Digital Marketing: Nurture Your Leads with Marketing Automation

Digital Marketing

Nurture Your Leads with Marketing Automation

By Darren January 21, 2016 • 6 minutes to read

A popular, but difficult goal for corporate, non-eCommerce brands, is to seamlessly marry marketing and sales efforts. Traditionally, a marketing team will be responsible for building brand awareness, maintaining customer relationships, and generating leads, and it then becomes the sales team’s task to convert those leads into sales/subscriptions.  The problem with this model occurs when sales teams are ill-equipped to handle the volume of leads coming in, which then creates a gap in the sales process – This is where marketing automation comes in handy.

Marketing automation creates a user information journey to fill the gap between initial enquiry and sales team efforts

Market research shows that 30-50% of users are not ready to buy when they first enquire about your business, but about three quarters of these leads will potentially become sales ready within 12 to 18 months. Lead nurturing via automated email journeys allows a brand to stay top-of-mind throughout an entire sales-cycle, with very little legwork involved.

 Of all the communication channels available, 72% of consumers prefer companies to interact with them via email

The best approach for businesses, is to use a combination of free resources and low-cost display marketing to build out a specific journey that a user begins when making an enquiry. This process should look something like this:

  1. Find Your Tools

There’s a whole stack of free tools that are available to the small-scale marketer. For the purpose of entry-level lead nurturing, the ones you should set up for yourself with are Gravity Forms for your website, and Mailchimp for your actual email automation. These two services also have a variety of available add-ons that connect them to one another seamlessly and allow for users to be added to temporary mailing lists when they submit an enquiry.

  1. Define Your Journey

This is when you map out different intentions that a user has when filling in a form. A user who is enquiring for a new service requires a different response tone than a user logging a support ticket, or signing up for a newsletter. Automated response journeys should be built for each possible intent.

  1. Add Users to Display Marketing Lists

You’ll have to get your POPI compliance sorted for this one, but a great way to maintain a presence with a user, is to add them to a temporary remarketing list when they make an enquiry / view a product. Google Adwords provides great resources to dynamically show ads to users based on specific offerings that they were looking at by using Remarketing. This will keep the brand top-of-mind throughout the decision-making process.

  1. Welcome / Thank Your User

This is the first leg of your journey - Acknowledge that the user enquiry was received, and indicate the maximum amount of time a user will need to wait for a response (or, if the user has signed up for a newsletter, send a thank-you message with links to interesting past blog posts).

  1. Provide Goodies

Your welcome and thank-you messages are a great opportunity to provide resources for or gifts to your user. Whether it be an informative PDF, or a small voucher for your online shop, this adds a great touch of professionalism to your brand.

  1. Personalise, Ask for More

Using Mailchimp, you can dynamically schedule your email journey. A couple of hours after your welcome message, schedule a message to ask the user more detailed questions about their requirements – automating this gives the sales team a head start on their approach. This email should be personalised, and set up as if it’s from your Sales Director personally.

  1. Book a Meeting

Mailchimp has the ability to allow for “conditional segmenting”, ie. If the user replies to the email asking for extra info, they then receive another email inviting them for a chat / meeting and asking when they’re available.

  1. Follow Up

Leads fall through the cracks, sales go stale, and users have all sorts of experiences. Follow up (and close off) your user journey with a service feedback email after a week or two. Alternatively, if the sale has gone dry, this is your final opportunity to find out if the user is still interested, and potentially to make a special offer for them.

Email journeys are an easy to set up, low maintenance (and cheap) way to nurture a user lead as much as possible before a sales person takes over. Using these will streamline pre-qualified sales, prevent user neglect, bring credibility to your business, and keep your brand top-of-mind for the entire decision-making cycle after enquiry… Not to mention the fact that these emails create a great opportunity to show new, relevant offers to a user personally.

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