The Curatti Lead Generation Roundup
For Curatti’s very first expert roundup, we thought we’d start with one of the more important topics in marketing. To state the blindingly obvious, all businesses want sales. And in order to make those sales, they need leads! Lead Generation, and it’s digital cousin, Inbound Marketing are subjects that no marketer can ever stop learning about.
For this roundup, we’ve assembled some great people. And we’ve conducted it a little differently to other roundups we’ve seen.
We’ve asked people to answer their own question, rather than limiting them to only answering what we ask. And the breadth of questions and answers, has proven this little experiment to be a good one.
Here’s what we asked:
- Frame what you feel is the most important question that can be asked around Lead Gen
- Answer that question
Beneath each person’s name, you will see hyperlinks to their website and the Twitter handle. Below that is at least a representation of what each does. I didn’t say CEO, Founder or Co-Founder, as every person here is one or two of those. And for most, I fear, one line simply isn’t close to enough to describe them.
Here are the people you will find in this article. They are presented in strict alphabetical order. Feel free to click on any of the links to jump to their contribution:
Social Media Specialist, Community Director
Q: How do I turn a lead into a raving fan, who will return and refer?
A: 1)Establish relationships, built layer by layer over time (using all tools available to you, depending on your personal preference.
This should include online as well as off line methods). Trust and loyalty are the coin of the realm for business relationships that pay off over time.
2) Find the needs of your leads by asking great questions and listen twice as much as you speak. Fulfill those needs efficiently and effectively.
Sometimes you must say “YES/CAN DO!”, and then figure out how to best accomplish this along the journey.
3) Under-promise, over-deliver.
Be sure to assess every detail to find solutions for your leads. This goes back to asking great questions, listening to the answers with both ears, and keeping great notes (use a good CRM software for tracking conversations, notes, follow up opportunities).
4) In business, as in golf, it’s the follow through that makes all the difference.
As Tom Peters (“In Search Of Excellence”) once said, [paraphrasing]: “you are either distinct, or you are extinct”. Go the extra mile to be sure your lead’s needs are met, well beyond what they originally thought possible.
When you dazzle, surprise, delight them, they will return again and again, and they will REFER others to you!
5) Ask happy customers for referrals and testimonials to publish on all your collateral, on and off line.
6) Rinse and repeat.
Content Marketing Practitioner, Author
Q: Where Do You Start?
A: Like any other task, getting started – and knowing where exactly to start – is often the hardest part! So let me help you with that.
First, when I start to work with clients on lead generation, we aren’t talking about brick & mortar / local businesses, or helping people to find your business by name. Rather, this is about getting people into your sales funnel who are looking online for help and have never heard of you before.
So that right there should have been a clue.
You need a Sales Funnel.
Now, a Sales Funnel is just a fancy way of saying that you’ve thought in advance about the specific needs & characteristics of your ideal customer, and the journey they may be going through to get to someone like you.
What issues do they have? What questions? How can you help?
It’s important to understand here that it’s unlikely they will stumble on your Home page and decide to call you. No, you’re going to need something a little more elaborate.
Start with determining the Issues & Questions. What do they want to know about that you can help with and answer? And more specifically, what can answer FOR FREE for someone that you know will likely lead to MORE questions and need for help?
For example, I might create an article that walks small businesses through How To Create A Facebook Page For Your Business. They’ll read the article, for free, and find out how to create that Page. But while they’re on the article, I’ll offer to email them a free eBook on How To Get Your Facebook Page In Front Of Prospective Customers, which teaches them how to set up and create some Facebook Ads.
Once they’ve signed up to receive the free eBook, they’re in my sales funnel. I can set up additional emails to go out to them later on that provide more information about me, other resources, and eventually either recommend specific products to help them, or maybe just recommend a consulting session to give them added help.
Since I know that a great many business owners struggle with these tasks, I can expect to get a lot of leads and business from such a funnel!
Every sales funnel will look a little different, but that’s the basic structure.
