You can’t build a sustainable business without having a solid lead generation system in place.
That’s why today we are going to share ten tips that can help you create a super effective lead generation process.
Ready to take your lead generation to the next level?
A Short Introduction To Lead Generation
Okay, so before we get into the practical tips, let’s make sure that we are all on the same page when it comes to the concept of lead generation.
What Is a Lead?
A lead is a potential customer who has:
- Expressed an interest in your product or service.
- Given you their contact details.
Note that in order to qualify as a lead, the person needs to meet both of these criteria.
- Someone who has checked out your website but didn’t give you their email address is not a lead. Website visitors are not leads.
- Someone whose email address you have somehow obtained but who hasn’t expressed an interest in your product or service is not a lead either. Random personal contacts are not leads.
What Is Lead Generation?
Lead generation is the process of converting potential customers into leads by persuading them to give you their contact details.
What Is a Lead Generation Funnel?
Companies that generate leads online typically do so via lead generation funnels:
- You create a lead magnet.
- You create a landing page for that lead magnet.
- You drive traffic to that landing page.
Once the potential customer gives you their email address in exchange for the lead magnet, they become a lead.
What Is the Difference Between Lead Generation and Sales Prospecting?
There’s a difference between lead generation and sales prospecting:
- Lead generation is automated and done by marketers via lead generation funnels.
Its goal is to convert the potential customer into a lead by persuading them to provide their contact details.
- Sales prospecting is manual and done by salespeople via cold outreach.
Its goal is to convert a potential customer into a lead by getting them to agree to a discovery call (the definition of a lead is different in this context).
In this article we are going to be discussing lead generation as opposed to sales prospecting.
However, if you want to learn more about sales prospecting, here’s a helpful guide:
“Creating A Sales Prospecting Process That Works”
What Is the Purpose of Lead Generation?
It’s important to understand that the purpose of lead generation isn’t to simply collect as many email addresses as possible, it’s to get the contact information of your ideal customers.
Keep in mind that collecting the email addresses of random people who are never going to buy from you can cost you a ton of money.
After all, the more email subscribers you have, the more you need to pay for email marketing software.
When Noah Kagan, the founder of Sumo and AppSumo, saw that his MailChimp bill was over $700, he felt sick.
But he did manage to reduce it by 47% simply by removing inactive subscribers. The bill went down to $375 per month!
As Noah pointed out, email list size is a vanity metric:
“Your ego will be hurt going from 105,000 email subscribers down to 72,000 (like we did).
But at end of day, worry about results not vanity.”
This is an important lead generation lesson that you need to internalize if you want to create an effective lead generation process.
Always keep your eyes on the prize – getting the contact details of your ideal customers.
And don’t ever let the siren song of vanity metrics distract you from that.
#1 Understand Your Target Audience
Selling isn’t something that only happens when you are pitching your product or service to the potential customer.
As an online entrepreneur, you are always selling.
You are trying to persuade people to do what you want them to do all throughout your sales funnel.
You need to get them to click on your ad, subscribe to your email list, open your email, click through to the sales page, and buy your product.
But what is the secret to being persuasive?
Who Are the Best Salespeople in the World?
The best salespeople in the world aren’t the ones who are the most extroverted, the most charismatic, or the best talkers.
The best salespeople in the world are the ones who understand their customers the best.
That’s why if you want to become more effective at selling, you first need to understand your potential customers better.
In fact, we would argue that if you want to become great at selling, you need to understand your ideal customers better than they understand themselves.
Creepy but true.
What Do You Need To Know About Your Ideal Customers?
You want to get clarity on both the demographic traits and the psychographic traits of your ideal customers.
Demographic traits are facts about your ideal customers:
- Annual Salary.
Psychographic traits relate to how your ideal customers see the world:
- What are their values?
- What are their religious beliefs?
- What are their political beliefs?
- What do they want to achieve?
- What are they struggling with?
- What are they afraid of?
- How do they see themselves?
- How do they want to be seen by others?
All this should help you to uncover the answer to the most important question of them all:
What drives your ideal customers?
Hint: losing weight is never about losing weight, making money is never about making money, and so on.
There’s always a deeper desire hidden beneath the obvious “I want to do X” goal. Your job is to uncover it.
So keep digging until you get to the real answer.
How To Conduct Proper Customer Research
Understanding your target audience isn’t a creative writing exercise where you just make stuff up.
You need to conduct extensive customer research:
- Figure out where your ideal customer hangs out?
- Observe the discussions happening there.
- Take note of anything that keeps coming up again and again.
This can mean lurking on Reddit, registering to niche online forums, joining paid communities, etc.
