Generating leads is one of the most important actions for the vast majority of businesses. High-quality leads become potential clients, who in turn create the revenue your company needs in order to thrive and grow. However, creating these high-quality leads is easier said than done. Many business owners simply don’t know where to start. And while generating and following up on leads is a large subject, in this article I’m going to be shedding a bit of light on the fundamental principles you need to know about to get started in high-quality lead generation.
What is a lead?
First things first, let’s start with the basics and explain what I mean by a ‘high-quality’ lead. A high-quality lead is a potential client who will have a genuine interest in the service or product offered by your business. That may sound obvious but many business owners fail to understand the importance of quality over quantity when it comes to lead generation. Anyone can pull together hundreds of leads that won’t go anywhere, but you need to have a plan in place to get leads that will have a positive impact on your business.
So, let’s get to the bottom of what you need to know when generating high-quality leads by looking at three of the most common issues business owners face.
- Define who your ideal client is
This is the first step when setting out to generate leads for your business. Again, it may sound a little obvious but you’d be amazed at how many business owners struggle to define who their ideal client is. This is probably because it can often be a difficult process and rarely one that can be accomplished overnight; however, it is a vital step to take, not just for lead generation but for many other areas in growing your business.
Unfortunately, the process of developing a profile for your ideal client is something that you can’t just throw money at. While there are marketing agencies who will tell you that they can take care of this for you, the truth is that only you can perfectly define who your ideal client is. Spend some time brainstorming in order to create a profile for the type of client that you want to target. This process will vary depending on your industry and particular business model (hence why external marketing agencies won’t be able to create as accurate a profile as you will). However, there are some general characteristics that will be useful to know about your ideal client such as age, gender, profession and status.
- Define where they are
Once you have an idea of who your ideal client is, it’s important to identify where they are. This doesn’t necessarily mean geographic location. Of course, many businesses nowadays operate online and therefore need to know which digital platforms they need to target. Ask yourself whether your client is on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram or Twitter. There’s no point in being on a particular platform if your clients aren’t there, so think about where they’re most likely to be and base your social media strategy around that.
Many business owners make the mistake of overstretching themselves when trying to reach out to their ideal client. They try to create a presence for their business across as many social media platforms as possible. And while there’s nothing wrong with this per se, it does require an awful lot of resources to do well. It’s much more effective if you focus your attention on one or two platforms and create brilliant profiles that are more likely to appeal to an audience. This is why you need to define where your ideal client is most likely to be. Once you’ve built an accurate profile of who your ideal client is, you should find it easier to understand where you’re most likely to find them.
- Define what it is that they want
Having created a profile of your ideal client and an understanding of where they are, the next step is to define what they want. Even if you’ve successfully identified who to target and where to find them, you’re not going to get far if you’re not offering something of value to them. This is the Holy Grail of marketing and, once again, is far easier said than done as the market is an ever-changing place. What was true of one month might not be true of the next.
The best way to keep abreast of your ideal client’s wants is to actively listen to them and seek out feedback. How often you reach out to your client will vary vastly depending on the industry you’re in. For example, a clothing store will need to keep a more rigorous eye on the retail market – which is often changing in line with the seasons, competitors, sales, etc. – than a petrol station, whose industry is generally far more consistent.
One of the most effective ways of defining what your client wants is to simply ask them. Surveys and questionnaires are great ways of gathering lots of valuable information quickly. However, if you do decide to do this, make your surveys as interesting and appealing to your ideal client as possible. There are loads of information-gathering questionnaires out there so try to differentiate yours by making it something people will actually want to respond to.
Once you have a good idea of who your ideal client is, where to find them and what they want, you’re halfway to generating serious leads that you can convert into real clients. The most important step at this stage is to have understood who actually is a lead for your business in the first place… and who isn’t. Knowing this is a necessary spring-board to reaching out to the market and, in doing so, you’re bound to save yourself plenty of time, resources and headaches in the long run.
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