Article -> Free Offer -> Paid Offer
You can create as much initial content as you need to utilize social media and search to drive traffic. And you can create multiple free offers to attract and segment different audiences matched with different offers.
It all starts with determining what questions your audience has, which you can answer, but which then might lead to paid offers.
Content Marketing Strategist, Storyteller
Q: How can we create a lead magnet that will attract our ideal prospects and stand out from our competitors’ lead magnets?
A: If you are going to create a lead magnet that attracts your ideal prospects, you must first know your ideal prospect’s deepest needs, desires, dreams, fears, and the questions that keep them awake at night.
You also must know which of those negative things your business alleviates and/or which of those positive things your business accelerates.
Once you know these two things, then you must come up with a topic that answers the most pressing questions your ideal prospects are actually asking. This must also be a topic that will enable you to take them on an educational and informational journey that will eventually lead them to the solution that your business offers/sells.
If you want your lead magnet to actually attract these ideal prospects and stand out from your competitors’ lead magnets, then you cannot settle for creating generic content.
You must figure out how to create a lead magnet that addresses the chosen topic, and answers their pressing questions, in a way that is engaging, entertaining, inspirational and even enjoyable.
And last, but not least, you must “package” this lead magnet in a way that makes it attractive to your ideal prospects. At the least, that means it must have two things:
1) It must be visually attractive.
2) It must have a “grab ’em by the collar” title which will telegraph to them that your lead magnet answers their pressing question(s) and will lead to the solutions they’ve been seeking.
Influencer Marketer, Consultant
Q: How should you plan your lead generation campaign to maximize your returns?
A: A recent survey conducted by HubSpot reveals that lead generation is a major challenge faced by businesses. 63% of the respondents in this survey have reported lead and traffic generation to be their biggest challenge.
The most common reason why lead generation campaigns fail to deliver results is due to inadequate planning. So before you embark on a campaign to generate leads, ask yourself what your objectives are.
Spend adequate time and effort to understand your audience. Whom are you trying to reach, and why? Conduct in-depth research into your target audience and their challenges. Not only will this help you identify the best channel for your campaign, but also what messaging you should be using.
The key to successful lead generation is research. Knowing your audience well, and creating an engaging message with a clear call-to-action makes for a successful lead generation campaign.
Content Marketing Consultant and Author
Q: What’s more important: quality or quantity?
A: The answer is yes. You have to deliver the highest possible volume of quality leads that your budget can afford and your sales team can handle. It’s also important to realize the seasonality. Sales often wants more leads in Q1 and higher quality leads in Q3 with conversion / nurture as th focus of Q4. Be flexible and willing to meet their needs at the right time
Social Media Expert, Speaker, Trainer
Q: What does MY audience want?
A: When discussing lead generation, the first question that always comes up is…how do I generate more leads? And it’s only natural – that’s what we all want. But, perhaps the better question is, what does my target audience want? That’s the thing about lead generation; it only works when it’s optimised for your particular audience. For example, what do they read online? What content attracts their attention? If you want to give them a compelling reason to complete your form and leave their details with you, you need to offer them something that brings value to them – specifically.
Digital Marketing Strategist and Marketer
Q: Who are you trying to reach?
A: At the outset of lead generation it is imperative that you are clearly able to define the intended audience that you going to be attracting. This can’t be a generalized group such as “local businesses”, instead it has to be extremely specific and contain details about the person’s age, income, location (as examples) and other details that will provide something of a persona of the individual you will be speaking to.
From that detailed persona, you can then conduct additional research that will help you understand them as individuals, what motivates them, the challenges and issues they have that you solve, etc.
LinkedIn Coach and Trainer
Q: Where is the low hanging fruit?
A: Some areas to revisit include: existing customers (with new offers), lapsed and past customers. Look for warm introductions from your existing network. Export and review your LinkedIn connections – there’s always some gold in there.
Web Design and WordPress Services
Q: How to Boost Lead Generation Through SEO?
