In an earlier article, I introduced and emphasized the importance of defining your ideal prospect profile and how understanding that one specific niche makes your marketing efforts more focused, more efficient, and more consistent in producing results. I consider this the most important step in designing any effective lead generation campaign because this is the act of ultimately determining who it is that you will be approaching for business.
Not only does this step determine how you identify your prospects, but also the ideal way to approach this group and how they think, feel, and react to your message. It is important to be certain that your message identifies their professional interests and is congruent with how they do business and their buying preferences.
The next 5 steps make use of what you have learned in this process to refine and further develop your lead generation strategy:
Positioning is the act of optimizing all of your online and offline material so that it is clearly directed to the needs and interests of your ideal prospects. Whether online or offline, anywhere that your business and brand are presented needs to be carefully articulated in a way that is enticing to your target market. Your marketing material must let your prospects know that you are an expert in their unique situation, occupation, industry, career stage, or association.
People will do business with professionals that are experts in their specific needs. Too many financial service professionals make the mistake of highlighting all of the possible services they can offer. Many advisors feel that this emphasizes a broad range of industry knowledge to draw on when providing advice. However, when a consumer is actively looking for professional services that will help them personally, this only makes it more difficult to make a decision.
When differentiating yourself for your ideal prospect, positioning goes beyond the way your present your business. Positioning also applies to how you actively communicate your message and your unique value when engaging with your prospects. Optimizing your online profiles and your company page are a good start, but this positioning play on its own only leads to results when your ideal prospect is looking for your services specifically. The content you share and the way you communicate with your target audience are more active and more powerful positioning plays.
Online groups and communities that you build, nurture, and manage are a great example of this approach. Once you have identified your ideal prospect, you will have a better understanding of their online activity and where they engage and network most frequently online. Here, you can find broad audiences of those you are looking to do business with. It is important to start by communicating to a larger, more public audience and to slowly narrow your communication efforts from there.
Getting engagement from a broader audience within large online communities builds a sense of familiarity. Over time, prospects within this audience will recognize you and your brand, making it much easier to approach them directly for business. People will always be more likely to do business with professionals that not only understand their specific needs, but professionals that are just like them.
Prospecting is the ability to identify where your prospects spend their time networking, socializing, learning, or keeping up with related news and trends that pertain to their interests. This is done by taking the information you have drawn from profiling your ideal prospect and researching where they are most accessible. This can be applied online in platforms such as forums, blogs and online communities as well as offline in places such as networking meetings, clubs, associations, and community events.
Social media platforms are a great way to get started in this approach. In this environment, the playing field is made level for everyone with little barrier to entry. It is not a platform that requires a lot of spending to remain competitive and your success comes down to how well you position yourself and how consistent your efforts are. Although online platforms are a great place to start, never forget how powerful personal connections and lasting personal relationships are in building and maintaining your business.
- Database Building
This is a term used to describe the ability to take the information that you have learned from the prospecting process and use it to build a solid database of your ideal prospects. The goal is to develop a specific list of contacts that you can reach out to in order to develop personal relationships and ultimately, create leads for your business as you grow.
Contacts can be drawn from many platforms including LinkedIn, your email lists, company newsletter, your own online research, surveys, or ballots collected from events. Through your combination of methods, the collection of these contacts needs to in once central location where the information can be stored, reviewed, and accessed at any given time. This can be as simple as tracking the information on a spreadsheet and making sure it is kept up to date. There are also many effective CRM tools to help make this process easier and more efficient once your business grows to a certain size. Regardless of the size of your client base, as you grow, managing this database is crucial.
Here is where the knowledge and preparation drawn from the previous components all comes together. The most effective way to fully utilize your entire lead generation system is to perfect your ability to craft specific messages that entice your prospects to not only pay more attention to you, but to take the direct call to action that you want them to take.
There are many factors to consider in your messaging game plan. These often include, how many contacts you message at a time, what the long term, detailed game plan for your campaign looks like, how many messages to send to each prospect, how much time should be allowed between messages, and what specific content should form the script for each message.
These considerations depend on a variety of aspects. Most important of all is to know who your specific target is, what your call to action will be and how your messaging campaign will convince them to take your desired action. The tougher your target is, the more nurturing they will require in your messaging efforts. The tougher your call to action is, the more time this nurturing may take.
This messaging approach is not limited to emails and social media messaging. The same message can be communicated in the copy you use for your main website, landing pages, sales pages, and online ads.
The previous sections pertain to the setup of lead generation theory. This final section refers to the system to execute and manage it. Anything that pertains to CRMs, calendar schedules, spreadsheets, tracking sheets, and automated processes are part of the overall system. The only way to ensure success is to have a clear understanding of all of the moving parts of this system and to have all of the necessary pieces in place to manage the system on an ongoing basis.
When setting up your system, it is best to put the steps together starting with your end goal and then working backwards. This way, you determine your main objective that the system is meant to achieve. From there, it is a matter of defining the necessary steps to get from one outcome to the next until ultimately reaching your desired goal. Once the steps are defined, you will be able to guide your activities on any given day, making your marketing efforts more routine and more reliable.
How to Make your Campaign Successful
Every successful campaign masters both the theory behind development of an effective lead generation strategy and the execution of a defined tactical approach to produce results with this strategy. The theoretical aspect involves understanding each of the steps presented here and why each is a vital component to successfully growing your business. How you focus and direct your efforts to what resonates best with your ideal prospects and achieves results is where the tactical focus comes into play.
If you are struggling with a campaign that isn’t generating the results you had hoped for, it is always related to a shortcoming within one of these two areas of focus. Either something important to your prospects was not addressed or a specific plan to address this area had not been executed effectively or consistently.