16 Different Lead Generation Sources: The Myths, The Lies, The Truth. |
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Where should you be investing your marketing dollar for the biggest return?

I often get asked this question by clients.  And when I dissect what they’re doing, I often find they’re wasting a lot of money. 

Here are some general rules of thumb to help you get a better idea on which marketing vehicle is going to give you the biggest bang for your buck. 

1.Facebook Advertising

fbadrunThere are a lot of myths around Facebook advertising. If you know what you’re doing it can be highly profitable (yes even in the B2B space) generating leads at as little as $1 and enquiries at as little as $7 - $10.

Let's say you convert 1 in 10 of those leads to consulting or coaching work at (say) $10k each.

That's a cost per sale of as little as $70 or $100 on a $10k sale.

Even if it costs you $500 or $1,000 per $10,000 client, you're still way in front.

On the other hand, it can cost you 5 times that much if you don’t get it right.

If you are going to try Facebook advertising do one of these two things:

  1. Learn how to master Facebook advertising before you start OR
  2. Invest the money in someone with a proven track record in getting results on FB. Cheap FB consultants are often nothing more than technicians and managers of your ad spend.

Don't just dip your toe into the water with Facebook advertising without having learnt how to do it because there's a very good chance you'll get burnt. One small tweak can result in your cost per click skyrocketing.

On a side note:

One of the most common comments from entrepreneurs in a professional services space is that they feel their clients aren't hanging out on Facebook so advertising won't work.

Yes and No.

No - I wouldn't invest a lot of time or energy on Facebook marketing eg. regular posting on your page BUT YES advertising can deliver massive results in the professional fields.

We've personally seen it work for coaches, consultants, accountants, and business opportunities.

Almost everyone has a Facebook account.

And the beauty of Facebook advertising is that you can target them via a gazillion different interests and by industry and job role.

Plus, when you hit that sweet spot with your ads, you'll attract leads way cheaper than you will on other advertising mediums.

Even if you decide to do nothing else using Facebook advertising, do this:

A cool way to offset your ad costs

One way to offset your cost in Facebook advertising (in case leads do cost you more than you wanted) is to use what many in the industry call a tripwire.

This is where you offer something free (eg. ebook, cheat sheet or something) and once they have opted in, redirect them to an upsell page where they can buy the deluxe version of the free thing they have just downloaded.

For instance, let's say that the FREE thing they downloaded was a landing page checklist. They were then redirected to a tripwire that offered a bunch of landing page templates and a swipe file of landing pages.

Let's say your end goal is to enrol people in a coaching program.

Let's say that you have had 300 people opting in to something at $2 each That's a $600 ad spend.

Let's say that 20% of those people decided to buy your upsell offer (trip wire) at say $14. That's $840 in sales so you're getting the leads for free so it has cost you nothing to attract those coaching leads.

See how beneficial that is?

Of course, there's an upside and a downside in everything.

There's time and cost associated with creating a tripwire product and the sales copy so I'd recommend that you only do it if you're doing large volumes of advertising and want to attract large volumes of coaching sales.

If you aren't, it's a distraction.

See also: 14 Factors that Affect your Facebook Advertising Results

 

2. Facebook Retargeting

Love this.

It will increase your enquiries, reduce lead times and generate repeat business.

  1. Upload your email database to Facebook and create a custom audience. Facebook will create a custom audience of people who have a Facebook account that matches the email addresses on the database you uploaded.
  2. Run Facebook Retargeting ads to this list.
  3. Do the same with your LinkedIn connections. Export your LinkedIn connections and upload that and create a Custom Audience then run an ad to those people. This will maximise top of mind awareness with your LinkedIn connections and with the right offer, be an easy way to increase sales.

I'll often use Facebook retargeting myself to remind clients about an offer or to send them to a testimonials page on my website so people who have enquired have more social proof around engaging my services.

 

3. Facebook Marketing

Trilogy - spotters fee adDo you invest a lot of time and money on building your presence on Facebook or not?

Like it or not, every business needs a Facebook presence - even if it's just putting up a page and sharing the occasional piece of content from your blog.

Not everyone though, should be investing masses amounts of money or energy on Facebook marketing.

You can get great results over time if you do it right (stress - 'right').

