The Ultimate Guide to Lead Generation

The Ultimate Guide to Lead Generation

 

The first skill any salesperson needs to learn is how to find prospects. What are prospects? It is a fancy word to mean potential customers.

So your first job in selling anything is to find your potential customers.

STEP ONE: IDENTIFY THE TYPES OF COMPANIES THAT WOULD USE YOUR PRODUCT 

What problem does your product or service solve? What type of companies have that problem? Is it big corporations? Startups? Small business owners?

Create a list of 5 categories of companies that would use your product or service. Each of these categories will be an individual test to see which type of company will produce the most revenue for you. Identify 20 companies in each of the 5 categories that would make a great client for your company.

STEP TWO: FIND THE BEST PERSON TO CONTACT 

Every single company is organized differently, but most industries typically follow a similar method.

Once you have identified, the types of companies you would like to sell to, you need to identify who within those companies will be making the purchase decision.

Often times you will target people at different levels within a company to learn how that industry functions. Your goal as a salesperson is to figure out how the companies in your category organize themselves, so you can identify the point person in any company.

Try answering the following questions:

Who would be most interested in the problem I am solving?

How much power do they have in moving decisions forward?

What kind of budgets will they be able to tap into?

STEP THREE: GATHER CONTACT INFORMATION

Finding contact info for leads is relatively easy in todays world.

Here are my best three tips:

-Startups generally format their emails like this: CASSIE@COMPANY.COM

-Agencies generally format their emails like this: CBOORN@COMPANY.COM

-Very traditional industries are still using this: CASSIE.BOORN@COMPANY.COM

If all else fails Google: email @ COMPANY.COM. Typically, you will see a press release or company announcement with a contact email. Use that format and the name of your lead to decipher the email address.

CREATIVITY.

Most experienced Bloggers will tell you that building a blogging career is a total waste of time.

“You wont make any money, building a blog takes a ton of time, the ROI just isn’t there.”

There are a million reasons you shouldn’t build a career in blogging. But the reality is that millions of people across the web are building a career blogging.

Is it possible earn a full-time income from a blog? Yes.

Is it a lot of work? HELL. YES.

The fastest way to build a full-time blogging career is to go in with a plan laying out exactly how you will reach your goals. I have pulled together five steps you can take to get your blogging career off the ground. This is meant to serve as a guide, and help you create a strategic approach to building your blog.

  1.      Choose a niche very carefully

The most important decision a blogger makes is what niche they want to cover. You will be forced to create so much content that you have to absolutely love the topic you are writing about.

The niche that you choose will have a huge effect on the audience you are able to reach. And the audience you reach will have a huge effect on how you can monetize your site.

And yes, you have to choose a niche if you want to build a full-time career blogging. I know you have tons of interests and don’t want to box yourself in, but you have to focus your brand in order to build a successful blog.

  1.      Go in with a revenue strategy

There is no point in spending time building a blog if you do not know how you will monetize it. You have a billion different opportunities to monetize your blog, but they all require you to focus on totally different goals.

Understanding the best revenue streams for your industry, and focusing your efforts on reaching goals that will earn you money is the only way to build a sustainable blogging career.

Some revenue streams you might consider: Affiliate links, ad networks, direct ad sales, consulting, freelance writing, coaching, online courses, ebooks, sponsored content.

  1.      Have a plan for building your audience

While new bloggers love to believe that “if you build it they will come” its just not the way life works. Building an audience is hard work, but if you approach it strategically you can do it rather quickly.

Create a strategy for building your audience. What blogs are they currently reading? How can you get in front of that audience? What kind of content should you have on your blog in incentivize them to subscribe?

These are all questions you need to answer.

4. Get to writing!

The only way to learn what will and wont work for your blog is to test things out. Start writing and publishing content. Figure out what is working and what is not. Focus your efforts to align with your goals, and get busy writing!

5. Learn from those who have done it before

The best way to build a blogging career is to learn how others have been able to do it. Most of the time bloggers in the same niche monetize their sites in similar ways.
If you are running a home design blog you are going to monetize it in totally different ways than someone who runs a career blog. Understanding the industry you are in, and other bloggers have monetized their sites will help you create a successful plan.

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Next week I am hosting an online course featuring Karen Bertelsen, the amazing blogger behind The Art of Doing Stuff.

Karen spent ten years building a career as one of Canadas leading home-design TV Personalities. She hosted renovation shows for some of the largest television networks in the country, and then she left her job and focused all of her efforts on building a blogging career.

Karen is a great example of someone who has built a full-time career blogging.  She has been hyper-focused on turning her blog into a career from the very beginning, which allowed her to build a hugely successful blogging career very quickly.

