Lead generation is the continuous activity of sending the right messages to the right markets, through the right delivery channels to gain attention, elicit a response and earn you a qualified lead. Count them - that's three rights:
- The right message
- To the right prospects
- Through the right channels
Two rights and one wrong will not get you the lead generation results you need! If any one of these three rights of lead generation aren't working, then you've lost the ability to motivate the right prospects to see your message, or if they see it, to have enough interest in your message to respond to it.
So, how do you know if you have the three rights right? Aside from the fact that you would be getting all the leads you need - to master the three rights you must truly know and understand your most probable customer, the individual or business that is most likely to need and buy what you're selling. So what do you need to know? You need to know:
- who they are
- where they live, work and play
- how they perceive your product or service
- how they distinguish you from your competition
- what motivates them to purchase, or prevents them from purchasing
These five, and more, are elements of a solid marketing strategy that provide your business with a strong foundation on which to generate and convert leads. They are critical to understand when you are crafting and placing your marketing messages to generate leads. Once you understand your customer and their motivations, you will have the information you need to select the best messages to send and the best channels through which to send them.
The Right Message:
Whether your marketing message is in print, in person or over the air waves, it should elicit a need or desire and inspire your prospective customers to take action. The right message must be relevant to your prospective customers, grab their attention, tell them how your business can solve their problem, elicit their trust and differentiate you from the competition. If your message is all about you and your business it most likely won't speak to the needs, wants, and desires of your customers. Understanding what motivates your customers will enable you to craft messages that trigger their needs and desires, eliciting the emotions and feelings that cause them to take action.
The Right Prospects:
The right prospects are those individuals, businesses or organizations that are most likely to need and have the means to purchase your products or services. If a business is selling a high end product, the right prospect will need to have an income level to afford to purchase the product. While it may be desired by many, not all will have the means to purchase a high end product, so the business would want to focus their lead generation messages on those prospects that have the desire and ability to purchase. To identify those individuals most likely to purchase your product or service, think in terms of demographics; age, gender, occupation, income, marital status, education or location. If your customers are businesses, think in terms of size of business, product lines, industry, number of employees, location, revenue, type of business (retail, manufacturing, service, distribution...). Understanding the demographics of your customers will help you narrow down the messages and channels to use in your lead generation efforts.
The Right Channels:
Selecting the appropriate channels to communicate your marketing message is key to high impact, cost effective lead generation. The choices can be overwhelming, such as print messages which can be presented through direct mail, brochures, newsletters, newspaper, flyers and more. In addition electronic messages include e-mails, websites, newsletters, pop up ads, social media sites, text messages, blogs and more. In person, word of mouth, billboards, signs, bus benches, yellow pages or people walking around with a sandwich board blazing the name of your company, are all viable channels to reach prospects - just not all viable channels for your prospects. Appropriate channel choices that help you communicate clearly are cost effective and yield results.
After you clearly define your prospective customers or clients, select your strongest channels to reach them and create a clear compelling message to send them. Don't forget to quantify the results! Create a plan to track the results of your lead generation activities before you put them into motion. Track how many qualified leads you receive, from what channels they came, how many purchased and what they purchased. Quantification is the activity that will provide you the information to know if your lead generation is working.
As you focus on your lead generation strategy, take the time to focus on understanding the needs and motivations of your customers or clients to ensure the three rights are right!