Lead Generators are dead. Long live Lead Generators!

So you write an eBook or you put together some sort of worksheet that nobody’s actually ever going to read. You post that on your website. Somehow somebody will give you your email address, and then business is booming, right? Simple as pie…. Yeah, not exactly.

Whether you’re a freelance web designer, a baker, a butcher, a candlestick maker — there are some things that every business needs to stay in business: a mission, a purpose, a plan, a winning smile. Yes, but most importantly, at the end of the day, your business needs money. And if you run out of money, you’re not going to be able to keep doing business.

How do you get money?

You need somebody to give it to you. Simple, elementary stuff.

Now… how do you get a customer to even consider giving you cash? How do they find out about you, learn more about you, and warm up to that point when they say, “All right, let’s do this!”

One of the most popular tools out there to help make a stranger into a less-than-stranger, and ultimately a paying customer, is the lead generator, also known as a lead magnet.

I’m going to discuss some really effective types of lead generators. But first, I want to talk about something a little bit more foundational. Instead of thinking of a lead generator as a machine that’s just going to generate you a list of email addresses that you can send to and you play the numbers game.

And if you can get your open rates up and your click rates up, your conversion rates up, eventually it all turns into money in the bank. Now, on one hand, it is a numbers game. But don’t forget it’s a people game. Or let’s not call it a game. It’s a people interaction.

Do business with humans

Sometimes when we are trying to come up with marketing strategies, we forget ourselves when we’re on the other end of it. How does it feel to have something pop up and offer you something seemingly worthless? It just gets in your way. And it seems like people are trying to take advantage of you. But I’m not saying lead generators are bad, because when something pops up and it is offering you something that’s legitimately, valuable and interesting to you, that’s a good introduction.

When we’re talking about lead generators, we need to be thinking about not just how to get an email address. We need to think about how can we actually start providing our future customers value up front; value that matters to them; value that’s relevant to them and is connected to what we do. You don’t want to offer a free PlayStation 5 if you’re selling wedding cakes. There needs to be a direct line from your free offering to your paid offering. But more on that later.

Step one to building an awesome lead generator is to think about your customer, try to understand them and what they want.

What will they find not just appealing in the short term? What can you actually deliver on? Don’t sell smoke and mirrors and tell them that you’re going to give them something valuable when it really isn’t that valuable, because that is a bad first impression to leave in your future customers mind, you don’t want to say Hi. I’m Dave. I’m not actually in the business of doing what I say.

Every time you interact with your customers or would be customers, you need to be building trust with them. That’s the thing that’s going to make you stand apart from everything else. Lean in to your humanity, your compassion, your desire to actually provide somebody value and to build a meaningful connection with them. That’s what’s going to allow you to maintain a business that exists in the same realm as Amazon destroyer of mom and pop shops. I mean, you can also leverage Amazon and use that to help you grow your business.

But that’s another conversation now that you’re committed to providing genuine value for your customers. What does that look like? How do you actually do that? But just as important as it is to understand your customer and what they want, you also need to understand yourself and what you offer. What is the solution to their problem?

What is the main offer you actually want them to purchase from you? Your lead generator should be an on ramp to that. It shouldn’t just be anything to get their email address. Your lead generator can give them a little taste. A little sample of some of the value you have packaged up in your core offer.

Real world scenario: I actually just helped one of my clients build a lead generator for his website. He runs a shop offering design and sign printing services. So he made a workbook. It’s called “8 Steps to Creating a Memorable Small Business Brand.”

Now, I really love his idea for a lead generator because it isn’t just serving to help fill up his email list. It actually positions himself as somebody who genuinely cares about his customers. He’s saying, Wait, wait. Before we do business, you hand me money and I print you assign. Let’s make sure that you have some more foundational things.

Kind of like I did with this video. You want to make sure you have a good brand. That what you’re putting on. This banner is going to be attractive and memorable and help shine your business in the best light possible. I want that for you.

Cool whether or not somebody is actually going to download it and read it. That’s a pretty compelling thing to make available to your customers for free. Now we’re in the process of building out the rest of the email nurturing sequence that will follow up on that and continue to build trust with his customers. Dave, you’re killing me enough of this fluffy philosophy stuff. I just want you to tell me what are the most effective lead generator types?

