Just a few months ago, I met a friend who recently passed his CEA real estate agent examinations. Naturally, he got very excited to start his own real estate business and had a bunch of ideas to generate fresh leads. 

One of them was to spend about $500 to print fancy refrigerator stickers and mass distribute it around an area. 

To most business owners and marketing professionals, this tactic may come across as an ingenious idea. He differentiated his marketing material to something seemingly useful for most people. But months passed, and there were not a single enquiry. He ended up getting frustrated at the lack of results and eventually shoved the idea. 

In today's business world, generating leads and enquiries is getting more competitive. Even on the weekends along Orchard Road, it is almost impossible not to be solicited by someone who’s handing out flyers or brochures. 

But just like this property agent friend of mine, the effectiveness of most of these traditional methods seem to have dampened over the years. In fact, many of such traditional methods of marketing have led most businesses to not get any results at all. 

A New Trend to Generate Leads Cheaper and Faster

Many of these businesses have recently turned to digital as a source to generate new leads. And rightly so, since digital advertising has a slew of unfair advantages - especially for SMEs where they can beat the big boys with huge marketing budgets. 

In fact, most businesses are not aware that they can start generating highly qualified leads with just $5. In contrast, with this same budget, there is almost nothing you can possibly do via traditional marketing. 

That being said, not every company has successfully reaped their payoffs from digital. With the fast evolving digital world, many businesses ended up being confused when they start dabbling with digital advertising. For them, there are just way too many platforms out there when all they want to do is to keep their business lean and simple. 

There are numerous businesses that tried their hand at digital marketing but failed miserably. There are a lot of retail brands moving towards e-commerce. But recent statistics from a web research company has shown that online retailers are losing 67.45% of their sales. In other words, out of every 100 customers, 67 of them are leaving without spending a single cent. 

How to Get Maximum Results with Minimal Effort

Yet on the flipside, if companies were equipped with the right skillsets on digital marketing, they would be able to see maximum results with minimal investments.

Going back to the story of the property agent friend of mine: after getting frustrated with the lack of leads from his traditional methods, he decided give digital marketing a try; with a little help from me. 

It started off with Facebook advertising where he could easily target his exact target audience with a fraction of what he spent on producing fridge magnets. By leveraging on a few Facebook advertising tools such as OpenGraph, he managed to easily reach out to first time home buyers, expats and other investors. 

In just a few days, he received phone calls. These were hot, qualified leads from prospects with a genuine interest to find out more. 

He's not the only one that has benefited tremendously from digital marketing. In fact, numerous other SMEs have also successfully generated leads using digital platforms.

And it all started with a budget of just $5.

Written by Marcus Ho, co-founder of SocialMetric, a measurable social media agency and author of Social Payoff, where he shares best practices on digital lead generation