Do you struggle with email marketing? You’re not alone. B2B marketers often underestimate the efforts needed to remain in front of their hot leads. Their typically long sales cycles make it all too easy to deviate from the strategic and systematic follow-ups needed to push leads into the customer realm.
According to Forrester, 50% of nurtured leads eventually turn into customers. So before you give up on what could represent some significant revenue, here’s how to start unclogging your sales funnel, and make 2015 a banner revenue year.
1. Change your mindset
Lead nurturing is about relationship building. After all, you’re engaging with people, not their business. So rather than stress out about making a sale, shift your objective to providing meaningful interactions and useful and relevant content to your audience. Redirecting your focus on education and entertainment then makes lead nurturing fun, rather than a chore.
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2. Search and clean up
Ask recipients who haven’t opened an email in 12 to 18 months if they’re still interested in receiving them. Dormant recipients who aren’t ready to buy can remain silent for months, while some who have become uninterested over time may not be as forward as those who unsubscribed, especially if they only check their dedicated subscription address sporadically. You won’t know how big your list really is or if you’re even talking to the right people unless you ask.
3. Ask them what they want
This step is crucial if you haven’t sent an email or company update in a long time. Why guess and waste time creating content or developing tools your audience doesn’t need? Free tools like Survey Monkey can help you poll subscribers and ask what they’re curious about and struggle with in their business. The insight you gather will be invaluable in planning your marketing programs, content and offers.
4. Revisit your buyer personas
What new observations can you add to your existing personas? Are you launching a new product line or service that will attract a new market segment? Unless you know whom you’re talking to and what they care about, you’ll have trouble addressing their needs, interests and challenges and pushing those hot buttons that keep them up at night.
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5. Segment your list
Although this will in part depend on the email platform you’re using, segmenting your list can help you zero in on specific users and create highly targeted campaigns for specific groups. Depending on your business and objectives, your leads’ preferred languages, geolocations, signup source, title, gender, survey results, previous campaign activity – to name a few – can be sliced and diced to get better open and click through rates. Narrowing your focus with highly relevant messages can help generate better results. However, use with caution to avoid sending irrelevant or pesky duplicate emails to some recipients.
6. Create a short-term calendar
This is where most B2B marketers fail. They quickly become overwhelmed as they attempt to plan far in advance to keep up with yearly business objectives. But the fact is that despite your best intentions, unforeseen changes, whether internal or external, will inevitably affect the best laid plans. By aligning your interactions and marketing content with quarterly goals, you become hyper focused and can remove the stress of unrealistic long-term planning.
7. Deploy and mix it up
With a clean, segmented email list, laser focused buyer personas and short-term goals, it’s time to reconnect with your leads and deliver educational and entertaining content in digestible bites:
- Short demonstrative videos or webinars that demonstrate your competitive advantage
- A downloadable case study featuring a happy customer’s experience
- An eBook repurposed into a series of blog posts that focus on a specific concept, product or service that you offer.
- Webinars co-hosted by your affiliates and partners
- Numbered white papers that demonstrate opinions, present controversial views or challenge the status quo
- Infographics that capture industry data in visually captivating formats.
If you’ve struggled with consistent lead nurturing, Q4 is the perfect time to revisit your program and transform a stagnant sales funnel into a revenue generator. As you refocus on educating and entertaining your audience, you’ll gradually break through the barriers, overcome objections and turn your hard-earned leads into loyal customers.