Look, if lead gen was easy, we marketers would be out of job. Sometimes it’s not easy for us either!
As a business owner, I have traveled through the treacherous waters of lead gen...let me tell you about it:
Dropping postcards, letters, mailers...
Partnering with organizations for access to their membership and getting the short end of the stick...
Contracting with leads companies only to get HORRIBLE “I can’t believe you sent me that/are you serious/I want my money back/there’s no way I’m paying for this/what was I thinking when I agreed to this” service...
COLD CALLING (in my opinion, the worst!)...
And on and on and on.
Feeling like because I had a website and was posting on Facebook, everyone was going to start banging on my door...
Depending on my sales team to bring in leads (How? From where? Only so many family and friends need our service?!)...
Going to trade shows, festivals, golf charity events, standing around all day with my swag and coming out with less than a handful of leads...
Distributing flyers, door hangers, going door to door, hiring appointment setters, placing ads in newspapers, magazines, trade tags...
Lead gen...money or time
And after all of that, do you know what I now realize works? A blend. An ecosystem.
Being everywhere you can be, without letting it completely tip you over.
Then you come in with a 1-2 punch: messaging, value statements. Your unique self.
And go where your audience is.
That doesn’t seem much to go on, but every business is so different, it’s almost impossible to determine what would work without really knowing the situation and service.
Lead gen essentials
Here are some essentials you must have in place in today’s marketing and sales world:
1. Visibility: Think of your audience as a person you want to date. You can't just sit in your house. You have to be out there! Cool. Grounded. Looking good, casual-like. But you must be where you think this person is going to show up. This might be through organic methods or paid ads of any sort.
And you have to look the part. If you're looking for someone high-end, you'd better look high-end. If you're looking for a grungy hippie, you'd better look like a grungy hippie. That means website and major social channels. If you think you can "just get it done" and move on to bigger things...wrong! It IS the bigger thing. Or no other things happen. So do it and do it well.
2. Capture: you must have a way to capture leads who are interested in talking to you. This should be automated unless you’re at under $5K/month.
3. Messaging: your message must be clear and immediate. No one wants to go digging through your website to figure things out. And remember: “A confused mind doesn’t buy.”
4. Top of Mind: Nurture your audience through consistent organic social posting and email drip campaigns. This is always a challenge for me, so I have to do things like queue my social up months in advance and drop in every so often. It’s not optimal, but sometimes we can’t do all the things!
5. Feedback into your system: if you think collecting testimonials isn’t as important as making sales calls...you’re wrong. Testimonials are the silent and deadly driver of every modern business today. You can take that to the bank.
Now if you’re one of those A+/4.3 GPA student-types, marketing is either going to be very expensive for you or very challenging. You must allow for mistakes in marketing. Here is my very favorite diagram on marketing and life itself:
You won’t always be able to do all the things. Nike does all the things. Coke does all the things. You, be choosy.
A great example—there is a LOT of information on my website. I created it at a time when I thought I was getting out of the business, so I created a site that housed all of the many questions I have received from my clients over the years. Is it wordy? Yeah, a bit.
Now, I’m too busy to make a major update. It’s the classic “cobbler has no shoes”—do I work on my site or my clients’? But I have enough of my ecosystem that things can ebb and flow a bit.
There is an abundance of trade offs that happen as a business owner, am I right? We just have to keep moving forward.