I hunted Karen down and begged her to do this course, because her approach to blogging is such a great example for others looking to do the same.

The course is $249 and you get access to (5) hour-long live video sessions with Karen.

The live sessions are always super fun, and you can ask her questions and get advice in real time. We will have a chat room open as well, so you can meet and learn from other bloggers as well.

You can get details on the course and register here.

 

 

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I have spent the past month researching the best ways for publishers to monetize their platforms with advertising. I had two different clients hire me to review their current display ad network, and identify the best way for them to increase this revenue.

So I talked to every ad network in the market, and googled insane things like “programmatic advertising.”

Two years ago I was charged with building an online ad network for a major publisher, and the ad network industry today looks nothing like it did then. 

Here is what I learned:

1. Brands are spending less on display advertising 

A couple of years ago there was a major shift in ad spending.

Brands started pulling dollars from traditional “display” advertising, and investing into a huge range of content products.

Brands are pouring dollars into creating and promoting content online. They are investing in a huge range of content products, because noone knows what works.

Things brands are spending money on: sponsored posts, custom content creation, video content, influencer programs, social content campaigns.

Things brands are not spending money on: Display advertising on individual publisher sites. 

 

2. The process is more targeted than ever before

Of course, brands aren’t willing to throw their display ad strategies out the window. Instead, they are distributing budgets across different kinds of display media and focusing on the media that allows them to hyper-target their consumers. 

Things brands are spending money on: Search advertising, social ad buying, programmatic advertising that is distributed across multiple platforms. 

Things brands are not spending money on: Individual publisher buys that are untested and do not allow you to target individual readers. 

 

3. Ad networks are pivoting their business models 

A couple of years ago, big publishers could get exclusive deals with ad networks that included monthly guarantees and insane promises for high CPMs. Shopping ad networks today is a totally different process. Ad networks across the board are not offering exclusive deals or CPM guarantees to ANY publisher. There are no promises being made.

Instead, ad networks allow you to run google search ads in any inventory they don’t sell. You are also allowed to sell ads directly if you would like.

The only benefit of joining an network today is that you get access to advertising deals you might not be able to sell yourself. 

 

4. Successful publishers are selling directly 

The only way for a publisher to make significant ad dollars in todays market is to sell programs directly. You are more likely to sell sponsored content at a premium than to meet your revenue goals through display ads, and no network can sell your content abilities better than you. 

The landscape is shifting at such a rapid pace that no one in the industry has any idea where it is going. Take your revenue streams into your own hands. Test selling various content products. Pitch different types of brands, and figure out what works best for your platform. 

Last night I hosted an hour-long live session with Rachel Rodgers, and it completely changed the way I think about packaging services. Rachel is one of the only lawyers I know that bills their clients at a flat monthly rate vs charging an insane hourly rate and charging down to the minute. 

It can seem counter intuitive to sell your services at a flat fee, so I asked Rachel why she chose to do her business this way.  It now makes complete sense to me.

Here is what she has to say:

1. It makes the client relationships better

When clients know you are billing them for every minute they spend with you, they become uninterested in making small talk or really connecting with you. They know that they are billed for every minute they are talking to you, so they are always rushing to get off the phone. 

When you are self-employed, it is essential that you build strong relationships with your existing clients. How can you do that if they are always running off the phone with you?

A flat monthly fee allows you to build stronger relationships with your clients.

2. Your cash flow becomes more manageable

Do you know the amount of time it takes to track all of your billable hours, invoice everyone on a monthly basis and then deal with any clients who might have questions about where your hours were spent.

Creating a flat fee structure saves you so much time, and your cash flow becomes much more manageable. Its easier to know how much money will be coming into your business on a regular basis.

3. It shows your expertise

The biggest legal expenses small business owners face are caused when they try to do the legal work themselves and then need to hire a lawyer to fix it. Hiring a lawyer is scary especially for startups and small businesses (the type of cmoapnies Rachel works with)

She understands what steps startups need to take to build a business that is legally sound. Rather than try to sell the client on all of her recommendations, she packages it all into the monthly fee structure.

This shows her new clients that she has a deep understanding of their business, and she knows exactly what they need. It builds a sense of trust that most lawayers struggle to maintain with their clients. 

I learned so much from hearing how Rachel organized her business. If you are interested in watching the recorded session of rachels interview you can get access here. (use discount code “SUCCESS” and get access for $25)

How to Make a Big  a Big Career Move

I have spent a lot of time lately thinking about what professionals need to make a big jump in their career.

Colleges (sort of) give us the skills we need to land our first job, but who shows us the path up to and through middle management?

