Build a Repeatable System for Lead Generation and Conversion
Many marketing consultants start out with a small network, and only a handful of clients, if that. That “getting started” part is the hardest part of being a consultant. There are a lot of things you can do in terms of networking, reaching out to strategic partners, and getting in front of groups to speak, but I want to talk about how to really start ramping up your business and book appointments, even if you’re starting from scratch. I’ve developed the following system to help you start your journey.
1. Set goals for meetings
I can’t tell you the number of consultants I work with that fall prey to funnel systems and marketing automation to generate thousands and thousands of leads when all they are just 6 or 7 clients. It always perplexes me that people spend so much time trying to build these massive lists when they probably just need to be getting in front of one or two people every week and present what it is that they do.
Sit down and do the math on it. A lot of the clients I work with sell a monthly retainer type of service. Instead of thinking of massive numbers, think of ways to just get in front of a handful of people where you provide enough value that you can close them.
2. Narrowly defined audience
Understanding your audience is critical if you want their business. You need to understand their pain points, wants, and needs and be able to address those needs in your marketing efforts. Narrowly defining your audience should be one of the first steps you take as you look to grow your business.
3. Build or buy a list
You may know who your audience is, but what if you don’t have a list of contacts within that audience to start reaching out to? There are many tools today that can help you build lists and show your ads to people that look a lot like your audience. If you have a subscriber list, mailing list, or customer list already, or even if you don’t but are targeting a specific industry, you can actually purchase a list and use Facebook data to put your ads in front of the people on that list.
Note, there are many dos and don’ts when it comes to Facebook advertising and building audiences. For example, if you go out and buy 100,000 contacts and upload it to Facebook, you’re probably going to violate their terms of service. However, if you take a list of 300-400 very targeted local individuals, for example, and upload that list, Facebook will actually build an audience for you using Custom Audiences. This is a great for somebody who wants to get into targeting, specifically targeting a certain industry.
In addition to building a custom audience, you can have Facebook build a lookalike audience. Let’s say you start with a list of 300-400 contacts. Facebook will then go out and do the work for you, and based on the original list you uploaded, it will find similar people across your geographic target and will run ads specifically to that new lookalike list. As you can gather, it’s a very cost-effective way to gather new leads.
4. Create valuable content upgrade
Once you’ve built your audience, you need to create content to get in front of that audience in order to deliver value. This will allow you to build a relationship and help a prospect understand why they should be talking to you so that it is no longer like a cold call.
Below is an example of how to tie the content into your audience. I wrote a blog post titled 16 Step Checklist for the Perfect Blog Post. It targets small business owners and marketers who are doing a lot of content marketing, so it’s perfect for my target audience made up of marketers. In addition to the blog content, halfway through the post, I offer another piece of related upgraded content.
About 10-12% of the people who view this blog post download this checklist. This is about 5x what the conversion rate would have been had we just thrown in a generic ebook or white paper. The content upgrade we used was very targetd and in line with what the audience was looking for. The more relevant the content upgrade is to the blog post, the higher the odds are of conversion.
5. Advertise the upgrade
Once your blog and content upgrade are live, you can then take the blog post and create an ad on Facebook. Facebook will let you choose the audience you built as the only people who will see your ad, making it targeted and relevant.
6. Offer to help those who respond
As people start responding to your ads, it’s your job to nurture and qualify them to figure out who your leads are. For everybody who downloads your content, I recommend you figure out a way to reach out to them and offer to help them. For example, as a marketer, you can offer to run a free SEO audit report based on the information you find on the prospect. Come up with some way to offer to help, whether it be sending them an email or getting them on the phone. Show them the reports and research you’ve been able to do for them to provide value.
7. Qualify and set appointments
If you qualify a person as somebody you want to work with, ask for a meeting to show them how they can improve their marketing. Promise to give them a plan of attack that they can use in their efforts moving forward..
8. Do the research
Once a meeting is set, you need to properly prepare for it. Do your research and put together a presentation that shows their strengths and areas of improvement. The more you can show them, the better.
9. Deliver the value
In the meeting, all you need to do with them is provide amazing value. At this point, you know a lot about the business, you can see what they are/aren’t doing online, you can see their weaknesses, and so on. You can reach into your marketing experience and come up with a plan almost on the spot that is based on where they’re trying to go and where their gaps are. If you’ve provided the value and insight the prospect was looking for, then at that point, all you can really do is sit back and wait.
10. Close the deal
Based on your presentation, you don’t really have to sell them on anything. You’ve already shown them so much value that you simply just have to ask ” would you like for us to do this for you?” A significant amount of people can be closed in this way.
If you can use this system to get in front of one or two people/week and close half of those people, the clients you’re looking for are going to appear very quickly.
If you liked this post, check out our Guide to Building a Small Business Marketing Consulting Practice and our Small Business Guide to Advertising.