Lead Generation Hacks: Audience & Journey
In the inbound marketing world, lead generation is more important than ever. The days of being able to put ads on TV and reach huge, captive audiences are fading, as companies like yours are taking a less intrusive approach to marketing.
You’re not shoving your product in front of people who might not even be interested; instead, you’re waiting for them to look for you, and making sure you’re front and center when they do. Here’s how to make sure you’re getting your brand in front of the right people.
What’s a Lead?
A lead is someone who has expressed an interest in your product or service in any way. In the classic buyer’s journey, there are three phases: awareness, consideration, and decision. When it comes to lead generation, we’re trying to catch people between the consideration and decision phases.
At this point, a stranger has realized they have a problem that needs solving. They’ve started looking around for a solution, and they’ve come across you. At this point, we like to call them visitors, and that’s where lead generation comes in.
Lead generation is the process by which you turn visitors into leads, then hopefully into customers. It’s a way of warming up visitors to your point of view, helping them narrow down their choices.
It’s important to remember that a lead is not the same as a visitor — not everyone who visits your store or your website is going to become a customer, nor do you necessarily want them to!
Where Do Buyer Personas Come In?
Contemporary consumers are more able than ever to curate their experience. They fast-forward through TV ads or watch Netflix, where there aren’t any ads to begin with. They use ad blockers on the web and caller ID on their phones. Outbound marketing techniques like TV ads are becoming less and less effective.
That’s why more and more marketers are using an inbound marketing approach — providing appealing, helpful content to attract customers to their brand, rather than forcing their brand upon them.
Buyer personas are a way to attract the right people. You could put hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars into building content, promoting it, and backing it up with a good product, but if the right people aren’t finding it, all that effort is wasted.
What’s A Buyer Persona?
A buyer persona is an archetype of a fictional person — the kind of person who buys (or might buy) what you’re selling.
Creating a buyer persona isn’t just a matter of imagining your perfect customer. Your brand might appeal to someone you’ve never thought to target, for reasons you didn’t intend, and you can’t pass up that opportunity.
A buyer persona is also about looking at your existing customers and leads and finding characteristics in common. What do your sales staff notice about the people who call in? What information do you have about the people who have bought from you before? Where do they live? How old are they? What search terms did they use to find you?
Adele Revella, in “The Buyer Persona’s Manifesto,” recommends considering these five things when crafting a buyer persona:
1) Priority Initiatives
Why do people buy your product over your competition’s product? If you’re more of a luxury brand, what made them think they needed it in the first place, or instead of a cheaper alternative? Ask your current customers what tipped the scales in your favor.
2) Success Factors
What does your customer expect to get out of your product? What problems are they trying to solve? How will they conclude that buying your product was the right choice? This is another perfect opportunity to follow up with satisfied customers to get the answers you need.
Why don’t people buy your product? Are there misconceptions out there about you? Is your price point too high? Knowing why people aren’t purchasing from you is as useful as useful as knowing why they are.
4) The Buyer’s Journey
Think of the classic Awareness-Consideration-Decision journey in a more intuitive, everyday sense. Do you sell the kind of product that people buy on impulse? Or do they do a lot of research? Do they ask their friends for recommendations, or do they ask trusted experts? How are they arriving at a decision, and how can you insert yourself in that process?
5) Decision Criteria
Which aspects or features of your product are most crucial to your buyer? Which ones are less important? Which ones are the dealbreakers (or deal-sealers) of their decision-making process?
Between these five considerations, you should be able to form a clear, detailed idea of how you can influence the buying decision — how and when to engage potential buyers to sway them toward you versus a competitor.
Inbound marketing is more passive than the interruptive marketing days of old — you’re not cold-calling strangers anymore; you’re waiting for your potential customers to find you first.
That means it’s more important than ever to focus on who that potential customer is, what they want, and how they buy, so that when they do find you, they transform from visitors to buyers as efficiently as possible.