At some point in their career, every VP of Sales struggles with what to do with leads that won’t be ready to buy for a few months. They will instruct their teams to schedule follow-ups a few weeks out—but memories are short and buyers may not call when they said they would. There’s also a chance buyers may choose a competitor who had better follow-up. Team members tend to struggle with pithy follow-ups they can use to avoid annoying the prospect while staying top of mind during the waiting period. Few sales representatives have the expertise or follow-up skills to nurture their own leads over the long haul.
Nurturing a relationship with a prospect over the long haul works much like an irrigation system that slowly adds moisture to crops. Too much water and the crops drown. Not enough water and they wither and die. It is a balancing act to find just the right amount.
Drip marketing is a powerful tool. Over time it will increase the value of your pipeline and decrease the cost of leads. It is not unheard of for leads that are years old to suddenly activate when they are ready to buy.
Multi-step follow-ups are not a new idea. They have been used for decades across hundreds of industries in the form of using direct mail, phone calls, fax and now email and social media. Drip marketing consists of sharing a series of helpful messages that are relevant to the prospect. The messages are usually educational in value but can also be entertaining and should go easy on the promotional angle. The idea is to entice the prospect gently so that when they are naturally ready to take the next step they recognize your expertise and value and reach out for help
Drip campaigns differ from newsletters in that each person receives a full series of messages in a defined sequence. A customer who signs up for a newsletter will miss previous content because one usually receives newsletters from their sign-up date forward.
Nurture campaigns are efficient because after they're set up, they require very minimal input. Although emails or other marketing materials are created in advance, content can still be personalized with the client’s name or company information in order to prevent them from seeming too robotic. A good place to begin with content creation is through a simple welcome email from your company. This email can introduce your most popular services, products, or content, and encourage potential customers to keep exploring your offerings. Future emails could teach customers about different features of your website, remind them about renewing subscriptions, or prompt them to complete purchases in abandoned shopping carts.
Keep in mind, with drip marketing all content will be sent in response to a predetermined trigger. As a general rule, content should be highly relevant to the triggering action so that the recipient does not feel as if they’re being spammed.
Setting the Schedule
As you create content, you will also need to give some thought to the drip schedule. Sending a welcome email is typically done immediately upon receiving the client’s email address, while follow-up touches may be sent several days later. Strive to find a balance for scheduling. Inundating your potential customer with too much content will likely cause them to ignore you or in the case of email campaigns, unsubscribe. On the other hand too little will allow them forget you altogether.
Customers often respond well to predetermined schedules. If you clearly state that content is part of a 5-part series, clients will learn to expect your emails and be more likely to continue to interact. Drip emails that are scheduled to wish a customer happy birthday or prompt them to order gifts for others can also be helpful.
One of the most powerful aspects of Inbound marketing is the ability to do multi-step follow-ups with prospects as they learn more about how your product or service can help them. Your content will help them,along their journey to solving their problems.
Can-Do Ideas is an Inbound Marketing agency specializing in Digital Marketing and Inbound Sales. We are located in New York City and Connecticut.