Your lead generation efforts are critical to your business. This is how you attract new prospects that might want to buy your products or services. The sad truth is that most small business’ efforts aren’t that good.
The result of poor lead generation?
Wasted time and money and a lack of new business to show for it.
Failed lead generation efforts can almost always be attributed to one of these four problems.
Killer #1: Failing to attract the attention of the target market
The first thing any lead generation effort must do is attract attention. If it fails here, it doesn’t matter how good the rest of your message is. No one will see it.
There is such a thing as good attention and bad attention. Be careful not to rely on the latter. For example, being loud and obnoxious is a good way to attract attention. But it’s exactly the wrong kind of attention.
The way to attract good attention is to be relevant.
Getting someone’s attention with bright colors, loud noises, or bold claims will only work if what follows is relevant. If it isn’t, you are just an interruption.
So how can you be relevant?
You can be relevant by putting a message out that your target market can identify with, wants, or needs. The message needs to connect with the potential customer in some way to hold their attention.
Of course, creating a relevant message requires you to know what matters to your target market. If you don’t, your efforts are doomed to failure from the start. If you aren’t sure if you know your target market, this handy guide to understanding your customer will help.
Killer #2: Creating the wrong (or no) impression
Once you have the target market’s attention, you need to make a good impression.
How do you do that?
You make a credible promise that your product will meet important needs. You need to address both functional (what your product does) and emotional (how it makes customers feel) needs. You also have to do enough to satisfy purchase-decision needs so the prospect feels comfortable taking the next step.
There are two ways you can mess this up.
First, by using exaggerated claims. Hype undermines credibility and turns off prospects. Don’t use it. Unless you can objectively prove that your product is the best, fastest, cheapest, etc, don’t lead with that claim. Most people will assume it is untrue.
Instead, use compelling, verifiable facts to show that your product meets the target market’s needs. Make sure that the facts you use are relevant to the target audience (see killer #1).
Clearly stated (true) statements about your product or service that are relevant and meaningful are what you need. This is what will persuade prospects to take the next step. Leave the over-the-top claims and carnival barker “lets make a deal” garbage to late night infomercials.
Read my post about creating lead generation content that persuades your prospect with relevant, meaningful information.
Killer #3: Make it difficult or confusing for your prospect to respond
Remember why you are doing all this work. You want to create a qualified lead. A critical part of becoming a lead is responding to your message to show interest. So make that as simple as possible.
You’ve done a ton of work to craft just the right message to engage your prospect. You’ve made a persuasive case and sparked some interest. You don’t want anything to get in the way of the prospect responding.
You want the respnse to be the natural next thing to do when they’ve received your message.
Make sure it’s brain-dead simple. Make the relevant information to respond obvious. Put your phone number in big, bold print. Make the button in your email or on your website easy to spot. Make your address easy to find. Maybe even include a map.
Don’t assume people who are interested will go find your contact information. They won’t. Put it at their fingertips.
Killer #4: Not qualifying your leads
What’s worse than not having any leads? Having a whole lot of bad leads.
Once those leads come in, you need to follow up with them. If your lead generation message didn’t do a good job of qualifying the leads, you end up with a big list of people who probably are never going to buy from you. That adds up to a lot of wasted time that you could have spent generating qualified leads.
How can a message qualify a lead?
Your message qualifies the lead by speaking to the person most likely to be qualified. We covered that when we talked about relevance. But relevance alone isn’t enough.
Your message also has to discourage people who aren’t good leads from responding. If your product is expensive, you need to communicate that so that people who can’t afford it won’t contact you. If you appeal to a very particular type of person, you need to use language that excludes people who aren’t that type.
But shouldn’t you be trying to cast a wide net to get as many customers as possible?
No, you shouldn’t be.
The only way you will be persuasive is to laser-focus your message and your offer to a very specific group of people.
Will you end up selling to more people than just that group? Yes.
Think of it this way. Your ideal lead is the center of a bull’s eye. Everything you do is to try to hit that bull’s eye. In the process, you’re going to end up hitting the rings next to the bull’s eye.
What you don’t want to do is dilute your message in an effort to appeal to everyone. The inevitable result of trying to be everything to everyone is that you end up being nothing to anyone.
How many of these lead generation killers are you guilty of?
What are you going to change about your lead generation to fix them?
Let me know in the comments or by email.