Every business needs a system for customer acquisition and lead nurturing because these are some of the most important activities in business. This article will introduce you to the best practices of gathering and managing leads.
1. Define your ideal lead
Too many businesses waste a lot of time and money trying to sell to prospects that are not interested in buying or will not buy. Your ideal lead is someone who has interest in what you are selling. Also, your ideal prospect needs to have the financial ability and the authority to say yes to your offer.
If you have an existing business, start with analyzing your best customers and figure out what they have in common and why they are responding to your offers. Then, find more customers who are just like your existing best customers.
Here are the factors you need to pay attention to when defining your ideal leads:
- Geography. Are their certain geographical commonalities to where your prospects and customers live? Do they live in certain states, cities or neighborhoods?
- Demographics. Demographic factors include gender, age, education, income level, marital status, religion, average family size, and the number of children.
- Income/budgets. How much money do your prospects have that they can give you? If you are selling services or products in a B2B environment, do your prospects need to plan their budget before they can buy from you? If so, when do they create their budget? How long is a typical buying cycle in your industry?
2. Create an offer or offers for your ideal leads
If you examine advertising and marketing that you see around, you will discover that most of it talks about products and services, but does not offer anything that a prospect can have if he or she responds right now. A lot of ads, commercials, websites, business cards and Facebook pages don’t provide a compelling reason for taking any kind of action in the moment.
There are two main types of offers. The first type is an offer to buy something. The main disadvantage of this type of offer is that it will get response only from people ready and able to buy in the moment and it will fail to identify leads that will be ready to buy in the future.
The second type is an offer that asks a person to raise their hand in some way and identify and register as having interest in the products or services that you have. This type of offer is also known as a lead generation offer. Compared to the offers that ask for a direct and immediate purchase, lead generation offers can significantly reduce the waste in your advertising and convert more visitors into leads. Having lead generation offers also provides you with an excellent opportunity to build trust and relationship with your prospects and customers.
3. Give your leads a reason to respond right now
Hesitation and procrastination are a part of human nature, which is why many people would come to a website or a store, choose a product, add it to a cart and then leave without making a purchase or completing a sign-up process for a free trial or information. This happens with every single marketing channel, from retail stores to websites to TV infomercials. Because of this, you want to make sure that you are giving your prospects a reason to not stop before they complete the process. To be effective, your prospects need to have a sense of urgency when responding to your offers. You can create urgency with a limited supply, a limit per buyer or household, or a countdown timer. If your product doesn’t have a limit, you can add a bonus or a gift and use the limit with the bonus or the gift. /
4. Give instructions about how to respond and explain what happens next
Marketers often don’t get the results they want simply because they don’t supply the leads with the instructions about how to respond and what happens next. It is as if the marketers expect their prospects to be mind readers. Most people get easily confused, yet at the same time, they do a good job of following precise and clear instructions. They stop on a red light and start driving when the light turns green. They stand in lines and fill out the forms they need to fill out. In your business and lead generation activities, you want to have precise and clear instructions with no opportunity for confusion.
5. Create a sales funnel
Once somebody raises their hand and says that they are interested in the category of products and services that you offer, you have a marketing opportunity.
Arnold Taubman was one of the most successful shopping mall developers in North America. In his autobiography and speeches, he often talked about the concept of threshold resistance, which is the amount of pressure that a person needs to overcome to take an action. Most businesses severely underestimate the resistance on the part of their customers that they need to overcome.
Often, a business would create an offer such as a free exam or a free financial consultation and wonder why prospects are not flocking in and are not taking advantage of the offer. The reason is that an offer, even an offer for a free trial, can be scary and intimidating because it may require your prospects to place themselves in uncomfortable positions. A prospect may not want to talk to a live person because the prospect may believe that the person will try and make a sale and the prospect is not ready to buy yet. The most non-threatening offer is an offer for free information and the best way to deliver the information is to do so in a series of steps.
People today are really busy. They may not have the time to read or watch your message at once.
For this reason, think about what a prospect needs to know to become a customer. Then, deliver this information in a series of steps, also known as a sales funnel. For example, the list of things to know may include:
- knowing what products and services that you offer
- learning about the results that others get with your products and services
- understanding features and benefits of what you are selling
- realizing that even though you charge higher prices, your products or services are more reliable and save money in the long run
6. Use various types of media in your sales funnel
Different people consume information in different ways. Some like to read a long description. Others prefer a short list of bullet points. Yet others prefer to watch a video. Because of this, you want to include various types of communication in your funnel, from text emails to videos to direct mail packages to voicemail messages you leave using ringless voicemail.
Businesses that implement these practices tend to perform much better than their competition at all steps of lead generation and nurture process and accomplish sustained growth and profitability.