Want to make more sales?
Then you need to generate more leads.
Here’s what we are going to discuss today:
- What is lead generation?
- What is a lead generation funnel?
- What are the three stages of lead generation?
We will also warn you about the dangerous trap of lead generation myopia that you need to avoid at all costs.
Introduction to Lead Generation
Okay, so before we get into the three stages of lead generation, let’s define the terms that we are going to be using throughout this article.
What Is a Lead?
A lead is a potential customer that has:
- Expressed interest in your company.
- Provided their contact information.
Note that a person has to meet both of these criteria to be considered a lead:
- Someone who visited your website but didn’t subscribe to your email list is not a lead.
- Someone whose email address you have in your address book is not a lead either.
What Is Lead Generation?
Lead generation is the process of converting potential customers into leads by persuading them to provide their contact details.
Online that is typically done via lead generation funnels.
What Is a Lead Generation Funnel?
Here at ClickFunnels, we believe that the most effective way to sell anything online is the Value Ladder sales funnel.
It was developed by our co-founder Russel Brunson who then used it to take ClickFunnels from zero to $10M+ in annual revenue in just one year (it’s at $100M+ now).
The Value Ladder sales funnel has four stages:
- Bait. You offer the potential customer your lead magnet in exchange for their email address.
- Frontend. You offer the potential customer your least expensive and least valuable product.
- Middle. You offer the customer a more expensive and more valuable product.
- Backend. You offer the customer your most expensive and most valuable product.
Ideally, you also have a continuity program of some sort, meaning, a subscription product that generates recurring revenue.
The Bait stage of the Value Ladder sales funnel is also known as the lead generation funnel because the goal at that stage is to convert the potential customer into a lead by persuading them to give you their email address.
It’s extremely important to understand that lead generation isn’t some isolated process – it’s an essential component of your sales funnel and as such should be always viewed in the context of your entire Value Ladder.
What Determines Lead Quality?
Not all leads are created equal.
Lead quality is determined by how likely they are to convert into a paying customer.
You want to optimize your lead generation strategy for lead quality as opposed to lead quantity because there’s no point in having the contact details of someone who has no use for your product.
Remember, just because they subscribed to your email list, doesn’t mean that they are going to buy anything from you!
The 3 Stages of Lead Generation
Now let’s get into the three stages of lead generation…
Stage #1: Research
You should start with research.
Define Your Dream Customer
Who is your dream customer?
Figuring it out is pretty straightforward if you already have sales coming in.
We recommend you use the Pareto principle aka the 80/20 rule to identify who your most lucrative customers are.
It says that for many outcomes, “around 80% of the consequences come from around 20% of the causes.”
In this context, that means that it is likely that around 20% of your customers generate around 80% of your revenue, meanwhile, the remaining 80% of your customers generate only 20% of your revenue.
Obviously, the exact distribution might be different, so don’t get fixated on the 80/20 ratio.
The point is that it’s likely that a minority of your customers are generating the majority of your revenue.
You want to identify what traits these people have in common so that you could clearly define who your dream customers are.
Analyze your sales data to get the basic demographic information, then use common sense and do some online sleuthing to work out the rest.
You want to know:
- Their gender.
- Their age.
- Their nationality.
- Their education level.
- Their occupation.
- Their income level.
- Their political beliefs.
- Their hobbies.
Let’s say that the 20% of your customers who generate 80% of your revenue are primarily American men between the ages 25-35 who live in San Francisco.
From that, you can infer that they are college-educated, work in tech, make six figures, lean left politically, and enjoy playing computer games
“Wait… Isn’t this stereotyping?”
Yes, it is.
But you want to determine what traits most of your dream customers have in common so that you could then be more precise in your targeting when generating leads.
So figure out what the rule is, don’t worry about exceptions.
Research Your Target Audience
Okay, now that you know who your dream customers are, it’s time to learn everything you can about them.
Here are some great places to start:
- Reddit. Subscribe to subreddits that your dream customers follow.
- YouTube. Subscribe to YouTube channels that your dream customers watch.
- Online Forums. Register to online forums that your dream customers participate in.
Say, following our earlier example, Hacker News is a great place to take the pulse of the Silicon Valley tech crowd.
- Podcasts. Subscribe to podcasts that your dream customers listen to.
- Books. Read books that your dream customers read.
You can become more efficient at this by focusing on the most popular Reddit posts, YouTube videos, forum posts, podcast episodes, and books.
Here’s what you want to learn:
- What do your dream customers want to achieve?
- What are your dream customers struggling with?
- What are your dream customers afraid of?
- What are your dream customers ashamed of?
- What value system do your dream customers subscribe to?
- How do your dream customers see themselves?
- How do your dream customers want to be seen by others?
- What words, phrases, and metaphors do your dream customer use to describe all of the above?
What drives your dream customers to do what they do?
The goal here is to get to the point where you understand your dream customers better than they understand themselves.
Create A Customer Persona
Okay, now that you are done with customer research, it’s time to create a customer persona. What’s that?
A customer persona is a fictional character that represents your dream customer.
Here’s a UX designer customer persona:
Use this customer persona to guide your lead generation campaign.
It’s much easier to create something that resonates with your dream customers if you target one person (e.g. Jane Doe) as opposed to a nebulous “target audience” (e.g. UX designers that work at Fortune 500 companies).
Stage #2: Attract
Once you have your customer persona, you need to create a “bait” aka lead magnet that would appeal to that person.
What Is a Lead Magnet?
