Your small business has come a long way. With a fully functional website and a significant social media presence, you feel as if your leads will come pouring in, but as the days tick by, you notice that your bounce rate is up and your sales aren’t going up. Though you have the right tools, you need to know how to be able to use them effectively.
That is where lead generation and nurturing comes in. Lead generation is the process promoting your company as helpful and resourceful so as to be seen by customers as trustworthy. By doing this, you show yourself as an industry leader, one that consumers will come to trust and respect. When they need a product similar to yours, they will come right to you.
In order to generate great leads, you need to be able to nurture them. This process does not take place overnight and it involves good communication between you and your audience in a measurable way so you can steer them in the direction of your sales funnel. Once your leads see how valuable your company is, they will be happy to buy from you.
At its core, lead nurturing is all about email communication. These are targeted emails that appeal to a certain demographic, share a specific call-to-action and meet the needs to the demographic at different stages of the buying process.
Determine your audiences
Take a look at your current contact list. Who is giving you his or her email address? How is your company fulfilling that consumer’s needs?
In order to successfully nurture leads, you need to know what type of lead you are nurturing in the first place. As all consumers have different needs, you need to be sure that you know which lead needs which type of nurturing.
First, you divide up your contact or customer list into separate audience types, such as teenagers, parents, brides, people who previously bought a certain type of shirt from you or small business owners. Each audience type has its own needs and wants that you should be addressing in your emails. If you try to market generally to everyone, you will not be able to meet everyone’s needs. It is best to divide your contact list. Remember that some contacts can be on multiple lists, depending on how you gather your contacts.
Speaking of gathering contacts, how are you gathering contacts? This is where your website comes into play. Your website should offer visitors the option to opt in for email newsletters as a way to keep in touch with your product and your company. If you have eBooks available for download, make sure they are gated, meaning that a visitor must first give you his or her email address before accessing the content.
In addition to names and email addresses, make sure you have one easy defining question to establish a visitor’s intent or demographic. Your question should be staged as ‘I am’ and then have a drop-down menu of selections. If you own a bakery, your drop-down menu options might be cookie lover, cupcake fan or brownie babe. These will give you an idea of your audience’s favourite treats and how to craft emails that will appeal to them.
Content is king
In continuing with the bakery example, let’s say you want to create an email for cookie lovers. You wrote a blog post about how to stop cookies from sticking to the bottom of a baking pan, and you want to share it while encouraging people to visit your site and shop.
You already have your call-to-action: read my blog. Work this into the subject line of the email so readers know what to expect when opening the email. Throughout the rest of the email, make the message clear, simple and enticing. In total, your email copy should be no more than 75 words overall, but if you can get your message across in 40 words, that’s great too.
Include great images to further entice readers. In this case, you might show two images: one of broken cookies stuck to a pan and another of cookies easily sliding off the pan. Keep the images focused on cookies to appeal to your demographic.
That is not to say that you could not ever marketing a brownie to a cookie lover, but you might want to downplay the brownie. Make small mentions to them just so your cookie lovers know you do make brownies. Should they want them, they know you have them.
In order to build trust, you must communicate often with your customers, but how do you maintain such constant contact? Your different audience sectors are active at different times, and even within an audience sector, there are a wide variety of needs and wants.
Marketing automation helps you keep the conversation alive, even when you have a million other things to do. By creating, scheduling and tracking emails, your company is never too far from the customer’s mind and you can continue sharing content and information at any time of the day.
When your email is ready, schedule it at the best time for your audience. You will not always be able to predict when your audience is the most active, but you can make a few good guesses. For example, teenagers might check their emails in the morning before school and when they get home in the evening. Schedule one or multiple emails per day to ensure your audience receives your message. In our bakery case, you might send your emails around lunchtime when people can stop in as they come back from lunch.
Scheduling these emails ahead of time will free up your time and make room for other important tasks. You can target your audience at virtually any time of day, and if you have an audience that is in a different time zone or area of the world, you do not have to wake up in the middle of the night to send out emails.
Lead nurturing through email will get your customers to your site and engaging with your company. Whether they are reading your blog or watching a tutorial video, you are showing the consumer how you can make their lives easier, happier and just a bit sweeter.