How to Nurture Leads for Increased Sales

In order for any lead nurturing campaign to be successful, it must be part of a comprehensive plan. It cannot exist in a silo. It must be connected to your other lead gen programs and analytics. The beauty of e-mail campaigns is you can select exactly whom you want to send your message to. And you can help direct your recipients’ next step by sending them to your website or by offering a special download – something to engage them. Then, you can use analytics to determine each prospect’s level of interest based on their level of engagement.

You should qualify your prospects based on opens and clicks. Did they open the e-mail? Did they click through on your call to action? This is their way of responding to your e-mails, telling you if they are effective or not. So, choose your content wisely and make sure it’s relevant. Communicate about special promotions, events, offers, anything of interest to your prospects.

Another key to successful lead gen campaigns is to know your saturation point. Do you need to send weekly e-mails or does monthly work best? You want your e-mails to be a welcome sight in your prospects’ in boxes and not a nuisance. Lead nurturing is about engagement. You want to keep prospects as engaged as possible along their buying journey. You want to keep your prospects interested, show them you care, you understand their unique needs, and how your company can help.

Knowing where your prospects are in the buying process is helpful. And how they engage with your e-mails will help you determine whether they are gathering information, considering, or ready to buy.

E-mail lead gen campaigns enable you to learn more about your prospects so you can better communicate with them and nurture them throughout their buying journey. This helps you provide the right content at the right time, moving them down the funnel to a purchasing decision.

 

SEO and Content Marketing: Your Dynamic Lead Gen Duo

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seo-and-content-marketing-working-togetherYou know about Search Engine Optimization (SEO). You’re creating content for your marketing plan. But, are you connecting the dots between the two? SEO and content marketing must be viewed synergistically. The content you create appeals to the prospects you want to convert to sales. SEO helps the right prospects find your content at the right time. Stripped down to the basics, you can see how reciprocal the two are. That’s why you have to consider both SEO and content and how the two will aid each other when you are developing your marketing plan. Here are some suggestions to help you do this:

  1. Perform an SEO audit and make the necessary changes. This isn’t as difficult as it sounds and is very necessary to let you know how your website is performing. You want to make sure your website is up-to-date with the latest search engines, using the relevant terms and phrases. There are lots of SEO audit DIY instructions online, or I’d be happy to assist you.
  2. Create valuable content and create links. If you do, your content will most likely be optimized for search based solely on its high quality. That means it gets ranked, found, and read, which is exactly what you want. If your content doesn’t get linked and doesn’t have links, it doesn’t get ranked.
  3. Use keywords in your headlines so your content gets viewed strategically. By legitimately using keywords in your headlines and throughout your copy, you optimize your content so it speaks to your prospects where they are in the buying process.
  4. Don’t forget about social media and its important role. Social media platforms are vehicles to assist you with SEO and content. Social media helps you deliver content to talk directly to your prospects, engaging them personally. Social media can help you deliver the solutions prospects are looking for.
  5. Use your employees to help build SEO and content. Businesses can take advantage of their employees’ social networks to build links and help promote their business. For example, an employee with a personal blog can link to the company’s website to share the company’s expert content. This benefit is double-sided. The company gets traffic to the website, and the employee builds his/her online reputation.
  6. SEO is a process of trial and error, but it’s worth it. Data analytics will tell you how well your SEO optimization is working. And, this information is very valuable. You can use it to reshape and retarget your content marketing strategy. But, you have to look at your analytics, and you have to react to what you’re seeing – good or bad.

By following these six steps, you’ll ensure your SEO and content marketing are working together to give you the most benefit.

 

Cold Calling Has Finally Been Put On Ice

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Cold Call

I’ve waited a long time to be able to write a headline like that. It feels pretty good. So, if you’re sales people are still cold calling, it’s time they enter the 21st century. Believe me, they’ll thank you. All sales people hate cold calling, and everyone hates being the recipient of a cold call – in short the era of the cold call has come and gone. And, I say, “Good riddance!”

The reason there is no longer a need for cold calling is because we have so much information at our disposal. There’s no reason why you can’t find out beneficial information about your prospects and put that to good use. It’s time to nurture your leads.

How To Nurture Your Leads

A good lead-nurturing program has to have ongoing, relevant communication with targeted prospects. Through lead nurturing you can build a trust relationship that fast tracks your leads to money.

Involve your sales people in your lead-nurturing program. They are the ones interacting with your customers and prospects on a daily basis. Use their knowledge! Have an ongoing dialogue with your sales people. Ask what the most frequent questions they get are, what are the biggest objections they hear, what are prospects telling them they need – you get the idea. Once you have their input, you can develop content that speaks to these issues, creating white papers, articles, targeted e-mail campaigns, etc.