A: Here are 4 practices that have helped me garner quality leads through SEO
1. Use Long Tail Keywords
To garner leads to your website, make use of LSI keywords and phrases. These keywords though less competitive & popular than other high search volume keywords can help you make an impact, as they often include search terms that match the users intent for a search query. Moreover, you can easily find niche-specific LSI keywords with the help of the LSIGraph tool which is the best free tool for generating keyword variations.
2. Create Quality Content
Half your battle is won if you are able to create interesting content that provides value to your readers. The more epic your content is the more shares and likes it will garner, which will help you generate quality leads. Another great way to generate leads is to provide a freebie as part of your content in the form of an eBook, a downloadable PDF or a printable infographic. Also, ensure that you publish content consistently to achieve better results.
3. Local SEO
Optimizing your website and content for location-specific search queries is yet another way to gain more leads. Using local keywords such as ‘web designer in Mumbai’, creating a Google business listing for your website as well as asking your existing customers to write reviews about your product or service can help boost traffic.
4. Link Building
From guest posting to outreach emails, blog commenting, Quora Q&A and more, linking building is another technique that can help you attract more leads for your business.
WordPress Trainer for Midlife Bloggers
Q: How can I attract the right kind of person to sign up to my newsletter?
A: First of all you need to work out who your ideal newsletter subscriber is, and what you want to gain from them. It’s all very well collecting email subscribers, but it will be a waste of your time if you don’t do anything with this data. (And if you live in the UK and the EU, you need to make sure they use a double optin, for GDPR purposes).
Then you need to think what you can offer to encourage your ideal newsletter subscriber to respond favourably. What special information can you give them that will change their lives, but won’t break the bank for you, that you can offer in exchange for their email address. Nobody responds to an empty sign up form any more.
Where Are They?
Next you find out where these ideal people are congregating, and start communicating and engaging with them. This is not a time for selling your newsletter, but a chance to get them to notice you and the value you can give them. This may take a bit of time, but it will be worth it to win them round. Only then will they be willing to visit your website and sign up to benefit from what you offer them.
If you’ve done your homework well, these ideal subscribers will be perfect for you to communicate with via your newsletter over a period of time. Talk to them, share your secrets, educate and entertain them. This is all part of them getting to like, know and trust you, while you gradually let them know what you can do for them.
And when you do sell, do it sparingly and in a communicative way. Those who are ready will respond. And if you satisfy them, they may tell their friends to sign up, thus increasing your mailing list even more.
SEO & WordPress Specialist
Q: Why are you NOT getting more leads from your website?
A: I do a lot of website audits for my clients and I always see the same lead generation mistakes. So, I thought I would give you a few easy, but powerful tips.
1. How many clicks do I need to get in touch?
Are your contact details easy to find? In the header, footer, contact page.
How many ways can I get in touch? Only by contact form! Bah. Give me your email, phone and a form. And if you have a business, your address and a map.
2. What is your main offer or purpose of your website?
This should be front and center on your homepage. Not some fancy picture or cryptic statement about what you do. I don’t care about that stuff.
I want to know when I land on your homepage what it is you can do for ME. Entice me with a solution to my biggest problem, then lead me to a page where I can learn more. After that, I might want to get in touch (back to point 1 – make it easy).
If you start with these two simple changes, you should be getting way more leads than you are today. Give it a shot. And if you want a professional check, send me an email :> It’s easy to find on my website (no surprises there).
Website Conversion and Social Media Marketing
Q: Are you asking yourself, “Why isn’t my eBook, guide, checklist, or report getting the opt-ins I thought it would”?
A: Because those lead gens are no longer the most effective way of getting prospects into your sales funnel. (Which is weird, because we all do it!)
There is another kind of lead magnet that has a much higher perceived value and if you really want to grow your list fast, you should be using it.
It’s the free video mini-course, aimed at answering your target market’s biggest question(s). Mini-courses work so long as you keep them snappy (less than five minutes) and the series short (3-5 videos at most). Of course, you’ve got to provide valuable content which builds confidence and trust when you make sure the content is directly useful to your visitor’s problem.
Digital Marketing Strategist
Q: How do I evaluate the quality of my leads?
