Have you ever thought about how much extra money you’d have if you set aside a dollar for every time you worried about lead generation? You’re not alone.
The statistics tell us that 66 percent of entrepreneurs spend day after day worrying about how they’ll attract enough leads to remain profitable. As a result, they usually lean heavily on their marketing counterparts to bring in prospects, only to find out later that this solution is not a quick fix. That’s because 80 percent of marketing pros admit to dreary lead gen protocols, and nine out of 10 say their campaigns lack meaningful return on investment.
In other words, you could end up sorely disappointed by assuming you can solve your lead generation problems by simply dropping them into marketers’ laps. Instead, begin understanding the root issues at stake by doing a deep dive into what’s causing your existing roadblocks — then remove those barriers one by one.
No business is alone in its need to cost-effectively generate more leads. And yet, most haven’t created winning strategies to light up consistent lead generation. This might be one reason that, by the fifth year of operation, half of all small businesses fail. The good news? This problem is solvable if small business owners are willing to evaluate the three biggest reasons their lead generation efforts suffer.
PROBLEM #1: YOU”RE TOO INTO YOURSELF
Of course, you want to share the value proposition of your business, but where’s the line between just enough and too much? Gated content — which is made up of educational assets (think e-books, whitepapers, and e-courses) that are kept under virtual lock until someone hands over the key — is usually where businesses can get up close and personal with leads about the value they deliver. In the case of lead gen, that “key” equates to a prospect’s private data, like name and email. Here’s the catch: if your gated content isn’t engaging, original, and valuable to prospects, it won’t be seen as much more than sales drivel. Be sure you’re rewarding leads for opting in, not just pushing out self-serving material.
The Bottom Line:
Look over your gated materials with a fine-tooth comb. You may even consider paying a third party for objective suggestions if you’re not sure whether your content library makes the grade. Generally speaking, content should serve to educate, not overtly sell. Assets culled from proprietary data like reports, surveys, or similar research are especially valuable. If your prospective leads can’t get the information you have anywhere else, they’ll be more likely to freely exchange their information for yours.
PROBLEM #2: YOU SCARE AWAY YOUR PROSPECTS
Along the same line as Problem #1, review any pages on your website that include web forms. How many required fields does each form have? Generally, the more you make people tell you about themselves, the less likely they’ll be to hand over their data. Unless what they’re getting in return is super valuable, prospects will hesitate to cough up tons of personal information.
The Bottom Line:
How do you strike a happy medium in asking for the prospect data you really need without scaring off potential leads? First, whittle down your fields to the must-haves you know you’ll use. For instance, do you really need a cell number if your marketing strategy is done through digital ads and email nurturing? And does it matter whether you have a lead’s physical address if you never send out printed materials? Be smart and selective, and you should see an improvement in conversions.
PROBLEM #3: YOU’RE NOT FOSTERING TRUST
It’s OK if your small business’s website isn’t award-worthy in terms of design. It’s not OK if your site lacks the kind of credibility that comes from transparent content. According to a BrightLocal.com report, 73 percent of participants said their trust of a business increased when an organization included glowing virtual reviews on its site. Social proof will help your business gain brand loyalists. Use it along with pertinent, credible content to create a personalized website experience that makes visitors feel comfortable.
The Bottom Line:
Pepper your site with success stories, credentials, testimonials, honors, awards, and more — anything you have that will demonstrate the true value you deliver to your audience. Encouraging loyal customers to review you on Google, social media, or right on your website adds another layer to your credibility. The more leads can read about you online, the more encouraged they’ll feel to get in touch with you.
Remember that old adage, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink?” It’s true for lead generation, too. Even if you get thousands of site hits per day, you can’t call them successful until they convert into database contacts. Take time to figure out what your roadblocks truly are, then take strategic steps to remove them en masse. Your whole team will sleep better at night knowing your lead generation efforts make a difference.