- The Internet is a wonderful way to generate leads
- The Internet is a terrible way to generate leads
A good lead is a person with a genuine interest in your product or service.
A non-lead is a person with a genuine interest in selling his/her product or service to you. In other words, a non-lead is a leech looking to free-load off the back of your own marketing efforts.
The trick is to implement a lead generation system that eliminates non-leads up-front so you don't waste your time dealing with him/her. Here's how it's done...
- Introduce extra steps to your lead generation process
- Fully automate your lead generation process
A non-lead hoping to turn you into a lead has the same problem you do – a finite amount of time. S/he will only jump through so many hoops before s/he starts looking for easier targets.
Introducing extra steps to your own lead generation process has a non-lead expend more effort without requiring any extra work on your part (once the changes are in place). This has the flow-on effect of ensuring that only the best leads reach you because people who are only mildly interested (i.e. outside the target market) will also be eliminated by the process.
Automate Lead Generation
Every part of your lead generation process should be automated. The time you save through automation quickly pays for itself – especially if you have a multi-step lead process designed to eliminate non-leads and those outside the target market.
Consider that most online lead generation follows this format...
- Offer a prospect information the target market wants
- Asks the prospect to enter his/her email address and click a button
- Verify the email address
- Send the information
You can prevent this by sending the verification email from an email account set to automatically delete any email received to it. The problem with this approach is you'll miss enquiries from genuine prospects. Given this is a lead generation effort, do you really want to miss genuine enquiries?
A question worth asking yourself is why you're using email at this point anyway? Especially when you consider the following...
- Most free information sent in this manner is never read (i.e. they lost interest between requesting and receiving the information)
- Some people won't receive the verification email and will either attempt to contact you for help (i.e. take up a lot of your time), or will simply forget all about it (i.e. a wasted opportunity)
With this approach everybody gets to see the promised information with no delivery failures. Even better – more people will read or watch it because there is no delay.
Of course the revealed information is merely the second step in the process. The information must deliver value in and of itself. But it has a more important job to do from your perspective. It must culminate in a further call to action.
This further call to action should promise a logical next step. And that next step has to be something a genuine prospect can't resist. You should then offer to deliver this next step for some token sum of money (e.g. $3.25).
Why charge for this next step? Because it will eliminate most non-leads. And it forces a genuine prospect to consider whether the degree of his/her interest at this point in time. If s/he is very interested that person will pay a token sum and take the next step.
As you'd expect, this approach results in fewer leads. The leads you get will be of much higher quality and you'll have far less running around to do.
A smart lead generator will introduce a negative option at this point. A negative option is an alternative for people unwilling to pay money for the next step. For example, you might offer a free subscription to your email newsletter.
Most of the people who take this option are in your target market and it's worth keeping in touch with them. While they're not ready to commit immediately, each time they receive your newsletter you get another chance to convert.
Here's an example of how this type of a multi-step process might work...
Jane is a personal trainer looking for people to join her kettlebell class. She starts with an ad in Google AdWords that offers to help people lose 4 kilograms in 4 weeks.This is a pretty good deal - isn't it? Most people in the target market are likely to take up the offer. From Jane's perspective, she gets a whole lot more than a name and an email address. Jane gets to meet the prospect face-to-face. And the prospect gets to meet her and see how good she is first hand.
That ad links to a teaser page that explains how a 4-week kettlebell program and diet will ensure a person loses 4 kilograms in 4 weeks. The teaser page ends by offering her 4-week programme for free. All the user has to do is click the 'Lose 4 Kilos Now' button.
Anyone that clicks this button gets the programme immediately. Jane's programme includes an online video, exercise photos, a 4-week workout plan, recipes and explanatory text. The explanatory text makes several points...
These points culminate in an opportunity to make a clear offer – for just $3.25 Jane will allow the prospect to attend her kettlebell class. The prospect will receive a medical and fitness assessment, diet recommendations based on his/her medical and fitness needs, and the opportunity to experience the kettlebell class first hand
- A medical assessment is essential before starting an exercise programme
- The diet information is general. More effective results can be had with a personalised diet plan
- The kettlebell exercises are general. A more effective programme can be had by attending a class
- Any diet and exercise programme works best when done as part of a group (mutual support, have fun, enjoy each other's company)
The approach also serves to enhance Jane's credibility. This reduces the perceived risk in the mind of prospect by removing substantial doubt.
It's important to understand why a token payment is required. Asking the prospect to hand over money (e.g. via PayPal) forces him/her to decide whether or not s/he is serious about the product or service on offer. As a result, any leads that result from this process are considerably more likely to go ahead and buy.
If my example doesn't apply directly to your situation (e.g. you're not selling an exercise class) you'll have to adapt the approach to meet your own needs.
You're welcome to explain your particular marketing situation via a comment, and ask me for ideas on how you might adapt the above to suit your own multi-step process.