The growth—and sustained success—of your business depends on effective lead generation. Not just quantity, but quality. You can be inundated with low-quality leads. but if they’re not converting to sales, then all they’re doing is draining your time and money.
To get lead-gen right, start with a commitment to avoid these 6 lead-generation mistakes:
Lead-gen mistake #1: Working without a plan.
The old adage “If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail” is absolutely true. There’s a lot that goes into a lead-gen plan:
- What is your ideal target persona?
- What are your sales/revenue goals?
- How many new customers do you need to reach those goals?
- How many leads does it take to produce one new customer?
- How many site visits does it take to generate that number of leads?
- How much content (blogs, videos, whitepapers, case studies, webinars, etc.) do you need to create and promote to generate that number of site visits?
- How will you promote your content? Which channels will you use? How frequently? To which audiences?
- What can you spend to achieve this?
As you can see, making your plan starts with setting goals. The SMART process makes goal-setting reality-based and less intimidating. SMART planning requires that every goal is:
When you apply SMART criteria to your lead-generation goals and planning, you have solid data points to use when evaluating your campaigns and determining next steps.
Lead-gen mistake #2: “Spraying and praying.”
The practice of repeatedly blasting out “cold” emails to rented names has really lost its luster (did it ever have luster?). Think about it: As a busy businessperson, how do YOU react to emails from people, businesses, or organizations you don’t know?
However, you may find value in highly targeted, outside lists particularly if your product or service is of the high-ticket variety (marketing is all about ROI, right?). We’ve helped our clients have success with “cleansing” email campaigns that leverage relevant, high-perceived-value content offers (not to mention carefully crafted copy) to quickly gauge the interest of people on rented lists. They’re also a great way to separate the wheat from the chaff on your in-house list.
Lead-gen mistake #3: Expecting your homepage to do it all.
Please don’t take this the wrong way. But unless someone types your company name directly into Google—or unless your SEO and SEM are totally dialed in—you’re probably not appearing on page 1. And as Ricky Bobby frequently says, “If you ain’t first, you’re last.” That means you need to exhaust every option to attract visitors to your site. Specifically:
- Maximizing ALL your website pages—especially landing pages. That means:
- Optimizing for mobile, because Google now gives ranking priority to mobile site versions.
- Optimizing content for keyword maximization, URL structure, meta-tags (H1, Title, and Description are musts), image alt-text and internal linking
- Optimizing for speed
- Optimizing for voice search
- Regularly adding more content on your site—blogs, videos, ebooks, whitepapers, demos, etc.
- Social media (both free and paid—see “Mistake #4”)
- Paid advertising (i.e., Google AdWords)
- Backlinks from other relevant websites
The good news is this: By all the analyses we’ve seen, the more you promote your content, the more visitors you’ll attract to your site. Keep that in mind when you’re avoiding Mistake #1!
Lead-gen mistake #4: Giving short shrift to social.
Facebook and Twitter. Instagram and Snapchat. The world is using social media as the primary means to connect and communicate. So should your business. With virtually no cost to open and maintain accounts on any platform, stepping up to paid social can open up cost-effective opportunities for more focused targeting of your content.
Of course, social platforms aren’t “one size fits all.” A machine-tools manufacturer has no business on Pinterest, and content from a hip fashion house likely won’t be embraced on LinkedIn. But on the appropriate platforms, your business can do more than promote its content and drive website traffic. Over time, and with high-quality, relevant content, it can build high-return relationships. (But handle social media with care: Facebook will now penalize you if you overtly solicit likes, shares, or comments in your posts.)
Lead-gen mistake #5: Taking your eye off the ball.
Fast forward. Your lead generation efforts are meeting their SMART goals. Now, what’s your plan to make all these new revenue opportunities pay off?
The answer lies in the practice of lead nurturing. With platforms like HubSpot, you can set up automated workflows that maintain marketing and sales communication streams with your prospects, serve them relevant content offers, and ultimately qualify them as people likely to buy from you.
(Want to learn more about the lead nurturing process? Download our free ebook, The Basics of Growing Your Business With Marketing Automation.)
Lead-gen mistake #6: Taking your foot off the gas.
This ties directly back to Mistake #1. If, for whatever reason, your lead-gen efforts lose steam, you can absolutely expect your sales to suffer. Goal-setting, planning, content building and promotion, social media, website optimization—all the strategies and tactics I’ve discussed in this article—are ongoing processes. Like every other aspect of marketing, lead generation is a constant cycle of planning, execution, measurement, analysis, and decision.
No more mistakes: Try these winning tactics.
Now that you know six things NOT to do, how about some “to-do”s that work? Download our eBook: The 30 Greatest Lead Generation Tips, Tricks, and Ideas, or Part One of our latest eBook series: The Basics to Generating Inbound B2B Leads.
When you’re doing lead generation right, you’re meeting your biggest business challenge. Here’s hoping your sales pipeline stays full and flowing.