How do you get leads for your business? Do you get them from running ads on Facebook or Google? Perhaps they come through referrals? Or maybe, they call you on the phone?
A lead is called a lead because it leads to a sale. A lead is a connecting link between you (your business) and your prospect who is out there in the real world.
A lead usually consists of the following 3 things:
- Email ID
- Phone Number
Sometimes the leads do not contain the names. Sometimes it is either the email ID or the phone number.
The Email ID or the phone number helps you reach out to your potential prospect and have a conversation with them so that you can tell them about your products and services.
If you want to have a sales call, you need leads.
If you want to invite people to a webinar, you need leads.
If you want to invite people to an event, you need leads.
A lot of people focus a lot on building their social media following. But they are not your leads.
All these are not leads:
- Facebook Fans
- Instagram Followers
- Twitter Followers
- YouTube Subscribers
There are many ways you can generate leads for your business with the help of a lead magnet.
So here are the different types of lead magnets that you can use to get people to share their contact details with you. It’s like an ethical bribe to get their contact details.
In most cases, these are given for free or at a very low price such as $1 or 99 rupees.
- Trial of a course
- Trial of a software product
- Checklist or cheat sheet
- A form to get people to express interest in a product or service
- Request for a test ride of a car
- Request for a site visit of a real estate property
- Request for a free demo of a product
- Book a consultation call
- Membership to a community
- Report generator
- Resume generator
- Register for webinars
- Recording of a webinar
- Case studies
- Waiting list
- Applications (Internship, Jobs, or Memberships)
But, before we get into the details of how you can generate more and better leads for your business growth, you need to understand one fundamental business concept: Funnels (or you can say business growth strategy)
A Funnel is a framework that you can use to understand the way your customer interacts with your brand and makes a purchase decision. A funnel shows how your leads enter the top of the funnel, are nurtured through the body of the funnel and are converted at the bottom of the funnel.
As you can see, the sales and marketing funnel we talk about closely resembles an actual funnel. It’s wide at the top and narrows as it progresses downward and finally, it’s the thinnest at the bottom.
This shape of the funnel also represents the flow of leads through your funnel. At the top of the funnel, you will have a maximum number of leads. As you progress further down the funnel, you will weed out the irrelevant leads by nurture and marketing. Finally, at the bottom of the funnel, you have the conversions.
Getting people into the top of your funnel
The top of your funnel is the largest and broadest part of the funnel in any business. Conceptually, the top of the funnel (TOFU) refers to everyone in the ecosystem who has expressed interest in doing business with you.
The leads enter the funnel at the top. They can come from many sources – advertising, public relations, incoming leads, events, walkins, partnerships, forms, signups and more.
At this stage, at the top of the funnel, the leads have just heard of you and your brand. They have not formed any relationship and they have not bonded with the brand. In most cases, the affinity and loyalty toward the brand are almost zero.
In other words, they are cold leads.
But that’s ok. That’s how most funnels are – especially when they’re starting out.
To improve the quality of the leads, we have to move them down the funnel.
Moving people down through your funnel
Once you have the leads in your funnel, it’s a great idea to warm up the leads by nurturing. Nurturing helps in making the leads easier to convert by increasing their knowledge , their affinity and their understanding of the product you’re offering.
Nurture your leads: Tell your leads about you, your experience, how you struggled with the problem like your leads, how you come across the solution, and how your product helped your audience overcome their challenges achieving their dreams and aspirations.
But don’t let it be all about you. Focus on their problems. Send emails with helpful content solving their problems, educating them about different solutions available to them, and so on.
You can send them via emails or links to your existing content pieces, and videos or specific content you created for this campaign.
The more you focus on your audience – helping them solve their problems, people’s trust in you will grow.
As the trust grows, your audience will slowly move to the final stage of their journey where the magic, transaction happens.
The key point to remember is that you add value across each step in the customer journey – irrespective of the channel. As the lead progresses through the funnel, your efforts should increase the perceived value of the product or service you’re offering in the eyes of your lead.
So, how do you exactly nurture a lead?
You have many options for nurturing a lead. The popular options used by marketing professionals are email marketing, remarketing, webinars, video lessons and phone calls. Each of these channels has different techniques, approaches and messaging. Remember: In each interaction, you should provide value to the lead and help them decide for themselves.
