Yesterday evening, I was visiting with a friend who is a project manager for a construction company that builds high-end homes. It got me thinking. How crazy would people think you were if you expected a new home to be built in one month? Yet that is sometimes the perception of inbound lead generation. That there is a switch we can flip to turn on an inbound marketing engine and acquire quality leads. However, it takes time. And it depends on what type of house (or marketing strategy) you are looking for. If you’re looking for a standard neighborhood house in a typical neighborhood (or a standard online marketing package), then it takes less time. You can have a standard neighborhood house built within 90 days. However, if you want that high-end, custom home, you know you’re looking at about a year if you want it done properly, built to last and built to impress.
Building an inbound lead generation strategy for a business is similar to building a custom house. The end product is highly effective: you have web properties with consistent traffic that generate and nurture sales leads that are high quality. Not the quick on the draw buyer zone type, the educated and informed lead that is looking for a true partner to help them achieve the outcomes they want. The ones who are prime candidates for cross selling all the services you offer because you have earned their trust.
Here’s your challenge:
Building an online lead generation strategy that matches the pattern of today’s technology savvy buyer for your business takes time. And the longer you procrastinate breaking ground, the longer it will be until you enjoy the benefits. Unless you aren’t ready for that custom inbound marketing strategy and that that “standard neighborhood” marketing solution is what gets you started with online marketing. There is nothing wrong with that – I know that my first home wasn’t a high-end custom home – it was a neighborhood home. If you’ve never executed any type of online marketing program, you have to start somewhere. Just realize that it won’t be the high-end custom inbound lead gen strategy. It will be your toe in the water to getting started online. In which case, your strategy will be the same as your neighbor’s.
Here are a few things I have observed about constructing an inbound marketing and lead generation strategy:
- Buildings Take Time
You need to come at this with reasonable expectations. It will take more than 30, 60, or even 90 days to see a steady stream of leads. Yes, you’ll see results. Just like you see the blue prints for your custom home, or the foundation poured or the framing of a house, you’ll start to see a lot of work happening on your website, blog and social media pages. Then, you’ll start to notice more people coming to your site. The stream of leads may only be a trickle, but you’ll know something important is being built.
- You Need a Plan
The first step to building a house is to meet with an architect. Similarly, your inbound lead generation begins by developing a strategic plan. Your architect in this project should be a tenured online marketing strategist with experience in your industry.
- Buildings Require Multiple Skills at Various Stages of the Build
When you build a home, the painters are not the first people on the job. It starts with a foundation and then progresses to the frame. At each stage of the project, you focus on different things and use different skills. Inbound marketing is the same. The tactics we use in month one will likely be very different than what we use a year from now. Its all about testing and knowing your target buyers. In fact, if you’re doing the exact same thing a year from now, it may mean that you’re stuck in one part of the build and need to progress to the next thing.
- There Are Unknown Variables
Weather, material shortages, and change orders from the client are some of the variables that impact the completion date and cost of a construction project. Maybe your backhoe operator goes to dig the hole and finds our there is solid rock 18 inches under the topsoil. Variables happen in construction and in online lead generation. You might discover that one of your buyer personas is using Pinterest instead of LinkedIn. Maybe you find out that podcasting is more effective than blogging in reaching another buyer persona. There are many variables and you need to be willing to constantly analyze and flex your strategies to maximize your results.
- The End Result is Worth It
Few things are better than sitting down in the living room of your new house and seeing your children (or grandchildren) playing in your new family room. The process of building a house takes a lot of time and investment, but in the end you have a property that is useful and that has value. Inbound marketing is the same. It takes time and investment to build an effective online lead generation strategy. But when you do, you have a system in place that adds value to your business every time a new lead comes in. Plus, each net-new client you add builds to the total revenue, EBITDA, and sellable value of your company.
Do you want to build something valuable for your business? Consider building an inbound marketing strategy.