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How to Avoid Each of the 6 Most Common Reasons Digital Lead Generation Systems Fail Many entrepreneurs abandon their sales funnel before giving it sufficient resources and time to succeed.

By Martin Smith

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Giuseppe Miglino | Getty Images

Businesses seeking growth are often eerily similar to serial dieters.

There's a process for achieving a healthy weight that will always be effective. Eat whole foods instead of those processed with preservatives. Sleep well, drink plenty of water and exercise at least three times a week, including both cardio and strength training. For 90 percent of people, that's the path to getting healthy. Still, many bounce from diet to diet without lasting results.

Creating business growth follows a similar proven process. There are only three ways to create growth: more customers, more transactions or a higher revenue per transaction. In all three, you must pinpoint the unique value you offer to the market and convey that value to a person who has both the desire for and means to buy. Exchange your product for an amount of money worth less than the value you provide. Rinse and repeat for maximum growth.

Even with knowledge of the proven formula, most growth-seeking entrepreneurs get caught in the same unproductive cycle as dieters. They move from one strategy to the next, somehow still optimistic that the next shiny offer is the missing piece. For both groups, there are gurus waiting to sink their teeth in ... and *ahem* offer a "breakthrough" discovery promising to make achieving their goals a reality.

Whether you're suffering from shiny object syndrome or simply looking to avoid the lead generation pitfalls blocking other companies from success, you're in the right place. Read on ...

Your growth strategy isn't the problem.

It blew my mind when a nutritionist at my gym told me an eight ounce glass of orange juice contains the total amount of sugar I should consume in a day. I thought replacing cake and ice cream with fruit was the perfect switch. Turns out I was wrong. Many entrepreneurs are similarly misled about business growth.

It's easy to get excited about the next big thing, but if you've tried various digital growth strategies without satisfactory results, another new strategy isn't the answer. Instead, you must identify and eliminate the recurring issue blocking your positive ROI. Over the years, I've noticed these common missteps are the culprits behind most growth system failures ...

1. Unfamiliar with the buyer life cycle

Many businesses survive on advertising to people ready to buy immediately and referral customers. They see prospects earlier in the buying process as "bad leads.'' Seasoned brands nurture leads from the initial stage of discovering their problem, through to finding a partner to help them solve it. When your funnel engages leads earlier in the buying process, you build relationships that bypass competitors and negate discounts.

Related: How to Get Customers to Keep Coming Back

2. Value disconnect

This critical misstep causes more underperforming funnels than any other. A value disconnect occurs when you make the wrong offer to the right person by asking for more commitment than they're ready for. Depending on where a person is in the buying process, the same 50-page guide could be easily ignored or gratefully received.

Related: How to Create a Lead Magnet That Actually Gets Leads

3. An unproven funnel

Often businesses run ads for a month and conclude they don't work. They want to invite passengers before they have a reliable funnel. You can't determine whether your ads work if you're not sending the traffic through a funnel proven to convert. To avoid this, measure the effectiveness of each step of your funnel independently to keep bottlenecks from blocking your success.

Related: 3 Tweaks That Dramatically Improve Your Sales Funnel

4. Underinvesting

Digital advertising leads may initially cost five times what they will cost once the funnel is optimized. Many companies, discouraged by these early inflated costs, fail to invest sufficiently to prove their funnel. To avoid underfunding, budget based on your average annual or lifetime customer value rather than on revenue from the initial sale alone.

Related: 4 Tools for Perfecting Your B2B Sales Funnel

5. Lack of a unique selling propostion

A unique selling proposition (USP) is the unique reason potential clients should choose you over any of your competitors or continue doing nothing. The differentiating factor must be both unique and valued by your prospect.

What's the difference between a Ralph Lauren polo shirt and similar shirts that costs half as much? Two cents' worth of embroidery. The brand name, image and reputation make up the unique value customers are buying. Identify your USP and prove it to your prospects to avoid lead generation failures.

Related: The 6 Essential Elements of a Powerful Unique Selling Proposition

6. Target market is too broad.

When advertising, most entrepreneurs seek to cast a broad net. This can lead them to create content too generic to engage anyone. To avoid this, niche down in your market. If you're the only company that specializes in serving women aged 50-60, all of your communication -- including your lead generation efforts -- should be shaped by what captivates that group. Your value to that audience will easily outshine generic competitors.

Any digital lead generation system can work if it helps you reach and communicate your company's value to qualified prospects. If you aren't seeing the business growth you desire, resist believing a shiny new strategy is the solution. It's likely that one or more of these six issues is clogging your funnel.

Martin Smith

Lead Generation Expert, CEO of Overflow Marketing Solutions

Martin Smith is the CEO of Overflow Marketing, an agency that uses a multi-channel approach to digital marketing to create consistent business growth. Also known as DJ Graffiti, he was voted Best DJ in Detroit and has shared stages with Jay-Z, Eminem, Beyoncé, J. Cole and Dave Chappelle.

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