  • Remember building a big fan base doesn't necessarily equate to sales.
  • Having tons of engagement on your page doesn't necessarily equate to sales.
  • Having a large Facebook community doesn't necessarily equate to sales either.

It can but that doesn't mean it will.

It works - sure. But it isn't a magic pill.

If you are contemplating getting a social media manager to manage your social media, before you do that, consider this:

What doesn't work:

I had a potential client who sold luxury bedding and he had a fairly small no. of followers on his page.

He wanted to hire me to do his social media management .

I asked him what ROI he was looking for. He told me that he needed to attract $10,000 in sales each month from it.

My fee would have been around $1500 a month. I told him that Facebook wasn't going to give him the ROI he was looking for.

He would be far better doing Facebook advertising or running ads on sites that reached his target audience.

I'm not poo-pooing Facebook as a marketing vehicle.

I find it to be awesome.

In fact, I've attracted a lot of clients through Facebook.

It's just that you need to look at it as part of your overall marketing strategy. Don't rely on it to be the sole source of your sales in the short term. If you do, you will be disappointed.

What does work:

I've managed the social media for a franchisor and because they were doing the marketing on behalf of their nationwide network of franchisees, Facebook was an enormous opportunity to spread their reach and attract sales.

And because their service was of  a nature that they could show pretty stunning 'before and after' examples, the engagement on their posts was massive.

To amp up the engagement we ran a "win a holiday" competition which increased the engagement further, delivered a lot of good will, produced a lot of sales and a lot of viral appeal.

Social Media Manager or DIY?

Hire a social media manager, by all means. Get the right one who takes a strategic approach and focuses on engagement and leads, and you'll get results.

But before you do that, look at what is going to give you the best ROI.

If you're about to invest $1500 per month, the question is could that be better spent on Facebook ads to generate leads or on Google AdWords to generate 'ready to buy' leads instead?

In many cases, you might find the answer to be YES.

I often train companies on how to manage their own social media. I find that the combination of giving them the "how to knowledge" combined with their own industry knowledge is often the best combination to get results.

Having said that, regardless of your approach to Facebook, always (at the minimum) schedule blog posts (at the very least) to appear on your Facebook page. You can do that using www.hootsuite.com or use www.meetedgar.com to recycle your posts so you don’t need to continually come up with new content.

When to post:

If you have decided that Facebook is an awesome vehicle for attracting customers and you're keen to build a large following, focus on 8 posts a day at 6am, 9am, 10am, 3pm, 5pm 6pm, 7pm, 9pm (no, this isn’t too many).

If you pay a lot of attention to Facebook you can dramatically increase engagement and sales but if you’re not doing anything in the area of direct lead generation, you’re much better focusing attention and money doing that instead – first.

    See also: Case Study: How to Use the Viral Power of Facebook to Recruit Top Talent

 

4. LinkedIn Marketing

linkedinimageI LOVE LinkedIn for B2B sales.

It’s a fantastic way of getting organic leads. It’s also fantastic for building referral relationships and for prospecting. It’s simply a matter of knowing how to do it in a way that works.

  • Get your profile singing and populated with the right keywords.
  • Identify your ideal target audience. Start building connections with these people.
  • Start having networking conversations with key influencers.
  • Post valuable content regularly in LinkedIn's article feature (I attract anywhere between 5 and 75 opt-ins to one of my optin offers from every article I publish - and it didn't cost me a cent).
  • And – strategically email prospective clients (one on one) to see if you can help. NOTE: spamming doesn’t work. LinkedIn is a slowly, slowly relationship building process so sending a cold sales pitch via the messaging feature will only leave a bad taste in people’s mouths.

Like anything, there’s an art to it.

  • Add value first. Send short, conversational emails to say 'hi' and see how you can help.
  • Send the occasional email giving valuable information.
  • Send a short email with a request for a 15 minute chat so you can get to know each other and see how you may be able to collaborate.
  • It's never about securing the sale. It's about building a relationship. It's about genuinely being of service.

9 times out of 10 it will be a highly valuable experience. You'll have added value and built a relationship with someone, often they'll reciprocate the favour and give you an introduction and on many occasions they'll let you know they have a need for your services. 

