Lead generation should be the hot topic in your business, afterall it’s what drives your bottom line. Whether you’re a startup, not-for-profit, service based or ecommerce store, lead generation is where a sale is born. There are so many ways to generate leads and in this article I am going to present the “Lead Generation Channel Mind Map” to help you discover all the potential channels, be it through online activities like blogging, pay per click marketing or offline with activities such as trade shows, telemarketing and networking.
Looking at a pretty mind map is all very well and good, but it’s only of any use if you act on it and implement a plan that has SMART goals. So with that in mind let's take a look...
The Lead generation channel mind map by Lawrence Howlett
How to use the mind map
I want to make this mind map as useful as possible for you to ensure it really helps you generate new and juicy leads. Download the supporting “Lead Generation Workbook” which I will now guide you through to create an actionable plan with SMART goals.
What channels are you currently using?
Go through each individual channel branch by branch and mark each one with a simple Yes or No under the “Channel Active” column. We can then use this later on to filter by Active Vs Non-Active channels to help discover new lead generation channels. Make a mental note about how effective you think each channel each, which ones you prefer using and have had the most positive or negative impact on your business.
What channels do your prospects use?
Put yourself in the mindset of your potential customers (I suggest you do some Customer Personas if you haven’t already), what channels are they active in, i.e. social media channels, are there specific social channels to your industry, for example in music you might want to think about soundcloud.com or myspace.com, if you’re in the USA it might be foursquare.com. If it’s geographical based then billboards and leaflet drops might be of use, especially if you’re targeting homeowners for say a domestic cleaning business.
Now go and fill out the “Customer Usage %” column in our workbook, noting down what percentage of your target customer personas are likely to use this channel or see this channel i.e. advertising a new gym class in the mens locker room might be picked up by 70% of your male members. So under Branding > Advertising > Offline > Brochures, Leaflets, Flyers, Posters, mark 75%. Feel free to adjust the workbooks columns to have specific campaigns in there, rather than generic headings.
What is the potential reach?
In the “Potential Reach” column mark down the total number of people that could see your advert or status update (i.e. number of followers on twitter), be talked to in a networking meeting, visit your website and so on.
For example, approx 95% of our client base and potential customers are on LinkedIn. My current reach is 273 (connections), however some of these are work colleagues, friends and industry peers that don’t fit a customer persona, so I would mark that down to about 200. There is of course the opportunity to grow this, so you can look at your second degree connections to see the next stage of potential reach.
Working out the cost per month
Simply put how much this lead generation channel would or is costing you per calendar month. I always like to include my time cost in here as well, so if you are spending 20 hours a month blog posting and content writing, multiply that by your hourly rate to see the cost.
What is the potential conversion rate?
This is easier for some than others, for example with your website, if you have Google Analytics set up correctly you will be able to track conversions and know the exact % for organic, pay per click, referrers, etc. With others you may have to set up some internal tracking methods, like asking customers where they heard about your business to help work out a conversion rate. Otherwise you might want to research industry norms for each channel type.
How many leads can we get?
Leads per month is then automatically worked out for you along with the cost per lead so you can see if it will stack...
Does it stack?
The final column “Cost Per Lead” then works out the channels cost centre by dividing the number of leads against the cost per calendar month. Using your product / service margin data you can then analyses whether this channel “stacks”, i.e. the cost to generate the lead is less than the margin you will make by selling your product / service to that lead. Now remember we are only at the top of the sales funnel here, so there will be wastage in non-conversions to account for. We will be looking at conversion and sales funnel optimisation in future articles.
Let’s create some SMART goals
Working with the SMART goal model, work through the lead generation channels with all the lovely data we have just populated, marking rows in bold which you are interested in pursuing. These criteria for a good lead generation channel is:
- A good reach of potential customers that is in proportion to your total market size
- Medium to Highly converting (1.5% +)
- Low enough cost per lead to keep a healthy margin on sales
Armed with the cherry picked channels, dust off your marketing plan that's been sitting pretty in a draw somewhere and put it use. Assign budget, timescale, resource and responsibilities to your team and start generating some hard earnt leads.
There are hundreds of ways to generate leads, with hard craft, consistency and a bit of creative magic you can fill the sale pipeline. Make sure you report monthly, weekly, daily (whatever frequency suits your business) on the lead generation channels, use these reports to analyse effective channels and get rid of ones with poor performance.
Do you have any additional lead generation channels you can suggest? Comment below for them to be considered in future releases of the mind map.