One Killer Way To Accelerate Your Lead Gen, And The Eight Ideas That Make This One Strategy Work.

If you have been following my blog, then you have read this again and again: If you are looking for a way to increase quality leads, you need to put together a plan that provides visitors to your website something of quality in exchange for their contact information.  Just telling them to contact you for more information is not enough!  You need to provide quality content that will provide a reason for the prospect to complete your lead generation form.  I know what you are thinking…How do you develop your own content?  Where do you get the information?  Who is going to write it?  Where am I going to find the time to develop this content?  Here are eight ideas that can help.

1.  Start a Blog:  Using a blogging software platform like blogger or wordpress, start writing a blog (or diary) that communicates what is going on at your brand.  To attract visitors, link the blog to your website.  Always add a call to action at the end of the blog to help drive leads.  Check out how I do this by always including a banner that offers the 30 Minute Lead Generator.

2. Publish an E-Book: Is there something that your franchise does that is worthy of an e-book?  One of my clients (Hurricane Grill & Wings) published the Simple Restaurant Investment Guide For Investors (check it out at with big success.

3.  Use Your Blog to Create Content:  Summarize your blog posts by creating an e-book. Promote the content using problem-solving headlines like:  Here is Exactly How to Build a Successful Company, or Read This if You Ever Wished You Had Your Own Successful Company.

4.  Use Your Brochure:  Offer a free download of your franchise brochure.

5.  Create a Tour: Do you have a powerpoint that you use for go-to meetings? If so, add a Tour link to your website that directs to a landing page offering a FREE Tour.

6.  Conduct Webinars:  Update your powerpoint and offer regular webinars.

7.  Repackage Content:  Is your PR firm posting your success online? Do you have testimonial videos?  How about interviews with your ownership team? Pull together this content and repackage it as an introduction package to your franchise.

8.  Write White Papers:  Does your brand offer anything unique?  How do you differentiate yourself in the marketplace?  Does your company hold any patents?  White papers work and are a great way to generate quality leads.



How to Generate Quality Leads: Five Things You Need to do Right Now!

Are you generating web traffic but not converting them into leads? That was my client’s problem.  So, we implemented a program (that I am about to outline) and it increased lead generation by 400 percent!

Honestly it took some time – testing and getting everyone on the same page regarding the best strategy. But, once that was accomplished, lead flow grew rapidly and the cost–per–lead dropped substantially.   I’m going to share with you the digital conversion architecture I designed that turned their web traffic into quality prospects.

1.  Target your market.

Who is your best prospect?  What kind of professional experience and liquid assets do they need?  What kind of personality fits best in your organization?  Are you targeting specific geographic areas?

2.  Get found.

There are three ways to drive targeted traffic to your website or landing page:

a. Paid Advertising:  pay-per-click, banner and digital adverts, affiliate adverts, e-mail

b. Earned:  public relations and social media

c. Owned:  search engine optimization

3.  Develop valuable content.

It’s important that you exchange something of value for a prospect’s contact information. For example, recently, we developed the “Simple Restaurant Investment Guide For Investors.” But, it’s only available if the prospect provides his or her contact information. Take a look if you’d like to see what I’m talking about by clicking on this link: Webinar, tours, e-books, brochures, surveys, videos, and white papers should be developed as part of the creation of a content library.

4.  Design a conversion architecture.

A successful conversion architecture needs the following three components:

a.  Content:  As previously noted, you need to exchange something of value for a prospect’s contact information.

b.  Landing Page:  A landing page is a single web page that appears in response to clicking on a search engine link or online advertised offer. Landing pages provide specific content that relates back to the click.

c.  Form:  The form captures the contact information that enables the prospect to receive the advertised content.  Content delivery should be immediate.

5.  Analyze results.

By analyzing results generated by the landing page, you can review click through rates to determine the success of a lead generation program. Google Analytics is a great, free tool that can help you learn what works, what doesn’t, and why.


Five Simple Secrets To Lead Generation On LinkedIn

My guess is that most of you are reading this because you saw it on LinkedIn.  And, now that you’re here, maybe you plan to read past links I have written about how to generate more prospects. So, if this is accurate, it’s the perfect illustration to answer the question I get asked frequently: Does using LinkedIn social media work – not only for me but also for my clients?  In a word – YES!  I’ve found B2B marketing on LinkedIn to be one of the most powerful ways to develop new business relationships.

