How to generate leads with online advertising
The entire experience economy has been forced to transition. Many attractions and venues have faced a very challenging shift from selling mostly offline to selling up to 90% of ...
I've been reading this book called Give: The Ultimate Guide To Using Facebook Advertising to Generate More Leads, More Clients, and Massive ROI, from Nicholas Kusmich, for a while now. It's quite a quick reading, but I didn't have enough time to finish it. Ok, you got me, this is a common lie we tell ourselves frequently. It's called procrastination, but this is a story for another post.
Back to the book, I finished reading it last weekend, and I believe you should do the same if you are out there trying to succeed in online advertising. No, I'm not getting paid, but as our goal here is to share everything that will help you to #SellMoreDirect, I believe this book is worth reading.
You've probably noticed that the book is named Give, right? Any idea why? If you answered that in the online world we should always give value in exchange for asking something, you are very right, and this is how the author supports his whole strategy.
The four M's
Do you know how we, marketers, are always looking for a capital letter that will explain what we're doing? Well, at Give, this letter is an M that stands for Market, Message, Magnet, and Mechanism.
Knowing your audience is the very first step to building an online presence. Differently to what happens with mass media, when you advertise online you will get better results if you hyper-target your audience, and the idea at this point is to create a context for your message by understanding who's your audience and what motivates them.
"If you were lost in the desert and I appeared with a canister full of water, you'd give practically anything for a drink. Those bits of paper in your wallet would seem utterly worthless."
Got it? In the example above it's easy to understand that we are talking about water in two different scenarios: when you have it and when you don't have it. Instead of focusing on your product, identify what your audience really needs and how you can explore it, so you'll offer a real solution.
"Find your hungry (or thirsty) crowd."
In advertising, people are always saying that content is king, but if you spend some time thinking about it you'll easily understand that this is just half true, as content is only important within a given context. Understanding your audience's context is essential to take your content to another level. So don't waste your time and prepare the terrain to build the right message, that will be delivered to the right audience, at the right time.
Speaking of message, this is the starting point of your actual funnel, when you explain what you do, and why you do it:
- The Promise: What is the actual problem that you will solve? This is the basic.
- The Position: How do you want to be perceived in the market? How do you want your audience to see you?
- The Big Idea: What is the big idea behind your solution? What is your biggest triumph, your biggest differential?
With clear answers for this questions is time to define the angle that you'll take while delivering your message. There are several ways to go, and there is no right or wrong way to go. It will all depend on your audience. I selected some good examples from the book to share with you here:
- The contrarian approach: Among any industry, most of the players choose the safe angle where they speak a similar language and show similar capabilities. It means that by choosing a contrarian approach is certain that you will be heard. You can challenge the status quo here and explain why your solution is taking a different approach. But, remember to only choose this approach if you have good arguments to defend your position, otherwise, you'll be seeing as a spoiled baby.
- The metaphor: This approach is used by companies that need to illustrate their solutions within their clients' minds. Use it to make a point or explain a product that would be harder to be explained otherwise. Choose the right metaphor and people will immediately create identification with your product.
- How to X without Y so you can Z: People like stories and narratives. This approach explains how your prospects can get their desire achieved, without having to do something that they are avoiding, so they can get the real benefit of it. This is the book's example:
"How to lose weight without exercise so you can fit into skinny jeans for your birthday party."
Cool! Now that you've chosen your angle is time to add some backstory to your message. Remember when I mentioned that people like narratives? So it's time to give your message some personality and using a technique called storytelling. These are some ideas and structures you can follow:
- Loss and redemption: You used to have everything and suddenly lost it. While you still were fighting against your own luck you finally recovered by using this very same product. Now it's time to share it with the others.
- Us vs. Them: Apple vs. Mac is a great example of this approach. There are a lot of them out there, and they usually work very well, especially when smaller companies are trying to thrive among giants.
- Before and after: How the world used to be before your product, and how life has become easier after that. This is a very strong approach when is illustrated with real-life (daily) activities and how you optimize it.
- Amazing discovery: You were simply doing your job, developing your business, but you accidentally made a great discovery and need to share it right away.
- Secret telling: People love secrets and mystery, and this is how you'll introduce your story. Your product has been used for generations and now it's time to share it with the rest of the world. Are you able to hold a secret?
- Third-person testimonials: A very effective way to prove a point. Tell real stories and how your product solved problems from real people. Very strong and very trustworthy.
Now you've got your message all planned out. But the message itself won't create leads. It may create some traffic, it can increase engagement somehow, but how to create leads?
Lead magnets, or just magnets, are a very common concept within digital marketing and you probably already heard about it. So, why haven't you been using it in your favour? Yes, although very common, many marketers still resist in using this tool to create new leads.
The concept is as simple as offering value to gathering information. Magnets are just it, they require low commitment from both parts and have the simple goal of creating an email list. So why to make it complicated? Follow these four steps and create great lead magnets:
- Short: Your prospect should consume it in no more than 10 minutes.
- Actionable: You should provide clear takeaways.
- Goal-oriented: Never try to explain everything in one magnet. Your goal is to provide the first step and establish the sense of authority.
- Easy: Enough said, right? Keep it simple... If you know what I mean.
Great magnets educate, engage or inspire the prospect to start doing something and to trust you for any help they need in the future. Remember that most of the times visitors downloading you magnet don't know you yet, so use this opportunity to introduce yourself, and always offer them the next step.
The mechanism is how you'll convert visitors into leads. This is the art of putting all the previous steps together and, as mentioned in the title, this is when you'll start using online advertising to generate leads.
The goal here? Fill your funnel with prospects. How to do it?
Ads are your online business cards, your first appearance in front of potential leads. Make a good first impression:
- Look: Invest in a good image, and ensure that it is related to your product. Play a little bit with the contrast to make it more visually appealing or use black and white in very coloured environments. Stand out.
- Hook: Make quick questions that bring quick 'yes' answers. It creates a connection, an empathy, and stimulates interest.
- Took: Make it clear what is the next step. Be clear with your calls to action.
The landing page
After clicking on your ad your potential lead will be redirected to another environment. If the ad is your business card, the landing page is your handshake. Make sure to be consistent with colours, copy, and never try to sell during your first handshake.
Remember that most of your prospects saw your ad and actually know very little about you at this stage. Your goal now is just getting their email in order to strengthen relations later on.
The email capture
Of course, a form is your way to go here. A good way to increase conversions is to ask just the essential. All you need is an email address? So why to ask more than that? A good way to think this step is by building micro-commitments that will give you a better understanding of your prospects, build trust and increase the chances of conversion.
Thank you page
Finally, the thank you page is where you should keep the conversation going. Offer other resources, introduce the prospect to your blog, offer a course you have, or another lead magnet. Your goal here is very simple: make sure the conversation doesn't cool down.
Online advertising is an efficient way to build traffic and leads, but it needs a strategy to avoid being a huge waste of money. The book is very focused on Facebook advertising, but most of the ideas that I've brought here can be applied as a standard for different sources.
Understand your audience, create a compelling message, build great lead magnets, and invest in a mechanism that will help you to convert. Never forget that this is now a one-time effort. Take a close look at your results, optimise your strategy on a daily basis and never forget:
"Give before ask"
Liked the post? Do you have more examples of how to use online advertising to boost direct sales? Comment below and let's keep the conversation going! Let's #SellMoreDirect!