Wouldn’t it be great if marketing just worked? Nice and quickly. With minimal expense.
As marketing experts, we spend a large chunk of time discussing how best to market businesses. The one thing all our clients have in common is that they want easy leads and fast results.
These are perfectly understandable needs, and we always do everything possible to achieve them. However, when we’re signing a new client we’re always careful to manage their expectations and explain a few key things.
Like the fact that SEO takes a minimum of 6 months to even start producing results. That’s not negotiable, or something that can be sped up by working harder. There are some ways of speeding the process up somewhat (like blogging every single day for a month) but the harsh bottom line is that SEO takes time.
It just does.
Any marketing company that tries to sell you on the promise they’ll have hot leads and lots of cash flooding in within the month are, quite simply, lying to you.
It’s not impossible, we always hope it will happen, and depending on your business model it may even be perfectly achievable, but as a general rule of thumb, it’s not very likely.
Marketing is a long-term investment in the overall growth, success, strength, and longevity of your business.
A marketing strategy is what businesses invest in when they want to build a solid foundation, expand at a sustainable rate, with every new expansion as strong as possible, and ensure you create consistent, sustained, scalable income for years to come.
Unfortunately, this reality creates a bit of a paradox: successful marketing requires investment and patience, yet sustaining that investment for long enough for it to pay off requires capital. This means that every business has a tipping point, where they start looking at what they’re spending, compared to what they’re generating from it, and they think, ‘Hmmm, this isn’t working. We should stop.’
The problem with this is that the point at which they reach this conclusion is usually right before it all starts to pay off and the magic happens.
So let’s cut the marketing bullsh!t that marketers use to sell you their marketing packages, and drop a few mind-blowing truth bombs that will clear up a couple of things about ‘easy lead generation’…
The Truth About Easy Lead Generation
These little explosions of truth about business promotion probably aren’t news to you. They’re not revolutionary. They are, arguably, old hat. Yet they need saying, over and over.
People are so reluctant to accept the truth of these pesky marketing realities that they will believe virtually anything in order to avoid facing the cold, hard truth:
Any marketing campaign is going to take 6-12 months to start generating results.
There are no ‘instant results’.
There are faster results, but even those aren’t instant. They require trial, error, and patience to test and retest until you find what works for your business model and brand.
There are no cookie-cutter solutions you can slap together in a few days (or even a few weeks) that will suddenly bring thousands of customers through your door and millions of £££ into your bank account.
But this isn’t what we want to hear.
Especially not when you’re six months into a startup, hemorrhaging money, and wondering how the hell you’re going to keep paying for all the marketing that has yet to make you any money.
We get it.
Really, we do.
This is a conversation we have with almost every client at some point in their journey.
Because it all takes time, and time is money, and money is precious, and you want your marketing to generate more than it costs.
You want easy lead generation.
And we’re here to provide that. But before we do, can we please clear up a few misconceptions, false hopes, flawed beliefs, and unfortunate perceptions you may be having about launching a new marketing campaign.
Prepared to have your mind blown?
It’s time to cut the bullsh!t and explain how this whole marketing lark really works…
#1 Sales Funnels Work…In Time
Nobody wants to hear this. It takes too long to convert prospects and people (particularly business owners) are naturally resistant to giving things away for nothing. That’s even truer when it’s their time, knowledge, or skills. They want someone to tell them, ‘Actually, this is wrong, there’s a FASTER way that DOESN’T REQUIRE you to give away free stuff’.
And that’s exactly what people are doing.
Social media is flooded with ads that go pretty much like this:
Don’t give away free stuff and rely on sales funnels to get new clients, it doesn’t work! Here, signup for this free presentation, in which we’ll tell you how to get clients without giving away free consultations, and after which you will become part of our sales funnel, so we can convince you to signup for a free consultation with us, in which we’ll explain exactly how to get new clients, without doing exactly what we’ve just done to get new clients for ourselves…
There’s a reason that even the people trying to sell you on the notion that you don’t have to do this, are doing it themselves.
It just doesn’t work instantly.
And btw that magical system they’re selling you on, the one that doesn’t require you to give stuff away for free, or wait for a conversion process to work?
It requires you to give stuff away for free and wait for a conversion process to work…they’ve just reframed it so that it sounds different.
#2 Ads Are Fast…But Not Instant
Running PPC ads is a great way to boost your business. Let’s take Facebook as one example. These days, you can put all your fabulous content in front of a huge number of people very quickly, you just have to hit ‘boost post’ and bosh, it’s been seen by 50K people in a few days.