Once they’re ready, the lead will then move to the bottom of the funnel, where you can convert the lead.
Managing the bottom of your funnel
At this stage, at the bottom of the funnel, your lead has been nurtured and is more aware of your product and services compared to somebody at the top of the funnel. The lead has been provided with a lot of value and has been educated about your offering. In your lead’s head, the perceived value of your offering has also been increased. At this stage, the lead is ready to be sold to – or as we say in business – converted.
Conversion is the act of converting the lead into a paying customer using any number of sales mechanisms. The most popular ways to close a sale and convert a lead into a paying customer include online sales, online stores, cart checkouts, phone calls and in person sales.
Like anything else in business, there are a number of different ways to convert your lead into a paying customer and you have to choose the best option based on what works for your business.
The Three Kinds of traffic.
In any marketing system, you need to feed the top of your funnel with traffic so that people visiting the top of your final will convert into leads.
On the whole, there are three kinds of traffic:
- Paid traffic
- Owned traffic
- Earned traffic
Paid Traffic: As the name suggests, paid traffic is the traffic that you pay for.
Popular sources of generating paid traffic include running ads on search engines, social media sites and third-party ad networks.
More specifically, paid traffic is generated when people respond to messages from ads, content marketing, PR and other paid sources.
Usually, the quality of the traffic coming from paid sources is of a lower affinity and readiness to convert. Leads generated from paid traffic are usually cold and require a lot of nurturing to convert.
Earned Traffic: As the name suggests, this is the traffic that you have earned by developing goodwill in your ecosystem.
This is the type of traffic that is generated when people talk about you and your brand and recommend it on their own networks.
This is a valuable source of traffic and is better disposed towards conversion as there is already a trusted person endorsing your offering.
Owned Traffic: Finally, the most valuable traffic you have is the traffic that you own.
This is the traffic generated from people who are on your blog and email list.
It costs you nothing to get in front of these people. Usually, this is the best converting type of traffic as you’ve already built up a relationship with your audience and you have earned their trust.
Though all three types of traffic are critical to your success, there is only one fundamental secret to growing your business with funnels: Keep building your owned traffic.
At the end of the day, the idea behind any marketing activity is to build up the volume of owned traffic you can generate. The easiest way to do this is by converting the paid and earned traffic into owned traffic.
The only online asset you’ll ever need.
Owned traffic is the best kind of traffic. It is free to use, it converts well and has a lot of potential for generating earned traffic as well. One of the key goals of any marketing activity is to build up the capacity of any business to generate owned traffic.
The simplest way to do that is by building up an email list.
There are many different ways to reach out to an audience that cares about what you have to say. You could use advertising, social media, blogs or videos. These are all channels – useful channels that are either maintained by you or leased from a third party for your temporary usage.
However, the only online asset that you truly own is a fully opted in email list. This is an email list that has been built with permission and consists of people who are actively opted in to hear from you. To succeed in business, you need to build up your opted in email list and grow your relationship with them with intention.
Now that you know why the email list is important, how do you build your list?
One of my tried and tested techniques to build your list works like this:
- Sign up an email marketing solutions provider. Popular examples are MailChimp, ConvertKit, ActiveCampaign and GetResponse. Choose any provider that works for you.
- Configure the solution to start receiving leads. This usually requires you to set up lists, forms and configuration settings.
- Create a form on the email marketing solution.
- Create a landing page that convinces the visitor to share their email address in exchange for something of value. This is usually called an opt-in bribe and takes many forms. Popular offerings for opt-in bribes include ebooks, reports, video courses, cheat sheets, worksheets and email courses etc.
- Configure the email marketing solution to automatically send the opt-in bribe once the visitor has become a lead.
- Set up further automated email sequences to nurture the lead.
- Go live with the landing page.
- Start sending traffic to the landing page and watch your email list grow!
While you’re building your email list, here are some dos and don’ts to follow:
- Do build your relationship with your list over time.
- Do add as much value as possible with your mails to your list.
- Do leverage the power of automation and technology to grow your list.
- Do infuse your personality into everything you do.
- Don’t buy your list from databases.
- Don’t spam people.
