Lead-gen is no joke.
According to HubSpot, 61% of marketers consider generating traffic and leads to be their biggest challenge, which is probably why 53% of marketers spend at least half of their budget on lead generation.
If you’re a marketer, that’s not very surprising.
While generating leads is important, it’s also challenging. And without automation — systems and software that generate leads on autopilot — scaling lead-gen is nigh on impossible.
But how do you automate your lead-gen efforts?
That’s what we’re talking about in this guide.
We’ll start by giving you 6 automated lead-gen tactics. Then we’ll talk a bit about driving high-quality traffic (because you need good traffic to get good leads).
Or cut to chase and click below to steal our two-page lead-gen funnel for just $7…
Understanding Sales Funnels for Lead-Gen Automation
And what’s great about sales funnels as it relates to lead-gen automation is that these high-converting, page-by-page experiences are super-automatic and super scalable.
That’s why sales funnels are so powerful.
Rather than speaking personally with every potential lead, a sales funnel automates the entire process as if your best salesperson is guiding each visitor exactly where you want them to go.
Check out the video below to learn more about how sales funnels work…
Matt Ackerson at Autogrow says it well:
“According to Salesforce, a full 68% of companies have not identified or attempted to measure a sales funnel, and the same survey showed that a whopping 79% of marketing leads are never converted into sales. Coincidence? I think not. Without a working sales funnel, it’s near impossible to convert leads into sales.”
We’d also add that without a sales funnel, it’s practically impossible to profitably scale your lead-gen efforts.
This is important to understand because most of the tactics below are different types of sales funnels that we’ve seen work time and time again for our members here at ClickFunnels.
Ready to see how they work?
Let’s dive in!
Tactic #1: The Tripwire Funnel
The first sales funnel is one of our favorites — we call it the Tripwire Funnel.
The format looks like this…
But let’s look at a real-life example.
It starts with a sales page that promotes one of your front-end products at a discount — ideally, a discount so large that your target market won’t be able to resist.
In fact, the lead magnet we tried to get you to click on at the beginning of this article is a Tripwire Funnel. It starts with a $7 offer…
This is super compelling to our target market and easy for them to say “Yes!”
If the person fills out their payment information and converts, then they’re taken to the page that makes the Tripwire Funnel what it is — the One-Time Offer (OTO) page.
In this case, we promote our One Funnel Away Challenge, which costs $100…
This is a one-click upsell. And since A) we know the person is already in the buying mindset and B) they’ve already taken the most difficult step of entering their payment information, the One-Time Offer gets a surprisingly high conversion rate.
Whether the person adds the OTO to their order or not, next they’re taken to the Thank You page…
One benefit of the Tripwire Funnel is that it works great with cold traffic (i.e. people who don’t know your business).
Rather than turning people into leads and then into customers, you can turn cold traffic directly into leads with a high-converting Tripwire Funnel. And the average order value for a good Tripwire Funnel is usually so high that you end up getting paid to generate leads and find new customers.
You can choose a Tripwire Funnel template over here and start building it for free!
Tactic #2: The Application Funnel
Now maybe you are only looking for high-ticket clients.
Maybe the Tripwire Funnel won’t work because you need to pre-qualify your leads before hopping on the phone with them.
That’s what the Application Funnel is good for.
This funnel will help you create urgency and demand for your services, and determine the quality of the leads coming through your funnel… so you know who to hop on the phone with.
Here’s the format…
It starts with a reverse squeeze page, which is basically just your initial sales page building excitement and urgency around whatever it is you’re offering.
(Notice the urgency created by the bar at the top of the page? That’s a super important part of this funnel!)
Then if someone clicks to apply, they’re taken to the — surprise, surprise — Application Page…
This is where you can ask critical questions to learn more about your leads.
Once they’ve finished filling out the application, they’ll be taken to a Thank You page.
From here, you can choose what to do with each lead. You can call them right away. You can send an email to the “winners” a few weeks later. Or you can reach out and schedule a follow-up call with the most promising peeps.
Whatever you decide, this funnel will help you pre-qualify your leads for high-ticket sales.
Click here to choose a template and start building your Application Funnel for free!
Tactic #3: The Webinar Funnel
We don’t want to toot our own horn, here — “in fact, we mean not to” – Bilbo Baggins — but Webinar Funnels have generated more leads and revenue for our business than any other sales funnel.
Heck — one of Russell’s early webinars is what put ClickFunnels on the map!
