9 Small Business Marketing Essentials to Increase Engaged Contacts and Inbound Leads

Friday Funnel Focus by EPOCH Sales Management Solutions

Creating marketing campaigns that focus on increasing engaged contacts and inbound leads is essential for the growth of a small business.  Engaged contacts are individuals who have shown interest in your business and are more likely to convert into customers. By segmenting these contacts and nurturing them through personalized communication, you can build trust and credibility with your audience. Inbound leads, on the other hand, are individuals who have actively sought out your business and are already interested in what you have to offer. By attracting these leads, you can save time and resources by segmenting individuals who are more likely to convert. Additionally, inbound leads are often higher quality leads, as they have already expressed a need and thus an interest in your products or services.

These campaigns typically have two outcomes:

  • Help you create more new sales opportunities
  • Help you identify potential dream accounts that deserve Account Based Marketing (ABM) strategy efforts

Here are the best steps to plan such a strategy:

Review the Vision to include your 10 year target, 3 year picture and 1 year plan. Compare this with where you are today.  Then define the strategies to close the "gap" between where you are and where you want to go.


1. Conduct Market Research

Gather information about your industry, competitors, and market trends. This research will help you identify opportunities and challenges related to your current reality as you build out your goals and your marketing strategy.

We typically share a process called Six Factor SWOT analysis developed by Jeremey Donovan and Marylou Tyler in their book Predictable Prospecting to assist in Market Research for Sales and Marketing strategies.


   2. Set Clear Goals

Establish specific, measurable, actionable, risky, time-bound, exciting, and relevant (SMARTER) goals for your marketing efforts. 

To decide which sales funnel to create first, ask the following questions:.

  • What are the objectives of the company?
  • Is the company in a transition?
  • Is the company aiming for pure revenue growth or are you trying to grow a specific division?
  • What is the most profitable division or product that the company currently has on the market?
  • What product is the company going to sell?

“My theory on growing a company is to decrease the size of the sails that are not billowing and increase the size of the sails that are.”
-Donald Miller

Setting the number goal

There are a few different goals that you can set which will give you further information to make your decisions

  • The Actual Goal - What we want to achieve.
  • The Failure Goal - If we only sell this, we need to analyze the product itself and the campaign
  • The Stretch Goal - We know we are onto something. If we achieve this goal, we know we have a good product and good messaging.

While ultimately, the typical goal for the small business owner is to grow revenue and profit, initial steps may be to grow engaged contacts, form submissions etc.


     3. Define Your Target Audience

The first step in any successful marketing plan is to identify your ideal customer persona(s). Understand their demographics, preferences, pain points, and behaviors. Understand your ideal customer journey throughout the buyer's journey from Awareness to Interest to Evaluating to Taking Action to match content to the proper stage in the journey. This will help you in targeting your marketing efforts so you are reaching out to the right audience. 


     4. Develop Your Messaging

The goal of your messaging is to clearly articulate what sort of story you are inviting people into. We recommend that you use Donald Miller’s mystorybrand.com tool and Marketing Made Simple, Chapter 4, Create Your One-Liner, as a guide here. Reading his book, Building A StoryBrand will provide more context for you.


5. Create a Wireframe of a Landing Page or the website


The website is a place where you sell your customer a product that solves their problem and makes their life better. It should address these questions:

  • What is the problem you solve?
  • How does your customer feel after you solve their problem?
  • How does somebody usually buy your product or service?
  • Was there unforeseen value that was added  to your customer’s life when you bought this product?

A Wireframe (or mockup) of the landing page or website will guide the designer as they create your landing page or website. Here are the elements for the wireframe per Donald Miller in Marketing Made Simple, Chapter 5, A Wireframed Website That Works:

  • The Header: The very top of your landing page or website, in which you use very few words to let people know what you offer. Address what you offer, how it makes your customers’ lives better, where and how to buy it. 
  • The Stakes: The section of the landing page or website in which you explain what you are saving customers from. What will life look like if they don’t buy it?
  • The Value Proposition: The section of a landing page or website in which you add value by explaining why your products or services are valuable to your target audience. What does your customer’s life look like if they do buy your product?
  • The Guide: The section of the landing page or website in which you introduce yourself as the brand or person who can solve your customer’s problem. Demonstrate empathy and authority.
  • The Plan: The part where you reveal the 3-4 step path a customer must take to do business with you and solve their problem. 
  • The Explanatory Paragraph: A long-form BrandScript script in which you invite your customers into a simple, clear and easy story on how they can solve their problem. This will also contribute to improving your SEO. 
  • The Video (Optional): A video in which you reiterate much of what was on the website in a more dynamic form. 
  • Price Choices (Optional): The divisions of your company or your list of products. How will you visually display the price or prices of this product?
  • “Junk Drawer”: Donald Miller says to list everything you previously thought was important here e.g. About Us and other sections “about you”.

Ensure your website is user-friendly, mobile-responsive, and optimized for search engines (SEO). Make it easy for visitors to find valuable information and how to contact you. Optimize your website’s content to increase your organic traffic on search engines and make your site more easily found by your potential customers. This includes keyword research, on-page optimization, and link-building.


     6. Build Lead Generator Items

Offer lead magnets, such as free webinars, eBooks, or templates, in exchange for contact information. This will become ‘gated’ content that helps you build a marketable database, track downloads and measure engagement. Review BrandScript script and one-liner as an effort to stay consistent in your content.

