Running a business takes a lot of work and time, and if you want to be successful, you’ve probably spent countless hours on your lead generation. Whether you work in accounting, construction, or even solar energy, you’ve most likely experienced the “feast and famine” cycle where you’ll be booked one month and have little to no bookings for the next month. That could be due to any number of factors, but it could also be from working too much in your business and not enough on your business. So what can you do to counteract that?
You need to have a solid lead generation strategy in place if you want to say goodbye to the work famine. But before you hit the panic button and go forth to drum up business, take a strategic approach. You could reach out to past contacts or take on an aggressive pitching timeline, but why work harder when you could work smarter? You need to stand out to your audience and show them you do things differently from the competition. This means finding a guerilla marketing solution that makes choosing your business the obvious, and possibly, only choice. It also means having an effective plan and solid strategy that avoids the most common mistakes businesses make in their lead generation.
Mistake #1: Not Nurturing Leads
One of the biggest mistakes you can make in your lead generation is failing to nurture your leads. Instead of carefully keeping them moving through the stages of awareness, it might be tempting to go for quantity. After you acquire your leads, you shouldn’t assume they’ll become customers and move on to the next one – take the few leads you have, and start to build a relationship with them. These prospects may have become leads by coming into the top of your funnel, but if you don’t take the time to nurture them and build that know, like, and trust factor, they’ll fall out of that funnel.
According to HubSpot, “On average, prospects receive ten marketing touches from the time they become aware of your company till the time they convert into customers”. While it may take some time, it’s worth continuing to nurture that relationship – you’ll also see higher-quality repeat clients this way.
Email is an excellent way to nurture your leads; you can do this through a welcome sequence combined with a nurture sequence. The welcome sequence builds the foundation for the relationship with your lead. This is where you can introduce your services, values, and personality. Once your leads have completed the sequence, you can put them on the nurture sequence, which continues where the welcome sequence left off. During this sequence, you can talk to them about their pain points and how you can address them. It also helps to drop some testimonials in during this sequence so they can start to see you as an authority with results.
While email is a great tool, it isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ solution, and it may not be right for every lead. In this case, you can use other means to continue nurturing your leads, including coffee chats, social media check-ins, and engagement, or even sending a quick note to show them you’re thinking of them. Small gestures go a long way, and your leads will see you’re making the effort to get to know them before pitching them. And if this seems overwhelming for you, you always have the option of automating.
We’ll go in-depth in the next section, but automation can simplify nurturing your leads by having certain tasks done for you by your platforms. For example, you can have your reminders and email sequences go off on a timer and have your scheduling tool automatically add appointments to your calendar when they’re booked. However you choose to do it, nurturing is essential to your lead generation, so make sure you’re doing it. Remember, if you’re spending money to acquire the leads and not building a relationship with them, you’re burning your money and wasting your time.
Mistake #2: Not Having a Process In Place
Creating Your Framework or ProcessesLead generation can be time-consuming, but when you have the right processes and systems in place, you can free up time to tackle other areas of your business and work on client projects. Your process can be a blend of automation, frameworks, and workflows designed to move your leads through the appropriate funnels without working more than you should.
You can also set up automations in your internal operations, like setting up automatic reminders to take on specific tasks so you won’t have to tackle an endless to-do list on your own. Take The REACH Visibility Trajectory™, for example. This is a framework I created to help success-driven people like you build authority, boost industry visibility, and connect with your ideal market. Here’s how REACH breaks down:
Research – Learn your customers’ needs and wants, their end goals or aspirations, the language they use, and where they are online.
Engage – To engage with others, you first need to explore what matters to you and how you want to be perceived. What are your goals and core values? How do you speak? How do you want people to feel when they engage with your brand? This is the perfect time to do some reflection and hone your messaging. Getting the right message attracts the right clients and helps you connect with them at every stage of their buyer’s journey.
Attract – Attract clients with web copy that turns YOU into a snack. Now that you have your messaging down pat, you need to make sure the copy on your website clearly communicates it to your leads. Your leads will visit your site, and feel like what you’re offering on your site was made just for them.
Create – Create your lead generation funnel, which can include a lead magnet, email sequences, and upsells. You can also include individual follow-ups, calls, and even a postcard or two! You can get creative with your funnels and make them as simple or complex as you like.
