Blogs, landing pages and social media are all powerful tools for accelerating the growth of your company. However, if dramatically increasing the results of your B2B lead generation efforts is your primary objective it is not enough.
Content marketing is an important component for effective lead generation and management systems, however, too often that content ends up being like the proverbial tree falling in a forest with no one there. With the investment you make in creating great content, the importance of lead generation and lead nurturing campaigns grows.
Implementing a successful campaign, and hence multiplying the results of your lead generation efforts, requires more than just writing some emails and “blasting” them to your list. (As a side note, whenever you find yourself using the term “blast” to describe your tactic it’s probably not a good tactic.)
There are 3 components that are crucial to your success. When you’re right about these three items and they are in alignment, your results will blow you away. When they’re not right or misaligned you’ll get very frustrated, very fast. The 3 ingredients are:
The most important ingredient of a successful campaign is determining who you are targeting and the quality of the people who comprise your list. If you were making a steak dinner with a special sauce, the quality of the steak would still be the key driver to how well the meal was going to be. The same applies to the list.
While I’m a huge proponent of the importance of messaging, a great message to the wrong audience will fail, while an average message to a great list will do reasonably well. Far too often sales, marketing and business executives want to jump right into “getting the message out,” and skip over the process of building a quality list.
Here are some tips to maximize the quality of your list:
- A quality list starts with clear buyer personas. The more you know who you want to connect with, the higher the likelihood you’ll find them.
- The greater the similarities in issues, opportunities and mindsets among the people on your list the greater the yield will be. So think about creating “micro-lists.” You’ll get far more from 10 lists with 200 similar people than you’ll get with one list with 2,000 names.
- The best lists are the ones that respond to your content, but if you don’t have enough of those leads the originally sourced leads can also be high quality. Make sure you’re clear about the criteria you use to build the lists, and don’t get lazy and buy a list from a broker.
The next ingredient is the message. Here again, the clearer you are with defining your buyer personas the faster you’ll have a message that resonates.
Here are some tips to improve your message:
- The message must be simple. You can only focus on one theme. The most common messaging mistake I see is companies that try to communicate too much at a time.
- The message needs to be about your prospect – not you, your company or your products and services. The more you dial in to the important issues and initiatives that they are dealing with, the more resonance you’ll get.
- The message should challenge your prospect. Don’t be boring.
- Always be testing. Realize that it may take some time to find the right message; and even when you do, the market is always changing so a message can lose its effectiveness very quickly. For this reason you should always be experimenting. Conduct A/B tests, and watch your KPI closely.
If you want to generate a lead, you have to offer something that they find compelling. It doesn’t matter how good you think your offer is. To this day I’m often surprised by the offers that convert and those that don’t.
The tips for creating an effective message apply to identifying an effective offer, and here are two more:
- Be very clear about where your prospect is in their buying journey (your funnel). An offer that works very well at the bottom of the funnel (like signing up for a demo) may do very poorly at the top, and vice versa.
- While you always want to focus on a clear call-to-action, you may also want to experiment with giving a secondary call-to-action as well. The Zero Moment-of-Truth (ZMOT) has created the expectation with prospects that they can move forward however they want to, whenever they want to. Giving an alternative conversion path can increase your results measurably.
LMO – List, Message, Offer. Keep your focus on these three ingredients and you’ll soon see material increases in the volume, and, more importantly, the quality of your leads.