Originally published Feb 27, 2019
What's Your Lead Generation Plan and Funnel?
While we love content marketing, storytelling and expressing business concepts through the written word and images, it is all useless if you haven’t laid out a lead generation plan for your company. The phrase lead generation can be overwhelming to non-marketers or novices. I assure you that there is nothing to fear. Here is a quick-start guide to your lead generation plan and understanding a common "marketing funnel" in action.
Quick Start to Lead Generation
Creating Awareness About Your Company / Product / Service
This is the first step and the one you are most likely doing right now. When you publish a blog, publish a post on social media, attend a conference, or speak at an event, you are creating awareness of your company / brand. Make the best use of these tactics. When it comes to website content and social media, allow readers to subscribe to get updates. This can be done with an email newsletter or using an RSS Feed.
The difference between awareness and interest is interactivity.
This is how you will be generating leads for your business. Starting with social media, ensure that your content is truly engaging and that you aren’t just shouting random information at your followers.
Did you know that Facebook posts with photos can get up to 80% higher engagement than posts without photos. Community engagement on social media can be a key differentiator to make your business more appealing than your competitors. Your job is to create a space where people feel welcome to engage.
On your website, share blog posts with content your ideal customers will find value in, and include a compelling testimonial that is relevant where possible. Sharing valuable information in a non-sales driven way will cause readers to take further interest in your product or service because you're offering deeper insights into your process and past success – this is how you build trust.
Consideration can be triggered by a change in circumstances, an event, a budget increase, a simple need, or even an advertising message. This often happens anywhere between the seventh and twentieth "touch" of your marketing and sales efforts, depending upon your industry and sales cycle.
The tactics used in this stage are focused on turning awareness or opinion into preference and taking action.
If you can find a way to get directly connected with your lead, then this is the time to have the conversation. This is the moment when someone may actually fill out a contact form, spend more time on your website, subscribe to your e-newsletter, book a demo, or call your office to learn more about your offerings.
Evaluation of Your Product / Service
At this point, your lead has taken an interest in your offerings enough to do some further evaluation. This usually includes reading reviews (social proof), learning about your specific services or products, making comparisons, asking for opinions, and doing research into their options.
Once your lead takes action such as setting up a meeting or requesting a price quote or proposal, your job is to make it easy to connect with your company. This time is about tying up loose ends, making sure the lead feels comfortable and ready to move forward with you.
User / Customer Experience is vital at this stage of the process!
Purchase into Nurturing
After the lead becomes a client or customer, the marketing and communication efforts shift to listening to their needs and interests. In addition, you can use marketing automation tools to help with your lead nurturing strategy.
To determine what kind of marketing automation software that you need, consider the following:
- Does this platform fulfill your needs for sales, marketing and customer service?
- Define what each campaign requires from your business – content, images, time, and money
- Define the phases of your marketing funnel and consider what targeted content to use for nurturing leads
- Simplify your metric needs so that you can easily identify the value and what to track
Create Recurring Customers / Clients
The cycle or funnel continues to go in a similar rotation. Once a customer or client has received your product or service, he or she is the hottest lead you have for making another sale. So what will you do to keep him or her buying more or again?
Always be listening to what customers are saying. Improve your business to better serve that customer. Show him or her that you value their feedback by communicating clearly and taking action. This is how you will turn customers into raving fans. Fans are the greatest marketing tool of all because they are a lead generation machine (referrals).
Ready to Create Your Lead Generation Plan?
Your lead generation plan does not need to be a fancy presentation or document. Simply go through the steps above and write out what happens at each stage of your funnel. Do not allow marketing jargon overwhelm or deter you. Copy the simple flow below into your own document and start looking for opportunities to improve. If you spend time thinking it through and planning at each stage, we guarantee you'll see improvements in lead generation and conversions.
WORKFLOW THROUGH A BASIC MARKETING LEAD GENERATION FUNNEL
Create Awareness → Interest → Consideration→ Evaluation→ Purchase→ Nurturing→ Recurring Customer → Fan
Fan → Creates Awareness with others → Get their interest→ Consideration→ Evaluation→ Purchase→ Nurturing → Recurring Customer → Fan