It was this one…
In case the term “webinar” is going in one ear and out the other, here’s a quick description: a webinar is just a live or recorded an online video where you train your target market how to do something that they already want to learn how to do, for free.
You generate leads on the front-end of the Webinar Funnel — when people sign up — and you make sales on the back-end — when, after the training, you offer your product or service.
Here’s the format…
It starts with a Registration Page. This is where you build excitement and anticipation for the free training.
Let’s look at an example…
Our Secrets Masterclass is a free webinar that offers to teach people the difference between the most successful ClickFunnels users — the top 1% — and everyone else.
Now technically, we’d call this an AutoWebinar Funnel because it runs on autopilot. The webinar was done live once and recorded — now we just point people toward that recording so they can watch right after they sign up.
If someone enters their email address and clicks “Save My Seat Now!”, then they’re taken straight to the presentation…
All in all, the free training clocks in at an hour and thirty minutes. Near the end, the training seamlessly ties into the thing we’re trying to sell: our Funnel Hacking Secrets bundle…
Now if you look at the format we showed you earlier for a Webinar Funnel, you’ll notice there’s a little something called “Follow Up Funnel” in the bottom right corner.
These are the emails you send after someone watches the webinar — they are crafted to convert people who didn’t take you up on your offer the first time around… and they’re a critical part of the webinar funnel.
So there you have it!
And if you’re thinking to yourself, I have NO IDEA how to host an effective Webinar… then click here to get our proven-to-work webinar framework — to use it, you should need to know how to copy and paste 😉
Tactic #4: The Challenge Funnel
Potential leads don’t want to be challenged, right?
In fact, Challenge Funnels are a great way to attract motivated leads — ones that are ready to take real action.
This is what we’ve done with our One Funnel Away Challenge…
It’s what Carrot has done with their 30-day challenge for real estate investors…
And it’s the funnel that tons of other businesses have used to generate high-quality leads, make some money, and build meaningful relationships with their target market.
It turns out, people love to join challenges… especially if the challenge involves some hand-holding from experts.
Depending on your end goal, your Challenge Funnel can be totally free or cost a bit of money. Our One Funnel Away challenge costs $100 but our 5-Day Lead-Gen challenge is free.
To build this funnel, all you need is a registration page…
Somewhere to deliver the lessons…
And, if it’s a paid Challenge Funnel, somewhere to engage with your audience to help them at various parts of the process — this could be a Facebook group, for instance.
The cool part about Challenge Funnels is that the challenge usually includes using your products or services… so you’re also turning these people into customers.
This means you’re A) generating high-quality, action-taking leads, B) building meaningful relationships with your target market, and C) introducing people to your products or services… all with just one funnel.
Click here to get a free ClickFunnels account and start building your challenge funnel!
Tactic #5: Affiliate Marketing
In Russell Brunson’s bestselling book, Traffic Secrets, he tells the story of when he first discovered affiliate marketing for his own business.
He’d been browsing through forum responses to the question, “What’s the best way to get traffic to a website?”, and that’s when he stumbled upon an interesting response: “I rely on my own network of affiliates.”
Here’s how he explains his epiphany…
“At first it didn’t really make sense to me. I read it again and again. Knowing that he was one of the best marketers in the group, I knew there was something to it and that I needed to figure it out.
Then it hit me! He had an affiliate program that had hundreds of affiliates who sold his products for him. Because he gave them a commission after they made a sale, he had no risk; he only paid them if they actually made a sale!
I saw his brilliance. Instead of relying on his own efforts to do SEO or PPC, he could have dozens of others ranking pages for him and running ads selling his products. Instead of relying on his own email list, what if he found 10 or 20 or 100 affiliates who each had lists of tens of thousands of people? Instead of his message getting sent to thousands of people, he could reach millions.”
Clearly, this is something that really resonated with Russell… because we now have our own affiliate program at ClickFunnels with thousands of affiliates!
Creating an affiliate program for your own business and finding affiliates might take a bit of work… but it’s 100% worth it.
Here’s how Russell explains the benefits…
“The amount of leverage you get when you build an affiliate program and rely on the efforts of other people is huge. It’s kind of like building a team and hiring people to do these tasks for you, except that when they’re an affiliate, you don’t pay them for the work. Instead, you pay them commissions based on the sale. They have the risk, and you both share the rewards!”
For automated lead-gen, the benefits are obvious. Other influencers are generating leads and making sales for your business — what’s more automated than that?
