If you know you need new customers coming in to keep growing your business, it’s in your best interest to pay attention to your lead generation strategies.
Generating leads remains a top concern for 65% of marketers surveyed in 2018, and since your pool of leads forms the source of much of your customer base, that’s a major problem. The long-term survival of your company could depend on your success in this area.
That’s why it’s critical that you identify and remedy any mistakes you’re currently making with your lead generation strategy so you can stop them from impacting you in the future.
The 6 Lead Generation Mistakes You Must Avoid
You’re Buying Your Leads
No matter how dire your situation, you should never, ever resort to purchasing lists of leads.
It’s a tempting prospect but it will not get you the results you want.
General statistics indicate that you should be able to achieve a 16.9% open rate and 7.06% click-through rate in email marketing across all industries, but those stats don’t account for where you’re sourcing your leads from.
You can expect to fall well short of those numbers if you aren’t using leads you earned organically through opt-in methods.
This makes perfect sense if you think about it.
Those emails are being sent out to people who have already indicated their interest in the product by opting-in to the campaign. These people want to hear from you and are actively expecting it, so they are much more likely to be receptive to your attempts to contact them.
On the other hand, someone on a list of leads you bought probably has no idea who you are and is much more likely to see your reaching out to them as overly aggressive advertising. They probably won’t even open your email or take your call at all.
If you want to do generate quality leads right, you have to do it yourself and stick with it even when it’s hard.
You need to pursue interested parties both online and offline, working hard to win their attention and keeping diligent records when you do.
If you find you’re having trouble keeping up with the administrative demands of this work, try downloading one of the helpful lead capture apps out there to make things easier on yourself.
You’re Focusing On the Wrong Metrics
When you’re setting things up for lead generation purposes, it’s important not to lose sight of your actual goal.
You’re not looking really for people’s interest or approval – you’re looking for customers, and you want to know you’re getting them in a cost-effective way.
The metrics you look at to evaluate your performance cannot be random; they should reflect the methods you are using to achieve that goal.
This means that while metrics like your number of visitors and even your click-through rates are still useful, they shouldn’t be your primary focus.
A more useful number to concentrate on would be your conversion rate (the number of people who have actually given you their contact information in each lead generation campaign).
You should also pay special attention to your ROI numbers. It doesn’t matter how many leads you get if it cost you more to get them than you stand to profit from them.
That’s why marketing departments that regularly calculate their ROI are 1.6 times more likely to have higher budgets than those who neglect to collect this information.
You’re Not Segmenting Your Leads
If you really want to master lead generation, you can’t just gather all your leads into a pile and call it a day.
To get things more organized, try segmenting your leads.
This involves grouping them according to shared characteristics (both innate ones like age or gender and more flexible ones like income or personal taste). Analyzing the trends and overlaps among these groups will allow you to develop a much better understanding of the type of person who is interested in what you’re selling. You can then take this new information to your sales staff and discuss your findings, as well as hear from them about what type of person they consider a qualified lead so you can settle on a unified definition.
If you do this right, you’ll have a much better idea of where to look for new leads in the future and what kinds of offers will be relevant to them, and you should end up with more of them for less effort as a result.
You’ll also make a tidy profit when it comes to actually following up on those leads; segmentation techniques have been shown to drive 77% of all marketing ROI in one way or another.
Before you start putting this plan into action, though, make sure you have the infrastructure you need to do so.
Segmenting leads effectively requires as much information as you can get on each individual lead.
This means investing in a complete, up-to-date and well-organized contact database that undergoes regular data quality audits.
Your Landing Pages Are Ineffective (Or Don’t Exist)
All marketers should be familiar with the landing page, a separate page on your website that you can use to welcome visitors who were led to your site by a particular offer or campaign.
Using them is not optional if you want to maximize your lead generation potential; 48% of marketers actually create a new one for each and every campaign they run. You don’t necessarily have to go that far, but your major campaigns should all have their own unique and relevant pages to create continuity for new visitors and remind them why they came to you in the first place.
Just having a landing page available isn’t necessarily enough, though.
Designing it well can greatly improve the chances of getting people to fill out the lead capture form it contains.
