Our meeting has just recently been ended in the office where we discussed, how important is to deal with the top of sales funnel, that’s where the first leads fall into the sales pipe and they are the ones who can be consumers later by a good chance.
Yes, of course, it’s easy to say when you are the CEO, but what can you do as a marketing advisor?! You need to pull yourself together and either by yourself or with your marketing team start figuring out what kind of tools can be used most efficiently for lead generation. Such ideas as Facebook and Adwords come to everyone’s eyes first. They are so easy to be used, but not really cost-effective. What if I am on a tight budget or absolutely out of it but I need to generate continuously more leads?
This is the time when we can come up with fantastic ideas for the target market and start publishing them. That is what we usually call a hook.
What is the hook exactly?
The hook essentially is a downloadable ebook, podcast, infographic etc, with a special useful content for the leads. This content generates a craving for downloading. The purpose of the hooks is never hard sales. I would rather call it soft sales or educational purpose. Of course, the hook must serve our future sales, because the lead becomes the consumer. But the straightforward approach is not the best idea. A hook should never contain the “buy this” idea. Instead of it the gentle and smooth approach, focusing the target group’s problem and their solution is more gainful. That’s the way how you gain the lead’s trust in you and your brand.
Why do we need hooks for lead generation?
As I mentioned above the most important in lead generation is to fully fill up the sales funnel with visitors who could become consumers in the future. But as time goes, getting leads for signing up for newsletters or just getting them to register are becoming seriously harder. It’s a real problem because we need them in sale phases later i.e.: in nurturing progress.
And that’s why we need a hook. It needs to carry major, serious contents for the lead’s desire, if it has what they crave for, they will not think about twice to download it. It means that our leads will sign up for newsletters and will not care to give out personal information such as their email address or name.
This is the reason why we call them hooks. We literally hook up leads with the content and this is how they get into the sales funnel, where they can be lead further with nurturing, until the point they become consumers.
What can be a hook?
A hook could be anything that is downloadable and visitors give out their email address for it.
While planning or making a hook you must consider that it must fit a visitor’s buyer cycle. So in every sale phase has to have its own unique hook, not only varying in their shape but in their content too. You should not give intermediate level material to someone who just started their topic in a certain field. The more efficient and useful approach is when you make a short and impressive e-book in which they find all the answers to the fundamental questions.
After the visitors downloaded the hook they will cease to be visitors anymore, they will become leads and you can count on them as a potential consumer. As the lead goes deeper in the sales funnel its knowledge and demand will get larger. So if someone becomes marketing qualified lead or sales lead you will need a different type of hook to get them become a customer.
What kind of hooks are worth to make in different lead cycles?
- Discover: They are the ones who only interested in the topic but haven’t got any deeper knowledge. It’s worth to make free whitepapers, tip-sheets, guidelines, ebooks, checklists, and infographics.
- Marketing qualified lead: Those type of leads who are already downloaded one of your templates, subscribed for your newsletter and started to interested in the given theme. More serious hooks need to be made for them to get them in the sales funnel next phase. Those who are already in this stage worth to keep webinars, to make downloadable case studies or to provide free templates for them.
- Sales qualified leads: If leads got to this level we have to give them special care as they are only for a step from shopping. So at this time hooks should provide valuable what able to promote the buying process. At this stage, you can peacefully offer free trial products, demo version or coupons.
What can be your help when you making up a good hook?
I have delightful news for if you think you are not able to write a hook. If you read our blog regularly, then you have read about buyer persona and know their importance. (If you have not heard of them yet you can read it here.) During the process of creating buyer personas, questions will arise and you can answer them by applying hooks.
Another big help could be the customer service. If you have customer service or someone at least who deals with customers then it is worth to sacrifice a little time and discuss what are the frequently asked questions you can use as a hook. Explaining that sort of problem and offering a solution is just collateral benefit. What is more, if you write a blog and check which posts have the most visitors, you can clearly come to a conclusion about the most interesting topics. These topics can be worthwhile to summarize in e-book or if they contain data about quantities,useing of infographics is highly recommended.
So bring it on! Get out the fishing–rod and hook up your first leads!