Tactic #6: The Dream 100
We’ve talked a lot about this process in various places online, but that’s because it’s so important and powerful — for finding customers and generating leads.
Here’s a video about the Dream 100 if you’re getting tired of reading my sweet, sweet sentences.
In a nutshell, the Dream 100 process consists of…
- Find the places where your dream customers congregate online.
b. Facebook Groups
- Infiltrating those places by either…
a. Buying your way in
b. Working your way in
Here’s the difference between those last two options for infiltrating your Dream 100…
- Work Your Way In — This usually means cold calling, text messaging, emailing, and even direct mailing your influencers to try and build a relationship with them and “bribe” them into some sort of collaboration. For example, you might send a free version of your product to influencers with a $100 bill asking them for an honest review.
- Buy Your Way In — If you want to cut to the chase, then you might consider just paying influencers to get in front of their audience. This might include getting a banner ad on their website, putting your YouTube ads at the beginning of their videos, or contacting them and asking what other paid promotional opportunities they offer.
Both strategies work — it really just depends on how much time you have vs. how much budget you have. Buying your way in is faster and more expensive. Working your way in is slower and less expensive.
You can learn more about this process in Russell Brunson’s bestselling book, Traffic Secrets (click to get your free copy).
Don’t Forget! Good Leads Depend on Good Traffic
We’ve shared 6 tactics with you for generating high-quality leads on autopilot. Most of those tactics involved creating sales funnels that streamline the entire process.
But here’s something we can’t afford to forget — the quality of your leads will only ever be as good as the quality of your traffic.
To build an effective lead-gen system, we’ve also got to look at the source.
That is, where is the traffic coming from?
To generate high-quality traffic, you basically have three options…
SEO (or Search Engine Optimization) refers to the process of creating content to rank in Google for high-value phrases.
In our case, for instance, that means ranking for things like — surprise, surprise — “sales funnels”…
Believe it or not, that one article is driving 1,200 visits to our site every single month… 100% for free. Because it ranks in Google for some key phrases.
You can replicate this process over and over again, driving thousands or hundreds of thousands of visits per month to your website and sales funnels, passively.
Keep in mind, however, that it takes time to rank in Google and this is a long-term game… not a short-term one.
If you want to learn more, here’s a primer on SEO.
Advertising is the most direct way to generate leads — and we highly recommend it!
You can run ads on social media, sponsor newsletters or podcasts, or pay influencers to promote your products and services.
If you already have a lead-gen sales funnel, then you’ve just got to drive ad traffic to that funnel and keep an eye on metrics like…
- Cost Per Lead
- Total Advertising Cost
- Cost Per Click
… and so on.
We run a lot of ads on Facebook (and many other places) at ClickFunnels….
And so long as the math makes sense — if we’re making back what we’re spending or, ideally, making more than we’re spending — the ads are worth every penny!
For those of you who are good at building relationships, there’s PR.
This involves collaborating with influencers, entrepreneurs, and website owners in your industry — it means getting on other people’s podcasts, writing for other people’s blogs, and being mentioned in other people’s YouTube videos in order to drive traffic to your sales funnels.
PR is free because it depends on building relationships in order to get publicity, not on paying money.
Okay… but how do you build these magical relationships with people in your industry?
Here’s the process Russell Brunson recommends in Traffic Secrets…
- Days 1-14 — Follow all of your influencers on social media and pay attention to what they’re doing. Dedicate your daily social media time to consuming their content and engaging with their posts.
- Days 15-30 — Reach out to your influencers and open up a dialogue. Do not pitch them. Just try to start a conversation. Compliment them and tell them how much you appreciate their content. Keep engaging with their content via shares, likes, comments, etc.
- Days 31-60 — Rather than pitching the influencer, give them something for free. Offer them free lifetime access to your service, or a free bag of products, or something else. Only ask for their feedback in return. Your goal is to turn them into a fan of your brand.
It’s not an overnight game changer. But with some time, PR can have a huge impact on your business.
Lead-gen is critical.
But automated lead-gen… even more so.
You don’t just need a few leads right now, you need a consistent and predictable flow of leads over the months and years to come — one that you can set and forget.
Here, we’ve shown you 6 proven tactics for building a lead-gen machine. We’ve shared examples. We’ve talked about how to drive quality traffic. And we’ve outlined the benefits of using ClickFunnels.
All that’s left is action.
And you can take the next step by clicking below… or by clicking here to build your first sales funnel for free.