Twitter as a social media platform has all of the usual benefits; it’s capable of reaching a wide audience, it’s a great way to easily interact with your fans and it helps you build a bran persona and reputation. However, it’s also incredibly useful as a lead generator. How can you use it to find potential customers?
Ask Questions and Look for Problems
The first step towards generating leads is to find a problem in your niche, among your followers. You have two ways to go about this; directly and indirectly.
The direct approach is simple; just post a tweet asking your followers what they see as the biggest problem with something, be it the industry, your products, a competitor’s products or anything else. Don’t ask them something too generic, like what they see as the biggest problem in the world today, because it’s unlikely you can do anything to stop oil dependency, a political two-party system or foreign war. Try to limit your subject to something you could potentially interact with in a favorable way.
The indirect approach is a little more subtle. Ask questions of your users about specific issues. Rather than “What’s the biggest problem with __” you can ask “Is __ a problem for your business?” Take the time to feel out your followers and learn what their problems are running their own businesses, or using competitors products, or whatever.
The goal here is to accumulate ideas for problems you can take steps to solve. Once you have a decent list, you can move on to the next step.
Offer Solutions to Common Problems
Now that you know what the most common problems are, it’s time to do something about them. This will be a very time-consuming process, because you are essentially doing all of the research and development necessary to create a new product.
Consider the problem from various angles and come up with a product or service that can solve that problem for as many users as possible, while still offering room for your business to profit from the conversion. This may mean developing a product in direct competition with an existing product – the do-it-better approach – or it may mean developing a product where no previous product exists.
Having a solution you can monetize is important, and many businesses stop here. Traditional marketing is serviceable, after all, and you can easily go through the motions of a standard product announcement, advertising and iteration plan. With Twitter and your website, you can take it another step beyond, generating unique leads you won’t find elsewhere.
Inform Customers of the Problem and Your Solution
Now it’s time to go back to Twitter with your product. In addition to any standard advertising you’re using, you need to use Twitter to advertise your product. Discuss the problem you heard about from you Twitter users and inform them that you’ve created a product to help them with that exact problem.
The link you use at this point will direct back to a special landing page on your site. This landing page is free of other navigation and distractions; all it does is explain the problem, explain the solution and encourage users to subscribe to your mailing list for more information. You may also benefit from selling your product directly on the landing page; split-test different pages to discover which works best.
Generally, the best announcement here is an infographic or a video, depending on the complexity of the problem and the resources you have to explain it. The key to using a video for this purpose is to avoid sounding condescending when talking to your audience. You don’t want to make them feel like they’re stupid for not coming up with the idea first.
Harvest Contact Information from Interested Users
Using Twitter lead generation cards and your landing page, you should be harvesting the personal data of the people who are interested in your product. Anyone who clicks through to your landing page should be encourage or required to put in their name and email address into your system.
You don’t need to collect a lot of personal information. You need email so you can successfully pursue leads you collect through this method. You need name to help personalize individual messages you send, even though those messages are going to be generated automatically. You have no need of address information or financial information, or really anything else.
Twitter cards are great for this because all a Twitter user needs to do is click a button. Their name and email address are automatically scraped from their profile information and they’re automatically forwarded to your landing page. You can use various forms of link tracking, both on and off Twitter, to follow these users in other ways. Facebook retargeting can be useful here, among other methods of tracking and advertising.
Initiate an Email Campaign to Inform and Sell
At this point you will need an email autoresponder tool. There are a wide array of possible tools available; try them out and find which one you like the best.
The goal with your email campaign is to immediately attract and encourage further engagement and conversion. When a user clicks through and shows themselves to be interested in your product, the first message they receive is instantaneous and benign. A simple thank you email is all you need. Don’t try to cram this email full of multimedia or ad copy; that comes later.
After this, you’ll want a series of emails set to send every few days. These emails serve as reminders of your product, as well as testimonials for both the problem and the solution. Essentially, you want to spend these emails hyping up the problem. Tell stories about other users who have suffered from the problem, even if you have to make up hypothetical examples.
After a few rounds of emails, you can start transitioning into how to solve the problem, in an abstract sense. You don’t want to push into sales territory just yet; instead, talk in broad strokes about how you would solve the problem. Only in the last few emails do you get into the specifics, promoting your problem as an easy way to accomplish what you talked about in previous messages. By this point, you should have impressed upon your followers just how bad the problem can be, how much work the solution is and how easy your product makes it.
Measure, Iterate, Repeat
Each step of the way, analytics help you gauge interest and determine how effective your emails have been. Analyze the behavior of your users through clicks, heatmaps and analytics on your landing page. Learn from what doesn’t work and make note of what does.
At this point, you’ve done all you can; Twitter lead generation is a mostly passive affair once you have an email campaign set up. All you need to do is tweet about the problem occasionally.
After this, all you can do is iterate and repeat. Go back to the first step and start looking into other problems. The product development cycle can take a long time, so you may want to get started earlier rather than later. Set up another campaign for another product and keep creating these passive lead generation streams from Twitter.