Not sure how to act or what to say on social media?  You shouldn’t be.  If you have the interpersonal skills to be selling, you’ve got the skills to be successful communicating via social media.  There really isn’t much difference. So, I am going to share with you what I’ve learned about how to use social media. I’m also going to share with you what works so you can get a head start on your own social media lead generation strategy.

1)  Content First.  Social Media Strategy Second.

Assuming your objective is to generate leads, you need to consider how you can provide something of value in exchange for a prospect’s contact information. For example, I offer a free white paper or e-book, both have lots of useful, easy-to-implement tips. Another example is’s “Simple Restaurant Investment Guide” that is promoted on their home page.  Make sure you have something interesting to post before you start your lead generation plan using social media.

2)  Start Blogging

One of the best and most cost-effective ways to distribute your content is by setting up and writing a blog.  You don’t have to post every day – but post enough so that your audience doesn’t forget you.

3) Design A Conversion Architecture

Creating a content library and setting up a blog are the first two steps to a successful, ongoing lead generation campaign using social media.  The second step is designing your conversion architecture.  What’s conversion architecture?  It’s the system that starts with posting valuable content and ending with prospect contact information.  This is accomplished by taking the following steps:  1) At the start or end of each blog, add a banner that offers something of value.  Refer to #1 of this article.  Or, if you are reading this on, look at the top of the blog and you’ll see a banner offering content.  2) Link that banner to a landing page with additional information about your brand and a name capture form. 3) Automate your name capture to a marketing automation and/or CRM system.

4)  Don’t Forget To Add Visuals

I’ve found for my clients that adding visuals (photos, videos,etc.) increase click through by 128 percent. So, whatever you post, try to do it visually.

5)  Build Your Connects, Post To Groups

Your highly targeted lists include your own LinkedIn connections as well as LinkedIn groups.  Applying the tactics I have outlined in this article to your LinkedIn connections and groups will get your message out to the people who are interested most in what you have to say.


What is the Difference Between Marketing Automation and CRM?

I speak to clients all of the time about the marketing automation process and how this technology is a key component to building the value relationship in the B2B marketing process.  Quite frankly, most tell me, “We already do that with our CRM.” After further discussion, they inevitably ask this question:

“Can you explain the difference between marketing automation and CRM?”

I agree that this is a very good question.  There is significant interest in this topic because the perception is that the CRM (customer relationship management) provides the relationship marketing tools, so why invest in a marketing automation solution?

First off, I think you need both: marketing automation and a CRM.  So, hopefully I can help explain the differences between the two so you can apply this to your lead generation system and strategy.

Goals of CRM

The CRM was developed to provide a sales person with the tools to help manage a sales opportunity.  The bottom line here is that the CRM saves the sales person time by:

1. Providing the sales team with a software tool were they can input, track, and mange sales leads generated by marketing

2.  Offering a key application for tracking, analyzing, and managing opportunities “won” and “lost” and “time to close rate”

3.  Offering some light nurturing e-mail capabilities

Goals of Marketing Automation

While a CRM gathers critical business intelligence, it virtually has no way to take this information and design a nurturing strategy that grows the B2B relationship.  CRM is clearly not a marketing platform that can build the communication between prospect and company over time.  Marketing automation, on the other hand, is a technology that provides scalable infrastructure that can build a one-on-one relationship between prospect and business. Marketing automation works to educate the prospect and takes its cues from relationship building based on lead scores.  Lead scores are driven both from demographic modeling, behavior (i.e. downloading content, an e-book, attending a webinar, or taking a tour, website routing, and nurturing campaigns).  Lead scoring helps create “sales-ready leads” by gathering intelligence about the prospect and responding quickly through an automated  conversion architecture based on what has been learned.

More specifically, marketing automation provides the following tools:

1.  Lead Nurturing:  Educate prospects through a well-planned and staged marketing campaign, offering content linked to landing pages that work to increase the prospect score.

2.  Lead Scoring:  Lead scoring measures prospect interest.  Demographic, behavioral data vary the score to help sales focus on the best opportunities.

3.  Website Tracking:  Web route tracking can be integrated into the prospect scoring model.

4.  E-mail Marketing:  Uploading the e-mail prospect database into a marketing automation system provides multiple segmentation, targeting, and nurturing program opportunities.

