So, Let’s Talk About Lead Generation…
When you think of the term lead generation from a sales perspective, you will almost always
think of this in terms of a traditional sales team making lots of cold calls from a list and then
following up with the warm leads and asking about their holidays by referring to their notes.
Eventually they cultivate their leads to the point where they can make a sale and walk away
with a profit.
As such, you might not immediately recognize just how this can be relevant in terms of your
online business. If you have a blog that sells ebooks, how are leads relevant to you?
In fact though, leads are just as relevant to you – if not moreso!
You need to adapt the ideas somewhat, but thinking of your visitors in terms of leads and
applying the same principles of the lead cycle can alter the way you do business for the
better and have a huge impact on your engagement and your eventual profits.
Read on to find out more…
What Are Leads?
No matter what type of business you are running, a lead is someone that you think might one
day become a customer and it is someone that you have the ability to communicate with.
Our primary way to generate leads are by having prospects subscribe to our email list, so we
can cultivate a mutually beneficial, business relationship with them.
“As an online entrepreneur… Your primary objective should be lead generation and converting most of those leads into customers.”
What you also need to recognize though is that there are different types of leads and in
order to turn your leads into customers, you need to recognize what type of lead you’re
dealing with then take that lead through the necessary steps to become the kind of person
that would be willing to buy from you.
The types of leads are as follows:
• Cold lead
• Warm lead
• Qualified lead
A cold lead is someone who subscribes to your list as a result of an ad. Whether it’s a solo
ad, facebook ppc, google adwords or some type of media buy. This is someone who falls
within your target demographic, but has never had any contact with you until now.
A warm lead is then someone who has shown an interest in your brand and who has given
you permission to contact them. The most common way they might do this is by ‘liking’ your
facebook page, reading your blog or watching your youtube videos and then subscribing to
your mailing list.
This is now someone who is particularly likely to buy from you because they have shown
that they like what you’re all about.
The next step is to turn those warm leads into qualified leads. This means taking someone
who is a loyal fan and making them into someone who is gearing up to make a purchase.
These are the people who are on the brink of a sale and who might buy from you if only you
give them the right incentive. They might have spent time on your e-commerce store and
added an item to their cart, or they might have emailed you to get a quote.
Finally, you have your customers. These are of course people who have bought from you
in the past but that is not to say they won’t buy again. In fact, old customers are likely going
to be your very best source of qualified sales!
Why Leads Matter
At this point, you might now be wondering why leads matter. Why try and get leads when
you could just try and get customers?
The answer is that it is easier to collect larger numbers of leads than it is to get lots of
customers. And once you have your leads, you’ll then be able to convert a very large
proportion of them into paying buyers… if you play your cards right.
What’s more, if you start off with a lead and then build that relationship and build that trust,
you’ll find they are more likely to become lifetime fans and customers.
This will then increase the LCV or Lifetime Customer Value.
That is a very important metric if you want to maximize your sales and earnings.
Conversely, someone who is only interested in making sales right away is likely to drive
away a lot of the people they come into contact with.
To understand this, imagine a website that sells fitness equipment and protein shakes.
If that site is only interested in getting customers, then it will probably set up an ad
campaign sending people to its site and then it will make the site all about the sales.
There will be no information here other than large banners telling people why the
products are so great and how they can get money off if they buy right NOW!
But just because someone is interested in fitness, that doesn’t mean they’re in the
market for protein shake right now. They might be trying to lose weight, or they might not
trust the brand and be worried that the products won’t work or won’t offer good value for
Thus a lot of people are simply going to be put off by that and they’ll leave…
As a business, you have now just lost the chance to ever sell them anything!
Now let’s conversely imagine a website that takes the opposite approach and focuses on
lead generation. It recognizes that those people on the site are just prospects at this point
and as such, it doesn’t try to sell to them.
This is the equivalent of approaching someone in a bar and asking if they want to go
home with you!
Instead, these websites will focus first on providing value and they’ll do that by offering
entertaining articles and posts and generally giving away lots of information for free.
They will mention the products too but they won’t be in your face. That means that some of
those visitors might buy something but the ones who aren’t currently looking to buy will be
able to just look around, decide they like the brand and perhaps subscribe to the mailing list.