I remember walking into my first performance review absolutely positive I deserved a raise, and absolutely no idea what to expect in the review. Should I ask for a raise before the meeting? Do I negotiate in the meeting? What if they don’t give me a raise? Does everyone get a raise at their performance review? 

These were things I never learned in the college. (you can find the answers here) 

Lately I have been obsessed with the strategies people use to make a big leap in your career. It has become clear to me that having a huge career requires a series of big leaps, but what do those leaps need to look like? And how do you make them? 

How do you know what skills you need to develop to get to the next level in your career? 

I think I came up with an answers. It appears (to me) that in order to make a big career jump you have to learn an entirely new industry.  

Here are a couple of examples:  

-If you work in a PR or Advertising agency, you have spend the first few years of your career learning to do your job. But once you get to middle management, the only way to make is a big leap is if you learn how to land new clients for your agency. This means you have to master the art of selling before you can propel yourself upward.

-If you are a teacher or daycare provider, the only way to grow your career is to open your own business. This means propelling your career upwards requires learning the art of caring for children AND the art of business.

If you are thinking about making a big leap in your career, start by looking at the other skills that you will need to acquire. What industries align well with yours? What gaps are in the marketplace? 

Create a plan for the skills you would like to develop and then find resources that take you there.

Good luck!

 

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The biggest struggle women face is figuring out how to build a family without totally ruining your career. How can you build a successful career that doesnt totally ruin your life?

I got pregnant my freshman year of college, so I have spent my entire career trying to figure out how to balance my work and my life.

I signed up for an entire load of independent study courses the semester I had Aiden.  I will never forget calling my professors from the hospital bed to explain why my assignments would be late.

Being a college student allowed me to work part time, and have a ton of time home with Aiden. Aiden didn’t go to daycare for the first two years of his life, because I figured out a schedule that allowed me ot be home with him the majority of the time.

The downside? We were so incredibly poor. 

The year that Aiden started kindergarten was the year I joined Corporate America. Him being in school full-time, gave me the freedom to focus on my career (almost) full-time.

I spent most of his early elementary years working at big jobs that required me to travel around the country.Our life was busy, but making that choice allowed me to build the foundation that got me to where I am today. 

Today I am fully self-employed and get to do the work I love from the comfort of my home.

Here are five steps I learned along the way: 

1. Be realistic about your priorities 

Most women don’t have kids in the beginning of college. I have spent many nights discussing how to have kids and a career with colleagues. Studies show that having kids totally decreases your earning power, and it is becoming increasingly clear that corporate America is not making the radical changes it needs to better support women. 

We all have to make choices.

Sometimes we choose to be poor and other times we choose to cut time with our families to focus on our careers. Be honest about the choices you are going to face in then next few years, and figure out a plan that is going to work for your life. 

What is most important to you right now? What kind of life do you want to be living? What is non-negotiable? What are you willing to give up?

2. Explore your options

Once you understand your priorities, you can start exploring your career options and narrowing down the path that will work best for your life. It is really important to be realistic during this exercise.

Where are you working today? What paths are open to you? Where do you want to be in One year? Five years? Ten years? What paths can you take to reach your goal? 

The best way to explore your options is to look at other professionals who took that path. What did they do to get there? What did they have to give up? Is that something I am willing to give up? 

The social web has created tons of career opportunities that you can pursue from the comfort of your own home, or while you are traveling around the world. Choosing a big career does not mean you have to give up your life. Explore all of the paths that are now available to you. 

3. Hone your skills

Making a big career leap requires you to learn new skills. Compare the goals you have set for yourself, and where you are today. What skills do you need to learn to achieve your goal? What do you need to improve?

Make a list of skills you need to focus on, and make a plan for doing so. It doesn’t have to be complicated. You can learn any skills from a mix of books, online research and courses. Get creative! 

4. Make a plan for landing your dream job

The hardest part of landing your dream job is finding the perfect position for you. It is easy to land a job that is the perfect right fit for you. The hard part is finding that absolutely perfect position. 

Start exploring the companies and types of positions that will work best for your life. Keep an eye on when they do their hiring, what kind of skills they are constantly looking for and what gaps you can fill in.

Start building relationships with executives you would like to work for. Having a network of established relationships will set you up for success when it comes time to start applying to positions. 

5. Plan for the future
You priorities and dreams will shift during different seasons of life. Create a plan for where you would like to be in the next ten years, and identity the types of flexibility you need in your life. 

I am launching a course this week focused around the idea of building a career that works for your life. (details here) We have lined up five amazing instructors who have all built fascinating careers that worked with their lives.