5.  Content and Landing Page Conversion Architecture: A/B testing of various content and landing pages will drive up lead scores indicating what prospects are sales ready.

6.  Measure Results:  Integrate sales leads into CRM and track won opportunities, deal flow timing, and ROI.


Seven Highly Effective Ways To Use E-mail To Generate New Prospects

After running hundreds of e-mail campaigns for my clients, I’ve learned a few best practices. Note that these best practices focus on two key areas:  List and Content. A quality database combined with the right message will produce the best results possible.

1.  Identify your target audience.

Like with all marketing campaigns, make sure you have properly outlined whom you plan to target. Then you can talk with your data provider about what sources they have that will match your ideal prospect profile.

2.  Source your list by SIC and NAICS codes.

If you are targeting individuals who own and or work at a business, start with identifying Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes of the industries you are targeting.  SIC codes have been assigned by the US government to classify businesses.  In addition to SIC codes, the North American Identification Classification System (NAICS) has also been developed to provide more specific categories of industry.  Always be sure to cross-reference both systems when using this approach to build your initial target list.

3.  Segment by geography.

Focus on growth areas with geographic markets that have a higher qualified inquiries segment and/or markets that make the most sense from an operational prospective.

4.  Segment by firmographics and demographics.

What are the key firmographics and demographics of your target profile? Here are some sample selects that are available to you.  Note that this information can tie back to the SIC codes I noted earlier.

• Company

• All Address Information

• Latitude

• Longitude

• Telephone

• Fax


• SIC 1

• SIC 2

• SIC 3

• NAICS Code

• Sales Volume

• Number of Employees

• Time in Business

• Square Footage

• Number of PCs

• Name

• Ethnicity of Contact

• Gender of Contact

• E-mail Address

• Title

5. Test the data.

Data compilers use multiple sources to identify and verify information.  Some data is complied through online information like job boards, discussion groups, and feedback forms. Some data companies use “old-fashioned” outbound telemarketing to verify sales figures and e-mail addresses. It’s always a good idea to test in order to verify your data.  That means you should always try to test several lists, try A/B splits, and measure results to determine what works best. It’s also a good idea to establish a relationship with two or three data firms.  They are experts in what is a very dynamic industry, and they can help educate you on the ins and outs of data compiling, keeping a clean list, ensuring that you are spam compliant, segmentation, and targeting.

6.  How to write a successful e-mail campaign.

Here are some tips for writing a successful e-mail campaign.  If you don’t want to try this yourself or have tried something like this with lousy results, contact me and I’ll help.

1.  Keep initial contact brief.  Since you are writing to cold prospects, keep your first communication short and simple.  Once you start engaging with the prospect, you can get more fancy.

2.  Make it personal.  Use personalized text e-mails that come from the salesperson. State clearly why you are trying to communicate with them. Make it easy to read.

3.  Ask a question.  I’ve had good luck with asking a simple question in the subject line.

4.  Test html vs. text.  Although I have found that text beats html, it’s always a good idea to test it for yourself.  Set up a simple A/B test with analyzing opens, clicks, leads, opportunities, and opportunities won.

7.  How and when to deploy the campaign.

I’ve tested sending e-mails during all parts of the day and found that early morning and late afternoon work best.  Regarding deployment, it is very good idea to build a relationship with your data provider.  In most cases, they will provide you the data, deploy the e-mail, and report the results.  Most importantly, they will help you understand what works and what doesn’t so you can adjust the campaign and improve results moving forward.

Part Four – The Metrics That Will Put A Smile On Your CFO’s Face: How To Sound Like A Financial Genius.

My guess is that if you are reading this Blog, your profession is sales or marketing and not accounting. I’m not an accountant either, but I know that if you want to understand how your company operates, it’s a very good idea to understand how your company makes money. In this final installment of this series, I’ve outlined a few key business metrics that will help you have an intelligent discussion regarding the profit impact of lead conversion as well as how much money should be invested in future marketing campaigns. Knowing the following four metrics will help you sound like the smartest person in the room.

1.  Profit

Nothing ground breaking here.  Profit is simply Revenue – Cost.  I list this as a key marketing metric because business inclination is to focus on total revenue not profit. Bigger is better, isn’t it?  An alternative strategy would be to build profit, brand equity, and compete on value.  Value-based marketing helps build the brand.  Building the brand is what franchising is all about.

