Let’s get straight to it: lack of consistency and lack of resources. Above and beyond, the most common reasons why most lead generations campaigns fail.
Pretty simple, right? And yet, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is, on paper, beguilingly simple: eat well, exercise regularly and sleep sufficient amounts. Well, problem solved in that case – the global obesity crisis fixed with a few simple instructions.
Creating a successful lead generation funnel is also a structured, step-by-step process that requires consistent action. But much like most dieters, SMEs are prone to jump from the latest, shiny fad to another without ever committing and putting the time and effort in required to get results. Unsurprisingly, there is no short-cut, hack or secret tactic and your growth strategy is, in all likelihood, not the crux of the problem.
Buyers and their journeys
Less experienced entrepreneurs or salespeople fail to recognise the many types of buyer and stages in their journey – those who are not in buying mode are often disregarded as poor-quality leads. Recognising the stage that the potential buyer is at and nurturing them in a supportive way is key and a different approach, process, marketing materials etc., are required at each stage. This trust relationship building is essential for maintaining a robust pipeline and investing the time and resources will, over time, dramatically impact on your bottom line.
This relationship building nurturing process needs to get off on the right foot – unless you can identify what the buyer needs and the stage in their journey they are at, there is likely to a disconnect either by providing them with information or resources that have no value or by asking for a level of commitment inappropriate to their level of interest and involvement. So don’t cast your net too wide and create generic content that is intended to appeal to all potential buyers – focus on the key audience and issues/topics pertinent to them.
Setting up an effective lead generation process takes not only manpower, resources but also time – pulling the plug after a few weeks will not do it justice. Equally, it is essential to test all stages in the lead funnel independently as some parts may perform well e.g., content leading to click throughs, but the landing page and unclear CTA may be causing the bottleneck.
Patience and nerve are also needed when it comes to financial investment – if we conclude, based on the initial cost per lead, that the costs are astronomical that is not an accurate reflecting on the cost once the funnel is optimised. Early costs during the testing process and learning curve are inflated so don’t fall into the trap of underinvesting – think rather in terms of the lifetime customer value of a potential client to the company rather than the mere cost-per-lead.
So, to sum up: identify who are your actual buyers and create valuable, relevant content for them specially that differs depending on the stage of their buyers’ journey. Focus on the ‘job’ that your solutions does and the issues it solves – not the way you conceive of it or its values. Don’t chop and change, jumping from channel to channel with a multiple of campaigns: focus on one or two channels over a longer-period while consistently testing and monitoring progress so you can establish clear benchmarks and actionable insight and results.
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