Qualifying leads is tricky business. For the most part, we’re not failing miserably, but we’re not doing it well either. The typical lead gen model typically mirrors your standard marketing funnel: you fulfill some need, capture the names, qualify them, nurture them, and close them. Other processes fulfill the need, qualify them, but drop the ball on the rest of the process. Or fulfill the need, capture the name, and forget to nurture them.
The problem with most lead gen models is that we do a lot of one-night stands. We think that if we’ve captured a name, that contact is automatically a qualified lead, and we can rush them to the sales staff for the close. Instead of rushing for that quick win, we need to think about the lead capture and nurture process as a long-term relationship. We can improve our close rates if we simply build a framework to get to know our leads a little better. That way, if we attract the right leads from the start, we can spend less time qualifying them through a sales team.
Rather than spinning up a bunch of pages around different keywords and topics and hoping for the best, we need to find out exactly what that person wants. We need to understand who this user is behind the visit, and then figure out how to create something that speaks directly to that person.
So how do we do this?
First, export your email list and run it through a tool like FullContact, which appends and enriches user data based on the email addresses you submit. It also identifies a lead’s full name, age, gender, Twitter account, location, interests and so forth. Put all of this information into a spreadsheet.
Next, take the list of Twitter accounts generated through FullContact and run it through Demographics Pro, a service that provides information on demographics, psychographics and interests based on a person’s Twitter account. Put this data into the same spreadsheet.
I also recommend running your list through one of my favorite Facebook tools — Facebook Audience Insights — which will give you more psychographics and demographics based on a lead’s Facebook activities. Then, you guessed it, dump this info into the spreadsheet. You’ve now generated a ton of rich data to help you get started.
Now, let’s talk about the specifics.
Let’s say we see a trend among a certain group in our spreadsheet — for instance, women between 25 and 34. We can break out that demographic, and look at the data points in the psychographics and interests to build out further data-driven segments. Roughly, you’ve just identified your first persona.
Building Out Your Persona
Start by building out user stories, user needs and specific features for measuring people within this segment.
From there Google Analytics allows you to set up advanced segments based on your visitors’ demographics and interests, as well as the sequences of their activities or behaviors. You can use this information to measure your personas’ performance, and whether you’re truly engaging with them in a manner that is going to be most effective.
Ultimately, your personas will dictate your acquisition base. You’re going to learn how they came to you in the first place. You’ll learn where they’re the most active, what they need, how they think about things. Are they finding you with organic search, or are they more active on Facebook and Twitter? Did they come to you through an ad, or through a referral?
This data will ultimately help you understand and prepare for targeting potential leads where they operate, which will inform your hook. What do these people need that you can provide? How do you make this align with your business objectives?
If you can understand your potential buyers and what drives your different audience segments, you can hook them and pull the most qualified, most interested people into your sales funnel, and form a long-term relationship, instead of a lucky one-night stand.