A: Lead quality is always a question of consideration because you want buyers who will actually take action
One of the ways to understand the quality of leads is through the process of lead scoring, which is helping companies understand how their customers engage with top, middle, and bottom of funnel content.
For example, the value of a lead could be measured by a customer’s interaction with a white paper. Depending on their industry, seniority, and closeness to buying power, they could be identified as someone that sales should reach out to for the future.
With lead scoring capabilities on the market, companies can readily capture their customers. Better customer capture ultimately means better sales opportunities.
Social Media Strategy, Instagram
Q: When should businesses start thinking about lead generation?
A: Marketers and business owners should be thinking about their lead generating tactics as soon as they start their online marketing strategy. There should be a plan as to how often lead gen posts will be shared on social media and what types of content will be used for those posts.
It is also important to know what tools will be used as the lead generator, whether free downloads, webinars, video series, etc. Your social media strategy should be designed to augment and support your lead gen and without knowing what that is, you’ll struggle to create a successful strategy online that drives the long term sales results you likely desire.
Blogging and Content Repurposing Expert
Q: How do I generate RESPONSIVE leads?
A: Generating a lead isn’t that hard. However, getting that lead to respond to what you have to offer? That’s a different story.
The truth is your target prospects don’t care about your product or service. They only care about how your product or service solves their problem.
And guess what?…
You’re in business to provide solutions.
You’ve got the answers.
You’re the person with the plan.
Everything you do online – whether connecting with your leads on social media, or creating original content for your site, or repurposing that content to serve your target prospects on other platforms – EVERYTHING you do should connect the dots between your solution and people searching for it.
Then and only then will your leads respond to your message.
Digital Marketing Consultant
Q: Who are you targeting?
A: There’s no point deploying a lead gen campaign without a clear definition of your target persona…
You need to know characteristics, demographics, tendencies and needs — Else you’re shooting in the dark.
It’s a good idea to begin profiling current customers, or those of competitors! The more detailed your ideal customer profile, the more targeted your campaign — equalling better leads that are more likely to convert.
Digital Marketing Strategist
Q: What is your goal, and what will your sales process be to achieve that goal?
A: Only after we answer that question can we begin to work on the rest — The sales funnel, the sales strategy. More precisely:
- The roles people will play in the process
- At what point in the sales process do we want to generate leads
- What online processes will be needed – Design of landing pages, email lists, messaging, auto-responders, drip campaigns, etc.
- What online and offline follow-up will be implemented
- How leads are handed off to sales people
And still other details. All to achieve, and hopefully exceed, the sales goal(s) and fuel the bottom line.
Digital Transformation Blogger and Strategist, Speaker
Q: The most important question someone could ask about lead generation: What is your goal?
A: “Leads” is not a good enough answer to this question, but unfortunately that’s the question most people neglect to take a deep dive into. Lead generation is about strategy. Your goal could be to generate top of funnel leads or middle of funnel leads that you could drop into your nurture program, or it could be to generate bottom of funnel leads that are prospects ready to buy. Different campaigns are necessary, depending on what your goal is.
All too often, lead generation campaigns are embarked upon, leads are acquired, and then handed off to the sales team for phone calls. This happens to me all the time, and when it does, it immediately turns me off from the brand and its products or services.
What Not To Do
For instance, when I sign up for a webinar or download a whitepaper, it is not a signal that I am ready to buy. I am in the learning stage, and trying to learn more before I make a purchase. A phone call irritates me, as it presumes the relationship is more advanced than it is.
What To Do Instead
Had these brands put me into their nurture campaigns, and provided me with more information along the lines of what they can see I’m interested in, it would help me build a relationship with them. Over time, it would help them earn my trust and lead me to the point where when I’m ready to buy, I’ll consider them.
By short circuiting this relationship-building, credibility-building, trust-building stage, marketers and sales teams are spending time, money, and effort on lead gen campaigns that won’t deliver. Because they’re not starting with the right question: What is our goal? And then, figuring out a strategic path that will allow them to get there.
