An unsuccessful lead generation campaign is often the result of vague objectives. It leads to firms not wanting to try another campaign in the future. But don’t throw in the towel just yet. Instead, define your firm’s version of success.
It’s common to fall into the trap of setting unrealistic expectations for a lead generation campaign — or worse, having zero expectations at all. The result of both situations is the same: disappointment and a reluctance to invest in future lead gen initiatives.
When done right, lead generation campaigns are effective tools for driving awareness and new business for your firm. Giving up on them too soon leaves potent growth opportunities on the table.
Take the time upfront to identify what success means for your firm. By putting in the work ahead of time, you’ll budget wisely, gauge progress effectively, and best of all – be more confident in the investments you’re making.
DEFINE LEAD GEN SUCCESS ON YOUR FIRM’S TERMS
It’s natural to look at the success stories of competitors and other leading firms. Though the lead gen strategies and outcomes of other firms can be valuable guides, comparing your results to theirs is a recipe for skewed expectations.
Your firm’s definition of success is unique based on your firm’s specific goals, ideal clients, service offerings, and competitive landscape. Each of these factors influences what success looks like. After all, your competitors and other firms operate with a different business model and often in a different market landscape than you do.
Every Firm is unique. every firm’s Lead Gen Needs Are Unique.
For example, say you’re an engineering firm based in the Midwest. Since many engineering firms are regionally focused, comparing yourself to big players in the Southeast, West, or Northeast will not be an apples-to-apples comparison.
While your Midwest-based firm may be focused on offering solutions for flash floods and tornadoes, firms in the Southeast may be focused on solutions for hurricanes. Engineering firms in the West may be solving for earthquakes and wildfires, while Northeast firms may find themselves dealing with snowstorms and winter weather solutions.
In short, client needs aren’t the same from region to region. Why would firms expect similar outcomes from their lead gen programs?
The market landscape isn’t the only thing that’s different. Market share can skew what success looks like, too.
Let’s look at companies like Apple and Samsung: They both make smartphones, but their market shares, brand recognition, and buyer types are different. Because of those variables, they have different strategies to promote brand awareness, gain new customers, and sell more products.
The same principle applies to your firm and others in the market, even those who share similar positioning and ideal clients.
Customize Your Strategy to Fit Your Firm’s Needs and Wants.
The key to lead gen success is customizing your strategy to fit the exact needs and wants of your ideal client, your firm’s solution offerings, and your firm’s business goals. Maybe that looks like increasing the number of qualified leads by 30% within the next quarter. Or increasing your email subscriber base by 50% within the next quarter.
No matter what your goals are, judge your firm’s lead gen success by running your own race. I advise clients to focus on these 3 steps to drive success in lead generation:
- Calculate the Number of Required Conversations to Measure Progress
- Allocate a Reasonable Campaign Budget to Meet Expectations
- Embrace a Test-and-Learn Mindset
Let’s look at each step individually.
1. CALCULATE THE NUMBER OF REQUIRED CONVERSATIONS TO MEASURE PROGRESS
Once you have identified realistic business goals, you need to break them into actionable metrics. These numbers should paint a clear picture of success, thus enabling you to learn from what’s working and what’s not to optimize your strategy.
Break out your calculators. It’s time to do some math. Spoiler alert: It all boils down to your close rate.
Take the number of new clients you want to sign. Then take your historical conversion rate on the number of new prospect conversations you require to sign a new client. Divide your number of ideal clients by your conversion rate to see how many conversations you need to have to meet your goals.
A FORMULA FOR CALCULATING THE NUMBER OF LEADS YOU NEED
Let’s take a look at an over-simplified example. Say you aim to close five new clients and your average conversion rate (the number of clients you sign that you talk to) is about 10%, plug those values into the following equation:
Number of New Clients You Aim to Sign / Conversion Rate = Number of New Conversations Needed
So in our example, 5 / .10 = 50 new conversations. That means your lead generation campaign would need to lead to 50 conversations to be considered “successful”, based on your campaign objectives and historical success.
Running a successful lead gen campaign doesn’t magically change the number of conversations you need to have from 50 to 10, but the goal of paid media is to decrease the number of new prospect conversations that you need to close a deal. You do this by zeroing in on your ideal client and tailoring your message to resonate with them and produce only high quality leads.
2. ALLOCATE A REALISTIC CAMPAIGN BUDGET TO MAINTAIN EXPECTATIONS
One common mistake that can thwart a successful lead gen campaign is underestimating the necessary investment. To hit your desired results, you need to allocate a realistic budget that matches your firm’s goals and desired outcomes.
In our experience, the cost per lead for a B2B ad campaign on Google or LinkedIn can range anywhere from $30 – $75. While that’s often a good starting point, the cost of your campaign will be a function of your unique audience.
At Rattleback, we recommend starting your budget at $3,000 for one month, which gives you enough time to run a campaign, analyze results, and optimize based on initial results.
If you expect significant returns from a certain campaign, you need to invest accordingly. You wouldn’t expect a Mercedes if you only pay for a Toyota, right? It’s the same principle for lead gen campaigns.
A well-thought-out budget ensures that you have the necessary resources to reach your ideal clients effectively while balancing expectations.
3. EMBRACE A TEST-AND-LEARN MINDSET FOR YOUR LEAD GEN CAMPAIGN
What if I told you there’s no such thing as a failed campaign? You may not get the impressions you were hoping for or your desired number of “Contact Us” form submissions. But if you gleaned a new insight that allowed you to optimize your campaign or you learned something new about your ideal clients — then your campaign was still useful.
To stay on course with your upcoming lead gen campaigns, it’s essential to adopt a mindset of curiosity and optimization.
- What can you learn from deals that didn’t close?
- What can you change about campaigns with disappointing results?
- What value are you providing that made clients sign a deal with you?
Be open to reflecting and then experimenting with different audience strategies, creative approaches, copy variations, and other elements of your campaign. Take time to review and analyze your results, make decisions based on the data patterns you’re seeing, and adjust your strategies accordingly.
Even with lead generation campaigns, you’re playing the long game. Be flexible and open to improvement and you’re sure to achieve your firm’s definition of success. When you are ready to get started, get in touch.