Want more leads?
Then you need to build a solid lead generation system.
And that’s exactly what we are going to discuss today.
Ready to grow your business faster than you ever thought possible?
Understand The Big Picture
It’s important to view lead generation in its proper context. And what is that context? Your sales funnel.
The Value Ladder Sales Funnel
Here at ClickFunnels, we believe that the most effective way to sell online is the Value Ladder sales funnel.
Here’s how it looks like:
It has four stages:
- Bait. You offer the potential customer a lead magnet in exchange for their email address.
- Frontend. You offer the potential customer your least expensive and least valuable product.
- Middle. You offer the customer a more expensive and more valuable product.
- Backend. You offer the customer your most valuable and most expensive product.
This sales funnel works so well because it allows you to:
- Start the relationship with that potential customer by providing free value.
- Nurture that relationship by continuing to provide free value.
- Build trust by providing progressively more paid value.
Here’s how our co-founder Russell Brunson explains it:
The Lead Generation Funnel
The lead generation funnel is the first step of the Value Ladder sales funnel (“Bait”).
Here’s how it looks like:
- You create a super valuable lead magnet.
- You create a landing page for that lead magnet.
- You drive traffic to that landing page.
The purpose of this funnel is to convert the potential customer into a lead by persuading them to give you their email address in exchange for the lead magnet.
In other words:
The purpose of the lead generation funnel is to get the potential customer to enter your sales funnel.
The reason why it’s so important to view your lead generation funnel in the context of your entire sales funnel is this:
Whatever happens at the Bait stage has a cascading effect on the rest of the funnel all way to the Backend stage.
If you focus solely on the number of email subscribers, you might end up sacrificing lead quality for lead quantity in an attempt to “improve” this metric.
But what’s the point of collecting email addresses of random people who will never buy anything from you?
It’s a waste of time, energy, and money, even if your lead generation strategy is “effective” when viewed in isolation and evaluated solely by the number of leads generated.
You need to avoid this kind of lead generation myopia at all costs.
Ultimately, what matters is not the number of leads that you bring in, and not even the number of sales that you make, but the profit that your business generates. Never lose sight of that.
You Can Build a Value Ladder Sales Funnel With Just One Product!
It doesn’t make any sense to only build a lead generation funnel as opposed to an entire sales funnel. Why?
Because if you don’t have anything to sell, you can’t know whether your lead generation funnel works.
Cool, people are signing up for your email list, but are they willing to pay money for your product?
That’s why you need to build a proper sales funnel. It’s the only way to learn if your offer resonates with your target audience.
Don’t worry, though. You don’t need to have an entire product line ready to build a Value Ladder sales funnel. You can do it with just one product.
You can build a sales funnel that has two stages:
- Bait. This is the lead generation funnel.
- Frontend. An inexpensive product (<$10).
That should be enough to see whether whatever you have in mind is a viable business idea.
Note that if you already have a product but its price is outside the impulse range you might want to create a separate frontend offer and use the current product as the Middle offer.
Okay, now let’s get into building a lead generation funnel…
Create a Super Valuable Lead Magnet
Your lead magnet is the foundation of your entire sales funnel. So how can you create an effective one?
What Is a Lead Magnet?
A lead magnet is a freebie that you offer to a potential customer in exchange for their email address.
It can be anything that they can either download to their device or access online:
- A report.
- An ebook.
- A cheat sheet.
- An email course.
- A video course.
- A webinar.
- An app.
What’s important is that:
- Your lead magnet offers a solution to a problem that your ideal customers are struggling with.
- That problem is either the same one or related to the problem that your frontend product addresses.
What Is the Purpose of Your Lead Magnet?
At first glance, the purpose of your lead magnet is to entice the potential customer to subscribe to your email list.
However, on a deeper level, its purpose is to give that potential customer a free sample of the value that they can expect from your paid products.
Understand that the potential customer is going to use your lead magnet to evaluate whether they should invest in your paid products:
- Impress them with your lead magnet and they will be more likely to give your frontend offer a shot.
- Disappoint them with your lead magnet and you won’t get a second chance.
You see, the Value Ladder sales funnel only works if you overdeliver at each step, which builds the trust that is required for that person to take the next step.
If you drop the ball at the Bait stage with a garbage lead magnet, then the rest of your sales funnel doesn’t matter because you won’t be able to convert leads into paying customers.
The #1 Key To Creating an Effective Lead Magnet
Here’s the most important thing that you need to understand about lead magnets:
People are not going to give you their contact information unless you give them something SUPER VALUABLE in return.
That’s why the key to creating an effective lead magnet is to create something that your ideal customers desperately want… Then give it to them for free.