Cold calling has always gotten a bad wrap, and rightfully so because most calls are not beneficial to the person on the other end of the line. Cold calls are intrusive and more often than not miss the mark. Lead nurturing on the other hand allows you to select targeted prospects and deliver customized, useful information to them. Marketing automation can also assist by letting you know your prospects’ habits on your website, e-mail campaigns, and webinars. This is invaluable information that enables you to communicate with your prospects based on their actions and responses, so you can guide their journey along the buying process, feeding them easily digestible information along the way. Combine this with lead scoring, and you’ll know when it’s time to pick up the phone and have a “warm call” with your prospect because you’ll know where they are in the buying process and what their potential concerns are because you’ve nurtured your leads.

How Digital Body Language Helps You Target Your Prospects

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datawoman-189x300Most of us can remember the day when just about all sales calls were done face to face, but that is no longer the case. With the advent of telesales, web technology, go-to-meetings, and other virtual sales mediums, face-to-face time has taken on a whole new meaning.

The advantage of an actual (as opposed to virtual) face-to-face meeting is that you can more easily read your prospect and judge interest. That’s not so easy these days. Or is it? This whole idea got me thinking: Is there digital body language? The answer is: absolutely! If you pay attention to your analytics, they’ll tell you the story that your face-to-face meetings used to provide you.

If you haven’t convinced your prospect that you can deliver on your promise, then you’re not going to close the deal, right? Right. So, take a look at your data and see what your prospects are doing with the informational content you send them. You are sending them content, right? I hope so because this is your opportunity to build your relationship with prospects while simultaneously educating them on what you can do for them. And, if you take a good look at your data, you’ll see that it’s clearly telling you what each of your prospects wants and needs from you.

Chances are high that once you take a look at your data, your prospects will fall into groups based on their actions or lack thereof. So, how do you gather this digital behavioral data? Marketing automation tools provide you with the ability to weigh and score a prospect’s behavior. Assigning a score to specific page visits, clicks, and actions (like downloading content, for example) will help you segment the hot prospects from the ones that need further nurturing.

Using this valuable information you gather, you can easily see what microsites and content materials need to be created and which groups of prospects you want to direct to each one, effectively creating a metric that will help you see your prospects’ online body language. The next step will be in seeing what further actions your prospects took and steering them accordingly by adapting your message and the content you send them.

6 Ways Content Marketing Is Changing The Way We Do Business

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ContentMarketingAs we all embrace the importance and efficacy of content marketing, we must also embrace that it is changing. What’s new is newer. What works can work better. You get the idea. Before we get into what’s new in content marketing, let’s do a quick review of the constants of this approach.

The Basics

  1. This is still your opportunity to show yourself as a thought leader in your category.
  2. The focus remains of creating content that your prospects really want to know about.
  3. The prospect’s needs come first and must be worked into your buying process, fighting your desire to focus on what you think your marketing needs are.

The Next Generation

Digital platforms are enhancing our content marketing deliverables, enhancing the ways we conduct research, streamlining and targeting our messages, and impacting how we distribute our content and how we measure its success. Content marketing is changing how we do business. Let’s take a closer look at what I’m talking about:

  1. Social media allows us to instantly conduct research and survey the market to see the competition and where the opportunities are to reach our prospects.
  2. Forget about long production times that you faced when marketing was predominantly a print-based business. Now, it’s fast, inexpensive, and effective to create blogs, e-books, videos, PowerPoint presentations, podcasts, etc., that quickly speak to your prospects’ needs wherever you need to reach them.
  3. Digital tools enable us to segment our prospects like never before, literally speaking to them where they are in the buying process with the information they want and the medium they want to see it on.
  4. Digital distribution of content has taken our ability to reach our prospects to a whole new stratosphere compared to where we were just a few short years ago. We can use e-mail, landing pages, links, stream videos, download e-books, and the list goes on! What this means is that our highly targeted content is making its mark on hot prospects. And, the even better news is that the digital world is connected, so our digital content is also available to prospects who seek it out!
  5. How we promote our product/service has also benefited from the digital world. We can get personal in ways never possible before. We can pinpoint our messages to exact prospects delivered in a targeted manner on LinkedIn, Twitter, e-mail, Facebook, Instagram, website, etc. We can use lead nurturing campaigns and drip campaigns to address needs throughout the buying process.
  6. We can measure results like never before. Google Analytics, marketing automation tools, and CRM dashboards have revolutionized how we judge the results of our campaigns. And, we use this information to plan our next round of content to ensure we’re continuing to meet our prospects’ needs.

 

How has content marketing changed how you do business? Let us know!

