Any business that wants to succeed needs customers. Simple enough, right? But simply maintaining customers is not enough; companies must continually bring in new customers, or they will soon go out of business. This is where lead generation comes in.
Lead generation is the process of finding and converting potential customers into actual customers. It is an essential part of any successful marketing strategy, and there are various ways to generate those leads. One thing is for sure, though; relying on just a client referral is not nearly enough anymore. The world is an oyster and implementing a holistic lead generation campaign will continue to be the key to success.
I’ll take you step-by-step and show you a fundamental guide so you can find success with your next lead generation campaign. We will dive a little deeper into what lead generation is, its role in any business success, and the components that will make it a total success. Here we go!
Lead Generation — What It Is Not
Sometimes it is easier to start at the end and work your way to the beginning. So, let’s just cover what lead generation is not. It is not sitting and waiting and hoping to be found. It is not wishing a satisfied customer to refer you to another. If it is not quietly waiting to be everything to everybody.
These are the old ways to get new customers. At a time when the world was not connected, and we didn’t have access at our fingertips. To the older generation, that world has changed. To the new generation, you have all the tools and multiple avenues to find success.
What Lead Generation Is
Lead generation is all the efforts and techniques you can use to communicate with your prospective client that, after a series of steps, you can turn into a customer, depending on the method used.
This can mean efforts where you take a more aggressive position or a more laid-back one to turn that prospect into a paying customer. The action will also depend on whether we are talking about a completely cold lead that knows nothing about you or a warm lead that knows of you but has not committed to a hot lead who has shown interest and can be closed more easily.
First Thing First — Who Are You Talking To?
There couldn’t be any more truth to the Lewis Carroll quote, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” This is a warning more than anything else because if there is no purpose to your actions, what goal will you reach? Since we are talking about leads, that is in itself a client. Independent of being an end customer or business, the first thing, and the thing that will determine pretty much everything else, is knowing who that is.
The exercise here is to describe to a “T” who that ideal client is. And I mean everything: how it dresses, what they eat, places that they frequent, what they place value in, gender, status — everything. This could be a bit easier for an existing business since you can reference the perfect existing customers and take it from there. If you could have a thousand more like that customer, what does that customer look like? This is key because once you know exactly who you are talking to, you can craft the right message in the right channel to get them to take action. Keep reading to learn more about lead generation.
Crystal Clear Goals for the Win!
It’s apparent that you want to be seen. The more, the merrier. And chances are the more people know of you, the more chances some customers will appear. But the key is to know how much that lead is actually worth. Knowing in number what that lead could generate so that you know exactly how many you would need to convert to get you to your end goal.
If you run a lead campaign without this information, how would you know to measure its success? If this is a new concept for you, doing a little research on the topic can point you in the direction of the standard conversion, meaning how many people see your offer that ultimately converts into clients. With this info, you can pinpoint, with industry comparison information, how you are doing in your campaign. How many leads are you ultimately turning into actual clients?
Get the Lead to Move… Incentivize
Once you know what your perfect client looks like and how much they are worth to you, you can move on to the next step, deciding on what you will offer in exchange for some info from that lead. This should be something that is “free” since they are not loyal to you yet to make any sort of investment. But more than it is something they don’t have to pay for, the most important thing is that it is something of perceived value. And here is where having done the exercise of creating your client avatar comes so handy.
What is something of value that your client perceives? Only you know. Use this for your lead generation campaign. But make sure you over-provide. Do yourself a favor, and don’t be standard! Stand out. Break from the crowd. Give something that is really of interest or solves a problem.
Is the Lead an Ice Cream Cone or How Potato?
You may have heard, “you are preaching to the choir?” meaning that you are talking to someone that is already convinced of what you are saying. Why does that matter? You are picking up a conversation where the lead is in all its glory. You have to decipher whether they have never heard of you or if they see you as a trusted key player.
Depending on the answer to that question, you can put them in the category of awareness, consideration, or purchase. And for each of those categories, you can create an offer, which should be something of value for each stage. Clearly, a lead following you for some time can possibly go into a case study showing your customers’ success vs. how it was before. And depending on that stage, you can see where to send them in the funnel.
The Stories You Tell
I heard it somewhere, but the best analogy for the funnel is: “it is not the product you sell, but the stories you tell.” I don’t know about you, but this statement has much truth. A product is a product, no matter what it is, but leads don’t turn into a client because of the product itself but because of how the product will make them feel. The solution to their problem is the benefit they will get. So, building that funnel correctly will be the master key to getting that machine to run itself.
Time and effort need to be given to the perfect creation of a funnel and the story we are telling so we can take that lead from point A to point B in the smoothest possible way, like a waltz and not a salsa…get it?! So, what does that look like, you may ask? Glad you did.
Get Ready for The Landing
After someone has decided to explore your offer, you must take them to a landing spot. And you don’t want to take them to a regular old website, no, no, no… you want to create the perfect landing space that is concise, to the point, and persuasive enough to get the job done. And this ideal landing page, which you will create for each individual offer depending on the client cycle stage, has some true and tested components that make it a win every time.
