Forget the hard sell; you need to learn the art of treading softly if you want to convert leads. No matter how awesome your website copy and banner ads, you’re highly unlikely to convince a lead to buy on first contact. In fact, for the B2B market, it takes an estimated 7-13 marketing touches just to get a lead to the “sales ready” stage in the sales pipeline. Meanwhile, that lead is weighing up the options: mulling things over with the rest of the team and checking out what your competitors have to offer…
So this is where drip marketing comes in. It’s not about bombarding your leads with generic spam and shouting “We’re over here!”. Rather, it’s the delicate process of staying on your leads’ radar; of thinking about what concerns might be going through their minds at particular points in the decision making process – and addressing those concerns in a way that reinforces the benefits of what it is you’re selling.
It requires the right strategy – and here’s an outline of how to build it…
To use your drip messaging to answer leads’ concerns, it’s no use guessing: you need to know what those concerns are. At the beginning of your campaign draw up buyer profiles – i.e. archetypal embodiments of who your leads actually are and what’s leading them to buy. Surveys of existing customers, behavioural data from your CRM reports, comments on social sites and user forums, external market research: the more sources you consult when drawing up these profiles, the more accurate a picture you can create.
The ‘drip’ element of drip marketing isn’t about repeating the same message over and over. Rather, it’s about delivering the right message at the right time. In the early stages of your sales pipeline, this will mean providing educational content – for instance through inviting leads to read guide explaining how the broad type of solution you’re offering might be able to address their problems. Moving further through the pipeline and the messages become more honed to your specific product. You’ll provide a comparison of what you’re offering to other types of service, for instance, and you’ll identify what the features of your product mean in terms of actual benefits to the prospect. The next stage might be an invitation to try out a demo followed by a free trial – and onwards to final conversion.
Here comes the bit that’s practically impossible without the right tools: delivering those messages at the times when they are most likely to hit home. This is where an intelligent campaign comes into play – and it’s practically impossible to run one without a CRM system.
Even when you’re pursuing a tightly defined market and you’ve done your homework on what your leads are interest in hearing, those leads are not going to all follow an identical path. Some will be drawn attracted more to ‘feature A’ and others to ‘feature B’. With CRM, you can segment your leads according to interest, on-site behaviour and what you know about them. You can then automate the distribution schedule and track your progress as you go.
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