Hook – Hook prospects with tactical strategy by creating a 90-day omnichannel strategy to gain even more brand visibility, build trust, and convert as much as possible. Omnichannel means everything you have in place, like social media, email, and direct mail, will work together as a system. Likewise, everything you’ve done in the REACH framework up until now comes together in the Hook phase.
The REACH Visibility Trajectory™ framework is a flexible approach to marketing, lead attraction, and generation.
Automating Your Efforts
We briefly touched on automation in previous section, but it deserves an in-depth look. According to WebFX, “77% of marketers convert more leads using automation software than those who don’t”. Keep in mind that not every part of your processes needs to be automated – I’d suggest combining automation and manual execution. Some things you can automate are calendar links, reminders, and a few canned emails. You can even automate direct mail! Several services allow you to send out bulk mailers, but you’ll definitely want them to stand out, so the recipient will notice them.
By combining this automation with personalized touches like handwritten notes, coffee chats, and genuine social media interactions, your leads won’t be left out in the cold. If you’re looking to automate your internal operations, aside from putting tasks on a timer, you can also set up workflows. These workflows will perform certain tasks once a trigger has been activated and it works across multiple platforms. If you have a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) platform and a separate email provider, you can set up a workflow that allows you to automatically add new CRM contacts to your email list. These workflows will drastically cut down time on menial tasks.
Mistake #3: Struggling to Stand Out
Have you ever run a Google search on other consultants? Have you looked at their websites, emails, or social media profiles? If you have, you may have noticed they all have the same feel, use the same buzzwords, and even use the same Canva templates (without changing a thing). Owning a business in a competitive market requires you to stand out from the competition, and this means you need to do a little inner work. If you remember the REACH framework from earlier, this would fall under the E(ngage) phase. The first thing you need to do is identify your USP–or your Unique Selling Proposition. Your USP tells your potential clients why they should choose you over the competition.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself when trying to identify your USP:
- What can I do that no one else does?
- What problems do my clients have?
- How can I use what I do to solve their problem?
- What can I do as a result of solving their problems?
Once you’ve answered these questions and identified your USP, it’s time to start implementing. Deathwish Coffee has an excellent USP. While other coffee brands talk about where their beans are sourced and what makes them so special, Deathwish keeps it simple: “World’s Strongest Coffee.” And if you feel you’ve had a stronger cup, they will give you a full refund. It gives the customer the confidence to buy their product and know they’re getting exactly what they were advertised.
Go through your website, social media profiles, sales pages, and other places your clients might visit and see how clearly you communicate your USP. If it’s not, you’ll have to do some tweaking here and there so it’s easy for potential clients to quickly identify how you’ll help them in a way no one else can. Another tactic to use is showing up where they don’t expect you. Of course, you still want to make sure your target market hangs out there, but if you show up where your competition doesn’t, that means more eyes on you.
Mistake #4: Not Being Consistent
Between your consulting work and your business operations, your schedule is probably jam-packed, so you might not always have time to reach out to your leads. But being consistent is one way your leads will see you’re reliable and choose to work with you. Marketing Donut states, “63% of people requesting information on your company today will not purchase for at least three months, while 20% will take more than 12 months to buy”. You can start building trust with your prospect during that time, but it has to be consistent.
The best way to stay consistent is to develop a schedule and stick to it. Take a look at your business and identify what kind of frequency works best. For some businesses, quarterly communication works fine, and for others, daily communications are necessary. Also look outward, what would your audience be most receptive of? How often do they expect to be contacted? If your business does require more frequent touches and you feel overwhelmed, this would be a great opportunity for you to automate.
Your leads will grow accustomed to you reaching out frequently and will start to trust you – again, they’ll see you’re reliable as well as present. Whether you’re sending 1:1 communications or providing funnel content, like an educational blog to help people learn about your brand, they’ll start to see your business as an authority. .
Speaking of building authority, I think it’s important to touch on something many business owners struggle with: acting as a person vs as a business. When you’re a small business, especially a solo entrepreneur, it can be difficult to see what you do as a legitimate business and not just someone who provides a service. You can create separate email addresses for your business, give your business a name, and more. That said, while consistency is important, it shouldn’t take over your life – set up boundaries that act as your ‘hours of business’ and let automation take over during the off-hours.
