Clearly, there has been a huge change in the traditional buying process. In fact, according to Forrester, buyers might be anywhere from two-thirds to 90% of the way through their buying journey before they even reach the vendor. The reason this is happening more and more is because buyers have so much access to information that they can delay talking to sales until they are experts themselves.
Though they’ve been around for a while, not all small business owners are familiar with the capabilities that autoresponders offer. To help businesses start reaping the benefits, this post provides important definitions, different types of autoresponders and 13 specific examples of how they can be used right away to increase engagement, leads and sales.
It’s also important to understand that operationally we need to break down silos. Effective lead generation relies on marketers’ ability to connect the website user experience your site serves up, plus what you’re doing with SEO and SEM, email marketing, content marketing, and social media strategy, with a well-integrated blend of sales expertise. None of these things can be effective on their own, although we see companies separating out these services and failing to integrate them all the time. Big mistake.
How do you attract and handle leads? It's a simple question, but few of the companies we talk to have a definitive answer. More often than not, there is no process in place for generating and managing leads from first conversion through sales closing. If a process exists, it's commonly a mix of manual sorting and inefficient communications that risk losing leads and the all-important timing between a bottom-funnel request and a sales response. Here are 10 steps you should take to improve your lead generation and management process.
A lead magnet (a.k.a. an optin bribe) is something amazing that you give away for free in exchange for an email address. This doesn’t have to cost you anything to create– most lead magnets are digital materials like PDFs, MP3 audio files, or videos that you can create yourself at minimal or no cost. It can be absolutely anything you want, so long as it provides value for free.
While almost all reputable email service providers work very hard to make sure that your emails are not blocked by major ISP’s, they can’t control whether or not your emails hit the inbox or the spam box. Although most will help you by providing a quality score to help you determine availability, getting whitelisted is the most effective way to ensure that your emails get delivered properly.
Direct Mail. “Just like each of the above all on their own could be a standalone marketing campaign to feed your business enough leads forever, this could as well. You can generate these letters and target all kinds of lists, so you can get very specific and never ever run out of potential campaigns. I use melissadata.com for my lists, but there are many companies that can and will sell you lists. I then use a done-for-you service. They create, print, stamp and send to us to drop in the mail. It cannot get any easier than that. These letters we use are in hand written font and made to look like you wrote it out on a yellow pad of paper. They're mailed in invitation- type envelopes so they get opened and not tossed in the waste basket.”
In B2B, inbound is the preferred channel of lead generation. The whole process of drawing a lead into doing business with you—by educating first and selling later—matches the B2B business model, where businesses don’t make impulsive purchase decisions. Which is why inbound marketing in B2B takes leads through three levels of the sales funnel: ToFu (top of the funnel), MoFu (middle of the funnel), and Bofu (bottom of the funnel).
In our email marketing software review roundup, we test the top email marketing tools available based on how easy it is to create emails, build subscriber lists, set auto-responders, and pull in other communication-based tools, such as social media management and web analytics software. To that end, we selected Campaigner and MailChimp as the best pure-play email marketing services. If you need a more complex tool that can build comprehensive workflows designed to automate the email marketing process, then we recommend HubSpot and Pardot, which are better served as marketing automation tools.
A sales qualified lead is nearly ready to make a purchase, but may have more specific questions or needs to be addressed by the sales team. At this stage, sales staff continues nurturing the relationship that marketing initiated. Because these leads have already been qualified, they are more likely to turn into sales, and the latter part of the sales cycle tends to move more quickly. Strong marketing-sales alignment can result in more effective lead generation and higher conversion rates.
The Modern Marketing lead generation process begins much earlier in the buying cycle than it used to. Through social media and sharing, educational webinars, and search, marketers seek to be found wherever their prospective buyers may be looking for relevant information on the business challenges that the marketer’s solutions can solve. As a prospect engages with the organization, the education process can move into lead nurturing. By providing valuable content over time, the marketer will be able to remain top-of-mind and slowly educate the prospect on key considerations for the purchase decision.
Lead generation often uses digital channels, and has been undergoing substantial changes in recent years from the rise of new online and social techniques. In particular, the abundance of information readily available online has led to the rise of the “self-directed buyer” and the emergence of new techniques to develop and qualify potential leads before passing them to sales.
The basics we've gone over in this blog post are just the beginning. Keep creating great offers, CTAs, landing pages, and forms — and promote them in multi-channel environments. Be in close touch with your sales team to make sure you're handing off high-quality leads on a regular basis. Last but not least, never stop testing. The more you tweak and test every step of your inbound lead generation process, the more you'll improve lead quality and increase revenue.
Even if you’ve already got a long list of emails for clients and prospects, you should never stop adding to it. Especially since it’s not nearly as hard as it sounds. For example, make sure your list is always growing passively with a signup feature on your website. Subscription forms should be on your home page, blog page and everywhere else you can fit it without taking away from more important content.
All of great features you'll find included with your SendFree account are the result of a combined 16 years of email marketing experience. Two well known online marketers, Abbie Drew of DEMC E-Magazine and myself, Robert Charles run the service. When you have questions regarding SendFree, either Abbie or I will respond to you personally. You'll not be sent off to some unknown help desk whose staff doesn't understand SendFree or Net marketing. https://blogs.brighton.ac.uk/mk1marketing/files/2018/02/email_blasts_header_envelopes_computer-1sbxp11.png
If things go as planned, your email autoresponder series will build trust with your prospects. Your messages will make regular appearances in their inboxes. And, you’ll be sharing useful lessons and progressively gaining mindshare. If your content is well received, you’ll essentially be training the reader to open your emails, visit your website, and ideally, do business with you.