“People want to stay in touch with  you if you are interesting and can help them survive.”
-Donald Miller

Goals of a Lead Generator

  • Positions you as a guide
  • Differentiates you from others
  • Qualifies prospects
  • Build trust while solving a problem for your prospects
  • Create reciprocity
  • Have an interesting title

Types of Lead Generators

  • Checklist to solve a problem
  • Worksheet to solve a problem
  • Masterclass or Webinar to solve a problem
  • Samples
  • Something Curious to get their attention
  • List of pitfalls and challenges to avoid
  • Infographics
  • White Papers
  • eBooks

Building a Lead Generator

Create a title that gets the attention of your target audience. (Not feeling creative? Use a service like ChatGPT to get you started!) 

Lead Generator Content

The External Problem and your empathy

  • What’s a problem your prospects experience?
  • What is an empathetic statement you can make about their pain?
  • What have you accomplished that elicit trust that you can solve their problem?

The Internal Problem and your solution

  • What emotional frustrations do your prospects feel?
  • What solution can you offer?

List out a step by step plan

Define The Stakes

  • What are the negative consequences of not doing something
  • Call to action. What should they do next?

Lead Generators may show them what to do, but rarely show them how to do it. That is what they pay you money to do. Use landing pages and forms to capture leads.


    7. Promote your Lead Generators


Having a lead generator by itself will not bring in a wealth of leads. You will need to promote your lead generators and there are a number of ways this can be done.


Include a pop-up on your website to encourage users to submit their information into your lead generator. You can also have multiple calls to action (CTAs) throughout the site to have visitors engage with your lead generator.

Content Marketing

Develop a content strategy that aligns with your target audience's interests and needs. This can include blog posts, videos, infographics, and social media updates.

Create high-quality, informative, and valuable content that addresses your audience's pain points. This can establish your business as an industry authority and attract inbound leads.

Leverage Social Media

Choose the social media platforms where your target audience is most active and engage with them regularly. Share informative and entertaining content, run contests, and participate in relevant conversations. Posts with images will also have higher engagement than those that are text only.

Paid Advertising 

Use online advertising platforms like Google Ads and social media ads to reach a wider audience. Target your ads based on demographics, interests, and behavior to attract engaged leads. If you are unsure about how to best use ads, reach out to a professional to help you get the most out of your ad spend budget.

Email Marketing

Build an email list by offering incentives like newsletters, eBooks, or discounts on your products or services. Your email campaigns should be personalized and relevant to your audience to nurture leads and encourage engagement. Developing lead nurturing workflows or email drip campaigns to engage with your leads over time will also keep you top of mind. Provide valuable content and incentives in your campaigns to encourage conversations and let them know you have a product or service to sell.

    8. Follow Up on Lead Generation Activity

Lead Gen Follow-up Email campaign

Here is a sample email campaign, courtesy of Donald Miller and Marketing Made Simple, to follow-up on a lead gen response.

  • Deliver the asset email
  • Problem-solution email
  • Customer Testimonial
  • Overcome an objection
  • Paradigm Shift
  • Sales Email - Ask for the sale

Nurture Email Campaigns

The benefits of nurturing email campaigns help you increase the amount of engaged prospects and achieve the end result goal.

Elements of Nurturing Emails

  • Solve a problem
  • Offer Value
  • Remind them you have a solution
  • Send customers back to your website

Types of Email Nurturing Campaigns

There are two types of nurturing email campaigns: Periodic Announcements and Periodic Tips.

  • Periodic announcements are consistent weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly announcements that provide some value to the reader.
  • Periodic tips are consistently shared tips either weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. These tips can be either business related or something that can be used more personally but still keeps you top of mind.

Structure of nurturing emails

The structure of your nurturing emails should include the following:

  • A clear title
  • A definition of the problem you are solving
  • Delivery of the strategic tip or value
  • Positioning yourself as a guide willing to share your expertise

This email structure will keep your messaging clear and build your credibility as a go-to resource in your field.


9. Content Refinement


Summarize your Marketing Strategy in one document. Review for continuity, consistency and completeness. When something has changed, be sure to revise and update your strategy as needed. And most importantly, execute your strategy!

Monitor and Analyze

Use analytics tools to track the performance of your marketing efforts. Measure key performance indicators (KPIs) like website traffic, conversion rates, and email open rates. Determine the right tech stack to manage these elements successfully and align this work. The benefit of a holistic CRM that tracks the marketing to sales handoff can then measure a successful marketing strategy i.e. what marketing attributions contributed to a higher rate of closed deals.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does one email seem to be working more than the others? 
  • Can we duplicate what is working in other emails by adding them in P.S.’s or similar language? 
  • What are customers responding to in terms of our message?
  •  What are customers not responding to in terms of our message? 
  • Are our calls to action strong enough? 
  • What is the most confusing aspect of our campaign and how can we fix it?

Adjust your strategy based on your answers and the data in your analysis. Marketing is an ongoing process. Continue to refine your strategy based on results, feedback, and changing market conditions. Ensure that your marketing practices comply with relevant laws and regulations, such as GDPR, for handling customer data and CAN-SPAM for email marketing. Allocate your marketing budget strategically based on the channels that yield the best results. Be prepared to adjust your budget as needed. There may be trends throughout the year that will change your budget and you will be able to determine this by looking at your analytics.

Remember that effective marketing takes time, consistency, and adaptation. Be patient and open to adjusting your strategy as you gather more data and insights about what works best for your small business.


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October 27th, 2023|Categories: | |

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