Mistake #5: Giving Up Too Soon
You might expect immediate results from your lead generation, and while you will see more leads rolling in, it can take time. If things aren’t working out the way you expected, you might feel pressed to quit. Instead of giving up, you can take this opportunity to tweak your approach. You might be on the right track with your strategy, but maybe something’s not quite right. Don’t feel like you need to reinvent the wheel. Instead, try to identify what’s not working and make a few adjustments. This is the perfect time to use the Scientific Method we learned in school.
Observation – You’ve noticed your lead generation efforts aren’t giving you immediate results.
Hypothesis – Think about why it’s not meeting expectations. Is it the approach itself or maybe your expectations weren’t set correctly? If it’s an expectation issue, evaluate them and adjust appropriately. If your approach simply isn’t working, determine why that could be and tweak it. Remember, when it comes to experiments, it’s best to keep everything the same and test a single vairable, so make sure you only change one thing at a time. This could be a pain point, form of communication, frequency of contact, etc.
Experiment – This is where you test out this new lead gen strategy and gather as much data as possible. Without tracking the changes you’re seeing in your experiment, you may not be able to determine if the changes are positively affecting your lead generation accurately. You can track metrics including lead count, conversion rate, email opens, and more.
Analysis – Now that you’ve concluded your experiment, you can take the data you collected and start to analyze the results. Did anything change? Did you see better or worse results? What did you notice? How did the change happen?
Conclusion – How did you feel the experiement went? If you saw positive results, you can continue to use this strategy, however if you didn’t see the results you were expecting, take some time to think about why. Keep in mind, there are a number of external factors that can affect marketing from geopolitical environment to changing seasons, so don’t feel too discouraged if you’re not happy with the results. .
Maybe you have a good system in place for your lead generation but are taking “no” for an answer too quickly. Rejection can be scary, and when you do get a “no”, you might feel short-term embarrassment and not want to reach out again, but that could be a mistake.
Continue the conversation with your lead and find out if it’s a definite and absolute “no” or a “not right now”. Your lead might not be in the right financial situation to pay you what you deserve or they might be going through a pivot in their business, but would love to work with you at a later time. Making this clarification allows you to keep that relationship with them going and it eases the pressure on their side.
To be clear, if they give you a hard “no”, thank them for their time, let them know they have your information if they ever need you, and move on. You don’t want to give yourself a bad reputation by pestering your leads. If your lead clarifies it’s a “not right now” issue, then you can continue to nurture them until the time is right.
Mistake #6: Sticking To A Single Medium & Not Trying New Things
Fellow consultants may have told you to find what works and stick with it, but that may not be the case with your lead generation. Your target market might have different ways they prefer to communicate, and coming up with a plan that takes this into account could benefit you.
As I mentioned before, direct mail is still a great way to communicate with your leads, and all it takes is a little know-how.
When using direct mail, adopting a multi-channel strategy works best. This means your leads will have many channels to choose from to communicate with your business. This differs from omnichannel in that not all channels are interconnected; they can each function effectively on their own. Earlier I mentioned not all leads will be receptive to email so you need to tweak your strategy to take that into account. That’s where direct mail comes in handy. If your leads don’t have email or have difficulty accessing it, mailers are an excellent way to reach them. According to Forbes, this strategy “drove 92% of customers to learn more about a business online and propelled 87% to make online purchases”. Those are incredible numbers for a medium many marketers claim is “dead.” Luckily for you, because many businesses don’t see the value in direct mail, you’re not competing against many for eyeballs. .
If you’ve never tried to implement new strategies, reach out to someone you trust and know what they’re doing for a little advice on new tactics.! If what you’ve been doing hasn’t been working for you, trying something new isn’t going to hurt. Just remember to document the process and if it doesn’t work, make adjustments and try again.. Running a business requires you to quickly adapt to changes in and out of your business, so why not adjust your strategy by trying a new approach??
Re-vamp Your Lead Generation Strategy
Now you know what kind of mistakes you might be making in your lead generation efforts, but now it’s time to make improvements. You have six different strategies you can implement in your business, so take some time to think about what makes sense for your business.
If you’re leaning towards doing a hybrid model like the direct mail/email combination, you’re in luck. I’m offering a package where we do this for you! If you want to simplify your lead generation and make it more effective, this is a solid fit.
Book a call with me here, and we can talk about your current lead gen system and how we can improve on it.