Lead generation is an effective marketing strategy – if you get the fundamentals right. You’d be surprised how much more successful your campaigns are by putting the basics in place.
With more than a decade of experience in building and scaling successful lead generation, we’ve distilled the most important parts into six core areas.
Each of the steps below takes time and should not be rushed. Whilst some need to happen in order, others can be developed as you go.
1. Designing a lead generation strategy
It’s a cliché for a reason but good planning prevents poor (lead) performance.
Although this stage may not feel very productive – and you’re chomping at the bit – it is imperative that you do not skip the planning stage.
What’s more, a strategy serves as a roadmap that you will refer to throughout the process. It will keep you on track – especially when distractions threaten to derail you.
There will be many distractions, but a good plan, with targets, budget and milestones will ensure the project has the best chance of success.
A lead generation strategy should include:
- Goals, objectives and budget – what do you want to achieve from your lead generation activity and how much will it cost?
- Analysis of the potential lead volumes available to you and an estimated CPL (cost per lead)
- A funnel showing each step of the process a lead will go through, from conversion, to appointment, to sale and after sales
- A media plan to show the channels you will use to generate leads and their expected performance
- A list of tool and systems you will need, which might include a landing page builder, a reporting system and an email service provider
- A project plan to show the various milestones you need to complete along the way and the resources needed to complete them
2. Tracking the right data at every stage
Testing, learning and refining are vital to any strategy. One of the biggest mistakes we learnt during our learning curve was to ignore this step; we were thinking short-term.
By ensuring your tracking is correct from the start, you’ll have the right data to work with when it comes to setting up your reports later down the line.
Without the right tracking in place, you can’t identify where the best leads are coming from. If you don’t know which ads are generating sales and which are missing the mark, you will waste a lot of time, money and effort.
Tracking can be easily be set up in your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. You’ll need to make sure your CRM has the ability to store custom fields, and you’ll also need to decide what data you want to store against each record.
At hubgen, we typically start by creating a tracking template, which lists every platform and channel that will generate leads along with the data available to be stored. With Facebook for example, you might want to capture the ad id, the campaign id, the placement (news feed, sidebar etc) along with many others. Doing this from the outset will allow to have a consistent approach which will pay dividends further down the line. Without this, analysing the best performing ads or keywords throughout your funnel will be difficult, if not impossible.
3. Traffic Generation
It’s tempting to start your lead generation strategy here. Many companies do and many fail doing so.
However, without the insights a strategy provides, you will be working blind. You won’t know what the target cost per lead is for each channel you’re using, or which channels you should allocate more spend to.
For example, if channel A is converting more leads to appointment or prompting sales at a better rate than other channels, you naturally want to maximise the channel with more campaigns or budget.
You also need to set up each channel (e.g. Facebook, Google, native ads, email campaigns) with a strict lead generation focus in mind.
It’s worth noting that lead generations campaigns are not a brand awareness exercise. Although your brand is positioned in front of potential customers as a result of running your ads, the focus of a lead generation campaign is to compel targets to take action.
You, therefore, need to have a clear, simple and punchy call to action that drives a result; i.e. a form completion. Don’t get caught in the trap of over-designing ads or emails. People can switch-off to this very quickly and typically the ads that you’re most proud are the worst performing!
4. Conversion Rate Optimisation
There’s every chance that you’ll hit your target cost per lead and cost per sale immediately. However, that’s less likely to happen unless you optimise your ad campaign.
And no, simply changing the colour of the call-to-action button is not how to approach this.
What you need is a Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) strategy that allows you to build a bank of tests and record the results. This means you avoid repeating the same tests over and over again – which, by the way, is very common!
We also recommend going after the most lucrative ads first. Ideally, you want to push changes that are most likely to rake in the biggest uplift in conversion rate.
This is because:
a) it’s good to be bold – but more importantly,
b) changes at the lower end take too long to get a significant result. Subsequently, you’ll be waiting a long time before you know whether the test has worked, especially if your traffic volumes are low.
CRO should also focus on the complete funnel; from lead to a sale, not just on your landing page conversion rate.
Let’s put it this way, you should be asking relevant questions that relate to every potential outcome:
- What happens if you increase capacity in your call centre on certain days?
- What about weekend shifts?
- Could you reduce the information captured on your landing page?
- How many times do you attempt to call each lead?
- What happens if you increase this by 50%?
- Do we have trust-worthy social proof displayed on our landing page?
- Are you optimising your thank you page?
Tests should give you an incremental increase in your ROI.
5. Analytics and reporting
Getting everyone looking at the same data seems obvious but it very rarely happens. More often than not, team members have their own spreadsheets taken from CRM exports that have evolved over time.
This causes a problem. Decisions can be based on a completely different formula without knowing it.
You can eliminate this potential obstacle easily by building an automated, reliable and consistent reporting system that everyone has access to. A centralised report is key to identifying opportunities and problems.
Remember, data doesn’t lie. And you will always find the answer in the data.
Having said that, beware of paralysis by analysis. You can have too many KPIs and sometimes you’ll find yourself in a rabbit hole of data. Before you know it, you’ll have lost two hours trying to find an answer to back up your theory, instead of actually finding solutions from the data.
6. Building Your Hub
Identifying a lead generation specialist to run your campaigns will give you an edge over the competition. Your first hire should have excellent analytical skills and a solid understanding of how to work with numbers.
A valuable lead generation specialist is able to quickly identify problems and spot opportunities. Hands-on experience running campaigns is essential.
They’ll need objectives and clear targets, otherwise, they’ll get distracted.
How many people do you need?
This will depend on the volume of leads you’re generating and the level of complexity in your funnel. You’ll probably need one skilled all-rounder and specialists controlling each channel.
Hopefully, this article has provided you with an understanding of the main elements involved in setting up your lead generation hub.
We don’t want to overwhelm you. We just want to show you that it is possible to organise a lead generation campaign on your own, but also to ensure you appreciate the process takes time. You’ll need patience, testing and resources to do it properly.
If you do find that you need expert help, we can help you to fast-track the process. After many years of planning and implementing lead generation strategies, we know what to look out for. Just book a free call and we’ll be very happy to discuss any part of the above process, free and no-obligation.