A lead magnet is a freebie that you offer to potential customers in exchange for their email address.
It can be anything that they can either download to their device or access online:
- A report.
- An ebook.
- A webinar.
- A video course.
- An email course.
How to Create an Effective Lead Magnet
Your lead magnet doesn’t have to be elaborate, but it does have to provide an effective solution to a problem that your potential customers are struggling with.
The more specific the problem and the more effective the solution, the more appealing your lead magnet is going to be.
Bloggers often struggle to come up with headlines for their articles.
That’s why Jon Morrow, a popular blogger, and a writing coach, put together a free guide that features 52 headline formulas that people can use for their posts.
Consider How Your Lead Magnet Fits Into Your Sales Funnel
It’s best if your lead magnet not only serves as a bait that lures the potential customer in but also gives them a taste of the value that they can expect from your frontend product.
Ideally, your frontend product should address the same problem as your lead magnet but provide much more value.
Matthew Hussey, a world-renowned dating coach, has a free guide called “9 Texts” that offers nine text message scripts that women can copy-paste when texting guys they like.
Meanwhile, his frontend product is a guide called “The Momentum Texts” that offers 67 more text message scripts.
See how Matthew’s lead magnet sells the frontend product for him?
It’s the same approach that companies use when they set up stalls in supermarkets and give out free food samples – they let the free sample do the selling.
If the person likes it, they will want to buy more of that food, right?
Also, the greatest challenge in any sales funnel is converting a lead into a paying customer, so you want to put the odds in your favor by using this “free sample” tactic.
Stage #3: Convert
Okay, so now that you have your lead magnet, how do you persuade your dream customers to get it?
What Is a Landing Page?
A landing page is a type of web page that is designed with a single conversion goal in mind.
Out of all web pages, landing pages convert the best, which is why we recommend driving traffic to your lead generation landing page instead of your homepage.
What Is a Lead Generation Landing Page?
A lead generation landing page is a landing page that is designed for the purpose of persuading the visitor to give you their contact details.
You can think of it as a sales page for your lead magnet. Why should the potential customer download it? This is your opportunity to make your pitch!
How to Create a Lead Generation Landing Page
Your lead generation landing page doesn’t have to be fancy – a simple squeeze page will do.
- A headline that explains the offer and conveys its value.
- An opt-in form where the potential customer can type in their email address. It can be either displayed immediately or shown after they click the call-to-action button.
- A call-to-action button that encourages the potential customer to get the lead magnet. Use benefit-driven copy such as “Get Your Free Video” as opposed to generic copy like “Download” or “Sign Up”.
Here’s an example of a super simple yet high-converting squeeze page:
How to Drive Traffic to Your Lead Generation Landing Page
Once you have set up your lead generation landing page, it’s time to start driving traffic to it via Facebook ads.
Paid traffic is immediate – you pay for it and you get visitors.
This allows you to quickly determine whether your lead magnet resonates with your dream customers.
Once you are sure that it does, then you can start scaling your ad campaign.
Also, while paid ads work great in the short term, you don’t want to be reliant on them in the long term.
That is why we recommend you to work on building traffic-generating assets such as your own:
- Social media following.
- YouTube channel.
This will enable you to diversify your traffic sources as well as reduce your customer acquisition cost.
Of course, assets like that take time to build, so be patient and don’t expect overnight results.
Avoid Lead Generation Myopia at All Costs!
We also want to warn you about a trap we call lead generation myopia.
It’s when you start generating leads for the sake of generating leads without considering how that will affect the rest of your sales funnel.
Let’s say that you have a SaaS company that sells software for software engineers.
The holistic approach to lead generation would be to create a lead generation strategy designed to attract software engineers.
The myopic approach would be to create a lead generation strategy designed to attract anyone and everyone who is even remotely interested in software development.
Why would anyone go with the myopic approach when it clearly doesn’t make sense from a business perspective?
Because that would make it much easier for them to generate leads:
- There are way more people interested in software development than actual software engineers.
- Producing generic content such as “learn to code” articles is much easier and cheaper than producing content that software engineers would be interested in.
- Newbie coders and junior developers are less selective when it comes to subscribing to email lists than software engineers.
So if you are suffering from lead generation myopia, you would feel like you are doing everything right by casting a wide net.
And if you measure success by the number of leads generated, then the “wide net” strategy would indeed be more “successful” than zeroing in on software engineers. But guess what? That’s not the metric you should be focusing on!
Think about it:
If you build an email list of 100,000 aspiring software developers who are still learning to code, it won’t help your existing business because this demographic has no use for your product. The money spent on lead generation would be wasted!
You’d be much better off building an email list of 10,000 software developers because they might be interested in what you are selling.
Yes, you’d have generated 10x fewer leads, but you’d make way more money.
See how the number of leads generated is a useless metric if you don’t evaluate your lead generation strategy in the context of your entire sales funnel?
Remember that lead generation isn’t about collecting a bunch of random email addresses, it’s about getting the contact details of your dream customers so that you could sell your product to them and make money.
Ultimately, the only business metric that matters is profit, so stay focused on improving your bottom line.
Want Russell To Teach You How To Build Your First Sales Funnel?
Let’s keep it real:
Building a sales funnel from scratch can seem like a daunting task.
That’s why we created our 5 Day Challenge where Russel walks you through it step-by-step.
You will learn how to:
- Generate unlimited leads.
- Create your first lead magnet.
- Build your first sales funnel.
- Create a simple 6-email follow-up sequence.
- And launch your funnel!
…in just five days.
So don’t hesitate.