You work hard to find new leads.
You promote, advertise, and network. But if you apply those efforts inappropriately, you might be shouting into a void. To find (and convert) new prospects, you have to be intentional.
So avoid these four common mistakes that sabotage your lead generation efforts.
1. Targeting Too Wide
How well do you know your audience?
Often, businesses try to cast a wide net, hoping to catch as many fish as possible. But you don't want a lot of fish. You want the right ones.
Actually, you don't even want fish. You want clients or customers.
And you need to attract them more so than "catch" them. Because unlike a fish, a potential client knows how to get out of a net.
The key to attracting the right audience is focus. Never stop questioning who your audience is. You have to understand who they are and where they hang out.
Know where your audience is.
Find their "watering holes." Those are the places where your audience congregates, where they spend their time. Then you can put your marketing and lead generation efforts into the right channels.
Instagram is a great example. It's a beautiful platform full of engaged users. But there’s no reason to pour a bunch of time and money into Instagram ads if your audience isn’t on the platform.
Instead, find out where your prospects live (figuratively) and meet them there.
Know what motivates your audience.
If you don't focus on a narrow audience, you'll end up with a watered-down, one-size-fits-all message.
While one size might technically fit everyone, it doesn't really fit anyone well. By focusing on a smaller audience instead, you can pinpoint their needs and values.
Let's say you provide bookkeeping for small businesses. A company with revenue between $100,000 and $200,000 will have different struggles than one generating more than $1 million per year.
They have different pain points, so you need to address them individually. Your solution might actually be the same for each case (with differences just in scale), but they probably talk about their problems differently.
If you know what motivates your audience, you can tailor your messaging to them.
This could by why your email blast to a 100,000 prospect list produces crickets. Instead of trying to reach everyone with the same generic email, you should segment your list. Try different messages for each segment.
The smaller your target, the more focused you can make your content. And the better your change at actually reaching someone.
2. Not Understanding Your Buyer Personas
If you're going to generate leads that actually have a chance of turning into future clients, you need to truly understand them. Knowing where they spend time is a good start, especially since it helps you get to know them better.
To really understand your potential clients, you should create a full buyer persona. This is a description of the people you serve. It allows you to get into their heads before you ever get them on the phone.
A buyer persona is more than demographic information. It includes a financial, emotional, and psychological understanding of your client.
Ultimately, you want to answer the question, "Who are my customers?" Here's a list of questions to help you get started:
- What’s their name? (choose an ideal client or make one up)
- What is their title?
- What are their responsibilities at work?
- What are the characteristics of their demographic? (age, profession, income, ...)
- What motivates them? (prestige, money, freedom, family, ...)
- What are their personal and professional goals?
- What challenges are they currently facing?
- How do they buy? (in-person, online, over the phone, ...)
- What information do they need to know to buy?
- What does a customer journey look like for them? (How do they find you? Where? How much do they know about you and your solution? ...)
Once you answer these questions, you'll start to form a clearer picture of who your potential buyer is and what they need you to address. You'll better understand what language to use in your sales outreach strategy, what information they need and what they don't.
It might feel counter-intuitive to intentionally exclude potential customers. But start with one buyer persona. If you speak to them directly, others will listen as well. They'll see that you understand your clients and want to hear more.
3. Not Following Up Enough
You don't want to annoy potential clients. I get that.
We're all constantly bombarded with sales pitches, promotions, and products or services that we "CAN'T MISS."
But I'm not talking about nagging. After all, you have qualified leads (if you don't, you should). Your product or service will make their lives easier, less expensive, or more efficient.
Why wouldn't you share that with them?
Remember that prospects have many reasons for not getting back to you. They could simply be too busy the first time you reach out. Maybe they were out sick, and your email got lost in a sea of auto-responders. Or perhaps the business wasn't quite ready to make a decision about the service you provide.
Unfortunately, many salespeople give up too quickly without a follow-up strategy. First, know that most sales take at least five follow-ups. Then, develop a thoughtful strategy for following up with your leads (Learn more about this from our post, How Many Follow Ups Does It Take To Make a Sale?).
These days, you have lots of options. You can keep in touch with social media, text messages, email, letters, or even a personalized post card.
By being a little creative, you can stay top of mind with prospects without tipping the annoy-o-meter in the wrong direction.
4. Not Documenting Successes and Failures
Even if you employ all of the steps above, you're really only halfway there if you don’t have a way to quantify your success.
Do postcards outperform emails? Do clients respond more quickly on the phone? Do they convert better after a series of emails?
When you have an amazing outreach campaign, you need to be able to replicate it. When you have a total flop, you need to avoid it.
And you can't do either if you aren't documenting what works and what doesn't.
There are loads of strategies out there for measuring campaigns. Unfortunately, they can be quite advanced and intimidating. One thing I don’t see mentioned often is how to start.
If you have don't have the data or experience in analytics, it can all be overwhelming. Let me offer you a piece of advice I wish someone had given me.
Take a little time (and I mean very little) and look at benchmarks. Find out what results other businesses are getting. This can be visitor numbers, costs per lead, email open rates, etc.
These benchmarks may not fit your situation exactly. You could be outperforming them already. Or they might be out of reach for your lead generation strategy.
But they at least give you a number to float around. Even if you fall short of this goal, having a number is better than fumbling around in the dark without any direction.
The key to a dynamic and useful documentation strategy is to get started.
You might quickly find that your goals are out of whack. But you can adjust them.
Once you start keeping track, you have baseline. And even if all that data doesn't get used immediately, you can take advantage of it at a later time, in a different campaign.
Really, starting is the key to outreach.
Start to be more intentional with your lead generation. Narrow your targets as precisely as possible. Commit to really understanding your buyer persona. Follow up. Then follow up some more. And start keeping track immediately.
If you enjoyed this article you might like "Why Email Lead Generation is the #1 Resource for Winning New Clients"
However, if you're currently looking for lead generation, download the "5 Questions to Ask When Evaluating a Lead Gen Company" Guide below to understand how to get the most out of your investment.