The days of interrupting people and trying to sell to them immediately are over.
It just doesn’t work anymore. We’re swamped with thousands of marketing messages everyday, we actively block them out.
So when it comes to lead generation, it’s time for a rethink. Whenever you hear the term ‘lead generation’ think about ‘getting permission’ instead.
When you reframe lead generation like this, the purpose of marketing that introduces you for the first time, is not to sell, but to get permission from a potential customer to communicate with them further.
I should add, this concept is not new. Seth Godin’s classic marketing book ‘Permission Marketing’ first advocated the concept of marketing that people actually looked forward to, nearly twenty years ago.
Many business owners though, didn’t believe that they could switch away from their aggressive, ‘interrupt and sell’ marketing methods as they were still working, to a degree.
Recently though, times have changed. In our hyper-connected, ultra-competitive world, your customers’ social feeds, streams and timelines are packed with friends, family, film stars, politicians, sports stars, musicians, celebrity chefs and hundreds of other interesting people who are, quite frankly, more interesting than your products and services (to your customers at any rate.)
Trying to shout ‘Hey, you wanna buy one of these?’ over the noise is futile. In short, ‘interrupt and sell’ marketing is no longer an option.
So how do you get permission to market to someone?
Well, it’s not by saying: ‘Hey, is it ok if I send you some marketing stuff?’
You need to offer some genuine value up front. Give people an incentive in exchange for their permission.
In the world of software, for example, a simple way of getting permission is by offering a free trial. When someone signs up for a free trial, their contact details are being given to you, along with their permission to communicate further with them. So your next contact with that person is anticipated and if we do our job right, actually looked forward to.
But what if you don’t have a product or service that can be trialled for free? What can you give away that will attract new customers and build trust?
For most businesses, the answer is almost always the same: Knowledge. Giving away your expertise is a great way of getting permission because it not only gives genuine value to your prospective customers up front, it also positions you as an expert in your field which gives you a massive head start on your competitors.
You could record a video series, build a free course around your subject on teachable.com, record an audiobook and give it away or present a series of live webinars.
To attract serious volumes of new customers, you need to offer something that will get prospects genuinely excited and inspire people to give their contact details, and permission, in a heartbeat.
Although this approach means there is some hard work to do up front, if you deliver genuine value to prospective customers, your lead generation activity becomes a breeze. With the right incentive, you can build a steady, predictable stream of highly engaged sales leads that are actually looking forward to hearing from you again.
A few hours hard work will solve your lead generation problem for good.