Text analysis can come in handy here. It’s a machine learning technique that allows you to analyze vast quantities of data and extract meaningful insights from it.
You could use text analytics software to analyze all tweets that feature a particular hashtag, then see the most commonly used words and phrases, the predominant sentiment of the tweets, etc.
You also want to check out the content that is popular with your target audience because that will give you a better understanding of what resonates with your ideal customers.
This can mean listening to podcasts, subscribing to YouTube channels, buying the most recommended books, etc.
Finally, if you have an opportunity to do so, interview your ideal customers one on one.
Keep in mind that everyone wants to feel heard, so getting your ideal customers to give you 15-30 minutes of their time to pick their brains might be easier than you think.
#2 Build a Value Ladder Sales Funnel
Your lead generation funnel isn’t some isolated thing, it’s an integral part of your sales funnel.
That’s why if you want to make your lead generation process more effective, you need to zoom out and look at the big picture aka your entire sales funnel.
What Is a Sales Funnel?
A sales funnel is the process that a person goes through from first hearing about your product or service to becoming a customer to becoming a repeat customer.
Here’s the bird’s-eye-view of any sales funnel:
- Top of the funnel – target audience. You catch the attention of a potential customer.
- Middle of the funnel – leads. You get the potential customer interested in your product.
- Bottom of the funnel – customers. You persuade the potential customer to buy your product.
All businesses in existence use a sales funnel that follows this structure.
However, since this structure is so generic, it’s not particularly useful for growing an online business.
That’s why when we talk about sales funnels we use the term to refer specifically to proven sales funnel templates.
What Is the Value Ladder Sales Funnel
We believe that the most effective way to sell anything online is the Value Ladder sales funnel.
It was developed by our co-founder Russell Brunson who then used it to take ClickFunnels from zero to $10M+ in annual revenue in just one year (it’s at $100M+ now). Talk about explosive growth!
The Value Ladder sales funnel has four stages:
- Bait. You offer the potential customer your lead magnet in exchange for their email address.
- Frontend. You offer the potential customer your least expensive and least valuable product.
- Middle. You offer the customer a more expensive and more valuable product.
- Backend. You offer the customer your most expensive and most valuable product.
Ideally, there’s also some sort of a continuity program, meaning, a subscription product that generates recurring revenue.
The reason why the Value Ladder sales funnel works so well is that it allows you to:
- Start the relationship with that person by providing free value.
- Nurture that relationship by continuing to provide free value.
- Built trust by providing progressively more paid value at each stage.
Here’s how Russell explains it:
By the way, you don’t need to have an entire product line in order to create a Value Ladder sales funnel.
You can start with just the lead magnet and a frontend product, then build out the rest of the funnel later.
How Does Your Lead Generation Funnel Fit Into Your Value Ladder Sales Funnel?
So how does your lead generation funnel fit into all this?
Your lead generation funnel is the first stage of your Value Ladder sales funnel – the Bait stage.
It’s important to understand that what happens in the Bait stage has a cascading effect throughout the rest of your sales funnel because it sets the tone for your relationship with that person.
In other words:
If you impress the potential customer, they will be excited to learn more about what you have to offer.
However, if you disappoint them, they will leave and never come back. You won’t get a second chance.
Why You Need To Avoid Lead Generation Myopia at All Costs
Don’t fall into the trap of lead generation myopia.
It’s what happens when you think about lead generation in isolation without considering how your decisions in this stage affect the rest of your sales funnel.
The most common manifestation of this mindset is when entrepreneurs focus on lead quantity over lead quality and chase vanity metrics such as the number of email subscribers.
As a result, they end up flooding their sales funnels with low-quality leads who aren’t interested in their products…
And then they wonder why they aren’t making any sales!
You need to avoid this at all costs.
Always put lead generation in its proper context – the Value Ladder sales funnel. How will your lead generation process affect the rest of your sales funnel?
#3 Create an Irresistible Lead Magnet
You can’t expect people to give you their email addresses just because. There must be an incentive for them to do that. And that’s where your lead magnet comes in…
What Is a Lead Magnet?
A lead magnet is a freebie that you offer to potential customer in exchange for their email address.
What Can You Offer as a Lead Magnet?
A lead magnet can be anything that the potential customer can either download to their device or access online:
- A report.
- An ebook.
- A webinar.
- A video course.
- An email course.
What Is the Key To Creating an Effective Lead Magnet?
As we always emphasize whenever we discuss lead magnets:
Your ideal customers won’t give you their email addresses unless you offer them something SUPER VALUABLE in return.
There’s a phenomenon called lead magnet blindness that you need to account for.
Back in the 2000s, when lead magnets were a new marketing tactic, there was no need to put much effort into them because people were excited about getting free stuff.