The best way to do this is to approach creating your lead magnet with the same seriousness that you would approach creating a paid product:
- Do customer research.
- Identify a problem that your ideal customers are struggling with.
- Provide a solution to that problem.
You want to create something that is so valuable that people would happily pay for it should you ever decide to charge for your lead magnet.
And if that sounds like a lot of work… That’s because it is.
But once again:
Your lead magnet is the foundation of your entire sales funnel.
So it makes sense to go the extra mile to create something that your ideal customers can’t resist.
Take It to the Next Level: Create a Variety of Lead Magnets
There’s no law that says that you are only allowed to have one lead generation funnel.
You can take your lead generation system to the next level by creating a variety of lead magnets.
This allows you to pick the most relevant lead magnet to promote in each social media post, YouTube video, blog article, etc.
Obviously, the more relevant the lead magnet is to a particular piece of content, the more likely someone who enjoyed that piece of content will be to download it.
Moreover, different offers resonate with different people, so having a variety of lead magnets will enable you to convert more potential customers into leads.
Create a Landing Page for Your Lead Magnet
Just because your lead magnet is free doesn’t mean that you don’t have to sell it.
You still have to persuade the potential customer to give you their email address in exchange for it.
That’s where the lead magnet landing page comes in. Think of it as a sales page for your freebie. It’s where you pitch it to the potential customer.
Features vs. Benefits
The most important copywriting principle that you need to understand in order to create a killer lead generation landing page is the distinction between features and benefits:
- A feature is a quality or a function of a product (e.g. “These shoes are waterproof!”).
- A benefit is the value that the customer will get from that product (e.g. “These shoes will keep your feet dry!”).
People buy based on benefits, which is why you need to emphasize the benefits in your copy, even if the “product” that you are trying to “sell” is a freebie.
Think about how will your lead magnet make the potential customer’s life better. What is its #1 benefit? That’s what you should focus on.
How Long Should Your Lead Magnet Landing Page Be?
There are three types of landing pages:
We recommend you to start with a squeeze page, then upgrade to a medium-length landing page.
Long-form landing pages should be reserved for lead magnets that require more commitment than usual (e.g. you can get a physical copy of “DotCom Secrets” for free, but you need to cover the shipping).
The 5 Key Elements of a High-Converting Lead Magnet Landing Page
Here are the five key elements that you should include in your lead magnet landing page:
- A benefit-driven headline. What is the #1 benefit of your lead magnet? Focus on that in your headline.
- A benefit-driven sub-headline. Use the sub-headline to explain the offer in more detail.
- Benefit-driven copy. Use copy to expand on the #1 benefit as well as introduce the additional benefits of your lead magnet.
- Social proof. This can be endorsements, testimonials, relevant numbers (e.g. the number of book copies sold), relevant titles (e.g. NYT bestselling author), relevant credentials (e.g. a Ph.D.), etc.
- A prominent call-to-action button. It should stand out in the overall color scheme + feature benefit-driven copy (e.g. “Get Your Free Ebook!” instead of “Download Here”).
While squeeze pages are typically more basic than that, you still want to include all five elements in your squeeze page in order to maximize the conversion rate.
Keep Your Landing Page Simple!
You know the most common problem with landing pages that don’t convert? They are way too complicated!
When people ask Russell for feedback on their landing pages, he often tells them to delete 90% of the stuff on the page. Why?
Because while all these bells and whistles might look cool, ultimately they are distractions that take the potential customer’s focus away from what matters.
Here’s how Russell explains it:
So make sure to keep your lead magnet landing page simple.
It has one purpose: to persuade the potential customer to download your lead magnet. That’s it. So stay focused on that.
Create a Frontend Offer That’s Within The Impulse Buy Range
Okay, so once you have your lead generation funnel in place, you need to create a frontend offer.
This should be your least expensive and least valuable product but you still need to overdeliver with it.
So what’s the best way to do that?
- Create a product that provides a ton of value.
- Sell it for a ridiculously low price.
It’s best to keep the price of your frontend product within the impulse buy range (<$10) to make it a no-brainer. We have noticed that the $7 price point works well.
Now, you might be hesitant to price a product this low, since that $7 price tag may not seem like the way to the wealth that you dream of.
But the purpose of the frontend offer isn’t to make you a ton of money, it’s to convert a lead into a paying customer.
Once you do that, that person will be more likely to buy your middle product, and then your backend product (provided that you overdeliver at each stage).
This is an application of a persuasion principle known as “Commitment and Consistency” through the “Foot in the Door” technique:
You get your foot in the door by persuading the potential customer to make a small commitment (a $7 purchase), then you escalate to bigger and bigger commitments (more expensive products) over time.