SEO Trainer and Consultant
Q: How do I generate leads through LinkedIn?
A: It surprises me the number of people and businesses who fail to use LinkedIn effectively as a lead generation tool. I have generated over million pounds of new business directly through LinkedIn and it remains my LinkedIn goldmine to this day.
Like any digital marketing task, it all starts with a process. If you do not follow a set process, all you are doing is random marketing stuff in the hope that someone takes the bait.
Don’t sell and start conversations
The main reason many people fail to generate leads through LinkedIn is they are in the wrong mindset to start with. Connecting with someone and immediately sending them a sales pitch will result in you getting blocked. It’s all about starting a conversation and seeing where that mutual conversation leads. Never make the conversation all about you. When you connect with someone, you need to ensure it is of benefit to both parties.
The LinkedIn lead generation process
Every person and every business need to create their own process but here is what is working very well for me:
1. Decide who you want to do business with. Not everyone is your customer. You need to list down what your ideal customer looks like. The decision maker.
2. Make sure your own LinkedIn profile is fully populated and aimed at your target audience. Don’t turn it into your personal CV. Explain the benefits and who you work with. Look at my own profile (https://www.linkedin.com/in/markprestonseo/) to give you an idea of what you need to include.
3. Use the search function to mimic your ideal customer. List the people down on a spreadsheet with their name, company, position and LinkedIn profile URL. This can be done manually, or you can streamline this process by using DuxSoup Chrome plugin (https://dux-soup.com/).
4. Go down your list and read each profile one by one. By doing this, they will see that you looked at their profile.
5. Send each person a personal LinkedIn connection request asking a question about something they have commented on or have published.
6. Once they accept your connection request and answered your question. Start a conversation. Get to know them and establish how you can help each other.
7. Take the conversation offline. Setup a telephone call or better still, a face to face meeting. Turning your virtual connection into reality.
8. Keep in mind that ‘everyone knows someone’ so if you establish that you are not able to do business with a certain person. Don’t just cut the conversation dead as they may be having their own conversation next week or next month where your name might be mentioned, giving you a great referral.
I go into much more detail within my own LinkedIn lead generation process, but it gives you an idea on how to start. Good luck!
Product and Digital Marketer
Q: What is the thought process behind lead generation?
A: I ask this question because on the surface, lead generation is a fancy word for sales. There are many ways to make sales, whether it’s passively, in an event setting, or through what one might call “social selling”. Many people discuss lead generation as a thing, but really what is more important is how someone thinks about that thing.
To me, an ample thought process about lead generation is not necessarily about the lead itself, but rather the greater marketing areas that funnel into lead generation, including content, product, digital, sales enablement, and other modern marketing activities. How does lead generation lead back to a product’s messaging? How does it lead back to solving a particular problem? These questions and more in my opinion, are what should be asked before lead generation is considered.
Social Media Marketer
Q: Is lead generation that important or essential to today’s marketing plans?
A: Absolutely. Lead generation should be a macro strategy itself and central to all comprehensive marketing plans because of its generative ability towards overall success rates.
Information, similar products, and content have saturated today’s market, and potential customers have also become well educated in product information along with knowing what they want.
This situation has caused a declining, although still necessary, use for traditional outbound marketing, like event marketing. But also an upsurge for resource filled, digital, inbound, lead generation marketing techniques.
In a nutshell
Think of lead generation as a business’s way of introducing themselves to prospective customers. Whether that introduction is via their website, social media, or elsewhere.
This initial lead-in needs to be flexible, varied, valuable, optional and should use multi medias so that everyone can be engaged. A few examples could be sign-ups for newsletters, coupons, or downloads.
Then, depending on the information collected from the first interaction business can identify the person’s life cycle in the buying or connection process and respond appropriately.
This softer process eases the B2C relationship down the sales funnel towards a purchase in a friendlier and less pushy manner.
Most importantly the sales tunnel doesn’t necessarily have to be a ‘sales tunnel’ at all. The objective or goal can be anything, thereby making it more of an enterprise tunnel.
