Even with the best product or service, your business is doomed to fail if you don’t get leads and customers. This article explains the attract, engage, convert (A.E.C.) formula to generate more leads and customers right now.
You started your business to pursue your dream of being a business owner. You had visions of selling your products or services to the mass and becoming one of the big players in your industry. But the actual running of a business takes you away from doing what you love to do.
With today’s online world, it’s possible to reach thousands of people who want your products or services. But how? And how do you convert them into leads and customers?
Implement the A.E.C. formula – Attract, Engage and Convert.
- Attract: Get in front of your target audience (reach).
- Engage: Connect and follow up with your target audience and convert them to “leads.”
- Convert: Have a plan that converts your leads into customers.
A lead is a person who is a warm, prospective customer. They’ve heard about you and are interested in your product or service.
When speaking about “leads,” always remember that they are people, not abstract things. Keep this in mind so you’re messaging and marketing collateral stays human-centric, not generic and abstract.
You don’t have to be a web expert to get leads online, but when you’re running a business, you don’t have endless time or money to try out thousands of random ideas either.
There are so many blog posts, videos, and webinars offered, some with crazy claims, that it’s hard to weed through them all and find ones that work and provide real, actionable steps you can take for your business.
I want to dispel the confusion and help you get the clients you need to grow your business using the power of online growth marketing.
I help our clients create growth strategies that are Human-to-Human (H2H) centric and provide them with those leads and customers consistently. I don’t believe in the Business-to-Consumer or Business-to-Business classifications you see marketers and businesses state. You are marketing to people, period. It doesn’t matter whether you’re consumer focused or business-focused. It’s people that make the buying decisions.
I’m going to show you how to build a lead generating machine for your business so you can attract, engage and convert (A.E.C.) the customers you need for your business.
Attraction – The first stage of the A.E.C. framework
To attract, engage and convert, you need to have a strategy in place for each of these three stages. Without a clear strategy, you won’t be successful.
So let’s start with attraction (building your reach) by doing the following.
Ideal Client (Persona)
One of the most important things you should be doing is defining who your ideal client is. This affects how you get clients, online and off.
Do you know who your ideal client is? The one that needs your product or service and is willing to pay for it. It’s who you want to work with.
There are many blog posts, including ours, on this topic because of how important it is to do. The best advice I can give on this subject is to talk to your previous customers if you have any. They are already your target buyer since they’ve bought from you.
Aks them, in person or on a call, the following:
- What is their greatest struggle in relation to your product or service? I.e., If you sell clothing, it’s probably a fit issue. If you sell services, it’s probably how that service can help them solve a problem.
- What have they bought (product) or tried (service) before you?
- What are their online purchasing habits? Where do they spend time? Where do they buy from? What prompts them to buy?
- What was the outcome of their purchase with you? i.e. clothes fit, service resolved X problem.
Have a conversation. Don’t use email. People prefer to speak their opinion, giving you a chance to get better responses to your questions.
If you don’t have any customers yet, then you’ll need to do some research to try to imagine who your ideal customer is and how they would answer the above questions after purchasing your product or service.
Use Google search, Answer The Public, Reddit or Quora to see what questions they are asking. Look at Facebook groups, Reddit or Amazon, for comments regarding their opinions (reviews) and pain points. Use these platforms to answer those questions for now, and you can update the answers as you get real customers.
Insights into Your Ideal Customer
Based on the above answers from your ideal customers, take a look at your online messaging. Does your website speak to them? Do the posts on your social channels? Are you using the language they use?
You need to define your product or service descriptions and sales processes to match the feedback you received from your ideal customers. Knowing their online purchasing habits (question #3) means you can get in front of more of your ideal customers. You can map out exactly where they are and how to reach them.
Is it clear, or are you confusing people? You have about 5 seconds to grab their attention before you lose them. Make sure your messaging speaks directly to them, not at them. Don’t talk about yourself.
If you sell products, are the descriptions clear and concise? Do they tell your target audience exactly what it is? I.e., if you sell garlic – does that particular type of garlic clearly state what it is in plain language that someone who doesn’t know anything about garlic understands? Will they know why they need that particular type vs. another one?
If you sell services, are you clear about how that service will benefit them? It should not be about you and your experience. It should clearly state how you can help them. If you sell social media marketing, it should tell them that it increases the speed someone becomes a 1st-time customer. Not that you are great at making social media posts with graphics.
Promote Your Message
Use the information you gained from speaking to past customers and wite a clear message that sums up what you learned and the words they used to describe it. Turn that message into the heading on your website and your social media channel bios.
Write posts, webinars, packaging and blogs around that message. I.e., If you provide social media marketing, you will write about the benefits of that service to your customers. If you sold garlic, you’d write blogs about the different types of garlic, what they are used for, and some recipes for each of the different types. This enforces your authority on the subject and what you will get known for.
This brings clarity to your products or services, makes you memorable and builds your reputation.
