Do you have a lead generation system?

A lead generation system is an essential component of any digital marketing effort. Good lead generation is not just attracting and converting your average consumer into someone who is interested in your company’s product or service.

One of the major goals for your young startup should be to generate interest. The best way to do this is to have a lead generation system for your startup that encourages consistent interest. You can generate leads from a wide range of sources like job applications, coupons, and producing content. But you need a lead generation system to get your hustle on and the best results.

How to Set Up a Lead Generation System

The tried and tested process that Connor has developed for this is outlined in the steps below. It may not seem like the fastest or the easiest way to do it when it’s laid out like this. But streamlining takes a bit of doing upfront. In the end, it will save you a ton of time, effort, and expense.

(1) Identify your target customer

Who are you trying to attract? What kind of customer do you want to get interested in you? Who would you like to see browsing for your product or service?

You want to attract a certain type of lead. The way that you go about populating your initial list in the next step depends on your target customer. If you’ve launched or have started planning your business, you probably already have an idea of who your target customer is. So, the hardest part is over.

(On a side note, don’t forget to confirm your minimum viable product before you start setting up your lead generation system.)

If you are an eCommerce business owner, for example, you might want to start with people who are online a lot. Then you can narrow that down to specific groups. Once you have these groups in mind, you are ready to begin searching for where they hang out online.

You don’t have to and really shouldn’t start from scratch. If you can partner with other companies related to your business niche, you can take advantage of the audience that they have already embraced. Another good place to go is on Facebook and other social media sites or networking sites where you can find a bunch of people in one place.

(2) Prepare Your Lead Generation Sheet

You want to have a Google Sheet where you can record your research. This sheet is an important part of your lead generations system. It integrates with the emailing app that we will get set up in the next step.

On your Lead Generations System sheet, create the following columns:

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  • Company Name – the name of the company that you want to reach out to
  • Owner’s Name – you’ll want to address your email to a specific person
  • Email Address – the best available or most logical contact point
  • Phone Number – the best available or most logical contact point
  • Facebook Page – the company’s business page, or the owner’s personal profile if unavailable
  • Linkedin Page – the company’s business page, or the owner’s personal profile if unavailable

When you start doing your research, this is where you will enter the important information that you need to effectively reach out.

(3) Mail Merge

Once your Google sheet is prepped, you are ready to set up your email. If you aren’t on Gmail, you’ll need to set that up first. You don’t want to email people from a free Gmail address, but you need one to get set up.

The next step is to take your email address that’s on your company web domain and set it up so you can access it via Gmail. Send a few test emails from Gmail to make sure it’s working perfectly. (If you’re not comfortable with the default Gmail settings, you can tweak the look and feel and functions of your account.)

Once your Gmail access is good to go, switch back to your Lead Generations System sheet. It’s time to install Yet Another Mail Merge. YAMM is an add on in Google Sheets that facilitates mass emailing right from the sheet. This is a really easy way to get your emails sent out. YAMM also tracks sent emails for which ones were sent, opened and bounced.

(4) Email Template

Now it’s time to get creative. Sit down with a clear head and start composing your email template. You’ll want to create a personalized email to send to leads. Be friendly and be clear about why you are reaching out. Give some pertinent information, but don’t make the email too long. These guys are busy, too, and they want maximum value in minimal time.

Here’s an example of how your email should be structured:

Subject:  Quick Request from [Your Company]

Greeting:  Use your contact’s first name.

Body Paragraph 1:  Introduce yourself and your purpose in 2-3 clear sentences.

Body Paragraph 2:  Say it straight out if you are not sure that you are reaching out to the right person – the one who’s responsible for handling requests like yours – and ask to be introduced if so.

Body Paragraph 3:  State your desire to set up a meeting to discuss how you can establish a mutually beneficial partnership.

Closing:  Thank the recipient for their time and sign with your first name.

Remember to include the unique benefit that you can offer to this company and be confident yet subtle in your approach.

Don’t worry if you’re not sure that your email is perfect. You have the formula, but it’s not an exact science. You will likely have to test and tweak your template several times before you find the one that works really well for you. If you need more inspiration, you can find sales templates here that you can edit to suit your purposes.

(5) Hire a Virtual Assistant

When you have your template in place, you can start the research phase. You don’t want to do all this work yourself, so you’ll want to hire a virtual assistant. You may not be ready to shell out a lot of cash at this point, and you don’t have to worry about that. You can find pre-vetted VAs who are experienced in doing lead generation.

If you have very particular parameters, go over them with your VA and walk through the process together a few times. This will ensure that you are on the same page so you can rest easy when your VA starts working independently.

(6) Start Sending

Once you have a few email addresses nicely logged on your Lead Generations System sheet, it’s time to test out your email template. This is something that you might want to do yourself a couple of times just to get the hang of it. Then you can pass this process over to your VA as well. Make sure you meet with them again to go through the process to make sure that you have understood each other 100%. Even the little things like what title you want to use in your signature can make a big difference.

At the beginning, you’ll want to email the new leads that you find once each day. YAMM allows you to send up to 50 emails per day. This should be a good enough amount to get you started.

As responses start coming in, go through them to get a feel for how your pitch is working. Then compare the number of responses you got to the number of emails you sent out. Check on response times as well so you can factor that in before you calculate your open rate.

When you are comfortable with this process, you can pass the screening over to your VA as well. You’ll need to train your VA on how you want responses handled, like where to file them. If it suits you, you can even teach them how you want these emails answered.

Rinse and Repeat

That’s how you set up and run with a lead generation system. There will always be little changes here and there as you get settled into the system. Don’t get discouraged. You may also not find a VA that you work well with on your first try. Don’t give up. Try tweaking your hiring process or adding details to your worker request to zoom in on the perfect VA for you.