Small businesses have to leverage every bit of technological know-how to remain competitive and attract leads. At the same time, small businesses have to remain true to their loyal customer base. For many small businesses, this means using email lists and automation to send out newsletters and updates to their customers. But maintaining newsletters for older customers can hinder business growth. Instead, look to email marketing for lead nurturing and not for customer maintenance. Here are a few ways to transform your current email marketing practices into lead nurturing emails.
1. Drop Your Newsletter
Small manufacturing businesses long avoided marketing their products. Instead, they relied on older customers and industry relationships. Now that overseas markets are cutting in on their business, manufacturers are turning to marketing techniques. For example, Stacey Bales and Sara Mortensen are owners of a multi-million dollar Illinois-based industrial plating company. They told Crain’s Chicago Business News that the company’s growth relies on its multi-channel marketing strategy. Social media and website channels bring in customers and young talent. On the email side, they maintain a newsletter solely for older clients.
As those clients fade away so will their newsletter. If your business relies on older clients then a newsletter makes sense, but only if analytics reveal that those emails are opened. Nurturing new leads via email requires personalized messaging and relevant information. Updates and ongoing news will not engage a new customer.
2. Break Down Silos
Congratulations, you’ve dropped your newsletter. Now you need personalized messaging and relevant information that will keep leads engaged. This information is acquired by breaking down silos. Marketers and sales reps need to exchange information. Understanding the questions that new customers frequently ask sales personnel helps marketers anticipate potential client needs. Lead nurturing emails feature those questions in the subject line, generating higher numbers of opens which translate to a greater number of conversions.
But relationship building isn’t always about answering questions. You can use email as a way to break down the barriers between consumer and marketer. Use your emails as an opportunity to increase the personalization of your follow-up email. If a lead is warm, then send an automated email that ends with a question. Marketing strategist Seth Price calls this form of questioning an “empathy trigger.” Ending an email with a question such as “Did you get the information you were looking for?” opens up the chance for an exchange. Should you receive a direct reply from the lead, then you can follow up with a manual email tailored specifically for this hot lead.
3. Link to Website Content
You’ve ditched the newsletter. You’ve broken silos and gained greater customer insights. Leads are opening your emails. Some leads have moved from warm to hot. Now you must entice them to your website where they can engage your product or service. Offering resources like check-lists or e-books are frequently used carrots. But before sending emails that link to resources, ensure that your website is deemed trustworthy and professional. The site should load quickly. Monitor site analytics to see where leads stay engaged and when they bounce. Update and improve content as necessary. And don’t send every lead to the same page. Target your leads and direct them to the product, service or resource that they will find most engaging.
Depending on your industry, you can provide a trial service period. Software-as-a-Service providers can use this opportunity to offer a basic trial membership with the plan of upselling to a premium package at a later date. Other strategies include providing a range of industry-relevant video, audio and even augmented reality content.
4. Discover Additional Channels
Emails are only a portion of a well-constructed lead nurturing emails campaign. Most marketers incorporate social media contacts, texts and calls to foster relationships. Other marketers have gone the traditional route and nurtured leads with snail mail and innovative packaging. One universal marketing technique is to follow up within three days of contact and then follow-up an additional dozen times over 100 days using a mix of channels. Messaging must be consistent across channels. Using your initial email as an anchor can help keep your message consistent even when the medium changes.
Last year, researchers found that lead nurturing practices can move up to 20 percent of leads from the “not ready to purchase” category to conversion. Starting with engaging, lead nurturing emails and moving to personalized messaging can help foster relationships and nurture leads.