Are you frustrated by how few clicks your ads are getting? Do you feel as if you are putting way more out than you’re getting back in? Confused on where to even start your lead generation attempts? If you do, you are not alone. Lead Generation can be a time consuming, frustrating, and costly process if you are not properly equipped and educated on how to best perform it. This article is here to help you start, revamp, or completely overhaul your lead generation strategies with practical tips and strategies. The processes outlined below will help you get your lead generation in shape without having to spend loads of your time and money in the refinement process.
If you’ve read an article from Simplicity Marketing before, then you know how much we love to plan. This is our favorite step, and it’s because it is the most important and often the most rushed through. The brilliance of planning is that you can almost always do it without having to spend a nickel of your cash, something that is especially important to business when just starting out. Make sure that you have a plan in place before you start casting your net onto the net in hopes of generating some high paying leads. Ask yourself these questions:
- Who is your target audience?
- Where will you place your ads?
- What is your budget for this project?
- How quickly do you need to generate leads?
- What will you do to entice your demographically targeted audience?
If you can’t answer these, you are already set to fail. Go back to the drawing board and plan. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”.
Once your plan is in place, you can begin the equally important step of execution. If you’ve done your homework on the front end, you should have a good idea of where to start. If you haven’t then this article will help walk you through some recommended phases of your plan.
Start with Social Media
Social Media is the perfect place to start developing and testing your lead generation strategies. Why? Because it can mostly be done for free. The major social media websites charge you NOTHING to create a profile and create a page. This means that you can gain access to billions of other uses without having to open your wallet. You can organically build a following through your content and page activity. That’s right, without having to spend any money on targeted advertising, you can build a social media following of accounts that are interested in what you business has to say and what it has to offer.
Build Your Following
The quickest, cheapest, and most efficient way to build your following is to create and distribute content on your social media page. Memes, articles, how-to videos, before and after pictures, it is all about making sure that your social media page offers a consistent stream of quality content that your audience, whether current followers or targeted future followers, can engage with. If you have no content, you have no engagement, and your sales funnel or lead generation strategy is already as good as dead. You can also run advertising campaigns through social media back-end tools, but without any content to keep them engaged, your ad campaigns will quickly turn into money wasters.
Building your following won’t happen overnight, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start to benefit from it while it is still in the process of growing. Your greatest asset on social media won’t be the number of shares your viral video got in 2017, it’ll be the data you can collect from post, page, and channel engagement. Every time someone interacts with your content, you learn something that can help turn them from a follower into a lead. You learn what attracts their attention and what does not. What types of content generate more likes, comments, and shares? What days of the week produce more interactions? What times of the day?
The best part is that social media platforms are designed to make this kind of data collection as easy as possible. Each post will give you insights on views, reactions, and engagements so that you can collect all the data you need in seconds.
Once you have the data collected, it is up to you to figure out what to do with it. There is no blanket answer or any social media tool that will immediately outline your next five steps for you. Facebook’s metrics will gather the data, but it is entirely up to you to analyze it critically. What types of images get the most engagement to your page? Would that style work well in an ad campaign? When does your content generate the most interactions? Should you launch your lead generation campaign then? Is your sales funnel ready to be implemented at these times and in these ways? You have the data, it’s up to you to be responsible with it.
No Need for a Wide Net
A common, and costly, mistake that many online businesses make is not with the quality of their pitch but in how many people they are pitching to. The logic of it is simple, right? The larger your audience, the more people you have the opportunity to sell to, right? Not quite.
The issue is that wider nets come at a higher cost. If you have a limitless supply of cash in your advertising budget, then why not cast the widest net possible? However, that simply isn’t practical for most businesses of any size. Instead, try using your data and analysis to determine your best target demographics. Don’t be afraid to zero in on age, gender, location, interests, or any other targeting criteria as much as possible to achieve maximum specificity. It’s much more fiscally and profitably sound to target a few guaranteed leads than it is to target a multitude of unlikely leads.