One of the things we teach is a LinkedIn Client Attraction mastery process which gives you a step by step process for use LinkedIn prospecting to attract clients.

This includes sending a certain number of a certain type of emails each day to your ideal target audience, with the aim of having a 15 minute chat which can then lead to a full discovery consultation and/or sale...

  1. Send x number of emails a day.
  2. Get x number of 15 minute chats.
  3. Get x number of sales each week.
  4. Rinse and repeat.      

Want to build your connections rapidly?

There are some great LinkedIn connection building and automation tools out there including Autopilot for LinkedIn.

See also:

 

5. Content Marketing

Content is King. If you write it and distribute it yourself it's a source of free leads, as well, of course as going a long way to build the "know you like you trust you" factor with potential clients and therefore increase your sales conversions.

I recommend 1 – 2 blogs per week as a minimum.

Now, if you're thinking, "I don't have time to write that many" there are ways to create large volumes of high quality content without taking a lot of your time. And/or you can engage a content writer (like us) to write it for you.

Either way, what you want to do is post articles on your blog, email your subscribers, and a week later post the blog on LinkedIn and in LinkedIn groups.

You can also use a range of content syndication sites to spread your reach including:

You can also repurpose the content that you've created by creating PowerPoint presentation and putting it on SlideShare, use portions of the article as blog posts, do an audio recording of the post.

To dramatically increase the volume of content that you put out there, use ‘curated content’ from sites such as www.Buzzsumo.com.

  • Find the most popular articles in your field and feature excerpts from those articles as content for your articles.
  • Reference the author, feature a link to their article and feature comments on their article.
  • Top and tail the article and you’re done

       

6. Google AdWords

If your customers actively search for companies in your industry, AdWords is normally a good idea unless you have highly competitive search phrases with a sky high cost per click.

AdWords traffic is a double-edged sword. On one hand, these visitors are 'ready to buy' now if you select the right keywords eg. 'copywriter' not 'copywriting' or 'window cleaner' and not 'window cleaning'.

On the other hand, in many industries people searching on Google are very price-focused.

If you're thinking that AdWords could be a great vehicle for you and you're considering engaging an Adwords consultant to manage your AdWords spend for you, here's a quick ...

WORD of WARNING: beware of using cheap AdWords consultants who promise the world. In most cases, you’d be far better off managing your AdWords yourself instead of spending $500 a month on a cheap AdWords consultant.

At the end of the day, you get what you pay for and you may find that you’ll not only save that $500 a month on consulting costs, you’ll also save a fair amount on ad spend too by not running with useless keywords that don’t get a result.

If you have multiple ads with multiple keywords and you spend a fair amount on AdWords each month it is a good idea to have a consultant but please – choose one who knows what they’re doing. The bargain basement consultants are often great at selling their services but extremely poor on service and results.        

 

7. Email Marketing

Email marketing works like wildfire when you are consistent and when your copy works.

I recommend sending 1 – 2 emails a week (yes, a week).

Try to have at least one promotion every 1-2 months to your list. This promo campaign might consist of a series of 5 – 7 pieces over the period of a week.

Some of these pieces will feature valuable content that relates to your promotion. Other emails might tell a story. You might run a webinar, and have 2 – 3 emails that focus directly on the sale.

In between times send valuable content including quick tips, blogs, info graphics webinar invitations.

Also, regularly attempt to reactivate inactive subscribers using a reactivation campaign.Then – for those who don’t re-engage, delete them off your list. As frightening as this sounds, it will increase deliverability of emails to the people who do want to see your emails.

        

8. LinkedIn Advertising

In theory, LinkedIn advertising should be 'the bomb' because it offers the best b2b targeting by way of industry and job title than anything else on the Internet.

The problem is, the placement of the ads (at time of writing) is terrible so the number of views is small AND it is uber expensive to advertise. Even when I'm advertising to a specific vertical like Accountants I've tested LinkedIn vs Facebook and Facebook comes up trumps every time.

A number of my peers are saying the same thing.

 

9. Search Engine Optimization

Attracting huge volumes of new clients organically through the search engines would be nirvana for most businesses, obviously, because it’s free. 

There are some potential catches here that are important to look at before you invest a lot of time and a lot of money on Search Engine Optimization.

