the point quickly and saving time and resources get nullified because of customer annoyance.

Bnonn described the perfect environ for sales where service providers are only allowed to explain prospective customers how they can get what they want, nothing more. This is far from putting pressure on clients. The strategies include not using phrases like “limited offer”, “buy it immediately”, etc. When you are using such phrases, you are creating pressure on the customer. Do not make this mistake.

4. Interactive landing pages

Startups lack many competitive advantages. As most of them start as bootstrapped entities, they can’t be blamed for this. But they can be blamed for not making their landing pages interactive. The landing page 101 type guides are complete trash unless the site owner wants his landing page to be a boilerplate.

Landing page best practices put the following areas on the focal point:

  • Prominent CTA buttons
  • Actionable CTA button
  • A fast loading lead capture form

What’s the point in taking extra care of the said areas of the landing page? Easy-to-locate CTA buttons with action statements such as “Hire us for 20% increase in conversion” or “Kill all the sticky dirt now” (for a detergent product) doesn’t describe the product or the service but its benefits.

When customers come across action statements on landing pages, they subconsciously feel an urge to respond. If the lead capture form is too slow to load, they leave the site. 86% customers pull out of landing pages due to sign up request being slow. An interactive and enticing landing page, on the other hand, makes the lead generation campaign successful.

5. Opt-in opportunity

Not offering prospects opt-in opportunity is a fatal mistake that any startup will want to avoid. Customers should be given plenty of opt-in opportunities so they could connect any time.

The lead capture form is an opt-in opportunity and we have discussed it already. Right? Well, the lead capture page is just one type of opt-in opportunity. There are are other types that may or may not be onsite such as explainer videos, emails, webinars, live demo sessions, etc.

The opt-in email marketing strategies can give a boost to a startup’s lead generation efforts. So can webinars. In one of my previous articles, I’ve listed 14 key elements for the webinar opt-in page. Making opt-in opportunities pervasive all through your web presence – social media, blog, vlogs and of course webinars helps you bag leads.


The 5 mistakes discussed here holds true for the majority of startups. Not committing these mistakes don’t deliver any edge per se, but definitely cuts down on the odds of failing. Most startup companies fail within just one year from starting. If they could ride along the way using the tips shared here, then success won’t be a distant dream for them.

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