Lead generation has never been easy. But it’s amazing how the basic structure of lead-gen campaigns has shifted in the past few months.
Here are a few proven principles for what is working right now for generating new leads:
1. Give before you get. In the good old days, you could hold out the promise of a video training series or special report and ask prospects for their email address. Those days are long gone. Now, you have to deliver the goods first and only then offer prospects even better help when they give you their contact info. That means you give a brief video training first.
2. Solve one very specific problem. Again, this is just a further denomination of the principle above. This requires brainstorming about what online tools or resources you can offer prospects that will actually help them with their problems. Right now, one of my clients is testing an online retirement calculator that lets prospects see how their nest eggs will fare under a variety of investment scenarios and strategies. Other clients use demo videos to show prospects how a particular investment strategy works in practice.
3. Provide instant gratification. No one wants another special report or PDF – unless, of course, the information in it is so valuable prospects simply have to have it. But that same information can be delivered in a fashion that is more easily and quickly accessed – in a piece of online service as software (SaSS), for example, or in a brief video. The point is to offer concrete, practical help right now.
4. Make it classy (high perceived value). These days, prospects want to know who they’re doing business with. If possible, have a photo of the members of your team – or, at the very least, use photos of people in testimonials. Any credibility enhancement you can provide will typically boost response… a lot.
5. Offer more help. A lead-gen magnet is the start of a conversation… so make sure you follow up. Ideally, offer more help via a telephone call. Even giant corporations like airlines are doing everything they can to avoid talking to their potential customers. That is short-sighted. Many prospects have questions and concerns that can be addressed in a moment. A telephone number goes a long way to proving that your business is legit and that you will be responsive to your prospects questions and needs.
6. Make it easy. Lead-gen pages should make it as easy as possible for prospects to become leads. But all too often, marketers bury their signup forms or only have one that prospects must search for. The best practice is to have multiple ways prospects can sign up for more help – traditional email signup boxes, new-fangled popup buttons (so the signup form appears after you click on the button), email addresses, telephone numbers and chat boxes. It goes without saying that two or three signup forms should be found on every page and blog post of your website.
7. Offer a bonus package for reaching out. In addition to the primary lead magnet – the special report or video series you’re offering upfront for instant access – consider adding further bonuses for taking more action. You can say “Click here to download our special report on XYS” – or, if you want even more help, call our 800 number and get a free starter kit on solving this problem in the next 14 days.”
8. Use a funnel. Some people think funnels are sleazy, but really they just respond to the gradual nature of any sales interaction. If you offer someone something helpful, it’s natural to suggest something more helpful. If a dentist offers a free dental exam to the general public, and then suggests someone consider a teeth cleaning for a small fee, that’s a “funnel.” It just means taking the sales process to the next step immediately, when prospects are most interested, rather than waiting days or weeks to follow up.
I’ve been a student of lead gen strategies because so many of my clients do front-end prospecting. I’m primarily a copywriter so my job is to take a lead generation strategy and persuade prospects to take action at each step of the way. It’s the hardest part of my job but also the most interesting.