  • First – ensure the existing pages on your website are optimized with the right keywords.
  • Next – look at the search volume (no. of searches) people make on your top keywords (you can do this at http://www.analytics.google.com and select ‘keyword planner’. Does the search volume warrant you investing time and money on Search Engine Optimization or would you be better just running Google AdWords?

Engage an SEO Consultant or NOT?

You’ll invest as little as $700 a month for a budget SEO consultant to help you up to $2500 for a top pro. The pro will get you results (usually) The budget SEO consultant probably won’t.

Again, decision time - $1500 (say) per month is SEO the best place to invest that money?

In many cases the answer could be YES but it’s important to ask questions around potential volume of traffic so you can get a sense of how long it’s going to take you to recoup that investment.

Also, beware SEO consultants who promise you the world. This is an industry that has a lot of unscrupulous practitioners who know that business owners know nothing about SEO. You get what you pay for … plus with cheap consultants who use ‘black hat’ practices you’ll run the risk of being blacklisted by Google.

 

10. Twitter

When to post:

If you have decided that Twitter is your social media platform of choice, post every half an hour to build your reach. Use www.meetedgar.com to recycle your posts or Hootsuite to schedule it across a variety of different platforms.

Advertise or not?

When it comes to advertising on Twitter, I wouldn't call myself an expert however I've tested Twitter vs Facebook and I have found Facebook performs way better although I have heard of people getting great results using Twitter.

I stay away from it because I don't know enough about it and my head space is too full right now to try and master another form of advertising.

As I mentioned earlier, there are a ton of ways to attract leads to your business. And again, the key is in getting really good at one or two of them and move on to the next or hire an expert.

 

11. Newsletter EDMs

This is an area that can be gold for many businesses but it’s one that is often overlooked. It doesn’t offer a great ROI in all circumstances however if you have a hungry, niche market and you sponsor an EDM in a niche authority site’s newsletter, you could very well attract huge amounts of traffic to your site.

One client recently built her list by over 3000 in a day with an EDM to the subscribers of a niche publication.

 

12. YouTube

This is an awesome media for really cheap advertising that often gets great results depending on your industry. It's often super cheap to advertise on too. Just bear in mind though that you’ll need to factor in the cost of video creation into your ad spend.

13 . Television/Radio

Without knowing your business or your budget it’s difficult to advise on this topic however what I will say is that traditionally on an ROI basis, usually TV and radio aren’t anywhere near as effective as online media for small businesses … unless you’re advertising in regional areas where the media costs are cheap.

As a rule of thumb, for most small businesses in urban areas, I recommend against using it as the sole source of leads. But again, I can only advise you accurately by finding out more about your business first. 

14. Print Advertising

The effectiveness of print advertising has rapidly declined over the years.

If you have a niche audience and you’re advertising in a niche publication at affordable prices, it could give you a good ROI. In many cases, digital is a better medium.

We recently did a comparison on the cost per lead for print advertising vs AdWords vs Facebook advertising for a client and found that Facebook was delivering leads 10 times cheaper than their print advertising was.

Sure, the leads probably weren’t as qualified but at a whopping 10 times cheaper it’s well worth the investment.

A word of warning:

If you decide to advertise, don’t make the mistake of getting the ad rep to create your ad for you. Ad reps are amazing at selling and service, but they aren’t trained agency professionals. If you’re spending good money on print advertising it pays to make sure your copy, your offer and your design sell.

15. Letterbox Flyers

Yes, they can still be super effective if you're advertising real estate or a home service. The key is to make them stand out. We still get great results creating flyers for clients that resemble newspaper articles - both in content and design. It looks like someone has ripped out an article from the paper and placed it in their letterbox.

This often pulls 10 times more than a traditional type of flyer.

 

16. Cold Telemarketing

It isn't for the faint hearted but it works and with the right approach is often one of the most effective and fastest ways to generate B2B sales. The downside is it's time consuming and if you outsource your telemarketing the results aren't often as good as if you do it yourself plus there's obviously the cost of outsourcing.

 

What's the best option for you?

Naturally, without knowing your business, it’s difficult for me to recommend precisely what’s the right formula for you so if you’re keen to really ramp up your leads and get specific advice, just arrange a FREE Lead Generation & Conversion Audit with me. (subject to availability).

See also:

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