Lead generation messages are everywhere. They drive television, radio, newspapers, magazines, billboards, the Internet, and the jingles that get stuck in our heads. They account for most of our mail, too many of our phone calls, and probably most of the world's paper.
With so many messages bombarding us, how can your lead generation messages shine through? And shine through they must, for in order for your business to survive and thrive, you must be able to consistently attract and retain customers.
But, most lead generation efforts simply don't work.
Three reasons why most lead generation efforts fail:
- The sheer volume of messages dulls our senses, and in our consciousness they resemble the wide telephoto shots of Times Square - neon signs a blur, one indistinguishable from another.
- What does get through may be entertaining, but generates few leads. My favorite print ad appeared in a home improvement magazine. It was a close-up photo of a bathtub's overflow plate, the silver circle secured to the tub with two screws that resembled a face. The copy read: "It's seen you naked. It's heard you sing." Even today it makes me smile. Loved the ad; can't remember the product. Great entertainment; lousy lead generation.
- Most lead generation messages show little regard for what we need to hear to take action. This is the perpetual pitfall of most ads designed by small business owners; they know all the reasons why someone ought to buy, but ignore the critical reasons why someone would buy.
Focus on what customers really want
Effective lead generation consists of three steps: First, you must get their attention, then create the right impression, and finally, stimulate action. You will get their attention only if you can effectively tell them what you can do for them, or how you can give them what they most want.
Consider Martin and Kathleen, owners of a beautiful, well-equipped health spa in Ireland. Both are dedicated professionals and teachers whose dream was to create a healing refuge from the harsh outside world. They brought in nutritionists, skin-care and weight-loss specialists, massage therapists, acupuncturists, and hypnotherapists. They printed a stunning brochure, created an informative Website, and placed ads in regional publications. Few customers ventured in.
Together we reviewed their brochure. It began with this long headline:
"Our Aim is to provide treatments that optimize each individual's health, energy, and well-being - and thus honour and respect their Life Force."
"Tell me about your community," I said. "Who do you aim to serve?"
"Everyone from 18 to 80," they said. "We have young people who want to detox after countless nights in the pub, and older folks who have worked hard all their lives and now suffer the effects of aging and poor diets. We also get young mums and busy executives who seldom take a moment for themselves."
"And how many of them want - more than anything else - to have someone respect their Life Force?" I asked. When they stopped laughing, I probed further, "What do these folks really want?"
"What they really want," Martin said, "is just to slow down and relax."
"Well, offer them that," I suggested.
They redesigned their brochure, and blanketed the town. It featured a single headline: "Relax!" And it offered, for a limited time, one free treatment.
Martin and Kathleen's schedule filled quickly. Each new client was given a facility tour and recommendations for additional services. Return appointments were secured, and the referral business began to grow.
Kathleen recently observed, "If you give people what they want, they come to want what they need."
- Decide on the specific favorable impression you want your message to create.
- Become your own customer and answer the question: "Why should I do what you're asking me to do?"
- Determine the easy, risk-free action you want your customer to take.
- Appeal at all times to the customer's self-interest.