How to Inject Your Lead Nurturing Efforts for Better Results

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Lead NurturingNurturing your leads is a very powerful tool for increasing your bottom line performance. There are a few steps you can take that will lead to improved sales.

  1. Make Sure Marketing and Sales Collaborate

Marketing helps generate the lead and passes it off to sales to close. The two teams have to work together for optimum results. Marketing needs to know what sales defines as a qualified lead from the get-go. And, sales also needs the capability of feeding leads through the back door into marketing’s lead nurturing campaigns. Sales needs to keep marketing in the loop, indicating what business verticals they want targeted and specific content they would like developed.

  1. Use a Multi-Channeled Approach

Using just one communication vehicle is not enough. A layered approach works best. So, you have to come up with a plan that is multi-channeled and uses e-mail, website, blog, tweets, videos, etc. Customers need and want to access more and different information about your company. By creating a multi-channeled approach, you broaden and customize your conversation with your prospects. This helps push them through the buying process more effectively and more quickly.

  1. Employ a Progressive Profiling Approach

There is a direct correlation between the length of your forms on your website and the abandon rate. Prospects don’t like to give up their information easily. So, ask them for a little bit of information at a time. And, make each question really count. Don’t ask them for information your system already has on them, like company name. Begin with a couple of qualifying questions each time you send out an offer. Then, as the prospect moves down the funnel, you will build your lead intelligence on them.

What are you doing that’s working to generate better leads? Let us know!

Put The Deep Freeze On Cold Calling

free_ebook

Cold Call

I’ve waited a long time to be able to write a headline like that. It feels pretty good. So, if you’re sales people are still cold calling, it’s time they enter the 21st century. Believe me, they’ll thank you. All sales people hate cold calling, and everyone hates being the recipient of a cold call – in short the era of the cold call has come and gone. And, I say, “Good riddance!”

The reason there is no longer a need for cold calling is because we have so much information at our disposal. There’s no reason why you can’t find out beneficial information about your prospects and put that to good use. It’s time to nurture your leads.

How To Nurture Your Leads

A good lead-nurturing program has to have ongoing, relevant communication with targeted prospects. Through lead nurturing you can build a trust relationship that fast tracks your leads to money.

Involve your sales people in your lead-nurturing program. They are the ones interacting with your customers and prospects on a daily basis. Use their knowledge! Have an ongoing dialogue with your sales people. Ask what the most frequent questions they get are, what are the biggest objections they hear, what are prospects telling them they need – you get the idea. Once you have their input, you can develop content that speaks to these issues, creating white papers, articles, targeted e-mail campaigns, etc.

Cold calling has always gotten a bad wrap, and rightfully so because most calls are not beneficial to the person on the other end of the line. Cold calls are intrusive and more often than not miss the mark. Lead nurturing on the other hand allows you to select targeted prospects and deliver customized, useful information to them. Marketing automation can also assist by letting you know your prospects’ habits on your website, e-mail campaigns, and webinars. This is invaluable information that enables you to communicate with your prospects based on their actions and responses, so you can guide their journey along the buying process, feeding them easily digestible information along the way. Combine this with lead scoring, and you’ll know when it’s time to pick up the phone and have a “warm call” with your prospect because you’ll know where they are in the buying process and what their potential concerns are because you’ve nurtured your leads.

Digital Body Language: What Your Online Prospects’ Actions Tell You

yourbrand

Most of us can remember the day when just about all sales calls were done face to face, but that is no longer the case. With the advent of telesales, web technology, go-to-meetings, and other virtual sales mediums, face-to-face time has taken on a whole new meaning.

The advantage of an actual (as opposed to virtual) face-to-face meeting is that you can more easily read your prospect and judge interest. That’s not so easy these days. Or is it? This whole idea got me thinking: Is there digital body language? The answer is: absolutely! If you pay attention to your analytics, they’ll tell you the story that your face-to-face meetings used to provide you.

If you haven’t convinced your prospect that you can deliver on your promise, then you’re not going to close the deal, right? Right. So, take a look at your data and see what your prospects are doing with the informational content you send them. You are sending them content, right? I hope so because this is your opportunity to build your relationship with prospects while simultaneously educating them on what you can do for them. And, if you take a good look at your data, you’ll see that it’s clearly telling you what each of your prospects wants and needs from you.

Chances are high that once you take a look at your data, your prospects will fall into groups based on their actions or lack thereof. So, how do you gather this digital behavioral data? Marketing automation tools provide you with the ability to weigh and score a prospect’s behavior. Assigning a score to specific page visits, clicks, and actions (like downloading content, for example) will help you segment the hot prospects from the ones that need further nurturing.

