You could argue that commerce is what makes the world go round. Well ok, inertia and conservation of angular momentum might have something to do with it too. But certainly trade, or the sale of goods and services, is critical to our civilized society. And if you’re in business, you know that those sales are your raison d’etre.
In my last post I discussed the importance of continually feeding the sales pipeline. No pipeline = no sales. But how do you generate leads for your pipeline? Millions of articles have been written about lead generation today, but they all come down to essentially one thing: starting the conversation by persuading someone to give up their email address. Right?
Except today’s savvy and sophisticated consumer knows that you’re collecting her email address because you’re feeding your pipeline – you’ll only be able to get one from those that are ‘easy’ with their email addresses, those that have calculated that your offer is worth exchanging their email address, or those that are already a prospective customer and are actively seeking you out. We're all dealing with out of control inboxes.
Yikes! Does that mean your lead generation is dead before you’ve even begun? Heck, no.
Try this on for size:
Your prospective lead has some sort of problem that is causing her ‘pain’. She needs to feel that whatever she’s getting from you is worth giving up her email address. All those lead generation articles advise providing something of value that your ideal client might want; white papers, webinars, tips in blog posts, a chance to win, whatever. But there’s already so much out there and most of it really isn't valuable enough to give up your email address. And you won’t be writing white papers if your business is an online clothing store. What do you do if you’re small and/or you’re a business to consumer operation?
Make it personal.
What do you know about that your ideal client wants to know too? What do they need to solve their problem? How do you solve it? This is where the smaller business actually has an advantage. You don't need to rely on expensive marketing automation software because you are closer to your prospective customer.
Give them enough to know that they need more. In the format that works for your prospective client.
And always ask for a way to reach out again. That call to action, or CTA, is a whole future post! Speaking of which, make sure you send this post on to your friends and colleagues that could benefit from this wisdom. See? Down there on the bottom right? There's a share button.
Your ideal clients are self-selecting. They’ll happily give you their email addresses when they perceive that what you’re offering is greater than their pain and the cost of their email address. And that’s a win for you and your prospective client.