Does Your Business Need Another Lead Stream?

Last week I was interviewed by Tom Poland for his podcast, Marketing The Invisible, and as a thank you, he sent me his book by the same name.

One of the big points he makes in the book is that a business needs multiple streams of leads to ensure they’re never in a panic and that their leads never dry up.

Just like an investor should never put all her money in a single stock, a business owner should never put all her resources into a single stream of leads.

And when I read that I was like… DUH! It’s a simple concept and when you think about it, it makes perfect sense. But it’s also something I think business owners need to think about more mindfully (myself included!).

I touched on this briefly last week with my rant on not relying too heavily on advertising due to the increased popularity of ad blockers — but that was actually too specific.

If your business relies primarily on any one source of leads, it might be time to diversify.

How do I know if I need more lead streams?

Good question with a (relatively) easy answer: Where do most of your leads come from?

When I ran the numbers and looked at my clients over the past 7 years, fully 70% of them come from referrals. On the one hand, that’s amazing! I’m running a successful business based on word of mouth and people who like what we’re doing recommending us to friends. Super gratifying.

On the other hand… If (when) referrals dry up for me over any significant period of time, I’m out of luck. I don’t have another source of clients anywhere near as big or as reliable.

And that’s a problem.

If 50% of your clients or more come from a single lead stream, you might need to diversify.

OK, I need more lead streams but…

OK, so right now you’re probably thinking, “That’s great, Lacy, but if I knew how to get more leads consistently, I would already be doing that thing!”

And, yeah, I feel you, but I also have to ask… Is it really true?

Are you really doing all the things you know you should be doing to drive more leads? Are you employing all the tactics and channels that could work for you?

Here’s a great example: Several years ago, when my big goal was to grow my email list, the first thing I did was to go into my website and set up all the things I knew I “should” be doing to capture more leads. For example I added a hello bar, a polite pop-up, a sidebar opt-in, and opt-ins at the end of every blog post.

The result? I more than tripled the number of opt-ins I was getting every month just by adding more places for people to opt-in.

Was this some huge revelation? Nope. It was just getting off my duff to #dothedamnwork and apply the knowledge I had.

I think the same is true for many of us; we may have other lead streams in our back pockets that we haven’t fully implemented for any number of reasons. I think we sometimes think we need to focus, or double down on the thing that’s already driving leads and sales, and while that’s admirable, at some point you need to widen your field of focus to include another lead stream.

Is blogging a good leads stream?

Blogging can absolutely be a quality leads stream to nurture — but it isn’t automatically a great leads stream.

Some businesses can blog for years and never directly attribute a sale to their blog; others can drive leads with every blog post.

So what’s the difference?

In a word: Strategy.

You’ve likely heard me say it before, but blogging without a strategy is often a waste of time and energy. But blogging with a concrete strategy in mind to generate leads can be exceptionally successful. One of our biggest clients successfully ran a membership site for years with us writing the content that drove all their organic traffic. We were able to drive, on average, 20,000 unique visitors and 5,000 new leads a month, without spending a single dollar on advertising.

How many is too many?

This is like asking how big is a circle; only you know how many lead streams are sufficient and sustainable for your business. Tom Poland suggests 3-5 in his book. I would say more than one and less than will drive you crazy.

The important thing to remember is this: scaling up your leads will bring in more business, which should allow you to automate, outsource and delegate a lot of the work to support the lead streams.

With blogging, for example, I often ask potential clients, “How many sales would you need to make to see an ROI on this investment?” If they only need a couple of sales to cover the cost of outsourcing content creation for their business, it’s often a no brainer for them to outsource and delegate that.

Tom definitely suggests doing so in his book, and has suggestions for how (you should check out the book) but the point is, if you develop the systems to automate, outsource, and delegate your lead streams, having multiple streams doesn’t have to be overwhelming.

If you would like to talk specifically about how you could add more lead streams to your business with content, click here to fill out my short form and book a call with me!

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