Using this valuable information you gather, you can easily see what microsites and content materials need to be created and which groups of prospects you want to direct to each one, effectively creating a metric that will help you see your prospects’ online body language. The next step will be in seeing what further actions your prospects took and steering them accordingly by adapting your message and the content you send them.

4 Ways The Producers Network Helps You Grow Your Business

prod_logo_notagI know that most of you reading this blog are in sales and marketing, so you want a quick takeaway of what makes The Producers Network different and how we can help. So, I give you the four products we at The Producers Network have developed to help clients identify and accelerate qualified prospects through the sales funnel – from lead to loan. I think you’ll like what you see, so I’m also including a bit more information on our history to help you get to know us a little better.

1. Proprietary Data: Targeting The Right Market

Need to find restaurant operators who generate $3MM+ in annual sales? Or how about executives in transition? Our 20MM+ B2B and 225MM+ B2C database of e-mail addresses can be segmented and targeted to fit your marketing needs. Then we write and deploy compelling e-mail messages that help identify interest and build relationships over time.

2. Content Creation: Identifying Interest

Putting value in the hands of your prospects helps increase lead conversion, educate your prospects, and move opportunities through the pipeline. Our creative team writes and designs custom e-books, blogging on social media, brochures, white papers, offers, and landing pages that get results.

3. Proprietary Lead Scoring: Prioritizing Leads

The Producers uses a proprietary lead scoring method to help identify, organize, prioritize, and if necessary nurture leads before they are sent onto sales. Our lead scoring model increases the conversion rates in all areas of the sales funnel but prospects-to-qualified lead conversion in particular.

4. The Producers Ad Network

Advertising on our network provides custom messaging, targeting, and lead conversion for unique offers and call-to-action.

A Bit More About Us…

As a lead generation and qualification company, we specialize in assisting franchisors and small businesses with generating and qualifying new and current prospects, interest nurturing, behavioral scoring, and financial qualification.

Founded in 2005, we started by providing the marketing and advertising for the Clockwork Home Services’ brands: One Hour Heating and Air, Benjamin Franklin Plumbing, and Mister Sparky. During our four-year tenure, the franchise division grew to over 650 franchises. This experience shifted our focus to assisting franchisors with accelerating their growth. My firm was then retained by RME, the leader in financial seminar marketing, to design a similar system to help franchisors with their lead generation. During our time with RME, we worked with 70 franchisors including the Dunkin Brands, Quiznos, Papa Murphy, and 7-Eleven. We’re not only incredibly knowledgeable about what we do, we’re also extremely passionate about it. We’d love to talk to you about how we can help you. To learn more please visit: http://www.producersdigital.com.

The Producers Network happily serves the following franchisors: Hurricane Grill & Wings, TCBY, Mrs. Fields, Pie Five Pizza, Wok Box, and Toyko Joes.

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How To Qualify Leads

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CSOInsightsVelocify-Sales-Marketing-Definition-Qualified-Lead-Feb2014

As the table above indicates, only about 19% of companies have an agreed upon definition of a qualified lead. How about you? Do you have a definition of a qualified lead that both marketing and sales have signed off on? This is a very important element to creating an alignment between sales and marketing. The definition of a qualified lead will vary from company to company, but all will be based on historical lead data and the desired demographics and behaviors of your target market.

Keep in mind that nothing is set in stone. If, for some reason, the qualified leads being sent to sales aren’t working out, rework your definition of a qualified lead as well as your scoring system.

So, where do you begin? Here are the key steps I recommend sales and marketing tackle together to reach an agreed upon definition of a qualified lead.

What Do We Consider A Lead?

Before you can begin to define a qualified lead make sure everyone agrees on what is considered a lead.

  •       Leads will come from your target market
  •       Leads will fit certain behavioral characteristics
  •       Leads will show a certain level of interest in your product or service

What Do We Do With The Leads?

Once there’s an agreement on what a lead is, you’ll need to decide what you’re going to do with the leads. Those leads at the top of the funnel who have shown interest by taking action like downloading a white paper or registering for a webinar or e-book will need further nurturing by marketing. Leads that fall in the middle of the funnel are those leads who have requested a free trial or more information and will need to be passed on to a lead qualification team. Finally, leads at the bottom of the funnel are the hottest – viewing pricing pages or completing an application – and will need to be sent to sales as quickly as possible for further action.

What Do We Consider A Qualified Lead?

You’re finally at the point where you can begin to construct your definition of a qualified lead. You should consider the following:

  1. Is this person a decision maker?
  2. Do they have the means to buy?
  3. What is their analytics score?
  4. Are they ready to talk to sales?

If the lead meets these qualifications, they should be considered a qualified lead ready to be passed on to sales.