A Quality Funnel
You’ve built your audience, you’ve collected data, and you’ve cast your specific net, now what? How do you take leads and turn them into customers? The answer is the sales funnel. You need a process with which to take intrigued parties from social media or search engine links and convert them into interested parties and finally into paying customers. You can’t do this without a sales funnel in place. Fortunately, if you’ve followed the steps outline above, you’ve already begun to create and refine your sales funnel. Make sure that your leads are being directed towards an end purchase, and especially towards a practical solution for them as a customer coming to you with a need or interest. If you don’t your hard-earned leads will quickly disengage.
Check Out the Other Guys
Need some design input, but don’t know who to go to? Check out the other guys. That’s right, take the time to scope out and learn from your competition. What are they doing that intrigues you? Where do you see lots of engagement on their social media profiles? What design choices catch your attention? What do they do that turns you off from their product or business? Check out the competition, take notes, and figure out ways that you can mimic their successful strategies with your own style and look for opportunities that your business has to cash in on their mistakes.
How is Your Follow Through?
So, you’ve generated a lead. Maybe you’ve even made a sale. What next? What are you doing to keep that customer as an engaged follower? How will you catch their interest again and get them to come back to your website or social media page? Much like when shooting a basketball, it is essential that you follow through. If you aren’t cyclically engaging your social media audience or website traffic, you are losing out on further profits. Make sure that you are sending a follow-up email, a social media message, or even a text to keep your business in their frame of mind.
Who are Your Repeat Customers?
Who’s returning to purchase from your business without you having to follow up? Who returns after you send that follow-up message? Repeat customers mean that you have established a trusting relationship and that there may be further opportunity for transactions or partnerships down the road. Make sure that you are devoting just as much, if not more attention to these customers as you are new leads and potential new customers. It is far more productive to cultivate existing customer relationships than it is to try and create new ones.
E-Mail is Your Best Friend
Never underestimate the power of a good, old-fashioned email. It may not be the most modern application, but it is still one of the most reliable. Email is your best friend. If you don’t have an email service set up as part of your sales funnel, you are shooting yourself in the foot for when it’s time to follow through. Make sure that you are collecting your leads’ email addresses and getting them automatically set-up for recurring emails. You don’t need to bombard them, but email is a great way to ensure continued contact between your leads and your business.
Your leads may be just a series and clicks of numbers on your computer screen, but they are also real people. Make sure that you give them the personal touch that real people deserve. Don’t just send one form email after another, send them personalized emails, give them a shoutout on their birthday, find ways to let your humanity come across and to engage them on a personal level. The more engaged they are and feel, the likelier they are to stay loyal to your products and services.
Streamline the Process
There is no reason not to automate some of your processes. Not only do most social media companies have built-in automation features such as scheduled posting, auto-response messages, and instant ad analytics, but you can even streamline your emails and customer follow-ups. There are dozens of synchronization and automation services available for whatever social media website, email host, and website server that you choose.
Your lead generation strategy is not definite. What worked this June may not work next July. That’s okay. Odds are you’ll even find ways that your strategy wasn’t as foolproof as you lead yourself to believe. You will find strengths in your process as well as weaknesses. The important thing is that you keep tinkering with your process. What are you doing that isn’t helping generate or convert leads? What are you doing that generates or converts more than any other tools or step? Take the time to step back every once in a while and refine the plan that you have in place.
Trust the Process
Taking the above section of this article into account, there is no need to take the hatchet to your plan and rethink everything once a month. Results take time, especially the more niche your products and services are. Don’t be upset if things aren’t all coming into place all at once. If you have followed the steps, put your system in place, and put everything online, you will probably need some time before you see major results. Trust your process and adapt it with the attitude of refinement rather than trying to completely recreate it whenever it lets you down.
Lead generation is the bread and butter of internet marketing. You need to have a plan and a platform in place with which to generate leads, to convert them into web traffic on your website and then convert them into paying customers through your sales funnel. If you can do all of these things, you’ll start to see paying customers and clients rolling in in droves. Make sure you take the time to make your plan, analyze your position, and give your customers the service and attention they deserve.