Fast forward to 2021, everyone is sick and tired of all these low-effort lead magnets, people don’t want to download yet another PDF they will never read or sign up for yet another tiresome webinar that they will leave halfway through.
That’s why now people simply ignore lead magnet offers in a similar way that they ignore ads.
The only way to break through lead magnet blindness is to create something that your ideal customers desperately want, then give it away for free.
What is the most painful problem that your ideal customers are struggling with right now?
Create a lead magnet that offers a solution to it.
They won’t ignore that.
How Many Lead Magnets Should You Have?
This depends on how many segments your target audience consists of.
If you are serving just one type of customer, then a single lead magnet might be enough.
Meanwhile, if you are serving several different types of customers, then you might want to consider creating a separate lead magnet for each segment.
That being said, having several lead magnets can be helpful even if you are only serving one segment, especially if you want to build a following on various social media platforms and then drive that traffic to your lead generation funnel.
Say, if you have a YouTube channel, you might want to create several lead magnets that correspond to the topics that you discuss most frequently, then plug the most relevant lead magnet in each video.
If you have a fitness channel, then it might make sense to create lead magnets on losing weight, building muscle, learning specific skills, etc.
#4 Create a Killer Lead Generation Landing Page
We have already mentioned that even though your lead magnet is free, you still need to “sell” it, meaning, persuade people to give you their email addresses in exchange for it.
And that’s what your lead generation landing page is for…
What Is a Landing Page?
A landing page is a type of web page that is designed for one specific conversion goal.
In this case, your lead generation landing page should be designed to persuade the visitor to subscribe to your email list.
There are three types of landing pages:
- Short-form landing pages are also known as squeeze pages.
- Medium-length landing pages.
- Long-form landing pages.
Typically, lead generation landing pages are either squeeze pages or medium-length landing pages since long-form landing pages are overkill for the vast majority of lead magnets.
One exception to this is the advanced “Free + Shipping” lead magnets where the lead magnet itself is free but the potential customer has to pay for shipping.
A long-form landing page might make sense in that case.
How To Create a Squeeze Page
There’s no need to overcomplicate things – a basic squeeze is enough to get started with lead generation.
It needs to have:
- A headline that conveys how the lead magnet will make the potential customer’s life better.
- An opt-in form where the potential customer can type in their email address.
- A call-to-action button that encourages the potential customer to sign up to your email list.
How To Improve the Conversion Rate of Your Squeeze Page
Here are some other elements that you might want to add to your squeeze page:
- A relevant image that represents your lead magnet.
- Copy that expands on how the lead magnet will make the potential customer’s life better + explains what it is in more detail.
- Social proof that increases your credibility in the eye of the potential customer. This can mean “As Seen On” media badges, customer testimonials, endorsements from well-known people, etc.
Adding these elements will likely increase the conversion rate of your landing page but you should always A/B test everything just to be sure.
You can learn more about lead generation landing pages by reading our comprehensive guide on the subject:
“10 Tips For Killer Lead Generation Landing Pages”
Squeeze Page Example: Scott H. Young’s Homepage
Take a look at this squeeze page that personal development blogger Scott H. Young uses as his homepage:
#5 Make Sure That Your Frontend Offer Builds on the Lead Magnet
You know how sometimes you see those stalls in the supermarket where you can get a free sample of some new food or beverage, then buy more of it if you like it?
In the same way, your lead magnet should serve as a free sample of your frontend product – it should give the potential customer a taste of the value that you offer.
Matthew Hussey, a world-renowned dating coach, has a lead magnet called “9 texts” which offers nine text message scripts that women can copy-paste when texting a guy they like.
And if a woman gets positive results with these nine scripts, then she will likely be interested in Matthew’s paid product called “The Momentum Texts” which offers 67 more copy-paste text message scripts.
See how there’s a seamless progression from the lead magnet to the frontend product?
You want that in your sales funnel.
#6 Price Your Frontend Product at $7
Now take a guess how much does “The Momentum Texts” cost?
What would you pay for 67 copy-paste text message scripts that have been proven to work?
It’s probably safe to say that anyone who has had the misfortune of trying to navigate modern dating would certainly pay more than $7.
And yet that’s what Mathew charges. Seven bucks. That’s it.
So why is he leaving money on the table when he could charge way more??
That’s the thing:
He isn’t leaving money on the table. He’s simply playing the long game.
The single biggest challenge in the Value Ladder sales funnel is converting a lead into a paying customer, which is why you want to make your frontend product a no-brainer.
And $7 is a no-brainer, right?
That’s why we recommend this price point for your frontend product.