2.  Net Present Value

So, how do you put a smile on the face of your CFO?  Talk in terms of Net Present Value, Internal Rate of Return, Payback, and Return on Marketing Investment.  There is much written regarding these metrics that is beyond the scope of this blog.  I’ll provide a brief, easy-to-grasp description of these tools and how they relate back to what you are trying to achieve – maximum value and brand equity for your franchise.

So, what is Net Present Value?  Most franchisors sign long-term deals with their franchisees.  Some are 15 years or more.  A dollar today is not worth what it will be a year from now let alone 15 years from now.  So, to put revenue in perspective, you need to account for a discount rate of inflation and an interest rate.  This is clearly an accounting function, but it is important to understand how this is calculated so you can speak intelligently about the true NPV of the revenue generated by each marketing campaign.  Over the lifetime of the relationship with the franchisees, the marketing campaign investment is more valuable than just one-time profit. Simply put:  NPV = PV – Cost.

3.  Internal Rate of Return

One the most important metrics that your CFO will be looking at is Internal Rate of Return or IRR. It is very similar to Return On Investment with one difference.  IRR takes into consideration how the franchisor calculates how money compounds internally.  For example, if in a time period there is $50K profit and the IRR is 25 percent, in the second time period the $50K will grow to $62.5K.  IRR is set internally and helps management decide if a marketing campaign is a good investment.

4.  Payback

Payback focuses on how long it takes for a marketing campaign to pay back the money invested in the campaign.  A payback time period is when the profit goes from negative to positive.

Finally, a word about Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI).  That formula is the key metric regarding how to make marketing campaign budgeting decisions.  ROMI is calculated by taking the Net Present Value, Internal Rate of Return, and Payback all into consideration. The ROMI is an excellent framework for launching any marketing campaign – especially a start-up because it provides a metric for financial investment.

Part Three – The Metrics That Will Put A Smile On Your CFO’s Face: What’s Working?

In part three of my series on lead generation metrics, I’ll focus on the importance of tracking offers and acquired leads.  Although I’m sure that this is what you pay most attention to, it’s worth discussing further because it is these metrics what will help you focus your time and resources on what efforts are most profitable.

Campaign Tracking

1.  Overall Campaign Tracking

A summary of all of the lead campaigns (i.e. pay per click, e-mail, SEO, etc.) will provide you with this metric.  You need to be looking at this on a weekly basis.

2.  Average Close Rate By Lead Generation Campaign

Again, if you are tracking close rate by lead, you should be tracking close rate by the entire campaign. This data will indicate if you are meeting your marketing revenue goals as well as help you design a marketing map moving forward.

3.  Paid Leads vs. Organic Tracking

Organic leads – leads generated through SEO, public relations, word of mouth, and social media tend to be better qualified.  Designing metrics to track these campaigns will help you prove it.

Content Tracking

1.  Offer Effectiveness

Some offers are more profitable than others, and your tracking will quantify it. For example, if you are offering free webinars, e-books, information, or something else, make sure you are tracking the effectiveness of each offer.

2.  Leads Tracked By Landing Page

I recommend to my clients that they test multiple landing pages and micro sites.  Key words, offers, and design appeal vary and setting up proper tracking will help you learn what works best.

Acquired Lead Tracking

1.  Total Acquired Leads By Month

If you are following my lead generation system closely, then you will segment your leads by acquisition.  You will then need to track the effectiveness by group.  I break out my clients’ leads into at least these two groups. I have the Acquired Leads integrated to a CRM so sales conversion, revenue, and Internal Rate of Return can be tracked.

2.  Total Acquired Leads By Campaign

If you are investing in a marketing campaign activity, you’ll want to track how many Acquired Leads you are generating by campaign (i.e. pay per click, e-mail, SEO, and so forth).  Then, based on the data, decisions can be made regarding how best to invest your marketing dollars in the future.

3.  Average Close Rate By Acquired Lead Campaign

Earlier I mentioned the importance of tracking the close rate by leads generated.  I recommend to clients that they break out the Acquired Leads from other groups and track the close rate of these leads as well.  This way you are always measuring the effectiveness of the close rate of your most active and valuable leads.


Part Two – The Metrics That Will Put A Smile On Your CFO’s Face: What Is The Cost Per Lead?