There’s just one thing…don’t do that.
Boosting posts is a HUGE waste of your resources. Yes, they are a fast and effective way of getting your post in front of more people.
But what is that actually going to achieve for your business?
First of all, the targeting options on boosted posts aren’t exactly as sophisticated as they are in Facebook ads manager – they’re a lot better than they used to be, but you’ll still be able to create an ad that’s more effectively targeted by going through ads manager and setting up a proper campaign for engagement.
It does the same thing – promotes your existing post – it just does it more effectively.
Secondly, where are you going to see the return for the money you’re spending boosting all those posts? If you are running a campaign with an effective strategy behind it, putting your content in front of a wider audience to warm up a very specific target audience, before retargeting them with an offer (or series of offers), this is a highly effective way of generating revenue and gaining new customers.
But this is a longer process than simply hitting ‘boost post’. If you’re a product-based business you might make a few sales by boosting your posts if your content is awesome. But had you done in the long way, with an effective strategy behind it, you’d have made a lot more sales for the same amount of money.
When we tell clients please, please, in the name of all things rational and sane, stop boosting your posts, we often hear “But it’s working!”
And they genuinely believe it is. Because that post has been seen by eleventy million people and that makes them feel very popular. Or because they made a few sales off it. It looks like success. But if those views are by the wrong people, your money is wasted. If you have no retargeting strategy to go back to those people, your money is wasted. And why would you settle for 1% ROI when you could have achieved 10% without needing to invest a penny more?
So just bear in mind there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about this. The very quick way that appears to deliver instant gratification, is actually no good for you. Not in the long-run. It either won’t produce any tangible benefits (by which, we ultimately mean revenue), or it will produce far less revenue than you could have achieved with a little patience.
An effective Facebook ad campaign is FAST. It will get you leads a lot quicker than a purely organic content marketing strategy. However, it is not instant.
You need to spend time warming up your audience so they are aware of your brand and like you before you ever put an offer in front of them.
That alone takes time.
You then need to consistently retarget that warm audience (while continuing to build it) until those people are ready to buy from you.
That might happen in a day.
Or it might take a few months of consistent effort and a lot of tweaking to find the perfect content and offer combinations to appeal to the exact people your product or service is intended for.
Ads are incredibly powerful.
When used in conjunction with an effective content marketing strategy and inbound funnel they are 🔥
But they’re not instant. They need to have a clear strategy and a decent budget behind them. And they need to be set up properly using Facebook business manager and the full assortment of tools that come with it – we’re talking instant experiences, lead forms, multiple options and combinations using dynamic creative, and a whole host of other awesome features that will ensure the amount you spend goes further and achieves more for you.
Have patience, do it properly, and be realistic about how much you’re going to have to spend on your ad budget in order to achieve the results you want.
#3 You Need To Touch People…A Lot
It’s such an unfortunate expression yet it is so true. When you’re marketing to people with the intention of convincing them to buy from you, they need to get to know you first.
This is part of the reason ads aren’t usually instant: people need to know who you are, what you do, and why they need what you do before they’re going to be ready to buy from you.
Even if you can skip all that and find people who are already fully keyed in and desperate for exactly what you have, they need to know you are the right place to get it.
They need to know you, like you, and trust you, before they’re going to hand over any cash.
In order for them to reach that point, you need to put yourself in their path often enough that they become aware of you and get to know you. In marketing, we call these points of contact – when a prospect interacts with your business or content – ‘touchpoints’.
It might be an ad they see, a social post they like, a blog they read, a video they watch, or an email you send out. It might be a podcast or word of mouth from a friend recommending you, or it might be your appearance in a Google search they run that puts you right at the top of page 1.
A touchpoint can be any number of things, but every time a prospect interacts with a piece of content from your business, they are getting to know you better.
The exact number of touchpoints required to convert someone varies depending on your business model, however, on average it is around 8.
And remember, most people need to convert to a lead before they convert to a sale. That’s eight plus points of contact to get them on your list, and eight more before they buy from you.
This is why running an ad campaign targeted at a cold audience (people who have never interacted with you before), which expects them to buy on the ad, is seldom successful.
They don’t know you, they don’t like you, and they don’t trust you. You are, at this point, utterly forgettable to them.
Where many businesses fall down is the obsession with running ads that are trying to make people buy immediately. There are some business models this works for – shampoo for example, if you can create a really captivating ad it’s not difficult to convince someone to part with £5 and give a new bottle a try the next time they’re in the supermarket.
But if you’re selling high ticket items or complex concepts it’s going to take a lot more convincing.
Shampoo is a necessity, we use it every day, it’s a simple concept – we like to be clean, smell nice, look good. Even so, if it’s a high priced shampoo people need to understand what’s so special about it before they pay that much for it.
For example, I’m currently obsessed with Function of Beauty. They have awesome ads and content on social which I interact with regularly. I was at first intrigued by the cool content, then interested in the concept, then fully sold on it and quite happy to part with £40.
I know, right? £40 for a bottle of shampoo? Madness. But they took the time to demonstrate why their shampoo was so cool and so special. They’re branding is perfect, their message is perfect, and they consistently showed up in my news feed for weeks on end.
They were patient and persistent, repeatedly ‘touching me’ (not in a dodgy way) by showing me what they’re all about.
Selling a service or a product that people don’t use every day is considerably more complex.
So often, customers come to us asking for an ad to be run that tells people to buy something immediately. From a brand they’ve never heard of, and often a service or product they’ve never heard of.
“That’s a tough sell,” we say, “we’ll need to warm up your audience first.” And we explain, instead of promoting a paid offer immediately we promote quality content and offer something valuable for free. This warms people up, allows them to get to know, like, and trust you, and ensures when you do finally hit them with a sales pitch some of them will convert.
Yet so often we are told, “No, we need to promote sales immediately.” We warn it won’t work, but they are adamant, it must work, it works for everyone else, and they can’t afford to wait. So we reluctantly agree, and when the returns are disappointing, we have an irate customer asking “Why didn’t it work??”.
The unfortunate answer is, ‘We told you so.”
This is a massive form of self-sabotage that so many businesses fall into. They hire professional marketers for their expertise, ignore their advice, insist their marketing be done how they think best (despite the fact they sought expert advice because they don’t know enough to do it themselves), and are disappointed in the results.
At this point, they either give up on marketing because it ‘doesn’t work’, or finally start to listen to the advice the experts are giving them, and allow those experts to do things properly. Giving up means never generating new business. Seeing where it went wrong and rectifying it is great, but it doesn’t undo the weeks or months wasted on a plan that wasn’t likely to succeed in the first place.
This is particularly distressing when ‘fast leads’ or ‘quick sales’ was the name of the game.
#4 You Don’t Need Easy Leads…You Need Leads That Convert
Speaking of leads, there is a plaintive cry we hear all too often from business owners who are frustrated and staring at a cash flow that won’t balance:
“I Just Need Leads!”
They need new business, they need it fast, and they want to be provided with an endless stream of hot leads because leads are the holy grail.
New leads mean new business, right?
You don’t need leads. You need quality leads that convert!
Lead generation in and of itself is pointless. It doesn’t matter how many people sign up to your email list, book a free consultation, call you up, or pop into your showroom.
What matters is how many of those people actually convert into business.
And beyond that, how many of them convert into business you want!
Too often the desire for new leads short-circuits the logic centres in the brain. You focus on the generation of leads rather than their quality and ensuring you have an effective means of consistently converting them into business.
10,000 leads that never convert are worthless.
100 leads that convert but are the wrong type of customer and end up costing you time, money, resources, and (worst of all) causing so much stress they prevent you from effectively finding and winning better customers are less than worthless.
So yes, you do need leads. But you need to take the time to develop a strategy that will effectively attract the right leads, a reasonable proportion of whom will convert into paying customers. You need to take the time to warm up those leads so that they are familiar with your brand, trust you have the authority and credibility they need, so that when you do present them with an offer they know who you are, believe you’re capable of delivering what you promise, like you and trust you enough to choose you over your competitors.
If you’ve heard all that and you’re raging mad about it, feel free to give us a call and rant about the unfairness of it all – we’re quite happy to listen. And if you’re ready to swallow these rather annoying truths and put an effective lead generation strategy in place for your business, book a free consultation below and we’ll help you devise an awesome plan to do just that…
Our Head of Marketing, Hazel Butler, is an award-winning author, copywriter, and editor. Part ghostwriter, part blogger, part videographer, and part strategist, when she’s not endlessly penning content for our clients Hazel’s happily concocting the perfect marketing plans to propel their businesses forward.
Get to know her...
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