  • Alexis Neely quit her full-time reporter job, and built a career that has allowed her to travel around the world. 
  • Jenny Foss built a successful recruiting company, and then expanded into a career coaching service that helps professionals land their dream job. 
  • Anne Omland quit her senior executive position to launch a coaching business that helps women in corporate america create careers that work for their lives. 
  • Rachel Rodgers built a fully-online law practice that gave her the opportunity to choose her clients and work with inspiring entrepreneurs. 
  • Nikki Groom left her corporate job and built a booming online copywriting business that gave her the freedom she was craving.

And of course, I will be there talking about my path and what I learned along the way. I really hope you will join us. You can get the full details here: http://www.quistic.com/seminar/build-a-career-that-works-for-your-life

Don’t forget to use discount code “SUCCESS” to get access for only $25. 

 

 

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content

 

I have spent the past five years working in the blogger/brand space, which means I am subscribed to more than three-hundred blogs.

It is my job to stay “in the know.”

I spend a good amount of time each week sifting through content, and finding the pieces that are most relevant to my network. This is the most powerful tool I have for growing my business: information. 

Sharing interesting content is one of the best way to show potential clients what interests you, and how you are thinking about the space. 

Find a connection you want to work with, and start sending them relevant links you come across, with a couple of lines shows why it might be interesting to them. 

It turns out I am on to something. 

60% of executives say their primarily source of news is email newsletters, so your link might be one of the only news source they read that day. You are bringing incredible value by keeping these connections up-to-date and are able to build a deep connection with someone who is typically very hard to reach. 

I have been using this networking tool for years, and would say 70% of my business comes from relationships I built using this method. Of course, reading hundreds of blogs and new sources can be totally time consuming, so I broke down the tools and system I use below. 

1. Scan the news 

I don’t have hours each day to spend thumbing through blogs, so most of my reading happens on my phone when I am moving between meetings.

I normally start with the blogs I subscribe to on Feedly, and then move over to Zite

Zite is amazing because you can subscribe to categories based on keywords. This means you can pick hyper-niches to follow, and gather news about a very specific industry. When I get bored with those sites, I have a bunch of other apps that I use depending on my mood. Some of my favorites are Flipbard, Nuzzel, Medium and of course Buzzfeed

2. Bookmark the best links

I spend the entire time I am flipping through blogs thinking about who would find the content interesting. The goal of scanning these apps is not to read every single blog post, but to sift through headlines and find the pieces of content that are going to be most useful to you. 

Keep this question in the back of your head–Who would find this information useful? 

I add all of the interesting links to “Get Pocket” so I can dig into them later. 

3. Review and send around 

Once a day I log-in to Get Pocket and read through the links I saved.

I send the most interesting links to the people in my network who might find it useful with a little info on why I thought they might like it. 

The goal of this exercise is not to be their source of news, but to give them a new idea or business perspective they can apply to their work. 

Try it out yourself. Send five links to people you love to work with, and let me know what happens. 

 

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I had an intervention last week.

Actually a couple of them.

The best part of having mentors who are further along in their career is that they can see your obstacles much more clearly than you can see them yourself.

Last week, I got into a debate over one of my blog posts with a mentor-friend of mine. She texted me late that night, “I have been reading your blog, and I can tell you are stressed the f**k out.” 

 

She was right.

Here is the thing. Self employment is hard y’all.

I want to tell everyone to quit their job, stick it to the man and build a career that makes their life great. We are living amidst the gig economy where freelancing has never been more possible. 

But I know why you don’t make the leap.

Steady paychecks are nice. A luxury, even. 

Living in an “eat what you kill” mindset is HARD.

At any given time I’m thinking about…

  • Drumming up new business
  • Keeping up with current projects 
  • Drafting invoices to send out 
  • Connecting with new people on social media 
  • Paying this week’s bills
  • Paying last week’s bills
  • How are those going to get paid?
  • Remembering the boys start soccer camp next month.
  • Thinking that it’s time to put new tires on the car, isn’t it? 
  • Trying to put aside enough money to pay rent on the first 

The idea of “balance” is nice. But the fear of failing, going bankrupt and living on the side of the road is REAL. 

So I took the weekend off, and started thinking about how I could manage my career in a way that didn’t push me over the edge. 

Here is what I learned: 

1.  Assess your income from  the past few months. 

I took a step back and looked at my earnings from the past few months. 

I consistently hit all of my sales goals for the past three months. But then I got bored and changed my focus and my sales reflected that.

Instead of realizing what was happening, I freaked out and spent a week totally stressed and completely unfocused. I did all of this without even realizing it was happening.

