You set up your Instagram account, you tested a few Facebook ads and perhaps you even registered your studio on Google My Business hoping to get a few more clicks; however, the leads you are generating do not end up purchasing.
There are a variety of marketing research estimates available, but they all indicate the same reality — a vast majority of your business leads will not convert into sales.
The fact of the matter is that prospective buyers are far savvier than ever before and are choosing to invest more time into researching service providers and educating themselves as they explore various options to solve their needs.
Some may believe that in order to overcome this maturity in consumer behavior they must purchase enough advertisements to stay in front of their potential customers.
However, consumers no longer want to be sold to. They want to be engaged with.
The consumer journey has evolved. What once was a linear path of need to research to purchase has now lengthened, even from where it was just a few years ago.
It is crucial that entrepreneurs and business owners implement a lead-nurturing campaign into their funnel.
That is marketing-speak for engaging with your prospective customers at every stage of their journey to build trust and deliver value until that individual is ready to make a purchase decision.
Lead nurturing is about developing lasting relationships with your audience to increase sales, lifetime value of consumers as well as to speed up the consumer journey process.
A robust lead-nurturing strategy will involve many of the following elements:
1. Defining, Segmenting and Scoring Your Leads
What do you, or your company, consider a lead? What qualifies someone as a potential customer? This can include both demographics and psychographics. As a business owner, you need to know who you are targeting. You can, and should, examine your current lead list (or email list) to segment the list based upon how much those individuals fit into your proposed definition and how likely they would be to purchase at this time.
2. Create Value-Added Content Marketing
Content marketing is one of the fastest and most effective ways to build trust and rapport with your leads. This is a cross-channel approach of content that can appear on social media, your website, email campaigns, direct mail and even SMS marketing; your content needs to add value to your audience through education, entertainment, inspiration or a combination of the three. The more you and your company can be seen as a trusted resource to your audience, the better.
3. Create Funnel Opt-Ins
It is essentially required that you have a means for your prospective audience to express interest in you, or in the solutions you can provide. This is most commonly achieved through a lead magnet opt-in (free e-books, guides, templates, tutorials, webinars, courses, etc.). You are leveraging value to connect with your audience and provide solutions to their needs before you ever ask for a sale.
4. Automated and Scheduled Follow-Up
We all lose so many sales by failing to follow up with our prospective clients. Once we lose the top-of-mind position with a lead, it is open for another to claim in. Follow ups with your prospects can be automated, such as an e-mail auto-responder series leading into a regular newsletter. They can also be scheduled, such as a marketing calendar of appointments to directly reach out to prospective clients via SMS, e-mail, DM or a phone call.
5. Test and Refine
As you watch your lead-nurture campaign, it is important to listen to the feedback from your prospective consumers, both in their direct comments as well as what the data is showing you to refine your elements. If your auto-responder series is not being opened, perhaps there could be an improvement to your email headlines or to the sign-up page itself. If you are guiding a lot of leads onto sales calls, but not closing those sales, perhaps you need to examine your sales script and delivery.
Being able to look at your lead-nurture program from a holistic view allows you to see ways in which to warm up your leads by building a strong relationship at every stage in their journey interacting with your company and looking to make a purchase decision.
James Patrick is an award-winning photographer with more than 500 published magazine covers, entrepreneur coach, podcast host and best-selling author of “Fit Business Guide: The Workout Plan for Your Brand.” He is the founder of FITposium, an annual conference and online education network for fitness entrepreneurs to thrive in their careers. His work can be seen at JamesPatrick.com.