Also, as we have already discussed, if you have a product that is outside the impulse buy range, you might want to create a separate frontend offer and use your current product as your middle offer. Why?
Because converting a lead into a paying customer is hard enough as it is, there’s no need to add the unnecessary hurdle of a price tag that makes them stop in their tracks and consider the purchase.
By the way, if you overdeliver with your frontend offer, that person will be more likely to buy your more expensive product than they would have been had you pitched it straightaway.
Test Your Sales Funnel With Paid Traffic
Now you have a sales funnel in place.
But you can’t know if it works until you start driving traffic to the lead magnet landing page.
And the fastest way to do that is through paid advertising. Use Facebook ads to promote your lead magnet, then see what happens. Was your paid advertising campaign profitable? Then your sales funnel works. Congratulations!
You can also use paid advertising to identify various problems in your sales funnel:
- No one is clicking on your ads? Either the lead magnet isn’t valuable enough or the ads aren’t persuasive enough.
- No one is downloading your lead magnet? Either the lead magnet isn’t valuable enough or the landing page isn’t persuasive enough.
- No one is buying your frontend product? Either the lead magnet isn’t valuable enough or the frontend product isn’t valuable enough or your sales emails and the sales page aren’t persuasive enough.
Here’s how Russell explains this:
Fix these problems before you start scaling your marketing efforts. Otherwise, you might end up blowing your marketing budget on a broken sales funnel.
Also, we realize that you might be reluctant to spend money on ads when you are just starting out, but here’s what you need to understand:
There’s no such thing as free traffic. You either pay for traffic with money or you pay for it with time.
So don’t get mesmerized by the so-called “free” traffic generation methods such as social media marketing, YouTube marketing, search engine optimization, and so on.
These marketing methods can work extremely well. In fact, we are going to discuss them later in this article. But they all require a huge time investment.
So you want to make sure that your sales funnel works before you commit to building a social media following, a YouTube channel, a blog, etc.
We understand that money might be tight, but it’s better to lose a thousand bucks on Facebook ads than to spend a year building a blog just to find out that no one wants to buy your product.
Use Your Lead Magnet Landing Page as Your Homepage
Websites are dead. Sales funnels are the future. Why?
Because websites are confusing mazes of links that do not guide the potential customer towards the sale.
What happens is this:
A potential customer arrives on your homepage, sees a navigation bar, starts clicking around… And then leaves without giving you their email address. What’s the point of all that?
Meanwhile, a sales funnel by definition guides the potential customer towards a sale, step-by-step.
When a potential customer arrives on your landing page, they are presented with a clear call to action.
They can choose to either:
- Download the lead magnet.
- Leave the landing page.
There’s no confusion. It’s a “Yes or No” decision. Which makes them more likely to say “Yes”.
And then, once you have their email address, you can guide them towards the next step in your sales funnel, and then the next one, and so on.
Is it any wonder that when we tested websites against sales funnels, we found that sales funnels generated 6x more sales on average?
So ditch your outdated website and replace it with a sales funnel.
Use your lead magnet landing page as your homepage.
And if this seems drastic to you, then use split testing to test your homepage against your lead magnet landing page. See which one generates more sales.
We know the answer already, though 😉
Build Online Assets That Generate Traffic
As much as we love paid advertising, it’s not wise to be completely reliant on it. Why?
Because you never know what the future holds. Your favorite advertising platform might change its algorithm, increase prices, suspend your account due to some misunderstanding, etc.
That’s why you need to focus on building your own online assets that you can then use to drive traffic to your lead magnet landing page.
Note that while any one of those assets is vulnerable to various unforeseen circumstances, having an entire arsenal of them allows you to diversify lead generation and make your business more robust.
Build a Social Media Following
The easiest way to get started with this is to build a social media following on platforms that are frequented by your ideal customers.
That can include:
We suggest you pick one platform, to begin with, build a following on it, then start expanding to other platforms.
Whatever platform you choose, the general principles remain the same:
- Create a content schedule. You want to publish new content at least several times per week.
- Keep the content quality high. Aim to provide value to your followers with each and every post.
- Promote your lead magnet. Encourage your followers to go and download your lead magnet.
Don’t try to sell your product on social media. Only use it to promote your lead magnet.
Build a YouTube Channel
You can leverage the platform’s vast user base by building a YouTube channel, then encouraging your subscribers to download your lead magnet.
However, the days when you could just ramble into a camera are gone, now you need to be strategic if you want to build an audience in this fiercely competitive attention economy.
Here are some tips:
- Make sure that your channel looks professional. Invest in your channel banner and your profile image design.
