So you’ve invested in awesome content and transformed your company website into a lead generating machine - and you've most likely already celebrated your first genuine lead off your website. It’s a win and an exciting time for your company. The pressure is on to take your leads through the marketing process until they are sales-ready. Aligning the Sales and Marketing teams around the same goals and buyer personain order to increase
As a marketer, you know that having gained more leads is huge step in the right direction, but that it’s not enough and won’t, by default, mean more sales. You now have the job to nurture those prospects and prime them for the sales team. What is the best, proven and cost-effective means to achieve this? The answer is simple and probably right at your fingertips: email.
Why Email Marketing Works
It starts a conversation with potential customers. But be careful not to bombard leads with irrelevant sausage machine type correspondence they will instantly delete or move to their trash folder. If email marketing is done right, you can not only start a conversation, but also keep that dialogue going. Emails have the added benefit that they serve as real time recordings of those interactions and that, in itself, can be a valuable learning tool later on.
Ask yourself these 5 questions when compiling an email intended to nurture a lead:
- Is the content relevant and engaging?
Your content should not only be informative, it should also speak directly to your audience AND it should motivate them to take action. Offering something of value is a great way to attract and keep interest. Deciding what you want to achieve by sending the email should be the starting point when compiling the content for the email.
- Is it personal enough?
Don’t make the recipient feel as if they are on a mass mailing list. Be sure to review their history of interaction with your business before you hit the send button. Has a lead identified a preference for a certain category of products or services? Use that knowledge to tailor the email to identify even more strongly with its recipient.
- Have I targeted this correctly?
Be sure that you know where in the sales funnel your leads are before you send content that may not be relevant to where they are in the process. Present a strong call-to-action as their interest is peaking.
- Can I say what I need to in fewer words?
Be concise. Keep your content focused. It’s better to keep the reader’s attention for everything you have to say, than have them lose interest half way through – risking that they missed the most important part. Less is more.
- Is this the right time to send the email?
Is it too late? Is it too soon? When and how often you send emails should be determined by where the lead is in the purchasing cycle. By making use of a marketing automation tool you can segment your database in a way that makes sense and will help you determine the best time to send emails as well as what content will be best received.
Unless you divide your database of leads into segments, it will be nearly impossible to send out emails that retain those prospects. Marketing automation tools make setting up smart segmented emails easy. Instead of taking a shot in the dark when you send out your content, consider the flowing segment strategies and market accordingly.
Where did you get the lead from? Revise your message based on the source of the lead. For example if the lead was generated from a Webinar on offer, then you might open with: ‘We noticed that you signed up for one of our Webinars…’ Now the reader knows how you identified him – that’s important. No-one likes receiving random correspondence.
If inbound leads represent a fruit salad of job functions, and your product or service means something very different to a CFO compared to his/her colleague in another department, your emails should be tailored to reflect those differences in order to remain relevant.
It’s often difficult to identify a precise sales stage based simply on a lead’s behaviour. Does a Webinar registration imply more interest than a white paper download?
Interpret a prospect’s behaviour based on his activity (or lack thereof). By reviewing activities you could decide to segment emails based on who opened one or more of your emails in the last 3 months, versus those who didn’t. For prospects who registered for a Webinar, it might mean that you have to write a specific message addressing these leads while creating a separate track of emails for leads who haven’t visited your website in 6 months.
Set up your lead scoring accordingly in your chosen marketing automation software.
Identifying a lead’s main interest is most important when creating a message that is relevant. The challenge is identifying that interest early in the process. One method is to track behaviour, such as which Web pages were visited.
By applying these nurturing principles to your email marketing campaign you’ll soon see an increase in qualified leads that are sales-ready.