A Free Strategic Marketing Plan: #4 Nurture & Close

If you’ve made it this far with us, then you’ve seen how we’ve successfully been able to leverage the right content for the right people into tangible leads on our site.

But capturing that lead through premium content isn’t enough. You need to be engaging your lead at every step of their process so that you don’t lose them before they’re ready to commit.

Which brings us to…

Step 4: Nurture that lead.

We successfully offered Fred an offer of value, and he gave us his email address in return. And now what? Is he pressing purchase? Is he taking the next step with us? Answer: probably not yet.

See, 50% of leads are qualified, but not ready to buy. So if we’re not nurturing them through the end of the funnel to the sales team, then we’re basically burning the connection. The proof is in another statistic: 80% of new leads never become sales.

Lead nurturing is the process of developing relationships with buyers at every stage of the sales funnel. You need to truly understand the needs and timing of your leads so that you can better establish contact with them at the right time.

Two factors are going to come into play here. The first is email marketing; we want to continue to be offering helpful, valuable, informative, and interesting content to Fred through his email inbox. The second is marketing automation–software that allows companies to nurture prospects with highly personalized, useful content without the manual input of your sales/ marketing teams.

Until this point, you’ve been driving prospects into the top of your marketing sales/ funnel. You want to now hit ‘automate,’ so that the bottom of the funnel spits out hot , qualified leads to the sales teams.Email marketing and marketing automation together will allow you to nurture and track a lead fully through the sales process.

And what do you get when you combine email marketing and marketing automation? Email workflows.

Workflows are timed email campaigns that helps segment your leads, allowing you talk to them in different ways depending on where they are, and nurture them in a way that is relevant to them, and fits his actions, interests, and place in the sales funnel.

You can automatically trigger timed emails based on your lead’s behavior, or set custom timing depending on a relevant launch date or to spread emails out from one another. You can then build out workflows to continually add value, while also pushing the lead down the funnel. You can set a goal for your workflow–for example purchasing a product, or submitting their information for a consultation–which, when hit, will take the lead out of the workflow.

Let’s go back to Safety Inc. to see how this would work. We set up an email workflow that is triggered as soon as someone downloads the ebook we created in step 3, the one that breaks down the specific, unique challenges that each season presents to facility managers. Let’s call it our Seasonal Guide, and the workflow, our Seasonal Guide workflow. The goal of the workflow is for Fred to purchase the Safety Inc. patented safety gloves.

Fred clicks the relevant landing page for the Seasonal Guide, submits his email address, and downloads the ebook.

He is automatically entered into the Seasonal Guide workflow and receives Email #1: the ebook delivery email. This thanks Fred for downloading the book, and gives him a taste of what he’ll find inside. It also, of course, includes a download of the book.

But we want to nurture Fred–not just forget about him as soon as he gives us his information. So we’ve built out the workflow to send out more messaging over time.

A few days after the delivery email, Fred receives Email #2, which will be a piece of valuable content that’s related to the offer he sent. It might be a section of the ebook, or even a copy-paste of a blog post that addresses similar seasonal issues for facility managers. There could  be a call-to-action at the bottom of the email that encourages him to buy the gloves, but nothing in the text says anything about them–it’s just more informative, valuable, relevant content for our lead.

Fred hasn’t bought the gloves yet, so he’s still in the workflow. That means the workflow will automatically send him the next email four days later.  Now, every workflow will be different. You might want to nurture long-term, if your product is maybe more expensive and with a longer sales cycle, so you can keep sending out what we call ‘added value’ emails–emails that just share relevant content.

But we think that Fred is nearly ready to purchase, so Email #3 will include a straight out push-to-sell for the product. We’ll reference the ebook, say something along the lines of, “You’ve seen the importance of having a durable pair of safety gloves for each season. Now it’s time to get the best pair possible.”

If he still hasn’t purchased, we don’t call it a day. We automate an Email #4–another added value piece. And then an Email #5, which pushes him not to buy the gloves, but to download a different offer we had written detailing 10 reasons why safety gloves are the most important tool in a facility manager’s toolkit. Then let’s say Email #6 is another added value, and we push him to buy again in Email #7.

And all of this is automated. All of this is set into motion as soon as Fred downloads the offer. He is primed to get all of those emails, spread out over a certain amount of time–let’s say we decide a variance of 4-7 days between each. And if he purchases? He stops getting the emails that will no longer be relevant to him.

In this way, we have a system in place that will nurture our lead from his point of demonstrating interest, downloading the book, until he’s ready to buy.

Further, marketing automation and email workflows allow for strong segmentation and key analytics, as we filter out our leads based on their actions.

So in short, marketing automation and email marketing allow you to create a lead nurturing process that’s tailored to the needs and challenges of your prospects, and offers solutions at the right parts of the sales and life cycle of a given lead, ultimately resulting in you closing that lead into a customer.

Through that lead nurturing, we’ll get Fred to a stage where he’s ready to interact with Safety Inc.’s sales team. That’s when we pass it on, he becomes a hot qualified sales lead, and we know that we’ve successfully done our job of bringing him through the marketing funnel.

But just because you’ve brought him through to sales doesn’t mean your job is over. Get ready for the bonus step 5…