Remember, the purpose of the frontend offer isn’t to make you tons of money, it’s to convert leads into paying customers.
#7 Test Your Lead Generation Funnel With Paid Ads
You never know if your lead generation funnel works until you test it.
We advise you to use Facebook ads to drive traffic to your lead generation funnel to see if your lead magnet resonates with your ideal customers.
Make sure that you validate your lead magnet before you start investing more money into marketing.
Also, once the data starts coming in, you can begin optimizing your sales funnel – find the weak points, identify the problems, and fix them.
That can help you to 2x, 5x, or even 10x your profits.
#8 Optimize for Lead Quality, Not for Lead Quantity
So how can you increase lead quality?
High-Quality Traffic vs. Low-Quality Traffic
There are two types of traffic:
- High-quality traffic aka your ideal customers.
- Low-quality traffic aka everyone else.
Your traffic will always be a mix of the two, but you want to generate as much of the former and as little of the latter as possible.
How To Improve Traffic Quality
Improving your traffic quality is straightforward:
- Look at your customer data.
- Figure out what traits do people who have already bought something from you have in common.
- Create an ideal customer persona based on that information, then use it to make your paid advertising campaigns more precise.
Note that if your target audience consists of several segments, you might need to create a separate customer persona for each segment.
Also, we want to emphasize that this shouldn’t be based on lead data, it should be based on customer data. Why?
Because you don’t just want to attract more leads, you want to attract more customers!
Target Your Ideal Customers, Ignore Everyone Else!
It’s important to be ruthless when it comes to your targeting.
What did the previously mentioned Noah Kagan do when he realized that female email subscribers weren’t converting into paying customers?
He simply stopped targeting women altogether in his Facebook Ads campaigns.
Here’s how Noah explains his decision:
“It’s not that I don’t like women. I love them!
But the point is that they are not actually as interested in my content.
There’s probably someone who can better share that type of content with them.
So I target my audience which is males, 25-44.”
And that’s exactly what you should do as well:
Only target your ideal customers. Ignore everyone else.
#9 Drive Traffic to Your Lead Generation Landing Page
Entrepreneurs often make the mistake of driving traffic to their homepages, which typically are too cluttered to convert well.
Or, even worse, they send potential customers straight to their sales pages, which is the online equivalent of walking up to a stranger and saying “Yo, here’s my product, now buy it!”.
That’s why you should always drive traffic to your lead generation landing page instead.
- Promote your lead magnet with paid ads.
- Promote your lead magnet on social media.
- Promote your lead magnet on YouTube.
Once you have the potential customer’s email address, then you can pitch them your frontend product.
#10 Ditch Your Website Altogether (For Real!)
We saved our most controversial tip for last. Are you ready for it?
You should ditch your website altogether and replace it with your lead generation landing page.
Think about it:
What happens when a potential customer arrives on your website?
They see the navigation bar. They start clicking around. They check out this page, they check out that page, maybe they read a few articles on the blog.
And then they leave. Without giving you their email address. Possibly to never come back.
How does this help you grow your business?
Meanwhile, by definition, a sales funnel is designed to guide the potential customer towards the sale, one step at a time.
When a potential customer arrives on your lead generation landing page, they aren’t bombarded with a bunch of links.
Instead, they are presented with just two options:
- Subscribe to your email list.
- Leave the landing page.
There’s nothing confusing about that. It’s a simple yes or no decision. And that’s what makes them more likely to say “Yes”.
And every step after that is the same – your frontend offer, your middle offer, and your backend offer.
Yes or no decisions, one at a time.
So is it any wonder that sales funnels convert better than websites?
In fact, according to our data, on average, a sales funnel generates 6x more sales than a website.
In other words:
Your website is losing you money.
So what’s the point of having one??
By the way, we aren’t just philosophizing, we live what we preach.
Consider that ClickFunnels:
- Doesn’t have a regular website. We use a landing page as our homepage.
- Generates over $100M in annual revenue.
And guess what?
There’s a connection between the two!
Want to grow your online business faster than you ever thought possible?
Then you should ditch your website, replace it with a sales funnel, and watch your sales skyrocket.
And if you are still skeptical, listen to what this gold digger has to say:
Want Russell To Teach You How To Build Your First Sales Funnel?
Let’s keep it real:
Building a sales funnel from scratch can seem like a daunting task.
That’s why we created our 5 Day Challenge where Russell walks you through it step-by-step.
You will learn how to:
- Generate unlimited leads.
- Create your first lead magnet.
- Build your first sales funnel.
- Create a simple 6-email follow-up sequence.
- And launch your funnel!
…in just five days.
So don’t hesitate.
Join our 5 Day Challenge today. It’s completely free!