With so many things on your to do list, improving your lead generation efforts might not be on the top of that list. Mistakes in lead generation can cost your business significantly, and inefficiencies in this aspect of marketing can cause you to lose income that you didn't even know you could have earned.
But what are the most common mistakes that businesses make and how can they be avoided?
1. Not Understanding Your Ideal Customer
It's necessary to research your audience; you know that. But consider also your ideal customers – the ones that are a great fit for your company (and your company is a great fit for theirs). It’s helpful to put a name and a face with the ideal customers you have, along with some characteristics. We call these customer personas. To whom would your product and service appeal precisely and directly?
Of all the potential customers who are intrigued by your product, some will conform to your ideal customer more closely than others. This is something to consider in your advertising, content marketing, website, etc. You can't appeal to everyone, so appeal to the type of company your business is made for.
2. Ignoring Mobile Platforms
A fact of modern life is that more and more people access the Internet through mobile devices than ever before, and the proportion is trending upward. Equip your website to handle this demographic and increase the pool of potential leads your business can attract.
For starters, having a mobile friendly website is something that you have to accomplish. Mobile friendliness of your website factors into Google rankings when people search from their phone. To learn more about why a mobile friendly website is critical today, click here.
If a visitor comes to your website on a smartphone and needs to "pinch and zoom" just to read what you're about, they'll have a poor experience and may just take their business elsewhere.
3. Sales and Marketing Inconsistency
Different people within your organization will inevitably have different priorities; too much independence for sales and marketing teams can lead to an inconsistent message that sabotages your efforts at the ground floor.
It might be like this at your company: Sales reps and business development reps want to spend their time on “good leads.” Marketing wants to increase lead volume. Then sales and business developers go into a hard sales approach. Marketing wants to provide more educational content to aid in the sale, but don’t get to.
The solution is for sales and marketing to gain agreement on what criteria determine a perfect lead, and also what collateral will be needed during the sale. It's okay to lock your teams in the same room together for a few hours until everyone is on the same page. It’s good to get your marketing and sales/business development teams together to map out the lead generation and sales process to see where each team can provide input and feedback.
4. Not Stating Customer-Focused Benefits
Do your ideal customers want to read about your product's features? The latest company press release? Maybe, but only so far as those things benefit them. It's fine to advertise product features, but that those must support the overall message: "You have a goal, and this is how this product can help you achieve that goal."
Think of it this way -- people aren’t as interested in the features until they find out that your product or service can actually solve their problem. Are you communicating that to them clearly on your website?
5. An Inadequate Content Strategy
The saying goes that "content is king," and while this is true, the content must be planned and coordinated to appeal to your target audience. It's not enough to have great ideas, flashy design or even impeccable marketing sense. Your content must be delivered in an organized fashion that conforms to your underlying philosophy or it won't be as effective as it could be.
A content marketing plan can help you plan what you need to create, where it should be promoted, and map out a deliberate path to lead conversion. That includes how you’ll treat email, social, PR, outreach, blogging, paid advertising and more.
6. Insufficient Credibility
At its core, you’re in the business of persuasion. It's an ancient art form, and you can go a long way by adapting your work to the strategy of rhetorical appeal. Your audience wants to know who you are and why they should trust what you say. They want to limit their risk of failure when they buy your product or service. Honest marketing can build credibility. Address cost and common questions you get in the sales process.
You might also think about simpler approaches – things like adding testimonials or simple case studies to your website. Also including industry association affiliations on your website is a simple way to add credibility.
7. Your Website Lacks Calls to Action
Prospects aren’t going to contact you unless you ask them to.
Each page on your website should act as a funnel for your leads, and calls to action are an integral component of that funnel. Companies often write web pages from their viewpoint. What do you customers want to read? What is a logical next step? Be sure to include those subtle tidbits that guide a customer toward the next step in your relationship with them.
Consider how many business websites you visited once and never again; somewhere there was a failure of communication between you and that company. Clarity of message is the basic element of communication, and all of these mistakes represent failures of clarity. With a clear message, you can dodge these pitfalls and establish the very connections with your audience needed to grow your business.
photo credit - Flickr