Cut Your List: In 2016 Focus on Fewer Leads

Quality over quantity increase sales and reduces cost

Why you should stop focusing on more leads

“You should add 75 people to your list every day” was the claim on a recent webinar. Then the presenter went on to outline tips and tricks to grow your list in 2016. I turned off the webinar early. I don’t want to grow my list and neither should you. In much the same way “you can’t eat a Facebook like”, you can’t eat an email on a list. If your goal is to prosper in 2016, you need more profits. Just growing your email list may hurt your profitability.

Profits are SALES less EXPENSES

So to increase profits, the money you take home and get to live on, you need to:

– Increase Sales
– Decrease Profits

To do this, you need better leads. Leads that convert into paying customers, ideal customers who become advocates that send you more ideal customers and grow your business.

Junk leads cost you

With our automated processes many people wrongly believe that working a lead is free.   The cost to send another email through my automated process is free, so why shouldn’t I try to put through as many as possible?  They wrongly believe it’s a numbers game.  The more in the top of the sales funnel, the more sales out the bottom.  This assumption is wrong and discounts real costs and damages:

The cost of managing contacts:  Many of the Software as a service (SaaS) providers have gone to a pricing structure based on the number of contacts managed or the numbers of emails sent.  This pricing allows new customers to access the service for a relatively low price and for the provider to continue to increase the monthly recurring revenue (John Warrilow‘s book “The Automatic Customer” explains this beautifully).  Some argue that even then the incremental cost of each email is pennies and quickly rationalize that even if just one of the emails converts it will offset the increased cost.

Destroying your sender score:  Have you ever wondered why some emails go directly to your spam box, even for companies you trust and want to communicate.  The answer may lie in their low Sender Score.  Email service providers don’t want to fill their customers inboxes with junk, so they filter all incoming emails on criteria including the Sender Score, a quality report for you entire domain.  This score is quickly destroyed by recipients indicating emails as spam, bounces (email not existing) and even low open rates.  So sending out thousands of shotgun emails to your big list, could ensure emails to your hot leads, customers, and even your mom go directly to the spam folder.

Four ways to get better leads

1. Define your ideal buyer persona

Marketing at it’s basic is about starting a conversation with someone who could be an ideal customer.  If you don’t know exactly who you want to talk, how could you know what to say.  If you are talking to everyone, you are talking to no one.  Defining the demographic (who they are) and psychographic (how they think) aspects of your avatar empowers you to find where they are, answer their questions and engage them.

2. Let leads self-select

We get crazy customers because we actively market to crazy customers.  Yes, you spent time and money attracting that customer that is a bad fit.  To ensure they don’t even enter your marketing machine, be very specific on who you want to serve in all your messaging.  A client who offers sales coaching and consulting services to CEO’s and C-level executives planned to release an offer called the “The Ultimate Guide to Increasing your Sales”.  Packed with great information, the title ensured he would get sign ups from sales reps, multi-level marketers, and even wanta-preneurs.  By changing the title to “The CEO’s Guide to Increasing Sales” ensured he would get fewer but more appropriate leads.  Slightly changing the guide and titling it “The VP of Sales Guide to Exceeding Quota” allowed leads to self-select who they were by what they downloaded.

3. Don’t be afraid to ask eliminating questions 

“If people don’t want to be on your list, you don’t want them there” according to Tim Paige of Conversion Cast.  Make sure to ask the questions early to allow them to qualify themselves.  One client, a high-end business, and life coach, only works with men, his ideal buyer persona.  While he is clear is all his messaging, there are still women who enter his sales funnel.  Asking for gender early on in the process ensures they don’t get emails without context or worse yet an awkward phone conversation that includes “Sorry Pat (Patricia), I only work with men…”

4. Build a relationship before asking for an email.

Allowing the prospect to get to know like and trust you before asking for an email address seems common sense, but is very counter many best practices.  Pop-up forms and even welcome mats ensure that the maximum number of visitors get added to your list.  A better way to get quality leads it to put sign ups only AFTER an action had been take: a video has been watched, a blog read, or a survey completed.  One of the most powerful and free ways to get hot leads that convert is appearing on podcast interviews.  Studies show that traffic that come from podcast interviews converts 25x better than blogs.  When people hear you for 30 to 45 minutes, they get to know, like and trust you.  Those that take the action to visit your site come ready to engage.