Catching the right leads is just like catching fish. You’re likely groaning and rolling your eyes, but indulge the metaphor for a moment — good metaphors have a way of simplifying a concept to the point where everything feels obvious.
You would never take a boat into the middle of the ocean, and drop a line with a worm hoping to catch a whale shark, right? If we think of the internet as the ocean and ourselves as advanced anglers, we can do a better job of “catching” the right customers or clients more often.
There is more to fishing than baiting a hook with a worm, dropping a line, and waiting. A real fisherman follows these 5 steps:
Step 1: Identify your target fish.
Step 2: Find your target fish.
Step 3: Select the right fishing technique and bait.
Step 4: Land the fish.
Step 5: Eat the fish.
Let’s get started.
Step 1: Identify your target fish
First, you need to decide the kind of fish you’re targeting. Small, medium, or large? Bass, salmon, or alligator gar? Of course, you want to go after a large fish instead of catching a bunch of small ones. And let’s just say you like the taste of salmon best (bonus: it’s healthy for you), so you’ve decided to target large salmon.
Sound familiar? Before you can figure out how to attract, inform, and engage potential clients/customers, you need to figure out who your ideal client or customer is. This is called persona development.
Step 2: Find your target fish
Now that you’ve determined the type of fish you’re targeting (large salmon), you need to find out where they like to hang out. Salmon, in particular, is tricky to catch because of their seasonal migratory patterns — you need to be in the right place at the right time. Also, it helps not to fish in the same spot as several other fishermen.
Applying this to digital marketing, this is like segmenting and targeting your efforts to your precise demographic. Instead of simply running a display ad that everyone sees, you figure out when and where your target client or customer is gathered in the same place. Perhaps they all visit a particular website or attend the same trade show. That’s where you’ll want to start your marketing efforts.
Step 3: Select the right fishing technique and bait
Now that you know the fish you’re targeting (large salmon), and you’re at the right river at the right time of year, you need to select the right bait. There are several methods to catch salmon and no shortage of opinions on the best bait and technique. Do your own research, but you would be foolish to only bring one fishing pole with one kind of bait. What worked two days ago might not work today.
This really resonates as a metaphor for digital marketing. Reading blogs and guides are great for figuring out best practices, but with digital marketing, you have the luxury of trying a couple of different kinds of bait at the same time to see which works best. Whether you offer a compelling discount, educational white papers, free trial periods, or some other kind of incentive, A/B testing allows you to see what’s working and what’s not, and continue to optimize.
Step 4: Land the fish
You’re in the right place at the right time to catch a big salmon, and you get a nibble. Now you need to set the hook and reel it in. Easy right? Only if you have the right equipment and technique.
The same goes for digital marketing. Subscribing to your content is the equivalent of a nibble. Only through carefully designed nurture campaigns will you be able to turn your prospect into a customer.
Step 5: Eat the fish
OK, so maybe this is taking the metaphor too far.