Not Getting Enough Sales-Ready Leads? Check Your Story, Messaging And Differentiation First
If you’ve just wrapped up reviewing your second quarter and were disappointed with the amount of sales-qualified leads, sales opportunities or customers coming directly from marketing efforts, then look no further than your marketing strategy.
A lot of marketers and CEOs might look at the mechanics of the program first, but nine times out of 10 your landing pages, website or blog are not to blame. Instead, your results are disappointing because you’re not telling a compelling, engaging, emotional and disruptive enough story in all of your marketing.
This is sometimes difficult for businesspeople to see. Your perspective on your own company’s messaging isn’t objective. Your website is not for you; it’s for your prospects. Here’s a quick checklist to see if your messaging and stories might be missing the mark and limiting the amount of inbound marketing leads generated for your sales team.
1) Do You Immediately Stand Out From Competitors?
You know your top three competitors. Check out their websites. In fact, print out each of the home pages and put them up on a board. Now look at yours. Put your site next to each competitor’s site. Now run the “scratch out, drop in” test. Do you see any differences between the four sites? I’m not talking about design elements. I’m talking about the message. Is there any difference? I’m guessing “no.”
If your website doesn’t look, feel and say anything different than the other sites in your industry, you have a marketing strategy failure. It’s also likely that if your site isn’t different, then the story your salespeople are telling isn’t different either. Your prospects won’t work hard to notice anything different. You should be different enough for visitors to realize it easily and in just 10 seconds.
2) Does The Site Pass The 10-Second Test?
Yes, you only have 10 seconds to get a visitor to notice you. The back button is so easy to hit. Google and Microsoft both have come out with research that validates this time frame. If you only have 10 seconds, you’d better have something interesting to say and it must be easy to understand. How many sites have you been to where you’re not sure what the company does. Is that your site?
You can start to see the challenge. Be different, do it in 10 seconds or less, grab your visitors’ attention, direct them strategically, disrupt their status quo and do it with a story. Yes, this takes experience, skill, creativity and a proven process. This is why most businesses simply mail in the message.
3) Does Your Story Have A Beginning, Middle And End?
Human beings love stories. They relate to them, remember them, connect with them and share them. You need a story for your business. All good stories have a beginning, middle and end.
You need that, too. Why you started the business and the challenges in your industry you plan on fixing is usually the beginning. The middle is how you do it differently and the end includes the business outcomes your prospects can expect if they work with you.
Getting all of this together so everyone in your company can eloquently tell it in just under 10 seconds is challenging, and that’s why you should consider getting content marketing support from an agency that specializes in this type of strategic marketing work. Storytelling is an art form, yet the process required to develop a story that everyone in your company can get behind requires process, methodology and a proven system.
4) Who’s The Hero? You Or Your Prospective Customer?
Every good story has a hero. But are you the hero or is your customer the hero? Is your website about you or your customers? It’s easy to talk about you, your experience, your history, your management team, your building and your equipment. It’s hard to talk about what your prospects can expect. This is why you see so many sites filled with details about the company while light on the value proposition.
Instead, your website should be filled with stories about your customers and what they’ve been able to achieve while working with you or by purchasing your product. You must make them the hero in your stories.
5) Does Your Message Connect Emotionally?
Human beings make purchase decisions emotionally. If your message doesn’t emotionally connect with your prospects, you’re going to be disappointed with the amount of leads. You have to make your prospects feel something when they land on your site.
As an example, our long-time client Arbill distributes safety products and goes to market with the message, “Everyone Goes Home Safe Tonight.” It’s an emotional message for safety managers who want to make sure everyone under their protection is safe and goes home safe every night.
Our new client Stagen Leadership Group goes to market with the message, “Leadership As A Practice.” It’s an emotional message for entrepreneurs who are desperate to be better, more effective leaders and realize it’s a skill they’ll have to practice regularly. Without an emotional message, don’t expect a dramatic increase in sales-ready leads.
6) Are Your Bottom-Of-The-Funnel Offers Value-Oriented?
I see far too many marketing efforts that lack value-oriented bottom-of-the-funnel offers. You’ll never see sales-ready leads if all you offer visitors is “contact us,” “free consultation,” “take our demo” and “get a free trial.” Instead, you need to offer visitors who are ready to talk to your team value for their time.
The safety products company offers a safety review. This 30-minute conversation dives into the current safety situation at the prospect’s company, highlights improvements that can be made and identifies issues or risks that might be correctable. In the end, the prospect gets education and insight, and Arbill gets a sales opportunity.
The leadership training company offers three leadership tips in 30 minutes. This allows business owners to get valuable insight and leadership improvements that they can start applying as soon as the call is over. Stagen gets a chance to tell their story and see if the entrepreneur is a candidate for their intensive leadership program.
7) Do You Have A Message Inventory?
Solid marketing strategy doesn’t include just one message or story. You need an inventory of potential messages that you’ll roll out and test over time. You might get lucky and score big with the first story, but more than likely you’ll want to keep testing messages until you find the one that resonates the most with prospects (this is what we do with clients).
This testing and retesting helps you continuously improve the lead generation from your marketing. Make sure your sales team is tightly aligned. As you change messages, your sales team will have to change the stories they tell prospects, too.
If you passed the test, then you might have other underlying issues, but my guess is most of you didn’t get 100% on this quiz. If you had to answer “no” to even one of these, that’s likely the cause of your underperforming lead generation.
The reason most companies fail this test is because the work to fix this marketing strategy failure requires heavy lifting, consensus and alignment. It also almost always requires vision, leadership and the desire to be different. This is hard for most people.
Most agencies aren’t interested in this type of work. They prefer to simply jump in and work on the tactics, leaving your messaging unchanged. That won’t work in the long term. Eventually, you’ll have to address this. This is going to be easier if you work with a partner that has experience creating compelling, engaging, emotional and disruptive stories.
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