Ultimately the success of any business depends upon having a consistent flow of new prospective clients. Unfortunately, far too many individuals rely solely upon their existing clients and referrals as their primary methods for getting new clients. While this may prove to be a successful strategy short term, it invariably leads to the "feast and famine" roller coaster that so many firms and individuals experience.
On a fundamental level, marketing for new clients is pretty straightforward. We have found successful marketing campaigns focuses on:
1) Targeting a hyper-responsive group of prospective clients.
2) Identifying the issues that are of most importance to this group.
3) Motivating them to self-nominate themselves as being interested in learning more about your services.
4) Moving them along a sequence of steps that encourages them to take action.
If you focus on these four steps, it is relatively easy to create a marketing system that will consistently brings you a steady stream of new clients-all of whom have pre-qualified themselves as being interested in learning more about your services.
Let's look at each of these steps in more detail.
Step 1: Determining Who you are going to target.
Too often this is given only a cursory consideration. Since we all operate on limited marketing budgets and only have time to follow up with those most likely to actually engage our services, identifying the most hyper-responsive sub-groups within a targeted market is very important.
We define Hyper-Responsives as the sub-group that is most interested in obtaining a competitive edge. Thus, they are most likely to hire outside advisors to achieve that objective. In order to identify this group we look for specific traits and behaviors which enables us to segment this group from the larger target market.
One trick is to look for those that read the relevant trade publications and are members of the professional associations. These data-points usually indicate that the individual is interested in staying current and maintaining their competitive edge. Thus they are likely to be the most interested in at least learning more about your services.
Step 2: Create a Free Information Report.
Remember that the goal of any lead generation tool is get prospective clients to "raise their hands" about being interested in your services. The "hook" to achieve this is the free special report.
The goal of the free report is two-fold. First it must contain enough practical information so that the reader feels that they have learned something that they didn't know before. This is crucial for developing credibility. The second objective is to entice the reader to become hungry for more information. This balance of providing enough (but not too much) information is crucial for moving the relationship process to the next steps.
We recommend that your free report be between 4-12 pages in length and be available from your website.
Step 3: Crafting the One-Page Lead Generation Letter.
Among all the lead generation methods we track, the one page letter has the highest metrics in the B2B market place. We recommend that you write your lead generating letters after you have created the free special report. Remember the objective of the letter is to position oneself as an industry or functional expert with an interesting perspective on an issue the prospective client may be facing.
We cannot emphasize strongly enough that it is a mistake to simply include your report along with your initial letter. The letter's sole purpose is to intrigue the prospective client enough so that they want to request the information.
Successful markting campaigns emphasize consistency and repetition. Thus we recommend that you develop a series of three letters which will be sent in sequence-each focusing on compelling reasons to request the free report.
Step 4: Sending the free information report and collecting data about prospective clients.
As mentioned earlier, the offer of the free report in your letter should direct prospective clients to your website.
As a "Big thumb" goal you should try to get 75% of these visitors to follow through and fill out the information form to get the report. Although it would seem natural that people going to your site would follow through and request the free report, this is unfortunately not the case.
Care must be taken to ensure that the landing-page you are directing readers to, re-emphasize the benefits that will be obtained by requesting the free report. Don't assume that just because visitors are at your site they will automatically do what we want them to.
Precisely what information to request becomes a crucial issue at this point. While you want more that just name & email, requesting too much information will suppress response.
Successful marketing campaigns on the premise that through consistent and regular contact we can move prospects through a carefully orchestrated series of steps which results in an identifiable percentage of them purchasing our services.
The key is to automate as much of it as possible.
We suggest that the initial auto-responder be sent out three hours after the report is requested. It should serve to simply thank the recipient for requesting the information and to introduce yourself.
The next series of messages should move the conversion process through a carefully designed series of steps in which you both build credibility for yourself and move the prospect to take action. As with the other steps in the process the ability to communicate content in a compelling manner is crucial for success.
One of the main challenges of any marketing effort is the follow-up stage. When we look at marketing campaigns that have achieved outstanding success and compare them to those that have performed below expectation, the difference is almost always in how effectively the stay in touch process was implemented.