In this part of my series on lead generation metrics, I focus on the definitions of general lead tracking including total leads by campaign, total impressions by campaign, total cost per lead by campaign, and average close rate by lead and campaign.  The last metric is very important and will help focus your time and resources on what efforts are most profitable.

Total Lead Generation and Tracking

1.  Total Leads Generated By Campaign

How do you define your leads? Is a lead one activity such as capturing their e-mail address? Or, is a lead a combination of activities such as capturing their e-mail address, they visited your web pages, and they attended a webinar? However you choose to define your lead, once this important decision is made, you will ensure that each lead is tracked by specific marketing campaigns.  Samples of a marketing campaign are: pay per click, SEO, e-mail, and so forth.

2.  Total Impressions Generated By Campaign

An impression is defined as the number of eyeballs that viewed your marketing campaign.  Traditionally this is one of the most important goals of a marketing campaign to create awareness of your product or service.  You should track this on a weekly basis.

3.  Total Cost Per Lead By Campaign

This is a simple mathematical formula: The total cost of the marketing campaign divided by the number of leads. If you are still using Excel spreadsheets to report your results, I recommend that you report your activity weekly.  On the other hand, if you have a dashboard and have integrated your marketing into a marketing automation system, you can be studying (and reporting your results) in real time.  That puts you in a very strong position to react quickly to successes and issues that arise from your lead generation campaigns.

I’ve learned that cost per lead is one of the more frequently questioned topics.  When I pitch clients they are always asking me, “What is your client’s cost per lead?” I think the best way to answer that question is to respond, “My clients think in terms of IRR (Internal Rate of Return) and marketing allocation (Marketing allocation is revenue divided by cost).  Cost per lead varies according to each campaign. For example, here is how I answer the “What is your cost per lead” question:

For a marketing campaign that uses e-mail, the average cost per lead is about $160. Which, on average, is five percent of their (the client’s) marketing cost based on their closing rate. But, what else you may be getting at is how your marketing investment translates to your Internal Rate of Return. For example, if your royalty is $1,000 a week and the franchisee signed a 10-year deal, then you can best determine the value of your marketing campaigns based on the internal rate of this return….”

4.  Average Lead Close Rate By Campaign

Average Lead Close Rate By Campaign needs to be tracked very closely because it is the baseline for every marketing campaign. Your CRM will track this for you.  So, as part of your marketing planning, make sure that your CRM is vertically integrating all leads by campaign, revenue, and IRR. And, make sure you integrate the entire lead record based on your initial criteria: name, address, company name (if necessary),     e-mail address, phone number, sales volume, title, etc.

Part One – How To Put A Smile On Your CFO’s Face: 17 Metrics Every Marketing Professional Should Track

Every Monday morning I send my clients a Key Performance Report.  It provides them the key analytics and metrics that help them make marketing decisions. (If they use marketing automation, they get this report in real time using their dashboard.) My next several posts will describe these analytics in detail providing you with an easy way to wow your CFO while working toward your own approach to metrics.

Below are the key metrics and analytics that I believe will help you make important decisions as well as put a smile on your CFO’s face.

Total Lead Generation and Tracking

1.  Total Leads Generated By Campaign

2.  Total Impressions Generated By Campaign

3.  Total Cost Per Lead By Campaign

4.  Average Lead Close Rate

Campaign Tracking

1.  Overall Campaign Tracking

2.  Average Close Rate By Campaign

3.  Paid Leads vs. Organic Tracking

Content Tracking

1.  Offer Effectiveness

2.  Leads Tracked By Landing Page

Acquired Lead Tracking

1.  Total Acquired Leads By Month

2.  Total Acquired Leads By Campaign

3.  Average Close Rate By Campaign

Key Marketing Metrics

1.  Profit

2.  Present Value

3.  Internal Rate of Return

4.  Payback

My next few posts will go into greater detail on these.


Whom Should You Be Targeting? The Answer To Who Buys A Franchise.

So, who buys a franchise anyway?  Recently the Wall Street Journal asked that question of FranData and the Franchise Business Review.  If you did not have a chance to read about it, I’ve posted the information below for your quick review.  This chart will help you find new franchisees by providing a laser focus to your search criteria.
After looking at these statistics, I had a question: If 54 percent of franchise owners already own a franchise (multi-unit owners), what is being done to target, capture, and grow the remaining 46 percent?  If you are interested in reaching that market, be sure to follow my One-Minute Lead Generator blog posts at