3 Keys to a Successful Lead Generation Strategy

Marketing Automation has Made Outbound Lead Generation Easier & Harder All at the Same Time -- How To Keep from Getting Stuck in the Technology Traps


Lead Generation Strategy Has Become More Accessible to Small Businesses

Advances in marketing automation have now made it easier and more affordable to create a lead generation strategy for any size business, in almost any industry.  But the pitfalls, whether you’re DIYing your own strategy or implementing with a partner can really slow you down if you’re not careful.

3 Keys to a Successful Lead Generation Strategy

The basic marketing formula at the heart of all the strategy we design for clients says:


And our unique approach to building successful lead generation strategies for small businesses follows this same formula.

As we consider the 3 keys for success, or perhaps even the 3 most common ways strategies fail, here is our best advice:

#1: Data Quality has Created a “Garbage In – Garbage Out” Dilemma

You get what you pay for with third-party data.  And almost every outbound lead generation strategy relies on quality data for success.  This is key to the TARGETING aspect of outbound lead generation strategies.

Make sure your data is really providing what you think it’s providing.  There are fewer and fewer data brokers who are really doing the work to keep the lists accurate.

Why is this important?  Two reasons.  First, if your data is bad it will negatively impact deliverability (see #3).  Second, if you’re not really reaching the people you need, your conversion rate will be bad and you’re wasting time and money.


#2: People are Busy, So Create Value Quickly

Our starting point for the content of any outbound lead generation strategy is to put yourself in the shows of the person you’re targeting.  It’s almost always true that this person is busy.  It’s almost always true this person has been hard for you to reach for a reason.  So the MESSAGING aspect of outbound lead generation strategies is critical.

It’s starts with subject lines and from who the email message originates.  Never use generic senders, and always test your subject lines.  There are free tools out there that help you craft subject lines that are most likely to engage your prospect.

Once you get your prospects attention, don’t waste it.  Get to the point and ask for a very clear next step.

Why is this important?  Think of outbound email like passing a billboard on the highway.  You get a few seconds, at best, to capture attention.  Once you get that email opened, you get maybe 15-30 seconds to hold attention and convert that engagement into an actionable lead that can grow your business.


#3: Deliverability has Become the Largest Success Killer

Since most outbound lead generation strategies rely on email as a core reach tactic, being able to get your email into the inbox (versus spam folder) is critical to success.

And while there are a lot of platforms that let you start sending emails to prospective customers, they vary drastically in their focus on deliverability.  Again, this is probably an area where you get what you pay for — and if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is…

All the major email platforms, like Google GMail and Microsoft Office365, as well as major email clients like Microsoft Outlook, spend a lot of time and effort blocking unwanted email to create a better user experience for their customers.  They blacklist domains sending emails that annoy people.

Why is this important?  If you get a list and just start blasting without a thoughtful deliverability plan, you’ll quickly turn around and find that your domain has been blacklisted and your emails are all going straight to junk mail.

If you think your domain might be blacklisted, here’s one way you can find out.


We’re Here to Help

If you find yourself struggling to establish an outbound lead generation strategy for your business, or you’ve got one and it’s just not been an effective way to grow your business, we are willing to invest time to have our experts review it at no cost to you.

Just schedule time with our team here.  A free initial marketing consultation is just the start of how we invest in you before you invest in us.  We’ll audit your strategy and make specific recommendations before we show you any proposals.

If you’re just interested in seeing more helpful articles like this one, please sign up for our Local Marketing Newsletter — a free email you’ll receive periodically.


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Steven Ludwig
After 3 decades as a professional marketer, serial entrepreneur and business consultant Steven Ludwig shares his best practices for small business marketing for owners, managers, and marketers with limited time, money, and expertise. Steven started his professional marketing career in broadcasting in the early ‘90s in Chicago after attending Valparaiso University. After a brief stint at an advertising agency specializing in entertainment and sports marketing where he worked with radio and television stations, movie theatre companies, record labels, musicians, and professional sports teams, he moved to Nashville to form The Marketing Group with his long-time business partner, Jim Wood. Having worked with some of the largest brands in the world, in 2010 he returned to local marketing primarily out of an interest and excitement for working with small business owners to build stronger companies. That desire comes out of early days in radio, where he worked closely with everything from car dealerships to restaurants, insurance and real estate agents, banks, home services companies, and specialty retailers of all kinds. Over the past decade, he has been on the bleeding edge of digital marketing technology, constantly seeking to understand complex strategies employed by giant corporations and then translate those capabilities into tactics small businesses can execute at a local level. Today, in addition to other business ventures with his wife and other long-time business partners, he still lives outside Nashville in Franklin, Tennessee and currently serves as Executive Chairman of EmpowerLocal, a digital marketing company building a nationwide network of digital, hyperlocal news and lifestyle publishers to provide efficient advertising opportunities for local, regional, and national brands.


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