If you’re reading this then you understand the pressure to generate leads.
Your boss is breathing down your neck. They want more leads, more cheaply. And they want them now.
Or maybe you are the boss and you’re frustrated with the lack of results.
That’s why Hubgen was started. Having spent 15 years scaling businesses using digital lead gen, Justin and Graham compiled a list of the lessons they’d learned along the way.
The sad truth is: most businesses will never get it right
Most businesses fail to unlock the significant opportunities that can be had from implementing a successful lead generation strategy.
Here are four reasons why:
- Time – you’re being pulled in all directions
- Experience – limited digital experience means you don’t know how to improve things
- Resource – is either non-existent or already stretched
- Trust – everyone has their own agenda, so who do you listen to?
The good news?
All of these things can be overcome.
These rules are based on our own experience and from hundreds of conversations with marketing leaders and business owners over the years.
Follow these rules and you’ll never have to worry about leads again.
👉 Rule 1: Delegate as much as you can to the experts, but choose them wisely.
👉 Rule 2: Set your goals from the start
👉 Rule 3: Never go all-in on a single source of leads
👉 Rule 4: Stay vigilant to threats that could derail your results
👉 Rule 5: Use an ever-lasting nurturing process and you’ll never be short of leads
👉 Rule 6: Track everything
Rule 1: Delegate as much as you can to the experts, but choose them wisely.
Lead generation is a job for the experts. It takes time, skill and experience to generate leads online. Gone are the days of chucking money at Google Ads and hoping for the best. It’s now too competitive and too expensive.
So who can you trust to manage your lead generation activity?
Here are your options:
Hiring a digital marketing agency
A digital marketing agency will usually offer a broad range of services, from PPC to SEO. They will have in-house specialists who take on the task of creating campaigns and handling daily optimisations.
- Fixed monthly costs – usually on a retainer basis
- Quick and easy – get up and running within a couple of weeks
- Wide range of services – if you need something, chances are they can offer it.
- They’ll be reluctant to show you exactly what they are doing for fear you’ll do it yourself
- You could be stuck in a never-ending retainer
- It’s unlikely they will specialise in lead generation, resulting in mediocre results
Doing it yourself (in-house)
The DIY approach involves building internal capability to generate your own leads.
- Take charge of your destiny – become self-sufficient
- Full transparency – complete awareness of every stage of the funnel offers plenty of opportunity for optimisation
- Value – you’ll accrue valuable insights that allow you to scale your results over time and keep all knowledge within the business.
- Resource – you’ll need to recruit specialists to manage your campaigns
- Strategy – you’ll need a robust strategy from the outset which can be difficult with limited digital experience
- Risk – it’s extremely competitive, starting from scratch is always risky
Taking a hybrid approach (outsourced → insourced)
A new approach that blends the benefits of using an agency with the long-term value of bringing everything in-house.
- Try before you buy – wait until it’s proven and profitable before investing in internal resource
- No long-term retainers – a fixed timescale of 6-12 months is typical, at which point you’ll be self-sufficient
- Full transparency – get detailed insight at every step of the process
- Time – it’ll take a few hours per week for the first 1-2 months to get the project off the ground
- Recruitment – finding the right people to bring into your team can be challenging
- Internal opposition – a positive attitude to change is required and not all of your colleagues may share this!
Rule 2: Set your goals from the start
If you only take one thing away from this guide, it’s the importance of setting a strategy.
Jumping feet first into setting up a Google or Facebook campaign without a plan will only result in wasting time and money.
A good strategy serves as a roadmap for hitting your goals
Most businesses will bypass this stage, but those who give it their full attention will massively improve their likelihood of success.
The four components of an effective lead generation strategy are:
- Media plan
Here they are in more detail:
1. Create a budget
You’ll already know how much you spend on leads currently, so use this as a starting point.
Work backwards from your company’s annual revenue target and decide how much you have to spend on leads for the next 12 months.
- Your target revenue from lead generation is £5million
- The average value of a new client is £20,000 (AOV)
- Your target cost per sale, or cost to acquire a new customer, is £5,000 (CPS)
- Your budget for lead generation is £1,250,000 (£5million / £20,000) * £5,000
2. Set your objectives
Use your existing lead activity and the above calculations, you can predict how many leads you’ll need to generate in order to hit your monthly and annual revenue targets.
If you’ve never generated leads you won’t have any data on the price per lead, it’s worth starting with the price you currently pay for leads (either from a lead generation supplier or calculated from agency costs) and then gradually decreasing this month-on-month over the next 12 months.
Your objectives should include:
- Target cost per lead
- Target cost per sale/new client
- Monthly lead targets
In addition to these quantitative objectives, it’s worth including qualitative goals. Some examples of these include:
- “To hit the ground running and see an overall improvement to the sales funnel”
- “To minimise wasted leads, improve efficiency, inject fresh ideas and become less reliant on third parties.”
- “To give an opportunity for scaling the business in the future”
3. Map out your funnel
Create a funnel to show the various steps a lead will follow, from completing a form on your website, to being contacted by your sales team, booking an appointment and then through to a sale.
You can then use this as a template for each lead generation channel (e.g. paid search, paid social etc).
The conversion to appointment/sale will vary by channel with Google typically having the highest conversion rates and native or display advertising having the lowest.
