By Marilyn Heywood Paige
How can I get more leads? It’s the number one question people ask us. It’s not surprising since leads are the ignition to your sales engine. Without generating business leads, you have little hope for steady revenues and growth. This month, we will lead you through eight steps of lead generation.
#1 Target The Right Customers
Get picky about who you want your customers to be. When someone asks, “Who is your ideal client?” Your answer shouldn’t be vague, such as, “Anyone who owns a business.” Be more specific about your target customers.
For example, “My ideal customer is a 35 - 50-year-old software developer working in a $100M to $500M annual revenue healthcare company. He or she is one of the main decision-makers on the company’s software purchases. The solutions he or she prefers include training and customization and are not typically the least expensive options.”
#2 Find Them On LinkedIn
Now that you have identified the specifics of your ideal customer, look for people and companies that resemble those characteristics on LinkedIn. Their profiles won’t say, “I make purchase decisions based on training and customization,” but make your best estimate based on their company role, background, and posts.
Make a list of at least 50 people and companies you want to target. This is the first draft of your prospecting list. You will make adjustments to it. It is not final.
#3 Conduct Surveys or Interviews
Reach out to at least 10 people on the list and ask each if they would take part in a paid research study. Offer a $100 honorarium per person for participating. (Pro tip: you can try to get people to talk to you for free, but in my experience, participants keep the appointment and are more helpful when they are getting paid. Be sure to tell them you are not trying to sell them anything. Also, an Amazon gift card works as well as offering cash and is easier to manage.) Schedule as many interviews as you can afford.
Discover Their Customer JourneyDuring the interview, ask the participants how they make their purchase decisions. What factors are most important in evaluating a product or service like yours? Determine how they go about finding a solution to their needs. What are their goals and the obstacles they encounter on their way to reaching them? You want to understand everything you can about the buyer’s path to purchase. Do not talk about your product or service. Just ask questions.
#4 Make A List of The Significant Findings
In your survey or interviews, you will learn some things that surprise you and other things that confirm what you already knew. Record these. If you interview enough people, you’ll notice some patterns emerge.
For example, almost everyone mentions price as a key consideration in their decision, but also comment that they tried at least one other solution that didn’t work at all. This is a useful insight because you can use it to talk about the money wasted on solutions that didn’t work.
#5 Build A Messaging Blueprint
Use those key insights you discover in your interviews to build a messaging blueprint. A blueprint includes tone, value propositions, differentiators, primary messages and secondary messages. Everything communication from your brand—from videos to social posts to brochures to email signatures should include words from the messaging guidelines. It ensures your brand is consistent, relevant, and interesting to the target audience.
Brand VoiceThe overall tone or brand voice you use should resonate with your ideal clients. Brand voice has to do with the demeanor of the messaging. Is your brand voice no-nonsense? Whimsical? Gruff? It should match the voice of your audience or be very relatable to them.
Value PropositionsWhat do people get from doing business with you? Specifically, how does your product or service make their lives better? And here’s the critical part to remember about this: your value propositions are what your customers value most about your brand. They are not what you think they most prize about doing business with you. (Hint: you can only surmise this by interviewing your customers.) Make a list of these factors in ways that your audience will identify with.
DifferentiatorsHow do your products and services differ from your competitors? These are your differentiators. And here again, this has more to do with what your customers view as your distinctions as opposed to what you deem them to be. (See above hint.) Write these out on your list.
Primary MessagesWhat are the critical points you need your audience to understand? These are the statements that most influence their decisions. They are also the statements that represent the heart of the insights gleaned from your market research.
Remember we learned in our interviews that most participants mentioned that they had tried at least one other solution that didn’t work at all? You’ll use this in your primary messages. For example, Primary message: “Our proven solutions save you time and money.”
Write all your primary messages down. There should be many on your list.
Secondary MessagesIt’s easy to make promises. Ad savvy audiences need proof that your assertions are true. Your secondary messages back up your primary messages with the reasons to believe your claims. For example, you might follow the primary message above with, “Our average client gains back an hour every day when they adopt our software. See our time study data to see where they gained the most time.”
Write at least one secondary message for each primary message.
This collection of messages you have put together along with your brand voice is your messaging blueprint. Use it to format the outgoing messages you will create in the next step.
#6 Choose The Best Distribution Channels
Given your budget, what is the best way to reach your target audience? Your website? Email? Social media? Google search? It’s likely a mix of several channels. Decide which channels in which you will invest.
#7 Create & Launch Outbound Messages
What messages will you deliver in each channel? Some messages are perfect for a blog post, while others are better for email. Write your critical outbound messages using your blueprint, format them for the delivery channel, and schedule your delivery campaigns.
As the returns from your campaigns come in, measure their impact. Examine the efficacy of the distribution channels and the messages and tweak both. Want to know more? View our How to Get More Leads webinar.
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