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You can’t run a business without attracting potential customers and finding a way to continue the conversation past their first interaction with you.
Did you know that it takes an average of 8 interactions with a business before we decide to make a purchase? So much for thinking we can run successful businesses with only a Facebook page!
When it comes to moving potential customers towards those 8 interactions, not much works better than a lead generation strategy.
So, if growing your business by increasing the number of customers is important to you, it might be time to create a lead generation strategy.
A strategy is the north-star for business - it helps guide your everyday actions and outlines what you need to do (and what to avoid doing) to help overcome a specific challenge.
A good strategy has three components:
To better explain this, here are two examples:
1. e-Commerce business
Problem - falling sales
Policy - focus on increasing average order price
Action - set a threshold for free shipping (encouraging more products bought) and add ‘related items’ module to the cart and product pages
2. Solar panel installer
Strategy is the guiding star - marketing’s job is to come up with hypotheses and experiments that move the business toward solving the problem.
If you’re the e-commerce company, you can test the $ threshold you set for free shipping to see which level encourages the most purchases. You could experiment with having the ‘related items’ as a pop-up box or at the bottom of the page.
For the solar panel installer you can experiment with the length of the questionnaire to get more responses. You could also look at implementing email marketing as a way to gauge interest before handing leads to sales.
While our process for creating a strategy is a bit more involved than these three components, they act as principles for evaluating the quality of any strategy - be sure to refer to these as you develop your own strategy to make sure it meets the requirements.
If you are new to lead generation and want to get a solid understanding of the concept, along with some examples, check out our Beginners Guide to Lead Generation. Once you’ve read through that and are ready to build out your strategy, read on.
Sounds simple, yet a lot of businesses fail to align marketing strategies with overall business goals.
If your goal is to grow revenue, then your lead generation strategy needs to be moving in that direction. It will be useful to focus on attracting the right types of leads and focus on quality over quantity.
If your goal is to boost brand awareness and increase your email subscribers, then do the opposite and focus on generating as many leads as you can.
When thinking about your business information, write down the following:
The act of adding these basic pieces of information to your strategy mean that all the next steps align with your business.
When developing any strategy you must always have your target audience in mind, and this is where Buyer Profiles and Buyer Personas come in handy.
A Buyer Profile is the type of company that is a perfect fit for your business. They have certain characteristics that align with what you need to make a partnership work or for them to be able to use your products or services. This usually includes:
A Buyer Persona isa fictional representation of the types of people who buy from you or use your product/service. Each persona is based around a single attribute, such as job title if you're a B2B company, and includes the following:
By identifying these two things you get unbelievable clarity on the types of information your audience is after, what questions you need to cover in your content, and where to find them (social media networks, online directories, physical events etc.)
These also help you identify who NOT to target, an important part of a good strategy. If you install solar panels, it’s probably a good idea to write a blog outlining the costs involved, as well as the savings from having solar power. If you only install in residential buildings, you know not to target commercial audiences, so stay away from LinkedIn, but make sure you have a good Facebook presence.
For example, a mid-level manager might be on Facebook during their commute, so some ads here could get their attention. Meanwhile, company directors might read trade publications or national newspapers regularly, so reaching them might require print ads that direct them to your website.
Think about how they consume information. Do they read a trade publication or industry newsletter? Can you effectively get their attention while they are scrolling through Facebook? Will they be interested in a weekly newsletter you could curate?
You should have a pretty good understanding of how and where they get their information from your Buyer Persona. You may also need to cover multiple channels, if you have Personas that engage across different mediums.
A good lead generation strategy relies on great, targeted content. It doesn’t matter how you plan on reaching your audience, these days it’s vitally important to give before you ask.
This means, as consumers we want value before we pay. In this case, we pay by handing over our contact information. Before we do this we want to know that the business we are giving our info to is worthy of our attention.
Creating great, valuable content is one of the best ways to prove you are worthy of your audience’s attention.
If you haven’t already got a plan in place that outlines the topics you’ll cover, now is the perfect time. Think about the topics related to your business that you can write about and create blog content around these.
If you’re an e-commerce business that sells clothes, then a fashion blog is perfect for you. Include the latest trends, fashion tips and guides, blogs on how to find the right outfit for your body type - you get my drift.
If you install solar panels, write about energy efficiency, sustainability, cost savings from renewable energy and so on.
You should also think about visual content you can create - imagery, videos, webinars, podcasts.
Every time you’ve handed over contact information on a website, you’ve likely done it on a landing page - a special type of web page designed specifically to encourage you to subscribe/sign-up/download.
When someone comes across your ad, you want to send them to a page that continues the conversation you started on whatever channel they found you.
The messaging should be consistent from the ad to your page, and this is a key component of a great landing page - take the audience on a journey by flowing seamlessly from one interaction to the next.
Building landing pages is relatively simple, and there are lots of tools out there to help you create them. Landing pages are slightly different to your usual web page. These are the standard components of a high converting landing page:
A call-to-action is a button that can place around your website that encourages visitors to take a desired action, usually it’s to download a resource or signup to your newsletter. To do this, you send them to the landing page you just created!
Calls-to-action should be visually appealing and stand out from the rest of the content on your page, use copy that conveys the value the visitor will get from clicking on it, and use verbs that encourage them to take action.
After you’ve done all the above steps, the final piece is to design a marketing campaign that can be used to reach your audience.
Go back to step 3 and think about the ways in which you’re Personas engage with and digest information.
The type of lead generation campaign you run will depend on your business, where your audience is, and how you engage with them. The buying cycle will also have an impact. For example, a short cycle where you are looking to attract users to sign up for a free trial can be achieved via online ads. But if you need to speak with multiple decision makers, present a pitch and negotiate over contract details, your campaign may be more complex and run across multiple channels.
Here are some ideas for your next lead generation campaign:
Don’t forget to think about what you’ll do with your leads once you’ve generated them. Will you send them straight to sales, or will you nurture them with an email campaign?
Don’t wait until you’ve got leads coming in to think about how you’ll convert them to customers, start planning for that now and putting the necessary plans in place.
If you are unsure of how you can nurture leads towards becoming a customer, I recommend you read The Small Business Guide to Customer Acquisition
So there you go, a straightforward process for creating your own lead generation strategy that aligns perfectly with your business. No more guessing if Facebook is the right channel, or wondering about the blogs you should write, our process makes it easy to create a winning strategy.
If lead generation is a primary goal for your business this year, let’s talk about how FocusHawk Digital can help you create a lead generation plan perfect for your business, with all the expert tips and tricks that we’ve accumulated over the years.
Brock is the founder of FocusHawk Digital and small business growth enthusiast. With almost 10 years experience in the industry, coupled with a Bachelors degree in Commerce and a Masters degree in Marketing, he is an expert when it comes to helping business owners achieve their growth dreams. When he isn't working you'll likely find him at a Japanese restaurant or on the beach with his wife and their dachsund, Harlow.