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How to generate leads that are worth a damn

Posted by Simon Collins
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Generating leads is important – you know that. Some marketer has probably mentioned it once or twice, with that dreamy look in their eye. The real issue is not just how to generate leads, but how to make them high-quality leads that could become customers. A good lead has a higher chance of converting into a customer because they’re a better match for your product or service.

Bad leads, bad seeds

Poor quality leads aren’t helpful for many reasons. These include:

  • Contribution toward vanity metrics that make you feel like your business is doing better than it is.
  • Muddying of your contact database, making it harder to manage and action contacts effectively.
  • Wasted time and resources when your sales reps try to follow up on leads that aren’t a good fit for your business.

But, don’t lose hope – every business can generate good leads. Read on to find out more.

Buyer personas are the foundation

To ensure your business gets good-quality leads, you need to have accurate buyer personas. For those yet uninitiated in the cult of marketing-speak, a buyer persona is a semi-fictional best-guess of who your target customer is. Pamela Vaughn at HubSpot explains:

‘Buyer personas help you understand your customers (and prospective customers) better. This makes it easier for you to tailor your content, messaging, product development, and services to the specific needs, behaviors, and concerns of different groups.’

Creating buyer personas is the critical first step to generating leads that could become customers. It’s the foundation that everything else is built on. Ignoring this step will mean your marketing efforts will crumble because you’ll be marketing to the wrong people.

Make CTAs your friends

A call-to-action (CTA) is the push to encourage who you’re engaging with to take an action that moves them forward on their buyer’s journey. It might be asking them to fill out a form in order to get a white paper, or it might be asking them to ‘buy now’ at the end of a squeeze page.

According to small business trends, 70 percent of small business websites lack a call-to-action. And, even if you do have CTAs, if they aren’t well-optimised, you won’t generate good leads. Fortunately, a few tweaks can quickly turn a poor CTA into a great one.

Creating urgency is a very effective tool to make your CTAs work. As Neil Patel says,

‘One of the main reasons why most landing pages and sales pages are not converting leads into customers is a weak call to action with no sense of urgency.’

To make a CTA more urgent, use action phrases like ‘download now’ or ‘sign up today’. It’s also helps to create limited time offers to make CTAs more appealing, for example, ‘for this week only, download our free eBook.’

PPC Advertising is more exciting than it sounds

Getting leads with pay-per-click (PPC) isn’t straightforward. But when done right, you’ll get ones that are high-quality. PPC means you can advertise directly to people who fit your buyer persona. This is another reason to have a well-researched, detailed buyer-persona. Otherwise, it’s easy to throw money away using PPC.

Segmenting your campaigns is key for effective PPC campaigns. There are many ways to break up your audience, and then target them directly. According to Andy Beohar at HubSpot:

‘Many companies make the mistake of setting up campaigns or ad groups for each product or service they have. They don’t dig deeper into the many different ways in which their target audience is searching for the solutions they offer.’

Of course, there are other elements to an effective PPC campaign. You also need to have well-researched keywords, and have the patience and consistency to monitor and tweak your campaigns.

Use Qualifying questions to cut the chaff

With lead generation, you need to cut the wheat from the chaff. In order to ‘find the wheat’ and ascertain which of your leads are high-quality, it helps to use qualifying questions. A couple of extra questions on a form will make all the difference. Here’s what HubSpot recommends for using qualifying questions:

‘This helps us understand what's on the mind of the lead and the sales rep knows what to email them or talk to them about during a conversation. The contents of the field could also be grounds for disqualifying the lead.’

You can immediately establish which leads are worth following up on.

You can also better segment these high-quality leads, so future content is optimised. And finally, with more information about your leads, your sales reps can tailor their follow-up.

Referrals and word-of-mouth marketing

Another way to get strong leads is to generate more leads through referrals. Referrals are often a better quality of lead because the people who buy and love your products will network with people who are similar to themselves.

To get more referrals, first you need to delight your customers. This means that you have to deliver an outstanding product or service and go the extra mile to bring value. Leave your customers inspired to tell their friends at the gym about the great experience they had.

Then, make your content easy to share. To do this, ensure there are social media share buttons on all of your content. Social Media Examiner suggests the following:

‘No matter what type of share buttons you choose, the three most important things to keep in mind are customization, prominent placement and tracking.’

Leads are people (so be nice!)

Don’t think of leads as only pawns on a chess board. Remember that leads are human beings. Always engage in a kind, human manner – put your company’s best foot forward to build a connection.

That said, designating someone a ‘lead’ is helpful so that you understand what stage of the buyer’s journey they’re at. You can then provide more relevant value, and helpfully guide them toward becoming delighted customers. Just don’t tell them that!

Good leads are essential for rocket-powered business growth

Weak leads are a liability your business doesn’t need. A weak lead will clutter up your CRM, waste the time of your sales reps, and contribute to vanity metrics that will make you feel unjustly confident in your business.

Apply the advice in this article and you’ll generate enough high-quality leads to boost your business growth into outer space faster than Elon Musk’s Roadster.

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