Viewed in this manner lead generation becomes an indispensable strategy for any and all marketing plans, not just sales based ones.
As you can see, without a generative strategy such as lead generation, marketing plans would be lacking an extremely integral ingredient. In turn, business’ would effectively be sabotaging the ROI of their entire marketing plans.
Social Marketing Strategist, Keynote Speaker
Q: How can Lead Gen be done without the negative association it can easily create around my brand?
A: Always focus on truly adding value and be sure to do whatever you can to form a human connection—people do not want to be treated as a number. Yes, you can measure and track numbers, and bang people relentlessly over the head… and make sales. BUT… Your Brand/Business is what you do; your Reputation is what people Remember and Share. If you take the relentless route you will most probably be doing long-term damage to your brand that will not necessarily be evident in the short-term numbers, but most definitely will be evident over time. Be genuine! Be consistent! Be human.
Old marketing was dictation… new marketing is communication. Change from Convince & Convert to Converse & Convert! #NoLetUp!
Content Marketing Services, Blogging
Q: How can you better track your leads?
A: I would do different offers for different forms of lead generation so you can better track each one. You’ll know where the most are coming from if you do it that way.
Many businesses today use more than 1 method to generate leads so if they have different offers for different methods it will be easier to track.
I would also check Google analytics weekly or monthly and keep a spreadsheet of the results to see how the lead generations are trending.
If you have a brick and mortar location I would use different phone numbers and offers and be sure to track incoming phone calls. If you offer any print offers I would have different codes in each coupon or offer so you can track them as well.
Buyer Insights and Personas
Q: Who is our target customer?
A: Framing: I believe this obvious question, when it comes to Lead Generation, still remains the most difficult for organizations to answer.
Why: Despite the advances made in both behavioral qualitative research and data analytics, many organizations struggle with this question. Oftentimes, the question is answered based upon assumptions about customers and their needs.
Additionally, organizations can inadvertently build lead generation initiatives around agendas that are not grounded in deep understanding of customers but rather in “inside-out” thinking.
Contributing to this struggle is the lack of investments in attaining a robust understanding of customers today.
Executive leaders, today, must be willing to take customer understanding from an ad-hoc approach to that of a continuously planned aspect of shaping the future the direction of their organization. This will not only benefit lead generation but also marketing and sales in general.
To Wrap Things Up
Wow! I hope you loved this format as much as I did. For the skim readers amonst you, here were the questions, in sequence. By all means, click on any question you’d like to read:
- How do I turn a lead into a raving fan, who will return and refer?
- Where Do You Start?
- How can we create a lead magnet that will attract our ideal prospects and stand out from our competitors lead magnets?
- How should you plan your lead generation campaign to maximize your returns?
- What’s more important: quality or quantity?
- What does MY audience want?
- Who are you trying to reach?
- Where is the low hanging fruit?
- How to Boost Lead Generation Through SEO?
- How can I attract the right kind of person to sign up to my newsletter?
- Why are you NOT getting more leads from your website?
- Are you asking yourself, “Why isn’t my eBook, guide, checklist, or report getting the opt-ins I thought it would”?
- How do I evaluate the quality of my leads?
- When should businesses start thinking about lead generation?
- How do I generate RESPONSIVE leads?
- Who are you targeting?
- What is your goal, and what will your sales process be to achieve that goal?
- The most important question someone could ask about lead generation: What is your goal?
- How do I generate leads through LinkedIn?
- What is the thought process behind lead generation?
- Is lead generation that important or essential to today’s marketing plans?
- How can Lead Gen be done without the negative association it can easily create around my brand?
- How can you better track your leads?
- Who is our target customer?
Have Your Say
Do you have anything not seen above, that you consider a very important Lead Gen question? Maybe you have a different answer to one of the questions posed above? Please share your thoughts.
Additional reading: Need Lead Gen? Don’t We All! LinkedIn Still Reigns Supreme
Featured Image: Copyright: ‘https://www.123rf.com/profile_bychykhin‘ / 123RF Stock Photo
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