Prospecting, a term frequently thrown around in the business world, is often perceived as the holy grail of customer acquisition. Many individuals and businesses rely on methods like cold emailing, LinkedIn messaging, or even outsourcing the task to agencies or freelancers. However, if your prospecting efforts are falling flat and you’re struggling to secure more than ten appointments per month, it’s time to reassess your strategy.
The Deceptive Nature of Prospecting
Let’s begin by debunking a common myth perpetuated by the prospecting industry: the notion that prospecting, or more broadly, outreach marketing, is the ultimate method for acquiring customers. While there’s some truth to this, it’s crucial to understand the whole picture. Prospecting is indeed valuable, especially if you’re bootstrapping your business with limited funds and marketing resources. In such cases, reaching out directly to potential clients can yield results, albeit modest ones (generally around 1-2% conversion rate).
However, here’s the catch: if you’ve got a marketing budget to work with, it’s unwise to funnel it primarily into prospecting.
The Crucial Element: SEO and Content Marketing
To grasp why your prospecting might be underperforming, let’s delve into the numbers. Over the past four years, I’ve meticulously collected campaign data from PROTIP Marketing’s various clients, and I’ve identified a critical factor influencing prospecting effectiveness: SEO and content marketing. These two components play a pivotal role in both converting prospects into appointments and turning appointments into signed contracts.
Here’s a breakdown of the numbers:
- No SEO, No Content, No Website: If your company lacks SEO, content, and a website, your prospecting conversion rate is dismal, hovering between 0 and 0.2%. Essentially, you’d need to send 500 messages to secure a single appointment.
- Website Presence: Having a website helps a bit. In such cases, the conversion rate improves slightly, ranging from 0.5% to 1%. This means you’d need to send just over 100 messages to schedule one appointment.
- Website + Active SEO: Businesses with a website and active SEO perform better, achieving a conversion rate of 1% to 2%. This translates to 1 to 2 appointments for every 100 messages.
It’s worth noting that prospecting isn’t always a short game. Sometimes it takes up to a year from the first contact to schedule an appointment, depending on your industry.
The Prospecting Champions
The real pros in prospecting are those who combine it with SEO and content marketing. Two distinct groups stand out within this category. One group utilizes textual content marketing, such as social media posts and blogs, with conversion rates ranging from 2% to 7%. On the other hand, the true masters are companies employing video content marketing, such as YouTube channels, boasting conversion rates ranging from 9% to a staggering 18%. Yes, you read that right – up to 18 appointments for every 100 messages sent.
In essence, prospecting is most effective when used as a potent supplement to your existing SEO and content marketing strategies. Without these foundational elements, you’re essentially just sending spam, which annoys rather than engages your prospects.
Crafting Effective Messages
When crafting content for prospecting messages, resist the urge to rush into scheduling appointments. People are generally averse to immediate meeting requests in their first interaction. Instead, focus on how you can genuinely help them. Once they see the relevance of your offer, then you can consider proposing a meeting. Avoid wasting time on unnecessary meetings.
Seek Expert Guidance
If you’re new to prospecting and wish to maximize its effectiveness, consider seeking guidance from experts. There are numerous resources available, including YouTube channels like Karston Fox’s, where you can learn valuable prospecting insights. Alternatively, if you’re running an online business, feel free to reach out to me for a free consultation. In many cases, expert guidance can double or even quintuple your results – an investment well worth making from the outset.
The Pitfalls of Payment Based on Results
Lastly, let’s address the issue of payment based on results in the prospecting industry. While it might seem appealing, it often leads to problems. The best agencies typically shy away from such arrangements due to the uncertainty of payment. Agencies willing to work solely for results may lack clients and a track record of successful projects, potentially resulting in wasted time and resources for your business.
Moreover, agencies focused on results tend to prioritize quantity over quality. They may generate numerous appointments but overlook the need for high-quality leads that actually convert into deals. Furthermore, they may propose a fixed price per appointment, which may not align with your industry, service, or target audience. Costs can vary significantly, with small business owner appointments sometimes costing as little as $23, while securing appointments with corporate CEOs can soar to around $500.
To sum it up, if you want to succeed in prospecting, follow this sequence: first, invest in SEO; then, embark on content marketing, preferably incorporating video; and finally, dive into prospecting. Avoid my past mistakes of doing it backward and wasting resources. If you found this article helpful, please subscribe, and stay tuned for more tutorial-oriented content in the future. Goodbye for now.