8 Steps To Create a Killer Lead Generation Plan

8 Steps To Create a Killer Lead Generation Plan

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Need to create a lead generation plan?


You’re already one step ahead of marketers who move forward without any sort of plan. Better planning means better results. From my experience, better planning also helps to mitigate the main challenges that marketers face — first and second of which are “generating traffic and leads” and “proving the ROI of our marketing activities”.

What are your company's top marketing challenges, graphic.

Here, we’re talking about lead-gen.

More specifically, we’re talking about how you can create a lead generation plan that gets results — this is something we’ve done a lot here at ClickFunnels and I myself have done for many clients.

There are 8 steps.

Or click below to skip right to the good stuff.

Get Our 2-Page Sales Funnel That Generated 185,372 Leads!

1. Identify Your Dream Customer

Who is your dream customer?

If you don’t know the answer to that question, you’ve got a problem — a fundamental problem.

All good lead generation efforts depend on good targeting. And good targeting depends on a crystal clear idea of who your business serves.

Try to answer the following questions…

Identify Your Dream Customer checklist.

What do you do if you don’t know who your dream customer is?

First, sit down with your team members and discuss it. Try to answer the questions above and see what everyone says. Do you all have the same answers? Different answers?

Second, we recommend sending a survey to your existing customers — since those people have already happily purchased your products or services, they’re a great source of information.

You can use Typeform to create user-friendly surveys.

Here are three key questions we recommend including (you can adjust based on your industry and niche)…

  • What made you buy our product/service?
  • Why did you buy from us instead of a competitor?
  • What has our product/service helped you with the most?

The answers will help you determine what motivates your target market.

Finally, consider where your business falls within Russell Brunson’s three core markets. Is your business within…

Then, what submarket does your business fall within? For example…

  • Health —> Weight Loss, Strength Training, Nutrition
  • Wealth —> Investing, Real Estate, Finance
  • Relationships —> Dating Advice, Marriage Advice, Love

Then, which niche does your business belong to? For instance…

  • Health —> Weight Loss —> Personalized Meal Planning
  • Wealth —> Finance —> Paying Off Debt
  • Relationships —> Love —> Going Through Divorce

Once you narrow down where you business fits within its industry, you’ll have an easier time figuring out who your dream customer is. Be relentless with this process and try to fill out the form below.

Identify Your Dream Customer, Customer Avatar form.

2. Determine Your Budget

It might not be sexy, but every lead generation plan needs a budget.

As we discussed in the introduction, the second most common challenge for marketers is “proving the ROI of their marketing efforts”.

Having a budget will help with that.

Without one, you run the risk of overspending for too little results or underspending and not giving your campaign a reasonable chance to catch on.

With that said, your lead-gen budget should be flexible.

If your campaign catches on and is driving better-than-expected results, be prepared to dump more money into the campaign. If it’s underperforming for a reasonable amount of time, you might cut your losses and try something else.

Determine your…

  • Minimum Budget — What’s the least amount of money you will spend to give the campaign a reasonable chance?
  • Medium Budget — How much will you spend on a campaign that is performing relatively well?
  • Maximum Budget — How much will you spend on a campaign that is performing extremely well?

It’s important to determine these numbers before you launch your lead generation campaign.

Then you’ll know how much you plan to spend and how much you hope to make.

Make sure you review these numbers with your team to see if they think they’re reasonable.

3. Set Your Goal

Entrepreneurship is exciting.

Entrepreneurship is exciting.

Making money online is exciting.

But you know what isn’t exciting? Failing to meet goals that were too high in the first place — that’s just discouraging.

It’s far better to set achievable goals and feel the sense of accomplishment and pride that comes with hitting them. That’ll piggyback you to further success.

Follow the SMART method when setting goals for your lead generation campaigns…

  • Specific — Is the goal specific and targeted? It should be very clear to you and your team what you’re setting out to accomplish. We know you want to generate leads, but why? What is the purpose of generating leads? What does your business consider to be a “lead”? What happens after someone becomes a lead?
  • Measurable — Is the goal quantifiable? Is it something that you can easily say “yes we hit it” or “no we didn’t hit it”? There should be as little ambiguity to your goals as possible.
  • Achievable — You and your team don’t want to experience a sense of failure when all is said and done. Make the goal achievable so that everyone feels as though they’re working toward something that they can actually pull off.
  • Relevant — Is the goal relevant to other current marketing and sales goals within the business? There needs to be alignment or your efforts, even if they’re effective, could end up being wasted when the leads are passed on to an unprepared team.
  • Time Bound — Does that goal have a deadline? There should be clear-cut deadlines for the goal itself and for all to-dos within the goal. 

