I recently wrote about Lead Nurturing campaigns and how there is a tonne of statistics that all point to this style of marketing as being the way forward. Not only do the figures suggest that they deliver notably higher conversion rates but they can also drive forward those difficult to convert unqualified leads. Sounds lovely, but how do you actually undertake a campaign of this type and reap the benefits of increased sales?
Well, let’s start off by forgetting sales for the moment. In fact take everything you know about sales and park it in the bin, temporarily. Yes, improving sales is the desired outcome of this activity but these leads need to be carefully handled. Today, thanks to the web, we have almost all the information we need to make a purchase decision. Websites are full of product and company information, prices and even detailed product and company reviews. We have distanced ourselves from the heavy sales approach that was commonplace and often balk whenever we come into contact with it. These prospects are just the same and approached in the wrong way and/or at the wrong time, they’ll be gone.
Anyone, well almost anyone, can deliver an email campaign, but it takes a lot more consideration to nurture leads and a bit of strategic thinking needs to be applied. It’s no coincidence the term lead ‘nurturing’ is used. You need to care for and look after these leads until such time as they are sales ready, giving them gentle reminders about products and services that are relevant to their needs and building trust and ultimately a relationship with your brand.
As I discussed in my last article there are highly intuitive automated lead nurturing software packages on the market that can link with your CRM and other databases and once set up certainly make the process easier, however it is possible to run an effective lead nurturing campaign without one.
Where to start?
Before anything else you need to take stock and ascertain your current conversion rates and assess your funnel, if you have one. This will provide you with an understanding of where people are currently jumping ship or where there are blocks in the funnel, and it will give a clear benchmark for your lead nurturing campaign. If stats are anything to go by then over the course of a campaign you could expect to see 15%-20% of your ‘not ready to purchase’ leads convert into a sale (Gleanster). Set yourself a realistic goal for your campaign based on your current conversions.
Data can be captured from a variety of sources for all the different stages of the buying cycle, even before they’ve visited your site. The very best place to start is with the data you already have. Any information you have sourced from your own website, CRM system or any lists that you have purchased in the past. Once segmented (see part 2), these are great prospects for emailing as you have their information and can speak directly to them. These are prospects that can be considered to be in the ‘considering’ stage of the buying cycle as they have actively been looking for suitable products.
In order to capture those in the ‘awareness’ stage and also the early stages of ‘considering’ you should consider a targeted PPC campaign that drives traffic through to dedicated, content specific landing pages on your website. Generating new pages may seem like excessive work, but it’s the best way to retain as many visitors as possible as it is giving them the information they have been searching for on a plate. Take them to your home page and you run the risk of them getting lost.
Next week I’ll cover segmentation, generating content, testing and why persistence pays!
Update: Part 2 is now live here.