The Customer Journey
Now that you know who your ideal customers are and you’ve promoted your message, what do you do now? You have to have a plan in place to move them along the buying journey. That means you need a strategy.
Your current customers will provide you with the information you need to find your new customers. They tell you how and where they found you and why they work with you.
“Paul” found you through a Google search. One of your blogs caught his attention, and he clicked on it. Paul read it, loved what you wrote and wanted to learn more. He signed up for your newsletter. Now he’s on your mailing list opening every one of your emails. You send an offer in your 5th email, and he’s ready, so he contacts you/buys from you. He’s now become a customer because your emails proved your authority and built trust with him.
Paul went through all three stages of the A.E.C. formula.
- Attract: He found your content on Google that you optimized (Content + SEO)
- Engage: You built trust with Paul through your emails that provided value to him.
- Convert: You provided an offer that spoke to him, and he purchased it.
This is only one example of a customer’s journey. Your customers may find you through your posts on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. Ask your customers what their journey was to determine where you are getting your customers. The answers will provide clarity to map out the three stages of the A.E.C. formula correctly.
One of the best things to do is to map out the different stages based on your customer feedback, your Google Analytics and a heat map if you use one. Mapping the stages allows you to see the big picture and ensure that the journey is structured correctly (blogs, emails, newsletters, contact forms, meeting links, payment links, etc.).
Mapping will show you precisely what part of the journey you may be missing or need to tweak or update. Are you attracting but not engaging? Are you losing them at the conversion stage?
To get leads and customers using the A.E.C. formula, spend the time making sure you have all the steps covered.
Engagement – The second stage of the A.E.C. framework
Now that you know who your ideal customers are and how to attract them, you need a strategy for engagement.
From the example above, Paul signed up for your email list. He trusted you with his contact details and has permitted you to send him more information. This is the engagement stage.
During this stage, you will build trust and your authority. People buy from those they like and trust.
Are you going to offer educational content? Humour? How-to guides? Videos? It has to provide real value that benefits them if they give you their contact information, and it needs to be free. They are not ready to buy. You haven’t built trust yet.
You will need to provide several free resources. We recommended between 3 to 5 before leading to an offer.
When someone has given you their contact information, you want to follow-up with them right away. You don’t want your leads to forget about you or why they signed up in the first place.
The engagement process should look something like this:
- John signs up for a How-To guide from the blog he read
- Send him a thank you for joining your list (usually right away)
- Send him the How-To guide within 5 minutes.
- Day 1 – Send an email that talks about one of your How-To guide points with more detail.
- Day 2 – Send another email about another point in your How-To guide with more detail.
- Day 3 to 5 – Send other points pulled from your How-To guide with more detail.
- Day 6 – Send an offer to contact you or purchase a product/service related to your How-To guide.
This process moves John through the engagement cycle, building trust. He’s received a lot of free information and trusts you. He’s ready to convert and become your customer.
Conversion – The third stage of the A.E.C. framework
Now you need to sell John. Sales are where many people freeze. They believe they are not salespeople, don’t know how to close the deal or discuss money. Sales calls are scary when you haven’t practiced and not sure what to say.
One way to help with the stress of doing “sales calls” is to be prepared. Write up a sales call transcript. Think of all the things they could ask or object to and what your answers are. Why does your product or service cost that much? How will it help John with xyz?
Practice your sales calls with a coworker, partner or friend. This is a great way to build confidence in what you are going to say.
When you do speak to John, make sure you’re clear on your pitch. Don’t leave it open-ended. You won’t get sales that way.
The most significant pieces of advice I can give you are this:
Listen – The customer will tell you what their problem is.
Don’t interrupt – Don’t cut someone off while they are speaking. Wait 2 seconds to see if they are finished speaking before answering.
Mindset – Believe in your offer. Know you have the product or service to solve their problem. You’re NOT selling. You’re providing a solution they need. In other words, you’re helping them.
Message – Be clear what your product or service is and what problem it will solve.
Pitch – Have one and be clear. Assume it’s a done deal and act that way. John gave you his contact details, read every email you sent and got on a call with you. He knows you have the solution to his problem, and he wants what you’re offering. He wouldn’t be wasting his time if he didn’t.
Price – Stand behind your pricing. Don’t apologize. You know your product or service is worth the price you set, so be confident. He’s already shown he needs what you’re selling.
If you feel that John will not be a good fit for your business during the sales call, you don’t have to work with him. You decide what clients you want. It’s ok to walk away.
The more practice you have making sales calls, the easier it will become. Reframing the sales process into an act of service will help you overcome any fears or anxiety. You’re not pushy or sleazy. You’re helping someone with a problem.
Think of it this way; you wouldn’t have a problem recommending a product or service that could help a friend or family member. So why have a problem recommending your product or service to someone to help them?
Using the tips I provided will get you more leads and customers. You need to work on the three A.E.C. stages and monitor them consistently.
If you’d like help getting more leads online, get in touch. I offer a free 30-minute consultation.