Let's automate our lead generation!
It's, without doubt, the biggest ambition businesses have when they come to us. They need better leads and more time back, but getting both outcomes at once has proven tricky.
They know they should prioritise their marketing and invest time to set solid foundations, but spare time is a luxury they won't have until they can generate some new revenue streams. Chicken. Egg.
So, this means we need to help them avoid weeks of trial and error and instead get the right system in place now so they can create lead generation and lead nurturing campaigns once and leverage it for months and years to come.
I'll cover the foundations of this approach in this article and then show you where you can go to get help building your automated lead generation system.
What You Want From Your Marketing Automation
Let's face it; lead generation is either time-consuming, expensive or both when you don't have the right system.
Leads go cold; people fall through the cracks; you have spreadsheets, calendar reminders, and notes on who to follow up and when.
It all becomes a big, chaotic mess.
And that really speaks to the bigger role that we need marketing automation to play. Beyond sending emails, prompting follow-ups and booking calls - the right automation system should replace your case-by-case decision making.
Send an email, wait 2 days, send another email, wait 3 days, send another email...
That's automation, sure.
But your leads aren't robots; everyone is unique; they move through their buying decision-making process at different speeds, so we need a system that caters for this.
A system that literally can make the same decisions you would if you had unlimited time to check and see what emails people opened, what website pages they viewed and what social media campaigns they engaged with.
A system that took all those insights and formulated the exact right follow-up at the exact right time.
That sort of system would operate better than a human ever could as it's driven by the prospect's actions, not the marketer's availability.
The question, therefore, isn't whether to automate but what to automate and why.
Avoid Automating Lead Generation Mistakes At Scale!
I first started working in the marketing automation space in 2014, and the tools back then were a lot less user-friendly than they are now, and that was a good thing!
The software looked complicated and intimidating, so the businesses that didn't have experience in this area got nerds like me involved to design and implement the systems for them.
But now, the software is beautiful. Clear flow-chart type visuals (like below) allow you to create an automation sequence in a few clicks, drop an email here, an SMS message there and click start.
The system will then do exactly what you told it to.
And that can be a real problem.
I run workshops where we dig into best-practice marketing automation planning processes, and the stories people share in these sessions about what led them to find a fix are anxiety-inducing.
People have burned their entire database of leads. 10's of thousands of contacts sent the wrong content on a repeated cycle, and no one knew what was really happening.
Email unsubscribe rates shoot through the roof, and open rates fall through the floor - all because they automated the wrong things in the wrong way.
Sadly, this is much more common than it should be - and it's easy to see why.
Automation software is so easy to use that even the most technophobic people are as comfortable building a marketing funnel as they are posting on Facebook.
This gives everyone a platform for making mistakes on autopilot - mistakes that they are unable to see until after it's been happening for far too long.
However, With that all said, the upside of these user-friendly and affordable software tools is tremendous.
It can be really simple to implement, optimise, and manage your automation when you have the right plan - you don't need an army of tech specialists.
Pull Your Leads Through Their Buying Process (Connected To You)
In my last article, I talked about creating a Buying Process Map, the framework for highly contextualised content for your ideal client profile. Content tailored for their exact questions, thoughts, emotions and desires in a way that, to them, feels like you're having a helpful and personally relevant 1:1 conversation, but you do it at scale with hundreds or even thousands of leads.
This is the foundation for effective automated lead generation.
We use the actions and behaviours of the leads to show us which stage on the map they're on, so the system automatically sends them the right content to pull them from stage to stage at a pace that works as quickly as they're ready to move.
This automated process continues until there is a trigger to show you that the lead has reached a 'qualified' status, and you can initiate sales outreach.
And if you've nailed your content marketing, the leads initiate the sales process by contacting you.
So, that’s some of the theory - but let’s talk about you…
Automated Lead Generation - Next Steps
If you’re clear on what to automate and how to do it, then I can’t recommend strongly enough that you build your lead nurturing system and set it live. It is legitimately the path to having a predictable pipeline of future work.
But, if you’re not sure of what to automate and you need some tools, templates and support to develop the right strategy, and you would like to work with me to use my resources to help you complete this process; then I’d be happy to have a chat and see how I can help.
Below is a link where you can book a marketing game plan session with me.
It's a 15-minute call where you and I will work out what you most need help with. And then, if I believe I can help, we can talk about how, and if I can't, then I'll point you in the right direction of someone who can, or some resources you can use.
So, click the link below, pick a time from my calendar that suits you, and we will work out your best next step.
I'll see you then.