Okay, we talked about an ebook or a workbook of some sort. Keep in mind, it’s not actually a book. It doesn’t have to be super dense, single spaced. You can format it so it’s easily digestible, lots of bullet points, lots of bold subheadings graphics and photos and illustrations to support your points. I just want the quick, easy win.

It’s all about delivering value and building trust with your customer. So even in the formatting and the design of the book make it easy for them to get to the valuable tidbits that you want to offer. Perhaps better than an e book would be a simple checklist where you don’t actually have to disguise the fact that it’s just a very simple list of something. Checklists are most valuable when there’s something that could be printed out and taken with you or used as a quick reference, maybe you’d actually want to stick it on your wall somewhere, so you need to make sure your content is a good fit for the checklist.

But if it is, a checklist can be a great lead generator, because if you have that branded with your logo and your website on there, you’re staying top of mind.

You’re taking advantage of the tools you offered for free. That is good stuff. A really popular lead generator format today are quizzes. Quizzes are a little bit more complicated though, and you have to think through how you’re going to calculate the score and give them the result. Now there’s a lot of tools and software available that can guide you through the process.

Just be prepared to pay a little bit of money for this at the time of this recording, there is a lifetime deal going on at AppSumo for something called Smart Quiz Builder. I have not used this, but I plan on checking it out. You might want to sniff around and check it out if you’re interested in building quizzes, because otherwise you can expect to pay a monthly subscription cost for another service. Smart Quiz Builder is currently on sale for a one time cost of $59. So I’ll leave a link to that deal in the description below.

Another up and coming and really valuable lead generator format are templates or scripts. It could be design templates for a resume or a cover letter. It could even be a template for the content of the cover letter itself. Email sequence, how to write a thank you letter, contract or other agreement or spreadsheets, and it has all of the calculations in the cells formatted. So maybe you’re building a budget and you can plug in the values and it does everything for you.

That’s super cool. And then, of course there is the handy dandy discount code or coupon. Tell me you haven’t been on an e-commerce site and not have a sign up for our newsletter and get 10% off your first order. Pop up in your face. You see this all the time and there’s a reason because it’s effective.

Coupon codes are a little bit further down the funnel. If they’re on your site and looking to make a purchase, that means that they probably already know who you are and what you have to offer. Coupon code could just be a helpful nudge to get them across the finish line. You can make a lead generator out of almost anything. Just be thoughtful, informative, fun.

Offer some level of value true value to your customer. The beginning of this video. I kind of joked through the conventional flow where you see an ebook offer that’s probably just a repurposed blog that isn’t adding anything new to the conversation, and they want you to give up your precious email contact information for it, make a fair trade, and don’t discount the value of an email address. If you use it right, it’ll be worth a lot of money. So do what it takes to build trust again.

Think about it as if you’re talking to a real human being. The lead generator is an opportunity for you to ingratiate yourself to your customers, show them that you actually care about providing them value. You don’t just care about their money, you care about them and you want to solve their problems. So this is the first touch point that begins that process. I want you to save a little bit of money.

I want you to have the information you need to make a good decision and avoid making mistakes. I want to help you feel more confident. I want to help you be more productive. I want to help you be happier, healthier. What are all of these base level needs that everybody has and how do they align with what you offer as a business?

Answer that question and you’ll be well on your way to understanding how you can make an effective lead generator. In fact, let’s change what we call it altogether. It’s not a lead generator that sounds like a machine. It’s a conversation starter, and that just gave me an idea for a nice clickbait title for this video.

Of course, this is just one piece of the puzzle you have the lead generator, but what are the mechanics behind it? How do you actually use it? How do you embed it on your website and build the form? I will do a completely separate walk through of how to set that up, or one of the many ways to set that up in another video. I also have other videos where I talk about email marketing, which is the follow up to this.

I’m going to continue to make more videos to help you build out an entire marketing sequence. So please subscribe and hit the Bell. So you’re one of the first people to know when these new videos are available and also hit the like button. Leave a comment below to help the YouTube algorithm send us out into the great beyond and help more business heroes like yourself find the helpful content in these videos. I’m so thankful for you for taking the time to watch this video.

I really hope that it was valuable for you and we can continue to build trust and relationship. If there’s anything that I can do to help you in your self employment journey, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Originally published at https://selfemploymentsidekick.com.

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