In the first part of our ‘What is lead nurturing?’ guide, we explained how lead nurturing is a system designed to help you make the most from your web traffic. We left our fictional company - a small legal practice - in a much better marketing position than they’d started in, with a good flow of opportunities heading through our new lead nurturing system.
The question for the company now is, ‘What next?’ We’ve started down a very productive course of obtaining contact details and we’ve sent out our first email, but how can we develop the system even further, adding even more relevant steps?
In this Part 2 of our guide, we’ll give you some ideas for further marketing. Each of the below could very well be the perfect fit for you, but at this point a bit of trial and error is needed; what do your potential clients respond to, what produces the most opportunities and what gets the strongest reactions? Time to find out!
Time to sell?
At some point during your lead nurturing programme, you might decide that it’s an appropriate time to pick up the phone and attempt to win a new client. Whether this is appropriate for you or not will depend on your industry, your firm, your internal team and how you normally win business.
Let’s take the point we were at with our last example in Part 1 (you can see this on the left but check the first post for the full lead nurturing programme to this point). Potential clients had arrived via a very relevant Google search, we had sent them a detailed guide on a topic we know they were interested in and we’d sent a follow-up email with some more content of value.
At this point, some firms will decide that giving the potential client a call is perfectly fine. The client has, of course, willingly given their contact details, we know what they are interested in, and a follow-up call to our last email could begin along the lines of, ‘I’m just calling to check you got everything you need from our guide’. It’s a good approach and a completely valid way to finish your lead nurturing programme, so if this works for you then go for it and see what the results are!
The less aggressive ‘sell’
The argument against the above approach is that these sales are now no longer opportunities coming in to you (known as inbound marketing), but have become you calling prospects (known as outbound, or interruption marketing). No matter how warm your prospect, you may still be disturbing their day with your call which, so goes the marketing thinking, is not as sound a basis for a good sale and a good supplier/client relationship than if we can get the client to pick up the phone and call us, book an appointment, or otherwise get in touch. So, how do we do that?
In this case, we’ve just sent out an email with a link to a new piece of content. If the client clicks the content (which, let’s not forget, is now the third piece of our content on that topic they’ve looked at), it’s now reasonable to assume that they are extremely interested in the small claims court. At this point, for those following an inbound marketing route, we could try to escalate the level of contact we have with the client, without resorting to the ‘hard’ sell.
There are a number of ways of doing this and, again, trial and error will produce some measurable results to give you an indication of what works best for your firm. A popular approach is to offer some of your time to give the potential client some ‘informal advice’. Pairing this with a form on a new email, which allows them to book a call back from you, can really work, allowing you to talk to, and ultimately sell to, the interested party. Other options, again depending on your industry, could include an invitation to a webinar, or to a larger physical event.
In any of these cases, your aim is to escalate the level of contact you have with the potential client. It is still incumbent on the potential client to agree to get in touch with you (inbound), but each of the above will eventually lead to a physical conversation, giving you the chance to take the relationship to the next level.
What if someone ‘exits’ your lead nurturing programme?
It is inevitable that even the best lead nurturing programmes will ‘lose’ people along the way. In our example, if someone does not click on the new, third piece of content in our email, we may well consider them to have ‘exited’ the programme, meaning that they do get to the above next stage.
But an exit from a programme does not mean that a potential client is no longer interested. Remember: at this point the contact has clicked on two pieces of content, so at some point they did want to hear about what we were talking about. Letting them just disappear, without any further contact, returns us to where we were at the start: website visitors who we have no chance to sell to.
Instead, consider where people need to go once they exit a programme. There are two common options here. Firstly, we could re-mail them the email they failed to interact with. We all have busy days, ignore emails, go on holiday and press delete by mistake. Maybe your subject line wasn’t catchy enough, or your email simply arrived in their inbox on a day they had meetings. Re-mails can be set with a definable time delay, so make a few edits and send them that stage of your campaign on another day.
Another option is to accept that your visitor is no longer interested in the small claims court. This step could happen before or after your re-mail, depending on how you find that working for you. Instead of just losing contact with the visitor though, why not subscribe them to your regular newsletter? The visitor doesn’t seem interested now, but they clearly were at one point, so keep in touch and you never know! If they click an article contained in your newsletter (let’s say it’s covering insurance fraud against businesses and how to guard against it), then why not start them on a whole new lead nurturing programme?
In this two part guide then, we’ve covered how lead nurturing can turn website visitors into interested opportunities and how you can progress those opportunities to sales. Now all you need to do for great marketing is go and implement the above as a definable, measurable, repeatable system on your website! Make sure you let us know how you get on!
By Sam Turner. Sam is ClientsFirst's Online Marketing Strategist and writes here on topics including; inbound and content marketing, social media, design and e-marketing. He likes all of those things as well as travel, golf and frequent cups of tea. You can find him on Google+, Twitter & LinkedIn.