Three principles for lead generation

Philip Morgan

(Readin' time: 2m 26s)

So in response to my email discussing Elon musk's new hip-hop career yesterday this happened:


This was so weird, I just had to look deeper and try to figure out why this person took the time they did to tweet about this thing that seems completely unrelated to whatever they're doing (PR work, I think?).

As far as I can tell, this person has set up to auto-scan the Internet for stuff related to some set of keywords, and then it builds a newsletter-style publication and then tweets at the sources for this scraped publication, in--I guess--hopes that those sources will be flattered and delighted and share the auto-generated publication with others and somehow benefit the person who set this all up in the first place?

The internet and the web are absolute miracles. Marvels, miracles, and... sometimes... total mysteries. Like at some point is it just going to become bots or agents running amok and interacting with other bot/agents and reporting back to their human owners a decimal number in a red circle that we take to indicate as success or failure or mediocrity?

This makes me think--marvel actually--at how complex and weird people's notions of lead generation have gotten. As soon as a notion of lead generation starts to include any of the following, frankly, I get suspicious:

  • Virality
  • Aspiring for numbers beyond 100 at a time (views on a piece of writing, likes on something, butts in seats at an event, etc.)
  • Expectations for continual up-and-to-the-right growth of some vanity metric (list subscribers, etc.)
  • Things that would be exhausting for a human to do so you fall back to automation

Suspicious <> reject outright or condemn other people using. Instead, suspicious = think long and hard about what's really happening.

My personal antidote to this is to think of lead generation in terms of a few simple principles, which are:

  • You're seeking to connect with prospective clients
  • You're then seeking to earn trust from those you've connected with, possibly while you are connecting with them, likely after you have connected with them
  • You're seeking to do this connecting and trust-building in a socially risky context (public speaking and teaching are two good examples of social risk-taking)

That's it! Three principles that I think are simple enough to use to vett any lead generation opportunity you might come across or--more likely--hear some internet guru type telling you you must use.

Those principles are simple, but they will lead you to inconclusive answers if you do not have a clear picture of who you are trying to connect and build trust with.

That's the front-end benefit of specialization. It makes much more clear who you are trying to connect and build trust with, and that clarity of focus allows you--finally!--to answer the question: will this lead generation approach be a good fit for connecting and building trust with this specific ideal client? (The back-end benefit of specialization is the ability to cultivate deep valuable expertise.)

So specialization combined with the three principles above give you what you need to make sense of the crazy bizarre world of online lead generation today.

Should you set up like the person I referenced above did?

I don't know!

But you will, if you're clear on who you're trying to connect and build trust with and you use my three principles.