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7 steps for generating the best leads

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To many advisors, lead generation is something of a mystery.

So how do you create new leads consistently and predictably?

The answer is in your lead generation funnel.

Related: 7 phases of the perfect client funnel

Today, we’re going to cover the seven components that need to be in play, and really playing at their best, for you to get the most out of the marketing dollars you’re spending. Let’s jump right in.

1. Define your target market.

Do you know who your ideal client is? You may think it breaks down to age, income, asset level or zip code, but if you want to optimize this part of your funnel, you’ll need to get even more specific by knowing your targeted client’s gender; marital status; occupation; ethnicity; political leaning; and interests. If you’re in a niche market, you may need other details as well.

Once you’ve defined your market with categories such as these, you’ll be prepared to craft a better message, one that will attract your ideal client, while repelling others you don’t want to work with.

Related: How to attract the right clients

2. Choose the right traffic source.

All traffic sources have their place, but which is right? Here are four metrics you can use to answer that for yourself.

  • Impressions versus conversions. In impression-based marketing, you pay to get your message in front of a certain number of people. In conversion-based marketing, you pay only when someone responds to your message. Rather than making an investment that puts all the risk on you, we’ve found it’s better to pay for the result. That way you can control your cost per lead and track exactly what you’re getting from the marketing dollars you spend.
  • Lead volume. Referrals may be the best and cheapest source of leads, but the volume they generate is very low. If you were to rely on referrals alone, you’d probably struggle to get the volume you need. Volume is a critical metric to analyze when choosing your traffic source.
  • Lead quality. We like to talk about lead quality in terms of buying temperature. Are your leads at the top of the scale, ready to make decisions today? Those are hot leads. Or are they relatively cold, in need of a lot of education and selling to get them to that point? Think about this when evaluating how well a given traffic source will work for you.
  • Cost per lead. When you divide how much you spend on a campaign by how many leads that campaign brings in, you can see how much each lead costs. This is an important metric you should definitely be watching. Sometimes, the results are surprising.

3. Craft a message that converts.

When prospects come across your message, does it resonate with them? If you’ve taken the time to understand their goals, fears, opportunities and beliefs, you can tap into the emotional drivers that compel them. These are the factors that set you – and your message — apart from the competition. Psychographic information is much more powerful than demographic information.

An on-point message is only as good as its audience is well-suited for that message. (Photo: iStock)An on-point message is only as good as its audience is well-suited for that message. (Photo: iStock)

4. Create a high-value lead magnet.

An on-point message is only so good. To generate an exceptional response, it has to be paired with a high-value lead magnet. There are eight points to check off your list here. Let’s look at the first four.

      • High perceived value. To increase the perception of value, make sure your offering is professionally designed and written. If it’s a video, it should be professionally filmed. An offering with a low perceived value just won’t generate the leads you’re looking for.
      • Real ralue. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that all you need is a pretty package. Nothing could be further from the truth. Your lead magnet is the first transaction you have with your prospect, and it has to deliver real value; otherwise, you may actually drive them away. Instead, impress them with a substantive offering right out of the gate.
      • Ease of consumption. Prospects want to digest your lead magnet quickly, in five minutes or less. It shouldn’t feel like work or require too much of an investment. Think of it as a sample of what you can do, an appetizer before the main course.
      • Specificity. Your lead magnet should solve a specific problem. For example, “Ten things to know about financial security” is way too broad. On the other hand, “Three things you need to understand about low interest rates” or “Eight things you can do to protect your portfolio” are targeted to specific hot buttons – and they’re going to generate a much higher response as a result.

Again, there are eight elements to creating a high value lead magnet; these are the first four. At the end of this post we’ll tell you where you you can get the rest.

Related: 5 steps to prospecting for ideal annuity clients

5. Design your lead capture page.

A poorly-designed landing page isn’t going to generate the volume of leads you should be getting, even if your lead magnet is off the charts. Let’s look at how you can optimize that.

      • Not home. Your lead page should not be your home page. A corporate home page offers so many options, prospects can get lost or distracted. That kills conversions. Instead, drive people to a page that allows them to do one thing, and one thing only: opt in and get your lead magnet.
      • Limit navigation. It’s okay to link your logo back to your home page, but that’s it. Don’t include your top top-level navigation bar as it could tempt your prospects to go somewhere else.
      • Exit pop. If prospects try to leave the page without opting in, you can trigger a message to pop up saying wait, you forgot to get your lead magnet. We used to think these were cheesy — before we saw the results. Twenty to 30 percent of leads that would have bounced will opt in after seeing an exit pop.

Those are just three out of 18 tips for dialing in your lead capture page; we’ll link you to the rest at the end of this post.

Related: Why companies can’t get marketing right

Be prepared for the fact that less than 2 percent of web visitors are sold on a new product or service the first time they’re exposed to it. (Photo: iStock)Be prepared for the fact that less than 2 percent of web visitors are sold on a new product or service the first time they’re exposed to it. (Photo: iStock)

6. Deploy your retargeting strategy.

If retargeting is a foreign concept, this may be your most important takeaway. Less than 2 percent of web visitors convert the first time they’re exposed to a new product or service; this bears out across all kinds of websites. How can you ensure they’ll come back after they bounce? That’s where tracking pixels and retargeting come in.

Retargeting is a way to continue marketing to people you know are interested. When a prospect visits your lead capture page, but doesn’t opt in, you can drop a tracking pixel on their browser so that, as they browse the web, your ads will continue to show up.

The statistics on this are incredible. When done correctly, retargeting can boost response by as much as 400 percent. And 25 to 30 percent of consumers said they have positive feelings about these ads, because what’s marketed is something they’re genuinely interested in.

Related: The secret to hitting a home run with digital marketing

7. Build in long-term nurture.

We all know that follow-up is crucial, yet less than half of us actually follow up even one time. Once is better than nothing, but only 2 percent of deals close after the first follow-up. Twelve percent of us follow up three times; even so, only 4 percent of deals happen there. Ten percent of advisors follow up five or more times – and that’s where 81 percent of the deals are happening. If you want to put yourself among the top 10 percent of advisors in the country, get an automated system in place to follow up with every lead at least five times.

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