This will be essential for planning how many leads you’ll need to generate at the top of the funnel in order to achieve your target sales at the bottom of the funnel.
4. Create a media plan
Using your funnels, you can now plan how many leads you’ll need to generate from each channel.
Start by taking your monthly lead targets. Then, using Google’s keyword planner and your funnel, estimate how many leads you could realistically generate from Google.
Pro Tip: Book a call with us and we’ll share our media plan template with you
It’s unlikely you’ll be able to generate all the leads you need from Google alone. Next, move onto other channels such as Facebook, SEO, email and repeat the same thing.
This will be another essential document when it comes to reviewing the performance of your lead generation activity. It will no doubt need to be tweaked as you start to generate results, but it will be the first point in deciding where your leads will be sourced and the likely budget you’ll need to allocate to each channel.
Rule 3: Never go all-in on a single source of leads
Your lead generation campaigns should run smoothly without your input. You shouldn’t be involved in the scores of micro-decisions that are taken each day. Leave this to the specialists.
But when it comes to spending your budget, there are some decisions too important to delegate.
Hitting your targets relies on choosing the right mix of channels.
Whether you choose Google Ads, LinkedIn Ads, email, native, Facebook or TikTok. The single most important rule is this: never, ever, place all your budget into a single channel.
- Ad accounts can be disabled at any time, stopping your lead supply without warning. Facebook, Google, LinkedIn Ads use bots to keep checks on advertisers using their platforms. Anything that stands out as irregular will result in an immediate suspension of all ads, usually without explanation. It can take days or even weeks to get the account live again. And usually through no fault of your own.
- You’ll struggle to reach your target audience at the right time. Your audience will use multiple platforms to consume content. Use Facebook to generate awareness, LinkedIn Ads to engage with them, Google to convert them, and email to keep them warm.
- Quality varies across channels. Google can capture high-intent leads in the market now. But volume is limited for this reason. If you only focus on Google, you’ll miss the 85% who could be interested further down the line. Using multiple channels allows you to target people earlier in their buying cycle, ensuring you stay front-of-mind for when they are ready to engage with you.
- You’ll be wasting your budget. In our experience, the only way to keep you overall cost-per-lead target low, is to blend high-cost channel with low-cost channels. For example, focusing some resource on boosting your SEO presence may generate an additional 100 leads per month. These are free leads and can ensure your budget stretches further each month.
Spread you budget across five channels for optimum results
The right blend of channels will depend on your objectives and budget. But as a general rule you should aim to use 5 channels from the list below:
Rule 4: Stay vigilant to threats that could derail your results
The lead-generation landscape is changing like never before. Digital strategies go out of date faster than you can say “Google algorithm update”.
Devices and browsers are heading towards privacy by default. Traditional cookie tracking methods will soon be a distant memory.
There’s also the not-so-small matter of an acute talent shortage. Digital-native marketers across multiple functions are in high demand.
Pro Tip: Don’t get tied-up in never-ending agency retainers. Hubgen works to fixed projects timescales and hand everything over to you when you’re ready.
A Marketing Director must be aware of all changes in the wider digital landscape
All eyes are on you to navigate the stormy sea of digital change and ensure leads keep flowing.
Here are a few threats right now and how do deal with them:
Rule 5: Use an ever-lasting nurturing process and you’ll never be short of leads
Above-the-line advertisers know that a consumer needs to see a campaign 7 times before they consider buying. Digital is no different.
We’re bombarded with adverts every day. If we see an ad, we keep scrolling. We don’t want to be sold to. We don’t trust ads. This is the same for B2B and B2C audiences. After all, we’re all just people.
As a result of this, it’s becoming harder and harder for marketers to cut through the noise and reach their audience.
The answer is to create ads that don’t look like ads. And the easiest way to do this is to offer free advice.
Targeting only the bottom of the funnel may yield results at first but you’ll struggle to scale
You can, of course, use Google search ads to target those who are in the market now. There are, however, some drawbacks to this:
- Cost – most of your competitors are taking this approach and costs will be high
- Finite audience – the percentage of your total audience who are ready to buy now is probably only around 3%. Limiting your marketing to this small sub-section will severely limit your potential to grow.
- Limited opportunity to learn – “Just try new things. Don’t be afraid. Step out of your comfort zones and soar, all right?” Michelle Obama.
Build trust with your audience first and then nudge prospects through the funnel
The following model offers a practical way to ensure your campaigns are reaching people at the right time, with the right content:
Rule 6: Track everything
However you generate leads, tracking should be at the heart of the operation.
The insights available should then inform your optimisation strategy, and will help you to create more accurate budgets and forecasts.
The holy grail of tracking, is to have visibility of how leads are performing at each step of the funnel. Starting with a click and ending with conversions and revenue.
Gone are the days of having to ask every prospect where they found you, or by attributing revenue back to your spend at a broad and frankly unhelpful level. With digital inbound lead generation there’s no excuse not to track your activity in minute, accurate detail.
If you’re in full control of your advertising, landing pages and CRM integrations you should endeavour to capture the details listed below as a minimum.
Let us take care of everything for you
Hubgen is a digital marketing agency, based in the UK, with a global reach.
Our framework is being used by companies worldwide to simplify the way they generate leads.
We can either help you implement this yourselves, or we can run everything for you until it has been proven.