Mark Cuban’s #1 rule of business is:
Sales cures all.
No sales, no business.
But where do these sales come from when you’re starting a new business?
When you’re starting a new business, sales don’t happen “magically” out of thin air. Behind every purchase, there is a PERSON. Someone who decides they’re going to give you money for your product or service.
For this reason, before you can make sales, you need a list of…
People who are ready to buy what you sell.
Aka you need leads.
And the more leads you generate, the more sales you can make.
Seems obvious, I know.
But you’d be surprised how many people THINK they have a conversion problem (“Why is no one buying?”) when… In reality, they have an “eyeballs” problem.
Even if you know this – in theory – the real question is:
How do you actually find these people?
How do you turn a random visitor into a lead? And then, a lead into a customer? I’ve decided to deconstruct the process here for you.
So, here’s a practical, step-by-step guide to start generating more, qualified leads.
The best part?
You can start today.
This is an in-depth article with a ton of examples. Here’s how I’ll break it down:
- How to Attract New Leads: The One Question You Must Ask
- How to Capture New Leads: Let’s Build Your Audience!
- Where Do You Go From Here? Taking Good Care of Your Leads
New leads are the lifeblood of your business. So how do you attract them?
First, you need to grab their attention.
But WHOSE attention?
That’s the million-dollar question. The problem is that most people get it backward.
Most entrepreneurs create a website or a piece of content and hope the right people will find it. “Oh, let me tweet out this awesome blog post to my 47 twitter followers.”
This doesn’t work for TWO reasons:
#1 when you’re just getting started and don’t have an audience yet, you need to reach OUTSIDE of your existing network.
How? Start with this “revolutionary” marketing tactic.
#2 you should know exactly whom you’re trying to reach BEFORE you create anything.
(This is also the first step of the T.A.P.P. Technique that I cover in my list building webinar.)
Let me show you an example:
To generate leads for my premium-training on writing high-converting sales pages, Sales Page that Converts, I knew I wanted to reach service providers.
I also knew that many of them wouldn’t know what a “sales page” is. Or if they did, I knew they thought sales pages were just for selling products, not services.
So what did I do?
Did it catch the attention of freelancers?
In the article, I explain how a sales page can fix their problem. But how did I come up with this headline and the idea for the whole article?
I asked one simple question:
“What keeps freelancers up at night?”
After some research, I realized that being underpaid is THE major pain for freelance service providers.
But freelancers are just one group of people that can benefit from a sales page. Who else could benefit?
E-commerce store owners!
So I went after those people, too. Check it out:
This time I made it clear in the headline that I’m talking to store owners and entrepreneurs selling physical products. In the article, I show how a better sales page can help store owners sell more.
Do you see the difference?
Before I started creating content to generate leads, I thought about the exact groups of people I wanted to reach.
So, here’s what this means for you if you want to attract more leads for a new business:
First, get crystal clear on the people you want to reach.
Forget demographics, like age, income, and their marital status (unless it directly relates to your product, e.g. if you’re selling a dating product for divorcees) and instead…
Think about the different groups of people that will have a use for your product or service (like I did for my copywriting course).
Then, with your target audience in mind…
Ask, “What keeps [these people] up at night?”
Research online (by reading customer reviews or discussions) or talk to real people to get the answer.
This is how you will attract the perfect leads for your new venture. Do this and you’ll be leaps ahead of most people who start a new business.
But where do you go from here?
It’s time to build your audience!
Great! You know your target audience. But knowing who they are isn’t enough. You also need a way to contact them.
Now, I’ve always said that having an email list beats a social media following – by a long shot. But it’s not just that email remains the most profitable way to reach people. It’s also the fact that email is still the only way to build an audience you OWN.
With that said, there ARE new ways to reach and nurture your leads, like chatbots, for example.
But I don’t want to talk about WHERE you build your audience. I want to talk about HOW you do it. Because the principles stay the same.
What is the best way to capture new leads today?
Well, there is one thing that remains unchanged.
And it will NEVER change…
Call it a lead-magnet. Call it an opt-in bribe. Call it whatever you want:
You need an “Irresistible Free Thing” you can give away in exchange for people’s contact info.
So how do you create your “Irresistible Free Thing”?
Again, think about what keeps your target audience up at night…
…and offer them something that INSTANTLY helps them solve that problem. Or at least, get one step closer to solving it.
You see, when it comes to capturing a lead, most people think way too hard. The truth is, you don’t need to give away a “30-day video course” to capture a lead.