If something goes wrong with your lead generation plan, there’s a good chance it has to do with one of those factors going awry.

To help you determine what’s a reasonable ROI goal for your lead generation campaign, check out our funnel ROI calculator — it’s free to use.

4. Build Your Sales Funnel

Every lead generation plan needs a sales funnel.

What’s a lead-gen sales funnel?

It’s just a series of pages that are designed to systematically convert visitors into leads — after all, you need to drive traffic to a place that makes the most of your efforts.

That’s why you shouldn’t send it straight to your website.

Watch the video for a laugh and for some truth bombs.

Where a website is like a brick wall — because people are able to browse and navigate wherever they want — a sales funnel is a slippery slide toward conversion. It guides people toward taking just one key action, and every single element of every page is engineered to persuade.


  • No navigation
  • Only one CTA

Here, for example, is the dead-simple sales funnel that Smart Blogger used to generate leads for quite some time…

Build Your Sales Funnel example.

And here’s what pops up when you click the button…

Build Your Sales Funnel, popup example.

They’re using a lead magnet to snag email addresses.

Speaking of which, every lead-gen sales funnel needs a free or cheap offer to get people’s contact information (name, email address, maybe phone number) — this is your lead magnet.

It could be a free email course, ebook, white paper, checklist, or cheat sheet. Or it could be free online training (i.e. a webinar), a free trial of your service, or something else.

To figure out what lead magnet you should build your sales funnel around, ask yourself this question: What is one thing my dream customers want help with immediately?

Then help them with that for free.

They’ll thank you and you’ll generate tons of leads.

If you don’t know how to build a sales funnel, click below to get our 2-page template that converts like crazy (only costs $7).

Get Our 2-Page Sales Funnel That Generated 185,372 Leads!

5. Create Your Follow-Up Plan

You’ve probably noticed that lead generation is at the top of the marketing funnel.

Create Your Follow-Up Plan, The Sales Funnel graphic.

So it’s not the end goal.

It’s just the first step on a long journey toward acquiring customers.

That’s why it’s important to put a follow-up plan in place before you start generating leads. After you get people’s email addresses…

  • What are you going to email them about?
  • What’s the first product that you’ll try to sell to them?
  • When will you follow up? And how often?

Fresh leads are only useful if you’ve built an effective follow-up funnel.

Not sure where to start?

After you’ve delivered the free resource that was promised, we recommend sending what we call a “soap opera email sequence” — this consists of 5-7 emails over 5-7 days and it systematically turns leads into customers.

Create Your Follow-Up Plan diagram.

Check out the video below to learn how this works…

Here’s the gist…

  • 1st Email: Set The Stage — This email thanks the subscribers for signing up, sets expectations for the upcoming emails, and builds suspense for tomorrow’s email.
  • 2nd Email: Open with High Drama — This email starts with a lot of drama. You dive into an interesting story that immediately grabs the reader’s attention. You then tell them that you discovered the solution to the problem within your story… but that they’ll have to read tomorrow’s email to find out what it was.
  • 3rd Email: Epiphany — Relating back to your story, you explain the epiphany you had, and the way you realized you could solve your problem (this is your product or service). You can then point them toward a free resource to learn more about your product or service.
  • 4th Email: Hidden Benefits — In this next email, the goal is to point out the hidden benefits of your product or service (i.e. your solution); the benefits that they probably haven’t even considered yet. Then you can point them toward your primary CTA.
  • 5th Email: Urgency and CTA — Finally, you create urgency for the reader and push them to take action. Maybe your Webinar starts and ends tomorrow, maybe you have a limited number of products, or maybe you’re pulling the offer down soon. Urgency works. So use it!

Pick up a free copy of Traffic Secrets to learn more about this process. 

6. Find Opportunities


You’ve identified your dream customer and determined your budget. You’ve set some lead-gen goals and built your sales funnel. And you’ve created a follow-up plan.

Now we’re switching gears a little bit.

The next step is to identify opportunities for driving traffic to your sales funnel — after all, your sales funnel is useless without traffic.

To do that, follow our “dream 100” process.

Check out the video for a quick intro…

The first step of this process is to find the online places where your dream customers hang out. Try to identify…

  • 10 websites and forums they spend time on
  • 15 active Facebook groups they participate in
  • 50 influencers they follow on Facebook and Instagram
  • 30 podcasts they listen to
  • 40 email newsletters they subscribe to

Create a spreadsheet!

In the next two steps, you’re going to start leveraging those opportunities one at a time via organic and paid methods.

But let’s start with organic.

7. Start With Organic

There are essentially two ways to drive traffic from your dream 100 list.

You can either work your way in or buy your way in.

  • Work your way in — This means you’ll be emailing people, building relationships with key decision-makers, and looking for collaboration opportunities. You might guest blog for a website that your dream customers read, be a guest on a podcast that they listen to, engage in forums where they spend time, or trade mentions with influencers.
  • Buy your way in — This means you’ll pay to get attention in these places. You might pay to display advertisements on a specific blog, sponsor a podcast or newsletter, or run Facebook Ads to people who follow a specific influencer.

And you can start by going either route — but we recommend by starting with “working your way in” because it’s less expensive and usually gets better results.

(But keep in mind that it takes longer than paid)

How do you do that?

Well, it’s all about reaching out to people, building relationships, and collaborating.

Russell Brunson outlines a three-phase approach in his bestseller, Traffic Secrets:

  • Phase 1: Day 1-14
    This is where Russell follows his Dream 100 and starts consuming their content. He gets in the habit of commenting on the content so that each influencer starts seeing his face.
  • Phase 2: Day 15-30
    After some time engaging with the influencer’s content, Russell would try to contact the influencer directly and open up a conversation. The goal isn’t to pitch them anything here, but just start establishing an authentic relationship. His advice: “Pretend like you are trying to date your Dream 100, because you kind of are.”
  • Phase 3: Day 31-60
    “Make your Dream 100 your fan” Russell suggests. He did that by giving influencers a free account to ClickFunnels, no strings attached. He sent them free copies of his books and gave them complete access to his courses. You want to woo the influencer.

Once you’ve built an authentic relationship, it’ll be far easier to collaborate with them — guest blogging, getting on their podcast, asking them to promote your lead-gen funnel, etc.

But just because this is a highly relational process doesn’t mean you can’t create a clear-cut plan and track results. Create a spreadsheet, follow the phases above, and see where that gets you within two months.

You might be surprised by the results.

8. Leverage Paid Methods

This strategy takes a lot less time than “working your way in”.

The biggest downside is that you have to pay money… which can be a problem if you have a tight budget.

Still, for those with money to spend, we highly recommend considering the following three traffic-driving tactics.

Run Ads To Your Dream Customers

Find your dream customers on Facebook or Google or YouTube or Pinterest and advertise your sales funnel to them. One of the easiest ways to find your dream customers (rather than playing around with complicated targeting) is to target people who already follow the influencers that you listed out in step 2! In the case of Google, you can target your dream customers based on the keywords they’re typing in.

Pay For Banner Ads & Sponsorships

Another great tactic is to reach out to all of the blogs that you discovered during step 2 and ask how much it’d cost to put a banner ad on their site. You might be surprised at how reasonable some of the sites are. And if they are getting a lot of traffic from your target market… all of a sudden you can capture that traffic! You could also reach out to podcasts or YouTube Channels and pay for sponsorships.

Pay Influencers for Publicity

If building relationships with influencers feels too time-consuming, you could always offer to pay these people to review or mention your products or services as well. Just reach out and ask how much they charge.

Additionally, to “buy your way in” and stay profitable, you might consider selling a low-ticket product in your lead-gen sales funnel (like a free book + shipping offer) — that’ll help cover your advertising costs.

Final Thoughts

Lead generation isn’t rocket science.

But it is science.

More importantly, it requires a plan.

Start by identifying your dream customer, determining your budget, setting SMART goals, and building a sales funnel. Then create your follow-up plan, find opportunities, work your way in, and buy your way in.

With that, you’re off to the races.

But don’t forget to pick up our 2-page sales funnel below — we’re charging a stupid low price for it.

Get Our 2-Page Sales Funnel That Generated 185,372 Leads!

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