A good landing page entices the lead by giving them a reason to click.
You should be focused on telling your lead all about how they will benefit from your product, not just outlining its features and expecting them to connect the dots.
The page must clearly match the ad or offer that brought the visitor to you so that they will remain interested enough to surrender their information – no generic recycled content will do – and should include multiple call-to-action buttons that are prominently placed and easy to use.
It must also be optimized for mobile viewing since that’s where 52.2% of global web traffic currently comes from.
Perhaps the most critical consideration of all is the length of the lead capture form itself. While all lead information is potentially good information and any marketer would be happy to have all these bits of data at their disposal, demanding tons of personal information at once is a lot to ask of someone who has taken a mere casual interest in your offerings.
Conversely, someone with a strong interest in your product is much more likely to be willing to fill out all of the fields no matter how many there are, and these people are almost always great quality leads. When you’re looking for a large repertoire of leads, keep things short and sweet on your landing pages and worry about filling in extra contact data later if you can. If you’d prefer to get better quality leads, however, a long form is more appropriate.
You’re Not Using Social Media Properly
Even if you’re targeting high-level B2B prospects instead of everyday people, social media can still be a valuable lead generation resource that you should never overlook.
75% of B2B buyers rely at least partially on social media influence to make their purchase decisions, so the opportunity is there if you can capitalize on it.
You just need to know how to find the leads you’re looking for in the sea of irrelevant ones.
A lot of this has to do with platform choice. Social media is often referred to as if it were one giant channel, but that obviously isn’t the case.
Make sure you’re using the platforms that will actually reach your target audience; for example, the B2B marketer mentioned above would be far better off using LinkedIn for their outreach efforts than just about any other platform. If your situation is less clear-cut, try testing a few different platforms and see which gets you the best results.
You also need to think about what you’re going to post; simply posting whatever pops into your head will not entice leads and may leave some thinking of your brand as vapid or irrelevant.
A winning strategy is to pair your content marketing with your social media work and promote old content that may still be relevant to newcomers through your profiles on a few select platforms. Most older posts can continue to provide value to new readers as long as they know it exists, so by drawing attention to it, you can use it to draw in even more leads.
You’re Not Using Content Marketing
There may not be any single right way to do lead generation, but there are still general guidelines that it makes sense to follow. Content marketing can produce triple the number of leads for 62% less cost than outbound, so it should be a staple of any lead generation strategy.
If you don’t have a blog, that’s the first place you should start. Running a company blog is a great way to demonstrate and share your knowledge of your industry with other interested people.
It can take as little as a few hours per week to run and provides a magnet for leads that operates 24/7 and only grows more effective as you add to it over time. It’s an extremely effective strategy that every business can easily employ, and there’s no reason that any business shouldn’t have one.
As for what you should write on it, it’s important to take various buyer mindsets into account.
Each of the individuals who visit your site will be at a different point in the buyer’s journey.
Some visitors only have a passing interest in what you’re selling and don’t yet have any intention to purchase it. Others have a clear idea of what they want in their solution, but have no idea what your company is or what sets you apart from your competitor in this space. Others still will have basically already made their decision and simply want more details on what your product does before they commit to the purchase.
The more you try to cater to people within each of these different lead profiles with content tailored to their current needs, the better their lead quality will be when they finally speak to one of your sales staff.
Finally, remember that your content is only the bait.
Blog visitors and other people who show interest in your content are not leads until you get them to give you their contact information, so on top of luring them to your website, you also need to reel them in once they get there.
You’ll need multiple effective call-to-action opportunities distributed around each blog post page to make sure that you get as many readers as possible to your lead capture forms. Including one at the end is a no-brainer, but consider using other page layout elements like headers, footers, sidebars and other menus for this purpose as well.
Working Toward the Optimal Lead Generation Process
Even though lead generation will never be a simple process, it is so critical to the success of your operations that it’s worth doing all you can to improve your performance.
Now that you know what to avoid during this process, your chances of securing a positive outcome will be that much better.
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Originally published April 9, 2019 11:00 AM, updated June 11, 2019 at 11:00 AM