Let’s say you’re a real estate agent with an open house from 1-3. You’ve spent money on advertising to generate interest from prospective buyers. You have thought long and hard about how you’re going to decorate the space to make it look like a home and arrived two hours early to do so.
At 1:45, three couples walk in. The first couple, Ashley and David, immediately start wandering around the house without the need of your direction. The second couple, Ben and Jamie, tell you that they have just started looking for homes last weekend. They’re not sure exactly what they are looking for but know that they want to live in this neighborhood.
The third couple, Avery and Ellie, listen in on your interaction with Ben and Jamie and then bombard you with a series of questions. Ellie begins asking questions about what it’s like to be a real estate agent (she might want to be one), what the pay is like, and reveal that they aren’t looking for a house yet.
During that time, Ashley and David have returned with questions, but every time they go to ask one, Ellie asks you about your job again. Eventually, Ashley and David leave. You learn the following week that they bought a similar house from a rival agency.
I’m sure you guessed Ashley and David are the high-quality lead. They entered the house knowing that they had a need/want and that your product could help them fulfill it. Ben and Jamie were potentially high-quality leads that needed nurturing. They had an idea of what they wanted and could be enticed by the advantages your home has to offer compared to others. Maybe it had a walk-in closet or a yoga studio nearby. Getting to know Ben and Jamie better will allow you to understand their wants and help you achieve their end goal.
However, Avery and Ellie were low-quality leads. They walked in with an intention other than buying your product, but still wanted your time and attention to get something that they wanted (in this case, inside information about the life of a real estate agent).
The intention behind this example was to show that low-quality leads can cost you time, money, and in extreme cases, the very resources you need to get a high-quality client. Low quality leads lead to high acquisition costs and below-average results.
So how to do you determine what a low-quality lead is, and how do you funnel them out?
If you haven’t already, define your target customer
If you’ve yet to develop your perfect target persona, it should quickly become a top priority. Brainstorm with your team all of the qualities your target customer is going to have. What are their age and income range? Where do they hang out? What TV shows do they watch? If they go to the farmer’s market, are they excited to try strawberry-jalapeno jam? The more detailed you get, the clearer picture you’ll have.
The better you know which customer you want to find you, the easier it will be to generate content targeted to them. Today anywhere from 66-90% of a customer’s journey is self-directed. This is the age of the buyer. Information has gone from being a scarce resource to an abundant one. You don’t have to find the right customers; they now have to find you.
Develop a lead scoring system
As your funnel fills up with potential leads, your marketing and sales department need to work together to develop a scoring system based on your best customers to determine the quality of the current leads. These scores can be based on their position in their buying journey, the interest they have shown in your company, how close they are to being your target customer, and any other metrics you’ve found are important.
Lead scoring can help you determine which clients are ready to continue down the funnel, who may need more convincing, and which leads are low quality. Once you know the level of leads you have in your funnel, the easier it is to increase your ROI, bolster your revenue cycle, and to stop engaging with leads that won’t go anywhere.
SEO is your best friend
SEO tools can help you find the intent behind keywords that your potential customers are searching for, as well as a host of other statistics. By integrating specific keywords that bring your audience to your content, your company will have a better chance of ranking higher amidst the rest of the search results.
It also helps to generate a list of keywords before a marketing campaign so that you know what to integrate as you’re looking for customers. Keep a list of these keywords in mind during the campaign, and see which ones give you the best ROI. This will give you an advantage in future campaigns as well.
Campaign conversion tracking
While running a campaign, you will usually have a variety of ads spread across multiple platforms. Given the knowledge you’ve obtained through keyword searches and identifying your target customer, you should have a good idea of who to advertise to and where. To better determine the quality of your leads, create a spreadsheet complete with all of your targeted ads, the platforms they are on, and judge their success.
If you have difficulty differentiating these statistics, experiment with your campaigns. Take down your Twitter and Facebook Ad 1 for a week and see what changes. Put them back up and do the same with Twitter and Facebook Ad 2, or Direct Mail, or disconnect your Website Form for a week.
You can also experiment based on the quality of leads you get via geographic region, income, age, gender, and other demographics. If there are significant changes in lead quality based on certain ads or groups, try to figure out how best to use it to your advantage.
Forms, a gateway to great leads
Using forms to gate content and on landing pages is a great way to weed out low-quality leads. Often in B2B campaigns, you can determine the quality of a lead based on the information they provide. If the form is written by someone with a personal email address or a fake looking telephone number (i.e., 555-0123), they are probably not a high-quality lead.
You can also create extra form fields to collect more information to determine if they are the right fit for your company. Some of these fields can include industry and geographic location, both of which can be immediately disqualifiers for potential high-quality leads. Create lists of the forms that were submitted and edit them accordingly. What remains are leads that are looking to complete their buying journey, and are worth reaching out to.
It’s not always easy to determine the quality of a lead, but by using several of the fail-safes listed above, finding your high-quality customers gets much simpler.