They have now turned most of those cold prospects into warm leads and they’ve only lost
Then, all that is left to do is to convert those warm leads into qualified leads by providing
lots of interesting content and building up the trust before eventually trying to convert with
a sales funnel.
What’s more, is that once those people buy, they’ll be far more likely to buy again because
they’re now actually fans of the brand.
The Right Approach
So how do you go about generating your leads and then converting them
into qualified leads?
The answer starts with your branding. This might sound like a surprise but
if you’re really going to focus on building leads, that means you need to
focus on offering value and creating engagement for your followers. If
you’re currently a sales-centric organization, that is going to mean
changing your entire approach.
So first take a look at your brand. A good brand is much more than just a
logo and a company name – rather it should be a mission statement which
is your promise and statement of intent.
This isn’t what your company does,
it’s why your company does it. It’s what matters to you as a business and
it’s what you’re trying to achieve.
Do you want to make the world a greener and more sustainable place?
Do you want to liberate people to be fitter and healthier?
Do you want to empower other businesses to change the world?
Do you want to usher in new technologies that will change the way we
Look at any good brand and it will have a mission statement that will inform
the products it makes, the tone it conducts business in, the type of
customer it approaches and even the appearance of the logo and the web
design (an ‘eco-friendly’ brand will likely have a green logo for example!).
Once you’ve established your mission statement (normally 1-4 sentences
long), you can then go about building the rest of your company around that.
What should your marketing look like? What should you be selling? What
should you be blogging about?
The reason this matters is because it now means you offer real value and
you represent some kind of movement. That’s important because it’s going
to change the way your customers see you and that means that people will
want to sign up and learn more.
That means you can build fans even if
those fans aren’t buying anything yet. They’ll want to associate with what
you’re trying to achieve and even if they don’t read your mission statement,
they’ll understand what you’re about from your logo and your writing style.
What this also does is give you a very specific type of person that you are
now marketing to – the type of person who will be behind what you’re doing
and who will want to be involved.
This allows you to create your ‘buyer persona’ who will be the precise type
of person who will love your brand. This goes beyond merely the
demographic that is statistically likely to buy from you – it means
understanding the needs, wants and interests of the sort of person who will
love your brand.
The temptation will be to tone down your mission statement in order to
appeal to a broader audience. This is a mistake though, as it is much better
to be passionate and to really excite a particular type of person rather than
to have a bland approach that appeals to everyone but is easily forgotten.
Once you have your buyer persona, this then tells you who it is you’re
trying to find as your cold leads. It tells you what they’re likely to search for
on Google (meaning you can now use Google AdWords to target them)
and it tells you which forums and Sub Reddits they can probably be found
The Next Steps
This then tells you what you need to do next – start marketing your
business to that precise persona in order to build up your cold leads.
Meanwhile, make sure that you are offering tons of free value on your
website and doing everything you can to demonstrate your value and your
expertise. The more you do this with great blog posts, useful social media
posts and inspiring images, the more trust and authority you will build and
the more likely people will be to want to buy from you.
Meanwhile, you can use a number of methods to bring new customers to
your site. If you use PPC or post in social bookmarking sites, then you can
directly target the right persona for your site in order to acquire lots of cold
Using the content on your site in combination with a great email list
squeeze page, you can then convert a lot of these leads to warm leads.
What’s more though, is that you can actually use certain marketing
methods to bring pre-qualified leads to your site! AdWords actually lets you
do this by targeting people who are searching Google for products like
For example, if you advertise on the keyword ‘buy hats online’ and
you sell hats on your website, then that means that people who visit your
site are already looking to buy hats and are therefore qualified leads who
can easily be persuaded to become paying customers.
Even better is to use ‘remarketing’ which is a way to advertise to people
who have already been to your site and shown an interest in what you are
In future posts, we will discuss these methods and many more as well as
looking at how you can convert qualified leads into buyers, how you can
categorize and ‘score’ your leads and how you can use CRM software to
automate the entire process.
Once you understand all this, you’ll change the way you think about your
web traffic and the way that you handle your internet marketing forever!