- Don’t sell all the time.
- Don’t abuse the trust you’ve earned with your list.
Three funnel secrets you need to know + Bonus marketing experiments you can try.
As you build your funnel, you’ll soon start hitting pitfalls and plateaus in your growth. Keeping that in mind, here are three secrets that I’ve discovered in my journey that can help you with that.
Secret #1: Turn your crowds into champions
If you’ve been in business for a while, you have customers. Some of them are happy with you. Some are ecstatic.
What are you doing with them?
Most businesses do nothing. A few send an automated thank you email that is as interesting as flat cardboard. Some even make a thank you call that’s forgotten as soon as the call is over.
What do you do? What CAN you do?
Here’s the first secret: Every sale is a gift and every customer is a champion in the making.
When you sell something, you are giving something of value to the customer. But after the sale, it’s your DUTY to help them realize full value from what you’ve sold them. You anticipate their needs, their frustrations and their questions – and have the answers ready. Even better, you remove the opportunity for their needs, frustration and questions to appear in the first place.
With such rabid devotion to your customer’s success, you can turn every customer into a champion – for your business.
Secret #2: Serve before seeking.
In the beginning, your customers don’t know about you. They don’t care about you and, quite honestly, you don’t matter. You are just another brick in the wall.
But, for you to change this relationship you need to work for it. You need to put in the effort to change this dynamic. You need to get your customer’s attention.
And, you do that by trading value for attention. You need to give your customers MASSIVE VALUE right off the bat. And you need to keep on giving it. And giving. And giving. And giving.
This way, you build a rapport.
This way, you build trust.
This way, you change the dynamic.
This way, you begin to matter.
This way, when you ask, they will give.
Secret #3: Please mind the gap
You know that every business exists to solve a problem. It bridges the gap between two worlds – one world where your customer has a problem and one where they don’t.
And in everything you do in the business, you need to reinforce the fact that you’re the bridge. That you’ll take them from the world where the problem exists to the place where it doesn’t. That you’ll take them from Point A to Point B.
Over time, the nature of the problems that customers have changed. The market changes. The mindset changes.
The gap changes.
You need to always know the nature of the gap.
Because, if the gap changes, but you’re still trying the bridge the old gap, you’re in trouble. You will try to sell your customers something they don’t want or need. You will be out of sync with your customers and start eroding the trust you’ve worked so hard to create.
So, always keep your eye on the gap.
How to make your funnel more efficient with experiments
As your business grows, your funnel will mature. As the funnel matures, everything will seem to be running like clockwork. You will feel like taking a break. At that time, I have three words that I want you to remember: Become the sword. This is a directive, a philosophy and an ideology rolled into one. It’s simple to understand and simple to execute – but difficult to maintain without absolute commitment.
When you’re starting out as a business, you’re going to be less than amazing. It’s a fact. Then, as you learn the ropes, you get better and serve your customers better.
As I see it, in the beginning, you “learn the sword” to solve your customer’s problems. Then, as you get better, you start to “use the sword” to solve your customer’s problems better.
Some companies keep improving their skills and service to a level where they “become one with the sword.” They are on top of their game and better than anybody else out there.
Most companies stop here.
But, you can take it one step further: “Become the sword.“
That’s perfection. That’s the ultimate ideal. That’s the final destination.
That’s also impossible.
That’s also the best way to improve.
By a relentless focus on perfection, you WILL up your game – EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
The easiest way to become the sword is with experiments. Take apart your funnel and see which parts you can replace with something else. This is the secret to success and growth.
Here are 10 experiments you can try:
- What are the different messages you can use?
- How could you package your product differently?
- What would happen if you bundled your product?
- Can you partner with somebody else and complement each other?
- What if you offered customization services with your product?
- What if you productized your service?
- What if you targeted a different segment of customers?
- What if you tried to educate your audience instead of selling to them?
- Can investing in Corporate Social Responsibility increase your bottom line?
- What ideas can you borrow from other fields and implement in your own?
Where to go from here
By now, you would have understood the concept of a funnel, the different types of traffic, the concept of an email list and the approach you will need to adopt to grow your business using funnels.
The next step is for you to take action and apply them to your own business.
Niraj Kumar Singh.