As a marketer, you're all too familiar with the infamous lead gen goal. And if you're anything like us, you obsess over this number. It haunts your day-to-day work, and it keeps you up at night as visions of lead-capture forms dance in your head (it's still the holidays, right?). And even if you hit your goal this month, the glory won't last very long. As soon as the month ends, a new one begins, and you'll need to hit your goal yet again. Oh, the horror!
But hey, that's just the life of an inbound marketer. And to be perfectly honest, the competitive drive that the looming leads goal creates within you is what makes your job so exciting, right? But if you struggle to hit your goals month to month, you might have some problems with your lead gen strategy. So if you're regularly worrying about leads, check first that you're not experiencing the ill-effects of these 10 lead gen goal blockers before you consider a new profession.
10 Reasons You're Failing to Achieve Your Lead Gen Goals
1. You're not driving enough traffic to your content from organic and paid search.
So where do leads come from? Surely, you're not getting a delivery from the lead fairy every month. In order to generate leads, you first need a solid chunk of traffic that you can convert. One of the best channels for generating this traffic is search engines, and the best ways to do that is to regularly create content that is optimized with the keywords for which you want to get found. Whether you have a stagnant blog or no blog, you'll need to ramp up your content creation efforts if you want to boost organic search traffic and have a bigger pool of website visitors from which you can source leads.
Furthermore, consider paid search (PPC) as a complement to your organic search strategy. It is a great way to drive leads around keywords that are too competitive to target in your organic strategy.
2. You're not plastering CTAs everywhere possible.
Calls-to-action (CTAs) are the gateways to lead generation. They're what direct traffic from other pages of your website (like your homepage, 'About Us' page, and your blog) and other channels (like email messages and PPC ads) to the landing pages that can capture leads. So if you haven't used every piece of website real estate possible to add a CTA for your top offers, you're definitely going to hurt your chances of hitting your lead gen goal. So go ahead and put CTAs everywhere -- on every blog post; on your blog's main sidebar; on your homepage; on product pages; in email messages -- you name it! Just skip putting them on landing pages to avoid distraction.
3. You're not effectively leveraging the potential of social media for lead generation.
Sure -- social media can be great for engaging and connecting with fans, prospects, and even current customers, but its real marketing value is in its lead gen potential. Just like you should be including CTAs throughout your website, you should also be leveraging your social media accounts to support lead generation. Optimize your social presence for lead generation by regularly sharing links to landing pages with lead-capture forms and using appropriate social media real estate to include calls-to-action.
4. You're recycling the same offers over and over.
If you're burning through and promoting the same offers over and over, eventually, you'll notice a dip in leads. And if you're leveraging every channel at your disposal (and you should) to generate leads, then it's important to have enough offers so you're not hitting the same prospects with the same ones time and time again. Update old offers so they're fresher, create new ones on different topics, offer variety (e.g. webinars, ebooks, downloads, etc.) and try to strike the right balance for when and where to promote what.
5. You're not generating enough high quality leads.
Sheer quantity of leads might not be the only condition of your lead generation agreement with your sales team. If you're generating tons and tons of leads but none of them are qualified, chances are good that you'll have an unsatisfied sales team on your hands. Implement lead nurturing campaigns that leverage the power of relevant content and marketing automation tools to nurture leads into a position where they're better qualified and readier to buy to keep your sales team happy and convert more leads into better customers.
6. You're not appropriately aligning your offers with the sales process.
So per our second point, maybe you've already started slapping CTAs on all your web pages. Fantastic! But there's actually some strategy involved. If you're just putting any old CTA on any old page, then you need to be more careful. Use some logic here. If a visitor is hanging out on your products pages, that means they're likely further along in the sales cycle. Shouldn't the CTA on that page point to a more middle-of-the-funnel offer such as a free product trial, demo, or consultation? Try to align the offers you feature to visitors at their likely point in the sales process.
7. You're carelessly planning your email sends.
Or maybe you're not planning them at all. Eek! Email marketing is an art. You don't want to spam your email list with countless emails, yet you want to make sure you're hitting them enough times (and at the right times) with relevant content that generates new leads and nurtures existing leads. In addition, you need to make sure you balance your email sends to incorporate enough offers that you know are your top offers with ones that might not be as high-performing. Create an email calendar and use testing and analytics to determine when to send, what to send, and how often to send.
8. You aren't A/B testing your landing pages.
"Set it and forget it" is never a good tactic when it comes to inbound marketing. The most effective marketers test everything to improve performance, and landing pages should be no exception. You'll be surprised to find that even just the teensiest change can make all the difference in conversion, and there is really no shortage to what you can test on your landing pages. Test your form length, page layout, messaging, headline, 'submit' button, text, and even color scheme. While you're at it, test your CTAs, too!
9. Your landing page forms are too long -- or not long enough.
Speaking of form length, there is quite a correlation between form length and lead quantity/quality. While shorter forms are more likely to generate a higher quantity of leads, longer, more detailed forms will likely generate fewer, but higher quality leads. Only your own company's specific leads goals and problems can dictate which form strategy is better for your business, but as a best practice, only ask for the information you really need to contact and appropriately qualify the lead. More form fields lead to more friction and greater landing page anxiety, but fewer form fields garner tons more unqualified leads.
10. You're not leveraging valuable insights from your marketing analytics.
Neglecting to consult your marketing analytics throughout the planning and execution of your lead generation strategy can be detrimental in many ways. You won't know which are your best and worst channels for lead generation (and thus, which to focus more time and effort on), which channels generate the most high quality leads, how your landing page conversion rates are faring, which offers perform best, etc. Without these key insights, it'd be impossible to diagnose deficiencies in your lead gen strategy, and thus, make improvements. Measuring success should be an omnipresent part of every marketing tactic you utilize, and lead generation should be no different.
What other blockers could contribute to an inability to hit your marketing leads goals?
Image Credit: Ingo Bernhardt
Originally published Dec 30, 2011 1:42:00 PM, updated July 28 2017