Setting up an easy lead generation system is something that many entrepreneurs are faced with at some point during their business journey. Because if there is one certainty of entrepreneur life, it’s the endless need to generate leads.
No matter how:
- Successful you become
- Many clients you attract or
- Good your retention rate is
All entrepreneurs need to constantly attract new prospects!
Even with a 100% retention rate, the best you can hope for without a constant stream of new leads is stagnation.
You won’t fail, but you won’t grow either.
It’s fairly difficult to achieve real success, let alone your business goals, without a level of growth.
For that you need leads.
You also need a reliable and automated system for generating and nurturing those leads (unless you are super amazing at keeping track of all the sticky notes and emails and sending the same info out on repeat…).
When you first start out in business it’s likely YOU will be the lead generation system.
You’ll talk to people, tell them what you do, chat with them about their needs, explain how you can help them, and you’ll orchestrate the sign-up process.
It’s not practical to have that level of personal input with every single lead you generate. You will very quickly outgrow your own ability to be the lead generation system in your business, which means you need to set up one that does some of the hard yards for you.
If the very thought of introducing tech into your business is terrifying, read on for the perfect solution:
What Is A Lead Generation System?
First thing’s first, what exactly is a lead generation system, and why do you need one?
Often related to a sales funnel, a lead generation system is a process that does several key things for your business:
- Attracts visitors to your website or business.
- Converts those visitors into subscribers or fans.
- Nurtures the relationship until they are ready to buy from you.
It’s referred to as a funnel because you begin with people who hear of you or see your link, which attracts them to your business, product or service. At this point, they are directed through a series of processes or information that funnels them to a specific point (or points) where they convert to subscribers, customers or repeat business.
Generally speaking, the starting point of the “funnel” is quite broad, to make your business open to as many possibilities and potential buyers as possible.
Each subsequent step in that funnel or system whittles them down to your ideal clients and prepares them for working with your business.
Most entrepreneurs have encountered the concept of a sales funnel, or lead generation system, yet a surprisingly large proportion of them still don’t have one in action in their business.
I hear it over and again from clients and other entrepreneurs: the main thing holding them back in business is the lack of a good lead generation system.
When I ask why, the answer is invariably something along the lines of, “I can’t afford one”, or “I don’t know how to set one up”, and “I don’t know what it is or how it would work for my business”.
It’s often a combination of all of the above!
But lead generation doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive.
Setting up an online lead generation system can be a daunting prospect, especially if you’re not very tech-savvy. It is, however, considerably easier than it might first seem.
So easy, in fact, that I have a super-simple five-step process that will get you up and running in no time:
How To Setup An Easy Lead Generation System With ActiveCampaign
I’ve used ActiveCampaign for this, as I find it to be one of the better email automation systems, but the process will be very similar even if you use a different system, like Mailchimp, ConvertKit or Infusionsoft. The difference will be in how you navigate through the various functions.
In this example, I’ll walk you through every stage, from starting a list to creating opt-in forms and pages, and setting up your nurture sequence.
The nurture sequence itself can be a complicated thing to wrap your head around and work out. If you’re unsure what to write, how many emails you need, or what they’re supposed to do, check out my article on creating a nurture sequence, and download the workbook, which will walk you through the process of creating the emails for your nurture sequence.
Step 1: Create A List
If you haven’t already, you will need to setup a new account with ActiveCampaign.
Once that’s done, log in and go to the dashboard.
Click the ‘Lists’ tab at the top of the screen, followed by ‘Create New List’:
A simple dialogue box will appear, and you will need to add a few details about your new list.
Give it a name – this could simply be the name of your business, or if you intend it for a specific purpose like promoting a product or service, or serving as your newsletter mailing list, you might name it after the offer it’s for, call it ‘newsletter’, or something similar.
NOTE: Whatever you name it normally is on display to subscribers when they update their preferences or go to unsubscribe… so I recommend not calling it “leads” but actually brand it to leave another imprint of your brand or service name.
You will then need to add your website’s URL and a brief message that will appear at the bottom of emails sent to people on your list, reminding them of who you are, and how they signed up (this is useful as people may forget and think you’re spamming them).
When you’ve added all the info, click ‘Create’:
Step 2: Create Opt-in Opportunities
Now you have a list you need to start getting people on it. That requires three things:
- Content and marketing activities to attract readers to your site
- Opt-in opportunities in the form of content upgrades or lead magnets to entice people to subscribe
- A form connecting your opt-ins to your new list
The content side of things generally all takes place on your website, occasionally on social media or PPC ads, but mainly on your site. By creating an amazing content schedule, taking the time to write really high-quality content, ensuring everything is fully optimised for search engines, and promoting it using social media, you should have plenty of people on your site.
There are three options when it comes to creating lead opt-in opportunities on your content:
- Landing pages – a specific page dedicated to each of your lead magnets
- Pop-ups – small boxes triggered by various actions across your site, which appear and invite people to sign up at designated times (e.g. as they are leaving a post, or reach the end of a post)
- Static sign-up forms embedded in posts and pages on your website
There are a lot of great systems for creating landing pages and pop-ups but the easiest way of doing it is to embed the form you create in ActiveCampaign directly into your content.
Depending on how your content is set up, there are a few ways you might do this, starting with directly embedding the form in your post or main page content, and getting a little more complicated if you decide you want to add forms to widgets, sidebars etc.
Essentially though, all you need to do is copy the code provided by ActiveCampaign, and paste it into the right places within your site.
NOTE: If you use WordPress, there is a free ActiveCampaign form plugin you can add to your site to make the embedding process a lot easier.
Step 3: Create A Form In ActiveCampaign
To do that, you’ll need the code, which means creating a form. Again, this can be daunting but it’s super-simple. Go back to your dashboard in ActiveCampaign, and select ‘Forms’ from the tab at the top, followed by ‘New Form’:
A dialogue box will appear, and there’s quite a bit to do in this one.
First, you need to give your new form a name.
You will need to create a new form for every new opt-in you create, in order to deliver the correct content for each, so it’s useful to name them based on the opt-in they’re for. In this example, I’m creating a form for a Nurture Sequence Workbook.
Next, you need to select the new list you created from the drop-down menu.
Once you’ve done that, you need to tell the form to tag people with the name of the opt-in they have signed up for (this will be important when you come to do your nurture sequence).
Click ‘Add Action’ and select ‘Add Tag’ from the drop-down that appears.
A text box will appear next to it, type in the tag you would like added (I’ve used ‘Nurture Sequence’).
Finally, click ‘Create’:
This will take you to a design screen for your form. There is actually a lot you can do here to customise what your form looks like, but for now, we’ll keep it nice and easy.
Add a header to your form that encourages people to sign-up, something along the lines of ‘Download your FREE XXXX’. To do this, simply click on the header, then type your text in the box that appears on the right of the screen. The preview image on the left will update to show your new text.
Repeat this process with the description beneath the header, and add a line that demonstrates the value of your free offer.
Finally, click ‘Integrate’:
If you want to customise the fields shown on your form there is a simple drag and drop option that allows you to easily do so:
You can also change some of the settings, and add a thank you page that appears after sign up by making a few easy tweaks: