Every lead is a potential customer. Every customer is a potential brand advocate. And every potential brand advocate has the power to keep your business afloat when times get tough. But most leads are lost before they have a chance to turn into anything at all.
The result? Wasted time and money. The right lead nurturing campaign does more than just capture a random group of leads. It feeds your business’s long-term profit potential by capturing the right leads, at the right time, in the right way. Don’t let your leads go to waste. Once you’ve captured them, continue the campaign with an effective strategy that converts leads into customers and customers into advocates.
Develop and Target Buyer Personas
Whether you realize it or not, more than one type of person shops with your business or uses your services. Don’t treat every customer as if they’re the same. The marketing strategy that excels with one customer might alienate another.
That’s where buyer personas come in. Do some market research -- informed by what you learn from social media, customer feedback, and campaign analytics -- and create distinct buyer personas. Practical Pete may be focused on the concrete value your brand offers, while Luxurious Laura may be interested in the cache of a luxury brand. Don’t forget to develop personas for potential customers. You might not be catering to young mothers or soccer dads today, but the right campaign can make them part of your brand family tomorrow.
These buyer personas should inform your marketing campaigns. Each campaign should target a single buyer persona -- not a generalized customer. Speak to each persona like the individual he or she is, and remember that targeted email and social media campaigns can increase the value of each brand persona.
Develop a Responsive Workflow
A single marketing message isn’t going to convince a lead to invest in your brand. Marketing is a process, not a single message. To get the most out of your leads, you must develop a long-term strategy, and a process to support that strategy. Don’t leave things to chance.
Automate as much as you can -- including follow-up emails, social media postings, and scheduled blogs. Each step should build upon the last. If a customer clicks on a message in an email, for instance, they should get a follow-up communication at a predetermined interval.
Prioritize Customer Service (Especially With New Customers)
It’s impossible to overstate: customer service matters, particularly in a social media-driven world. Customers who feel mistreated may vent on social media, undermining your brand’s reputation. Remember that your customer service representatives, as well as staff with whom customers routinely interact, are brand ambassadors. They may be your leads’ first introduction to your brand. Make it a positive introduction. Train your staff well, and invest time and money in recruiting quality people. It might cost a little more, but the potential profits will offset any short-term losses.
Master Personalized Messaging
Don’t invest time and money in developing brand personas you don’t use. Those personas are ideal targets for personalized messages. Personalized messaging, though, means more than just putting a customer’s name at the greeting on every email. Instead, each message should be targeted to a specific customer segment, and should come from a real name within your company -- bonus points if there’s a picture associated with the staff member, since that further personalizes your message.
To master the art of personalized messaging:
- Talk about products the customer is likely to buy.
- Use language that is familiar and comfortable to the customer.
- Don’t be overly familiar. Don’t assume you know the customer, and don’t rely on stereotypes.
- Use data about previous purchases to your advantage. For example, you might suggest a matching or similar product.
Don’t Forget Social Media
Social media is a completely free marketing channel. It’s also something that many businesses fear. Make your social media presence visible and engaging. Capture leads by:
- Offering coupons to social media fans.
- Soliciting customer emails and contact information.
- Asking customers questions and listening to the responses -- even if you don’t like them.
- Responding constructively to negative feedback, rather than ignoring it, or worse still, arguing about it.
- Using conversations on social media as a guidepost. Are people complaining about quality? Interested in a new product? Curious about shipping times?
- Making your social media page a useful community, not just an endless advertisement. Provide viewers with useful content. A fashion brand might offer fashion tips, even if not all of those tips compel a purchase. Become your readers trusted source of information.
Test and Analyze Outcomes
Let’s face it: marketing is not cheap. And the advent of social media means that companies now have to invest in web marketing, a friendly social media presence, and constant responses to online customer feedback. Don’t waste the money you spend.
Too many brands spend thousands on advertising campaigns, only to hope for the best. It’s not enough to hope your campaigns work. You need to analyze each and every campaign. Some will get results. Some may actually alienate customers. Maintain analytics on each and every campaign, and if something doesn’t work -- or doesn’t pay for itself -- ditch it before it cuts any further into your profits.
Follow Up (Without Being Annoying)
Every brand knows that following up with customers is a vital ingredient in the recipe for effective lead capturing. It’s also a great way to make customers angry. No one wants an inbox riddled with spam, so find ways to follow up without being annoying.
Don’t just endlessly market your product. Offer something of value, and put your offering in an enticing subject line. “The Five Fashion Pieces You Need This Fall” works much better than “Buy Our New Skirt.” “How to Make a Blazer Work for You” is far more effective than “All Blazers on Sale!”
Consumers are inundated with advertising, and if your marketing materials look like just another ploy to get their money, they’ll click delete, mark the message as spam, and be more reluctant to provide their contact information next time.