- Target one popular keyword with each video. Type in a relevant keyword into the search bar and look at search suggestions. These are the popular keywords that people are searching for right now. Pick one and create a video on that topic. Make sure to mention the keyword in the video title, video description, and video tags.
- Promote your lead magnet in each video. The whole point of building a YouTube channel is to drive traffic to your lead magnet landing page. So don’t be shy when it comes to promoting your freebie! Obviously, don’t be obnoxious either, but plug it where it makes sense + end each video with a call to action.
- Invest in branded video thumbnails. You want all your video thumbnails to have a similar look so that your subscribers would immediately recognize your videos when they pop up on their subscription feeds, recommendations, or homepages.
- Stay on topic! Depending on your target audience, a casual approach might work well for your business channel, but it still should be a business channel, not a personal one. It’s best to refrain from sharing irrelevant details of your personal life, commenting on current events, discussing controversial issues, etc. Stay focused on your niche.
Build a Podcast
Given that this medium is likely to continue growing in popularity in the foreseeable future, it makes sense to capitalize on this trend by launching a podcast of your own.
Here are some tips:
- Pick a niche. The narrower the niche, the easier it is to build an audience, counterintuitive as it may sound. E.g. instead of launching an online marketing podcast, start an SEO one. Also, note that the “talking with interesting people” space is pretty saturated, so it’s probably better to offer something more specific than to try to be the next Joe Rogan.
- Invest in a microphone. No one will want to listen to your podcast if the sound quality is bad.
- Invest in podcast editing. You might not realize that you have a bunch of verbal ticks until you hear yourself speak on unedited podcast audio. It’s best to hire someone to remove stuff like “um”, “like”, “yeah”, “you know”, etc.
- End each episode with a call to action. You can also plug your lead magnet when it’s relevant during the podcast but you want to be careful with this because regular listeners might find it annoying.
Build a Blog
Today, the blogosphere is more competitive than it’s ever been, but it is still possible to build a popular blog. How?
It all boils down to:
It’s important to get both of these elements right if you want to get organic traffic from Google.
Create SEO Content
SEO content is content that targets a specific keyword with the goal of ranking for that keyword on Google.
You can learn the basics of keyword research by watching this 10-minute video:
Remember that if you want to have a shot at ranking on one of the top three spots on the first page of Google’s search results, you need to make sure that your piece of content is better than anything that is already out there.
You might also want to consider using Clearscope to optimize your content for search engines.
Build Backlinks to That SEO Content
Creating great SEO content is not enough. You also need to build backlinks to it. Why?
Because that shows Google that the content in question is valuable. The more backlinks a piece of content has, the more likely it is to rank high on search results.
Here are the top three ways to build backlinks:
- Guest posting. Identify the most popular blogs in your niche, then offer them guest posts (free articles) in exchange for backlinks.
- Broken link building. Identify broken links on popular blogs in your niche, then let the website owners know about them and offer replacement content.
- Creating link-bait content. Original research, case studies, graphics, etc. tend to attract backlinks because people that use them in their own content need to provide attribution by linking to their source aka your website.
Note that the ratio of content creation to link building should be at least 50/50.
New bloggers tend to shy away from the latter because it requires them to go out there and risk rejection.
However, you won’t be able to get your blog off the ground without an aggressive link building strategy.
Keep at It!
In the long run, you want to build a bunch of online assets that generate traffic, so that you wouldn’t be dependent on paid advertising.
It will also allow you to improve your profit margins because you won’t need to pay for each visitor to your lead magnet landing page anymore.
Just keep in mind that building these assets is going to take time. Be prepared to invest at least a year into this until you start seeing results.
The reason why the vast majority of people fail to build social media followings, YouTube channels, podcasts, etc. is that they get discouraged and give up too soon.
Here’s a helpful video from the AppSumo and Sumo founder Noah Kagan on how to stick to the things that you start:
The gist of it is the Law of 100:
Commit to publishing 100 YouTube videos, 100 podcast episodes, 100 blog articles, etc. before you call it quits.
A process-based goal like this prevents you from getting discouraged because instead of wallowing in disappointment over the fact that your first YouTube video got 3 views you will be focused on publishing 99 more videos.
The odds are that by the time you reach your goal, you will have gained enough momentum to keep going forward.
Want Russell To Show You How To Build a Sales Funnel?
Building an entire sales funnel from scratch can be a daunting task.
That’s why we have created our 5 Day Challenge where Russell walks you through it step-by-step.
You will learn how to:
- Generate unlimited leads.
- Create your first lead magnet.
- Build your first sales funnel.
- Create a simple 6-email follow-up sequence.
- And launch your funnel!
…in just five days.
So don’t hesitate.