Once I recognized the changes in my income, I pinpointed where I needed to focus more of my time and put the plan in action. 

Look at your earning. Identify the trends and learn from your mistakes.

2. Optimize your side projects 

After assessing my income, I realized I have been focusing a ton of effort into building a portfolio of courses, writing consistently and building relationships online.

The problem is that all of these things take a ton of time and make me very little money. They mostly just make me happy. Instead of giving them up, I found ways to optimize these projects so they took me less time and made me more money. 

I killed all of my existing courses, and started focusing on creating larger more effective programs that include experts that span way beyond just me. 

My first course is all about building a career that works for your life, and includes some of my favorite career experts online.  (you can get all of the details here

This new format makes the courses more interesting for participants, and gives me more time to line up amazing presenters.  

Win win for everyone.

3. Give yourself a break. 

It’s really hard to take time off when you are self-employed. 

You spend all day measuring your time in relation to money, which easily translates to your personal life. Suddenly, you find yourself coming up with sneaky plans to do work while you are supposed to be doing family/life stuff. 

Just stop.

You are going to burn out.

Assessing your income and killing the project that aren’t working is best way to increase your earnings. Giving up your life for work is not. 

Take a step back. Asses where you are and refocus your efforts.

Over the past few years, we have seen a number of platforms and apps pop up that allows bloggers to monetize their influence. If you are an active blogger, you have most likely been pitched by two-dozen startups wanting to help you make more money. 

It can feel impossible to sift through all of the pitches, so I have pulled together five of the best apps for monetizing your blog. 

coursecraft

 

 

 

 

1. Course Craft
Course craft is a simple platform that allows you to create and sell courses from any site. I use this platform for some of my own courses, and love the simple interface they have created. Course Craft allows you to launch new courses and sell them instantly in exchange for a small percentage of revenue. You can get more details here.

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2. Rafflecopter

Rafflecopter is an amazing tool for bloggers that host regular giveaways. They allow you to create a simple widget that manages all of the details involved in hosting giveaways. Test it out the next time you are hosting a giveaway, and let us know your thoughts! 

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3. Soldsie 

Soldsie allows you to sell products directly on Facebook and instagram. I have noticed a huge trend in bloggers hosting “closet sales” online, and it seems they have had some amazing results. Soldsie allows you to create a closet sale and start making money in seconds. 

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4. Sellfy 

There are a billion articles across the web giving you tricks for formatting and selling your ebooks. Sellfy has made the process simple by allowing you to instantly publish and being selling PDF ebooks. Sellfy is a great solution for publishing that brilliant ebook you have been working on, or want to create a downloadble workbook for your readers. 

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5. Guides.co 

Writing an ebook can feel like a never ending project. How are you supposed to find time to write a book when you spend your days writing content online? Guides.co allows you to sell digital guides that take less time to create and are more interactive than traditional ebooks. 

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1. Nobody wants to hire a remote worker 

A couple of month ago I had an interview with a recruiter at a huge email marketing company. I have so many connections in the business and career blogging space that I KNEW I could bring more value to the position than any of their local candidates. 

The only catch? I work remotely.

The recruiter asked me why they would hire me when they have candidates that actually want to come to work everyday. No company in the world would choose to hire a remote worker if they had the talent available locally.

Which brings me to my next point…

2. Negotiating a raise will be significantly harder   Working at home is viewed as the ultimate perk. In theory, everyone in the world wishes they could sit home everyday.  In reality, working from home can mean twelve-hour workdays, and bribing your kids with fruit snack to be quiet during a conference call.

This doesn’t matter.

Landing a job that allows you to work from home is really hard. And everyone at a company that allows you to work from home will think you are getting the best deal in the world. This will make it harder to convince them you need a raise or promotion or more perks regardless of how hard you work.

3. Your will have absolutely no career stability It is almost always cheaper and more efficient to have someone locally do your job. The only way to compete with local talent is to become the master of a very specific specialty that is in high-demand.  

Still, this will only land you the gig. It will not guarantee that the company will keep you on-board long-term.

If you work remotely, you have to constantly be thinking about your next step. There is absolutely no stability in your career, but acknowledging that allows you to build a plan around it.  

4. Your manager will have absolutely no idea how to manage you 

Managers are trained to lead a staff of people who work side-by-side to them every single day. Very few managers have experience with remote workers, which creates a huge learning curve for every new gig you take on.

The key to success is learning the art of managing up, and mastering your ability to keep yourself on track.

Next week, I am hosting a three day live-video course about how to build a career working from home.

 I will be sharing the detailed story of how I built a career working remotely, and what I learned along the way.

You can get all of the details here.