You know what we are talking about. You have been there. Most everyone will read the headline to get the gist of the news. Everyone is in a hurry, and few have the time to read through a whole article to get the idea. So, sell it in the headline. Enough said. Speak to the benefit, pique their curiosity, and tell them how their life will change!
Make Them a Hero or Speak Directly to Them
“A picture says a thousand words” never gets old. Can you capture the benefit of using the product/service with a single picture for your next lead generation campaign? If you can, go for it. Let that be the thing the lead sees immediately following the headline. Is the image invoking the right feeling? If not, then speak directly to them with a video. Whether explaining the product or showing a powerful video testimonial, videos are the most powerful. Why do you think pretty much all platforms have turned to more video focused?
Wrap it Up in One Word
Ok, maybe not exactly one, but as few as possible, you know what I mean? Big paragraphs detailing the exclusive offer will bore anyone and make them leave the page, so wrap it up—kind of like “How To’s for Dummies” with fewer words and bullet benefits. Give the lead the least possible to read, and you will be on the money. Talk about benefits, benefits, and some more benefits, never about characteristics.
Show That It Has Worked Already
Every which way you can think of. Let the world know that someone “out there” has already benefited from what you are offering. Did you get previous client testimonials? Use them. Earned excellent business ratings? Use them. Gained a super-engaged social media following that swears by your product? Show them! Everything and anything count.
The Short Form
And then you set the trap, the perfect form. No, not too cumbersome, with lots of levers and intricate movements. Use one that allows a simple but powerful cord to be pulled and trap the prey. That said, it is not necessary to ask for their whole vitals and family history, but simple and essential information that will allow you to follow up with whichever method you have decided. Name and email or name and phone should do the trick. The less you ask, the more easily they’ll give it up.
The Make It or Break It Call-To-Action Button
After completing the form, you can finally take them to the freebie you first promised. And for them to get there, you need an attractive call-to-action button. One that is distinctively a button to click on and that gets them excited for their choice to have filled out the info. Subscribing, downloading, or registering in red is not enough. Not nearly. Instead, think, “Get the Formula Now!” “Claim My Magic Pill” or “Ready for the Secret Key Now” are sexier and create more incentive.
Say Thank You and Continue the Conversation
So, they have finally clicked and given you what you wanted, their lead info. But what do you know? Whether you have really given them value or not, they’ll be happy they have met you and want to continue to hear from you. So first and foremost, thank them and remind them how they will benefit from the information. But don’t waste the opportunity and invite them to connect with you in another way, through social media, or with the expectation of more value in the near future. Make it count; they got this far, didn’t they? Celebrate that step like an excited parent celebrating their child’s first steps.
Integrate with Technology
Any salesperson will tell you that success is in the follow-up. You got this far, and the lead has opened the door. Now you have to stay in touch and do it consistently and skillfully. The tools to make this an automated process are plentiful for this stage of the lead generation campaign. Pick one and stick to it. Consistency is the key. The right tool will become evident depending on what you are trying to accomplish. Automation is how you can scale up. If everything depends on your physical efforts, the climb will turn exhausting.
One, Two, Three, Test
Needless to say, do a trial run. Be the lead. Act and go through all the steps they would take to make sure everything is perfectly perfect, working as it should, and looking sharp. There is no point in pouring resources into the traffic if, once they get there, they don’t know where to go or are receiving error messages. So please test it out, always. And make sure everything is clear and properly sized whether the lead is going through it on their phone or desktop.
Drive Traffic to Your Offer
You crossed all your “X’s” and dotted all your “I’s.” It’s time to drive that traffic. There is no right way or only way, and there is no such thing as “the way” that gives results. This means that the key here is in “testing.” You won’t know until you try. It helps to have the avatar of your client perfected because you can start where you believe he will more likely be. But even then, it will be trial and error.
Just try and stick to one channel at a time. Test and evaluate. Stay and perfect the source or move on to another channel. The evaluation part should include a close look at the conversion ratio as well as the actual cost to acquire that lead. This will allow you to compare once you expand to other channels so you can focus on the channel to drive traffic that gives the best result at the lowest cost.
In this part of the process, it is quite valuable to leverage technology. We have come so far, and some amazingly useful tools analyze the data to a level of detail you don’t even want to know. Using these tools will sharpen the decision-making for improving your lead generation campaign.
The information may lead you to change anything from the titles being used, the forms used to gather info, and even the sources of traffic, all in one place. And, of course, always make sure your ads connect to personalized landing pages for that specific ad offer. The messages need to be cohesive and not pushy or sales-y.
Implementing this roadmap will not be easy at first; this process has many steps and parts. And the reality is that a lead can drop at any one of the points. But practice makes perfect, and it is a sound lead generation roadmap that can be practiced and perfected to create a constant flow of leads that will turn customers. It will just be a matter of time, that I can promise!