The strategies and techniques to generate leads continues to evolve and change, but the same problem remains:
Disjointed marketing tools, channels, and tactics means it’s tough to consistently and predictably get leads because the experience for your prospects often feels disconnected.
And, nothing exists that connects all of these uncoordinated, and confusing, resources into a unified whole. Until now.This blog post introduces a new framework that solves all of these common lead generation problems. A system that:
- Starts with the customer in mind
- Integrates tools, channels, and tactics to connect everything
- Works in any situation
What’s the Problem, Anyway?
Somewhat surprisingly, to me at least, is that while you can find almost anything online there is no good resource for learning how to generate leads. Sure, there’s plenty of info on marketing tactics (e.g., social media), techniques (e.g., Unicorn Marketing), and tools (e.g., Sumo), but all of this is useless if it's not applied to a process. It’s kind of like fishing. You have your rod, reel, and lures, but if you don’t know where and how to fish you’re wasting your time.
What is missing is something that provides instruction on how to use all of the different marketing tools, channels, and tactics to get leads . . . a process to follow that results in successful lead gen campaigns. In short, a system by which leads can be generated on a consistent and predictable basis – a lead generation system.
A lead generation system must consist of the following:
- A focus on a single product or service
- Prospect segmentation
- Customer feedback
- The Customer Journey
- Persona creation
- Answering prospect questions
- A relevant & valuable offer
- Prioritizing marketing channels
- Content & messaging optimization
We'll go over each of these elements in more detail, below.
1. A Focus on a Single Product or Service
One mistake that many businesses make in their lead generation efforts is casting too wide a net. It’s a natural reaction: promote all of your products and services to attract as many prospects to your business as you can.
The risk here is that, as a small business, you simply don’t have the time and resources to do an excellent job competing for attention across many fronts. In fact, you probably can’t do an excellent job promoting more than one product or service at a time, especially if your business is just starting out.
Casting a wide net also attracts prospects who fall outside of your area of expertise. As a result, these people won’t value what makes you special, which means you will need to compete on price, and it means that they won’t treat you or your business with the respect you deserve.
Identify the product or service that is most valuable to your prospects; this is usually what you do best and what you enjoy most.
For these reasons, you will be much more successful generating leads by focusing on just one of your products or services at a time.
Focusing on what you do best – that which makes your business extremely important to your customers – will not only result in more leads, but it produces a higher quality lead, leads whose needs and wants are aligned with your strengths.
2. Prospect Segmentation
Just as it’s important not to cast too wide a net when marketing your products and services, it’s just as important to focus on one type of customer at a time.
And, one of the keys to successful lead generation is not only concentrating on a single customer type but identifying your best customer.
People aren’t attracted to what your business is, they’re drawn in by how it can help them.
Identifying your customers may seem rather obvious and unnecessary – after all, what business doesn’t know who buys from them. But if you take a moment to think about why your customers buy you’ll most likely come up with two or three different reasons, which equate to two or three different types, or segments, of people who make up your customer base.
For the purposes of lead generation, you want to identify the customer segment that most often results in successful engagements, both financially and personally, both for you and your customer.
3. Customer Feedback
The only way you stand a chance of connecting with your prospects is to use language that they relate to. In order to do this, you must understand your customers very well – not just who they are, but what they are looking for, what questions they have, and what keeps them up at night.
Without this level of insight your aim will be off, if just slightly, and that’s enough for your message to miss its target and your prospects to pass you by.
The best way to understand your customers is to talk to them.
Talk with your customers to understand what they’re thinking, and look at your business from their point of view.
Conduct a survey – either in person, via phone, or online (if online, I recommend SurveyMonkey. They have a free version and it's a very solid product) – and ask your customers what they think of your product or service.
Talking with your customers is the most direct way of learning about their attitude toward your business, and it allows you to move away from what you think to what your customer thinks.
4. The Customer Journey
Asking your customers questions allows you to understand their mindset as they move from being a prospect to a customer.
More and more, customers proactively seek product and service information on their own. As a result, their exposure to your business is often outside of your control. And, their decision process is anything but linear.
Despite these challenges, it is possible to map the path your prospects take when deciding to buy from you.
If you know where your prosects are you stand a much better chance of reaching them.
This is done using the Customer Journey. This Journey enables you to understand the steps your customers take as they interact with your business, as they move from prospect to customer. There are four stages in this process: Consider, Evaluate, Buy, and Use.
The Customer Journey enables you to:
- Understand the steps your customers take when buying your product or service.
- Know where they are in the buying process so you can deliver relevant messaging.
Knowing where your prospects are in their decision process is critical to generating qualified leads.
5. Persona Creation
Before you can write effective messaging, messaging that will resonate with your target prospects, you have to really know who you are writing for. Talking with your customers helps you to do this – it reinforces that these are real people with real needs, challenges, and aspirations.
