Generate more leads the way the pros do
61% of B2B businesses name “generating leads” their number one challenge. That’s critical because around 63% of B2B and B2C consumers who are researching a brand or solutions today won’t buy for three months. Given that three-month or more cycle, capturing those leads today is vital to creating a consistent flow of revenue in three months, a year and 10 years down the road.
On average, companies spend $140 generating leads for every $1.50 converting them. So maximising your ROI on that investment is critical to your business success. Here’s how professionals generate more leads and get more qualified leads the smart way.
More Clearly Define Your Target Customer
We couldn’t tell you how many times we’ve heard from a new client, “Anyone is my customer. I don’t want to exclude anyone.” While we understand the sentiment, and you wouldn’t turn a customer away just because they aren’t the ideal customer, there will be some people who are more likely customers than others.
And what do you think would be easier: trying to turn a likely customer into a lead or trying to turn someone who isn’t into a lead?
Logic tells us that we’ll spend less time and money going after the “low hanging fruit”. Not only are they easier to turn into leads; they’ll become paying customers faster, spend more and tend to be happier with your product or service.
So define who your target customer is. This includes things like:
- Goals and challenges
- Geographic location
- Demographic Information
Take this a step further by creating 2 or more customer personas. These are detailed descriptions of a fictional person. This person is a composite of similar customers based upon real customer data. When creating advertisements, web content or any form of media, speak as if speaking directly to one of your personas.
Align with the Buyer’s Journey
The buyer’s journey is a concept that attempts to explain how a person goes from a stranger to a customer. They do so in stages.
- Awareness / Discovery – The potential customer realizes that they have a problem
- Consideration / Research – The customer learns more about their problem and begins exploring possible solutions.
- Decision-Making – The customer decides what to buy and who to buy it from
Successful marketing professionals understand this journey well. Because of this, they work to align their lead-generation strategies and lead-generating content to this journey.
It all comes down to this. You can’t get someone to buy something if they don’t first understand that there is a problem. And most people won’t be ready to buy before they’ve explored their options. The higher price that item has or the more decision-makers involved (e.i., B2B), the more thought they need to put into it.
In order to generate leads successfully, you must become a part of this buying process.
Guide the conversation that leads to a qualified lead. To do that, let’s break this down a little further by looking at what types of content generate leads at these stages.
Lead-Generation Content for the Awareness Stage
The lead-generation content in this stage is all about information. You’re helping a cold lead answer some important questions:
- What is this problem I’m having?
- How serious or urgent is it?
- What are the common misunderstandings or things to be aware of?
Introducing a “buy this now” in this stage will appear salesy and self-serving. Your goal here isn’t to sell something; it’s to reel a person deeper into learning about their problem through helpful content. As they dive deeper, you build the trust you need to generate a warm lead. Every salesperson understands how important trust is when customers have as many choices as they do online.
Lead-Generation/Nurturing Content for the Consideration Stage
In this stage, people want helpful information that helps them make a decision. So…
- What do people need to consider before buying?
- What are the possible solutions for this problem?
- What are the pros and cons of the various solutions?
- What are the benefits of various solutions?
Don’t be afraid to provide helpful, actionable information. Offer related tips that people can try now to get an instant result. Sometimes it may feel like you’re giving too much away. But helping people solve problems fills the trust meter and can generate not just leads but loyal, lifelong customers.
Lead-Nurturing Content During the Decision Stage
If you’ve played your content marketing hand well, you now have a warm lead that is ready to buy. Your content helps seal the deal, which may be a special offer or free trial.
You’re now ready to take the next step. Evaluate how well you’re aligned to the buyer’s journey and optimise your content.
Fix Your Leaky Sales Funnels
In practical terms, the Buyer’s Journey is simply a sales funnel from the buyer’s perspective rather than yours. You’ve put yourself into the buyer’s shoes and shown that you understand their problems, goals, needs and desires.
Now, to generate leads cost-effectively like the pros do, optimise these funnels.
On average, a person will view 3-5 pieces of content before making a decision. But ultimately, the funnel guides them toward your goal, which is now aligned with their goal. Think of securing your funnel in three basic steps.
Step 1: Create a clear funnel, or funnels. Each content piece should lead to another piece of content further down in the funnel.
Step 2: Track your funnels. One free tool that helps you do this is Google Analytics. You can set up several funnels to visualise how people travel through the funnels. Track the number of people entering the funnel. Then what percentage of people move into the consideration phase (where they become a lead)? Finally, what percentage goes on to become customers.
Step 3: Identify the leaks. And fix them.
How to Fix Your Funnel
Let’s break that last one down.
If you are not generating significant traffic into the top of your funnel, you need to work on awareness. There may be a problem with who you’re targeting, type of content, quality of content or your content publishing and distribution strategies (social media, advertising, influencer, SEO, etc.).
If you’re generating a lot of traffic, but a low percentage are entering consideration, then assess the CTAs on your awareness content and the quality of your consideration content.
Do they enter consideration, but then disappear? Take a look at the quality of your consideration content and your consideration CTA.
As you tighten up your funnel, you’ll see a more consistent flow through your funnels as you generate more viable leads and turn them into customers.
Get some industry benchmarks to better understand what conversion rates you should be seeing and can set goals. Online conversions in retail, for example, are usually below three per cent. So don’t beat yourself up if your conversion rates are low. Simply work to do better than industry benchmarks.
Learn How to Bring People Back
The pros know that you can get a second chance with people who fell out of the funnel. And learning how to re-direct the “almost a lead” back onto the path of becoming a lead is a vital skill to learn. In fact, companies who learn to recapture these lost leads can increase revenues by 30% and doing so is not as complicated or expensive as you might think.
Professionals guide these would-be leads back into the funnel through re-marketing ads. These are the ads that show up after you visit a website. Using automation, encourage a person back using a very personalised ad or send them something more generic, inviting them back.
Two of the best places to create remarketing ads are on Google AdWords and Facebook. If you have an email address, you can send an automated email.
While the naysayers complain that remarketing ads are “creepy” or that they’re “stalking” people, most people actually appreciate the reminder or just ignore it. They don’t take offence, and we have the data to back that up. Studies show that rate of ad fatigue is comparable to a regular ad.
To get the most out of remarketing, bypass the funnel and guide people straight back to the checkout process as that was the next step for this customer.
Generate Leads Like the Pros
When you follow these tips for generating leads, you not only generate more leads. You shorten the sales cycle and increase the value of each lead that becomes a paying customer. Now, get out there and generate leads like a pro.