The quality of your leads can determine a lot about how successful your business is going to be. Your leads will determine how long the sales cycle is and how much money the prospect is going to spend.
It also determines how profitable that sale will be and, in a lot of ways, what the relationship is going to be like long term.
This is because without a robust lead generation process you can fall foul of selling to anyone who expresses an interest.
This is a fundamental mistake that can cost businesses big. You don’t want every customer, you just want the ones who see the value in what you offer. These customers are less likely to haggle on price and more likely to be with you for the long haul.
It’s also easier to upsell and retain customers who, generally, want your service.
On the other hand, the customers you need to convince inevitably cost you money. They want discounts and move on when the price goes back up.
Any lead generation efforts are as much about qualifying out prospects as it is qualifying in.
Whether your business is B2C or B2B you can use marketing automation to engage with prospects who have expressed an interest in your business but haven’t purchased.
How Marketing Automation Helps with Lead Gen
There are several ways you can find yourself in possession of a prospect’s email address. It could be from a gated piece of content, a sign up for a free trial or downloading an app.
Regardless you need to make use of this golden nugget of information or miss out on a potential opportunity.
Not least because you won’t be the only person courting that prospect for their business.
You need to make contact with any new lead as quickly as possible. However, courting a prospect is like courting a partner. Go in too strong and you’ll scare them away. As with any relationship you need to build trust.
Prove to your prospect that you speak their language.
Building trust takes time. So unless your prospect was showing some incredibly strong buying behaviour you need to take it slow. Add value, give them a reason to trust you.
Taking your foot off the gas allows you to refocus on what matters most to your prospects, rather than chasing down the sale.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t contact your prospects to take their temperature but come bearing gifts. Like a relevant piece of content or an invite to a webinar.
But, by delivering a value first proposition:
- Your prospects are far more likely to take your call
- It gives you something to talk about. Especially if you’re sharing eBooks and other useful content in addition to automated emails.
This will put you in a far better position than your competitors when it comes to asking for that all-important first meeting or demo.
With B2C customers the conversation needs to be a little different as it’s far more transactional in nature. They are interested in a product or a service and are trying to decide if you’re the right business to provide it.
Communications that highlight key benefits or highlight unique features are most used here. You can also consider promotional offers, unique/bonus content or exclusive access to premium features on a limited time deal.
What to Consider when Building a Marketing Automation Campaign
Any successful marketing campaign usually rests with the planning. Doubly so with an automated campaign as you need to map out the entire journey your audiences could take.
For every email you send to your prospects there could be four or more follow up emails before they receive the next email in the nurture sequence.
No matter at what point your prospect engages with the campaign, you need to be sure that their experience is smooth and rewarding.
These bases need to be thoroughly covered so your campaign can go off without a hitch.
However, your marketing automation campaign will be largely dependent on:
- The quality of the customer data you have at your disposal
- The content you want to include in your campaigns
- How sustainable that content is
- What do you want your audience to do?
These are vital considerations.
The quality of your data will dictate both how sophisticated and how personalised your campaign can be. The more data you can pull together into a Single Customer View, the more granular and personalised your communications become.
If a prospect has downloaded multiple pieces of content you can tailor your communications. Rather than a generic eZine, they can receive communications about the content that’s relevant to their interest.
If you operate in eCommerce pull together product information and purchase history. Tempt potential customers with items and offers that are relevant to them.
SBG businesses can pull together both sport and deposit data to offer bonuses and other incentives to encourage sign-ups.
Regardless of your industry and what you’re offering is, you need to know what success looks like. Understanding what the desired action or end result should be is essential.
Even long term nurture sequences, that aren’t as overtly goal-orientated, still should have an objective in mind.
Starting with the goal and working backwards is an effective way to build out marketing automation campaigns.
Executing your Marketing Automation Campaign
Before you set your marketing automation campaign in motion there are a few things to straighten out first.
Make your Campaigns Engaging
This may seem obvious but the norm for most businesses is the generic mailshot with no customisation – beyond the name changing.
Consolidating your data allows you to personalise your campaigns to a high level of specificity. This is powerful in of itself. However, use it as an opportunity to inject your business’ personality in there too.
You want your audience to engage with you so you need to give them an idea of what you’re all about. Not just what you do.
When do you want your first email to go out? Also, as importantly, when do you want to follow up emails to go out?
Too soon and it’ll feel spammy and your prospect could disengage. Too late and you run the risk of losing them.
Don’t forget to consider the time of day too. Prospects won’t be impressed if you start emailing them at 3 am, it doesn’t matter how good your offering is.
Every email should offer some kind of value. Whether that’s something insightful about the industry or a deep dive into a benefit of your service that can help them make a decision.
Whatever it is, focus on adding value over pushing for the sale.
That said, there’s nothing wrong with offering discounts, limited time offers, free shipping, premium features or any other tidbits of temptation to get your audience to engage with your email.
Ask them to do something. Always. It doesn’t have to be asking them to get in touch or make a purchase, although those are perfectly reasonable. Moreover, the audience expects some degree of selling, they just don’t want it rammed down their throats.
Either way, do what you can to move your audience from the email to your website. And, like in dating, they won’t say yes straight away, they will eventually. Providing you keep giving them a reason to and keep asking.
Sometimes you need to know when to quit. If there are prospects who haven’t opened to or engaged with any of your communications then they’re not interested.
But that’s okay. Remember, you want to qualify out as much as qualify in. Those contacts can be archived confident in the knowledge that you aren’t going to do business with them.
The time and energy you would have spent trying to win them over can now be invested in the prospects who did engage.
Building a successful marketing automation campaign requires careful planning, clear intent on your part, and reliable data.
The more insightful the data, the more engaging the campaign can be and with it the greater the chances of success.
Remember to carefully plan your campaign, considering every outcome and what the next step would be. And be clear in your mind what the outcome should be for each stage of the campaign.
Xtremepush is the world’s leading customer data and engagement data platform. We work with various top brands within the eCommerce industry. Schedule a personalised demo of our platform to learn more about how we can help your brand drive repeat customers and increase revenue.