Your lead flow is one of the most important aspects of your stone business. The more quality prospects you have in your sales funnel, the more sales opportunities you have, and the more revenue you will generate. The Internet is a great way to get more leads, and I’m not just talking about your website or search marketing efforts.

Here are five uncommon ways to get more leads for your stone business. (No website required, but is definitely recommended.)

1. Guest Articles

An often overlooked method for getting more leads online for stone is submitting guest articles. Think of the effects of being interviewed on your local news station or Good Morning America. Guest articles can have the same results, just on a smaller scale.

To submit guest articles, you will need to research blogs and online publications with your same target audience, preferably in your area of service. You can also reach out to complementary industry websites such as interior designers, realtors, and showrooms. Online publishers are always looking for quality content to distribute to their readers, and it is easy to have your articles considered. It just requires getting through to the right person.

A common mistake when submitting articles is to sell yourself and your service. It may seem counterintuitive, but this actually has a negative effect. A better strategy is to be 100% objective and provide useful and interesting information. Give advice and provide industry insights to demonstrate your expertise. In the author’s area is where you can list your website and contact information. You may be surprised, but people will find it.

Free press from submitting articles helps position you as an expert and naturally generates more leads for your business. Depending on the websites you are published on, it can also help you with backlinks for your keywords ranking you higher in the search results.

2. Webinars

A webinar is a presentation given online, usually live, where your audience attends via their computers.  Like guest articles, hosting webinars is a great way to get more exposure and improve your positioning in the marketplace.  It gives you the opportunity to speak to a captive audience, and your respect and notoriety as the speaker skyrockets.

To promote your webinar, contact local websites and partner businesses who can promote it to their list of customers and subscribers. If it’s quality content and an interesting topic,  they will be happy to share it. Typically you will get a better response if the registration is free, but in some instances it is acceptable to charge for attendance.

Once the webinar has been recorded, you can save it for future use. Post it on your website and promote the link to other websites.

3. Video Marketing

Today, videos are easy to produce and can attract a lot of traffic if you use them effectively. The key is to produce video content that is emotionally appealing and highly likeable so people will want to share, comment on and reference it. Think outside the box of typical commercial-type videos and staff interviews, and put out content that is engaging and interesting. Do this on a consistent basis, such as once a month, for the biggest bang for your buck.

There are a lot of best practices to increasing your views on YouTube and these include having proper video titles, descriptions and YouTube tags. Use keyword terms that are highly searched and relevant to your video and company. Create a custom thumbnail for each video, be sure to set the video to public so it is searchable, and include at least one call to action, such as your phone number or link to your website.

Google also allows you to sponsor your videos through AdWords. This can be a great way to get more exposure for your videos. You can even set geographic targeting settings to know they are only being shown to the right audience. The pricing is set on an auction model, and you are only charged when someone clicks to watch from the search results or for views lasting longer than 30 seconds. You also receive in-depth analytics to know how many people watch, how long they watch for, and whether they clicked through to your website.

4. Craigslist

Craigslist may not seem like an uncommon method to generate leads, but it is uncommon to do it right. Craigslist has the potential to bring you consistent, quality, targeted leads, but there are a couple tricks to make it work.

First, you have to post an ad that has specific elements to inspire a response and that separates you from your competitors. Make people an offer they can’t refuse, create urgency and distinguish yourself from everyone else. Don’t just type up a couple sentences of text with your pricing. Post a professional ad with graphics, and use an enticing call-to-action.

Second, use an attention grabbing title. In the search results you will see a lot of symbols being used and words in all caps. This may not be right for your business. Stay true to your brand, and inspire interest with a unique offering. Test different titles to see which garners the best results.

Lastly, to get quality leads on Craigslist you have to be consistent. Their rules state that you can only post once every 48 hours, but there is no reason to do it less than that. Put systems in place to make the process quick and easy, and get the most out of this free source for stone leads.

5. Email Marketing

An often neglected but affordable way to get more paying customers is through email marketing. It is easy to setup and maintain, and it is highly effective compared to the cost of running it.

Once you have a person in your sales funnel you don't want to let them go. Sending a monthly email campaign is an acceptable, non-intrusive way to stay in contact with your leads and guide them through the process of buying from you.

If you've picked up a theme in this article, it's that quality content is necessary for getting more quality stone leads. The same is true for email. Start collecting a database of your leads and prospects and send them interesting and engaging information such as buying tips, style guides and even information on related topics such as paint colors or home decor. Demonstrate your industry expertise and give them incentives to take action.

You will need software to do it right, and there are lots of options to choose from. You can't really go wrong with which software you choose, but it will be necessary to collect people's email addresses at every opportunity possible. When people call on the phone or visit your website, ask if you can add them to your email list. You can watch your sales go up overnight.

Typically, in business, we find what works well for generating leads and stick to it. Often times it's necessary to break outside the mold, test new methods and see what results from it.

The Internet is an easy and affordable place to try new things and see what can result from it. Remember that quality content is the key to making online lead generating work, and consistency plays a necessary part.