Lead generation is effectively trying to find people that are likely to become your customer and is rarely a quick win, it is the start of a relationship that needs to be built and nurtured. It doesn't need to cost the earth or be a dark art. There are many lead generation services out there promising the earth. They may even offer a deal whereby you only pay for a ‘qualified' lead.
But what is a qualified lead?
A qualified lead, typically, is someone who has been vetted against your customer criteria and matched as likely to buy your product or service. Often, these people, are deemed as being in the market for your product.
Is a qualified lead really qualified?
Make sure you question what a qualified lead is before agreeing to any lead generation package. What criteria will these people be matched against to be classified as a good lead? How will they be matched?
The fact that you may have browsed some package deals or looked at a TV online is often enough to lump you in the bucket of ‘people who are in the market' or a ‘qualified lead'. It could easily be the case that it's raining outside and you need something to cheer you up though.
What does a good lead look like?
A good lead is quite difficult to spot until you start having a relationship with the person. Remember that you are effectively paying for someone's information, you are the equivalent of a call centre selling you windows while someone's eating dinner.
A quality lead will generally be someone who has volunteered to hear from you. They may have joined your mailing list or left you a voicemail. These are not done deals. Even these people will need a cuddle before they trust you enough to give you their cash.
It is not always the case that a subscriber will ever purchase from you. Some of your subscribers may even be competitors keeping up to date with your news.
As a rule, when I look at campaign forecasting, I work on an assumption that 0.05% of my lead list will look at a product and that 0.05% of those people will make a purchase. If you know this, then marketing won't be a surprise.
How long does it take to makes sales from lead generation?
We, as customers, enter into a consideration period before we commit to parting with our hard-earned cash. You may not even realise that you are doing it, but you do!
How long does the average person think about buying the product before committing to buying? Even the most affluent person will take some time to think about parting with their cash. That is why you never see anything more expensive than £10 near the checkout at the supermarket. We are more likely to make an impulse conversion if we have the change in our pockets.
Planning a holiday? The first thing you do is think about when you are looking to travel. Then you'll look at potential locations. You might do some research on TripAdvisor to see what there is to do around that location. Then you'll look at accommodation and board options. All of this before you've even checked at work if you can take the time off. This all constitutes as a consideration period.
So how do I get qualified leads that don't break the bank?
Consider how much you really need to know about your potential customer to nurture the relationship:
If you are paying for lead generation through a form of advertising, the more data you try to collect, the more it will cost you. How much do you really need? Will an email address, postcode and name do? Don't forget, this is the start of a relationship, you can request more data as you build a rapport.
Do something different:
I recently came across Survey Anyplace who allow you to create interesting ways to capture data. One of the examples that stood out to me was a virtual scratch card. In return for answering a couple of questions, I was given £5 discount and joined a mailing list for sports clothing. They have a few data capture options that start with an interactive element. This is how you know that someone really wants to buy from you, they've spent a few minutes interacting with your brand in an entertaining way and then agreed to give you their details. It also has the potential to be shared socially too, widening your reach and pool of prospects further.
Build a rapport:
Once you have a lead, don't go for the hard sell straight away. We've all had emails from Amazon ‘here's something you might like'. Give your new leads a nice opening to you and your brand. Keep them interested in you while you move your way, subliminally, through their consideration period.
Put yourself in their shoes:
Everyone has seen bad marketing. Think about how your lead generation campaign would make you feel if you were on the receiving end. Ask honest people, not just your mum who thinks everything you do is great. Ask people who know nothing about lead generation what they think of your campaign, and listen to their feedback.
Decide how much a lead is worth to you:
Even if you aren't paying for leads, you will be paying in time. A person who joins your newsletter list expects a newsletter every now and again. This will involve a time resource. The best way to work this out is to look at the cost of your product, typical customer behaviour (do they repeat buy or make a one off purchase, never to be seen again?) and the margins that you need to make to be profitable. Once you have analysed this, you'll be able to make an informed decision on if you can spare £10 to generate a new customer or £1.
If you decide to use a marketer or lead generation service, ask loads of questions. Us marketing folk love to talk shop. The right person will happily talk you through everything and will keep talking until you are happy that you fully understand what your money will be getting you. A truly knowledgeable lead generation marketer or service will be able to explain how it works in a way that your granny will understand. If they can't talk in a way that makes sense to you then move on to the next one. They are likely to be reading a script or parroting something that they have heard before.
Lead generation can be hugely beneficial to building long term relationships with new customers. In return for your relationship building, you should end up with loyal customers and brand advocates that will keep you in the forefront of their preferred brand list.
Lead generation is not something you should enter into lightly. Don't right, it shouldn't cost you the earth but will always require a time resource, in nurturing and converting your leads.
For advice on lead generation practices, contact JeMarketing today.