It’s too much work for you and too much of a commitment for anyone who just came across your website for the first time.
Let me show you some examples of small but effective – TRULY irresistible – giveaways to capture new leads:
First, let me show you one of my top-performing “Irresistible Free Things.” This ebook alone has captured 100,000+ leads to date:
Make sure you grab the free ebook here.
Now, I capture leads in many different ways – as you’ll see below. But I’ll share a variety of other examples from my personal “swipe file,” too.
So, this next example is from a website for landlords. Take a look:
What’s the irresistible free thing? “The 7 questions you must ask each potential tenant.”
This is great. Because if you’re a landlord, what keeps you up at night? It’s probably that tenant cooking goulash until the walls get moldy… Or the guy that drops a deuce in his bathtub before moving out (true story; don’t ask).
So, knowing these “7 questions to avoid problem-tenants” is a quick, super-useful relief. Any landlord would be curious to know.
This next example is from a German language tutor:
This is nothing more than a 1-page cheat sheet. Simple, right?
The crazy thing: Anyone could gather the same information by just Googling it…
But for people learning German, this 1-page summary is still tremendously useful. That’s why any kind of cheat-sheet or checklist tends to be a good fit as an “Irresistible Free Thing.”
The next example works great for authors when people are already reading your website:
Anyone who’s reading your website is interested in your content.
So, if you’re an author, offering a free chapter of your new book is a smart way to capture leads.
The best part?
It’s ZERO effort on your part. (Assuming you’ve already written the book. Or at least 1 chapter 😉
But let’s say you’re an online store owner. What about leads for e-commerce?
Well, let’s take a look at this next example:
I’m not a fan of discounts, but this kind of “coupon” for online stores works well to build a list of new leads quickly.
Even if people are NOT ready to buy right now… It’s important you capture their contact info. Otherwise, they’ll likely disappear forever (or you have to go through extra effort to reach them again).
However, rather than a 20% discount, I’d test a “free shipping” offer. Why? Because it doesn’t erode the perceived value of your products as much.
Plus, Prof. David Bell of the Wharton School of Business found that shoppers actually prefer a “free shipping” offer compared to the same value discount.
Contests and Giveaways are another highly-effective way to generate leads FAST:
Whether you’re selling surfboards…
…or giving away books:
(For a giveaway, you can use a tool like KingSumo Giveaways)
But there are even more ways to capture leads…
How about a quiz?
My friend Ramit Sethi does this right on his homepage:
A quiz like this asks for a slightly bigger commitment from people. But in return it also gives them a more tailored response.
I personally use quizzes to capture leads for Social Triggers, too:
This is my “What type of Entrepreneur Are You?” assessment.
The fact is…
People LOVE quizzes because it lets them discover something new about themselves. That’s why it’s so easy to capture new leads with the right quizz.
I could go on…
But we already have plenty of examples here! Hopefully one will spark an idea for your own “Irresistible Free Thing,” so you can start capturing new leads ASAP.
What do you do once the leads start pouring in? Let’s talk about it.
Here’s a simple rule to remember:
We buy from people and companies we know, like, and trust.
This is crucial.
Because in today’s marketplace people have OPTIONS. They can buy from you… or they can buy from someone else… with the click of a button.
Will they choose you?
Yes, if they like and trust you the most.
So… Once you’ve captured a lead they know you – great. But how do you make them like and trust you?
Likability and trust grow OVER TIME.
That’s why it’s important you interact with your leads on a regular basis.
But I know that creating content and writing is hard.
So what I suggest is that you come up with a simple format that you can deliver consistently.
Whether it’s once a week or once a month. When you stick to one format, it will be much easier to keep it up.
For example, look at author Austin Kleon’s weekly round-up email:
It’s a simple email with the “10 things I thought were worth sharing this week.”
Or check out how GrowthBot sends one cartoon each week:
Again, sticking to a simple format like this makes it easier to deliver on a consistent basis – and continually build trust.
Finally, I have one more piece of advice that will help you nurture your new leads:
Be WEIRD (but not too weird…)
What stand out gets remembered. What blends in gets ignored.
That’s why you need to embrace your quirks… And people will remember you for it.
I already made a video about why you must be weird, so I suggest you watch it!
If you’re starting a new business, the first thing you need to do is attract the right audience.
The way to do it?
Give them an “irresistible free thing” – just like I showed you here.
Then, you can start to build trust and likeability over time.
If you want to learn more about building your audience and how to get your first 5,000 subscribers, remember to check out this free ebook: