In the last post I shared some ideas for creating a compelling lead magnet and the role the lead magnet plays in your overall marketing system. One of the main roles the lead magnet plays is to attract people looking for a specific type of solution and to get them into your marketing hourglass. Doing so allows you to begin building Know, Like, and Trust with them by sharing your educational and trust building content.
In order to be able to provide useful content over time, we need gain the permission as well as the contact information of the people you wish to engage. As I mentioned in the previous post, you are asking people to “buy” something from us using the currency of their contact information. This is one of the reasons for emphasizing the idea of creating content that is compelling from the prospects point of view. That’s the only way you can create something with enough value to convince them to buy.
Once you create a compelling lead magnet you want to begin capturing information about your leads in a consistent, systematic process. You need a lead capture system.
Main components of a Lead Capture System
Your lead capture system can be as simple or complex as makes sense for your business. Here are some of the typical components you will find in a small business lead capture system.
Your List or Database - Your main repository of contact information. Many small businesses maintain their list in their custoemr relationship management system (CRM), email service provider (Mailchimp, Constant Contact, etc.) or in the contacts section of their email program.
Because there are many ways to capture leads it is very easy to end up with several different lists. Try to avoid this. The more lists you have, the more complicated your system becomes, and opportunities are more likely to fall through the cracks. Rather than keeping seperate lists, maintain one master list but capture enough data so that you can slice and dice the list when you want to communicate with a subset of your list. For example, if you generate leads at tradeshows, don’t keep a seperate list for each tradeshow. Rather, add a field to your main list that will allow you to record which tradeshow you were attending when you met your prospect.
Data Collection Form – can also in several varieties – website forms, a clipboard by the cash register, or the fishbowl at your tradeshow booth. Most CRMs and email service providers give you the ability to create a data collection form and add it to your website. One someone fills out one of these forms, their contact information is automatically added to your database, saving you the time of manually entering the information.
Landing Page – when the data collection form lives on the web, it is typically either a) embedded on a page on your website or b) part of a dedicated landing page. Landing pages, sometimes called squeeze pages, typically help boost your conversion rate (the number of people who fill out the form) because they remove all distractions and focus on one task – getting the visitor to complete the form.
Autoresponder - Once someone completes the form we need to respond – to provide the information we promised and to begin nurturing the relationship. You could do this manually, but in todays world people expect to get their response right away. One way to provide this information is by using a tool called an autoresponder – which does what its name implies.
While most email service providers and CRMs include an autoresponder tool, you will find they differ in their feature sets. For example, some tools will allow you to send different follow up messages depending upon how an individual got on your list (i.e. which form they filled out). Others give you more control of when your messages are sent (i.e. send my messages only on week days).
Using your System Online and Offline
Part of having a system is processing data in a consistent manner. Most of us will still meet people “offline”, in person at networking events, etc. Make sure to include these folks in your lead capture system. Most email systems provide a mechanism for adding contacts manually, or, you can just go to your website and enter them yourself. Make sure to set expectations so your contacts know why they are suddenly getting follow up messages.
If you have a store or an office where people walk in, make sure you have a system in place to capture their information and get them on your list as well.
Bill Brelsford Small Business Marketing Consultant