And while it would be great to have one-on-one conversations with each potential customer – you’d stand a much better chance of generating interest in your business – this isn’t practical.
So, the question becomes, how do you incorporate this human element into your lead generation efforts?
The best way to do this is to create Personas.
Put the customer in the center of your business and treat them like real people.
A Persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on real data and some select educated speculation about customer demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals.
Personas allow you to create messaging that speaks more directly to the needs and wants of your target prospect, increasing the likelihood that you’ll get a response.
6. Answer Prospect Questions
Create messaging that resonates with your prospects by doing two things:
1) combine your persona with
2) the four stages of the Customer Journey: Consider, Evaluate, Buy, Use.
These two pieces of information – understanding your customer and the decision process they undertake when buying your product or service – allow you to map the questions your prospects have at each stage of the Customer Journey.
Know the questions your prospects have at each stage of the sales process and answer them with your marketing.
Knowing the questions your prospects ask means you can provide answers to these questions at each stage of the sales process, which in turn generates a whole bunch of good will and trust. And satisfying your prospects’ inquiries moves them one step closer to becoming a customer!
We have developed a tool, the Messaging Matrix, to create marketing messaging that corresponds to the needs, wants, and questions your Persona has about your product or service at each stage of his or her journey with your business. The Messaging Matrix is a part of The Lead Generation System™.
7. A Relevant & Valuable Offer
Once you know what your prospects are looking for at each stage of their journey with your business you can create an Offer that matches what they are looking for.
The Offer is an extremely important component of successfully generating leads because it’s the trigger that converts a prospect to a lead!
In order to understand the importance of your Offer, however, you have to understand the difference between your product or service AND what your customers are actually buying.
The truth is, no one buys products, but everyone buys feelings. As the world becomes more and more complex, and the commodities we buy more varied, the feelings we want become more urgent, less rational. How your business anticipates these feelings and satisfies them is your actual product or service.
And while your product or service ultimately satisfies your customers’ feelings, it’s your Offer that must address these feelings in order to trigger interest in your business.
People don’t buy your product, they buy what it stands for.
In order to make a deep-seated connection with the feelings your prospect is trying to resolve, your Offer must represent that which your target market is actually looking for. On the other hand, if what you are offering is not aligned with what your prospects are looking for, there will be a disconnect, and they will move on.
8. Marketing Channel Prioritization
There are a lot of marketing channels at your disposal, offline and online, from conferences and trade shows to email, SEO, paid advertising, and the myriad of social media options, to name a few.
The question you need to answer is, of all the channels available, what channels do your prospects use to get their information? If you and your prospect aren’t on the same channel, any message you send is going to be missed. You’ll simply be out of synch, and as a result, off target.
So, how do you know which marketing channels your prospects use to get their information? And of these, which one is the best at reaching and resonating with your prospects?
Identify the marketing channels that your prospects use to get their information.
The goal is to align your messaging with the channels your prospect uses to get his or her information. To do this, we use something called a Heat Map. The Heat Map is a part of The Lead Gen System™.
9. Content & Messaging Optimization
Ensure that your messaging resonates with your prospects by speaking their language.
By using the words your prospects use to describe and define what they are looking for, you will literally be speaking directly to them, in a language they understand, because it’s their language.
The language that your prospects use to describe or talk about your product or service are called keywords.
Keywords are what your customers use to find what they are looking for help with.
Keywords come in the form of questions, phrases, words, names, business names, products, services . . . really, any descriptive format that can be typed into a search engine.
When it comes to lead generation, all of your marketing materials need to be built upon keywords – your website, blog posts, offers, emails, business cards, brochures, even the conversations you have with your prospects and customers.
Are your marketing materials optimized with keywords?
A Lead Generation System
Put in a “system” for generating leads that actually works!
By now you should by now have picked up on a recurring theme used throughout this post: focus on the customer.
In order to generate leads on a consistent and predictable basis, you need to practice “customer focused marketing”.
What does this mean, “customer focused marketing”?
It means putting your customer at the center of your business and looking at your product or service from their point of view. Getting inside your customer’s shoes to focus on the specific person you want as a lead and create an experience for this person that leaves no doubt that what you have to offer is tailor made for him or her!
This type of experience doesn’t happen by chance, however. You have to create this experience. And the only way to do this successfully, and consistently, is to put in a system that allows this to happen, time and time again.
The Lead Gen System™ aligns all the essential and core elements of your lead generation efforts with the process that your customers undertake when they make the decision to work with you, and it integrates these elements across your marketing operations.
To reach and resonate with your target market create a parallel with your customers on an individual basis. - Noah Kagan
Gain a much sharper focus on your target customers, what they find valuable, and how to best communicate to them so they clearly understand the value your business provides.
Put yourself in position to nullify the competition and become irresistible to prospects in your niche – all simply by deciding to implement a system.