If you’re in sales, you may feel like you’re trapped in a constant cat-and-mouse game with your prospects, forced to chase them around until they’re ready to buy. This usually means that you need to make relentless follow-up phone calls so they won’t forget about you. But is there a better way to create top-of-mind awareness (TOMA) with prospects without investing so much time? For many salespeople, the best solution is to create an automated lead nurturing campaign.
If you plan to use email to keep in touch with people, it’s important that every email message creates value and earns their trust. This means that you’ll want to avoid sending those marketing materials your company created. You’ll also want to quit “checking in” to see if the prospect is ready to make a decision. These types of approaches are self-serving and ultimately worthless to the prospect.
It’s time to create a lead nurturing campaign that delivers information and resources that are relevant and useful to your prospects. You’re probably wondering what kind of content to send. Here are my recommendations:
Don’t know what a blog is? Think of it as a journal filled with articles on a specific topic. For example, there are blogs about Internet Marketing, Elvis Presley Collectibles, Recruiting Strategies and almost everything else you could imagine. While some of the blog articles are written by corporations, many of them are written by individuals who have a passion for the topic and provide a lot of valuable content. Do a google search for “blog: insert topic here” and see what you can find that would be relevant to your prospects.
Emailing people a link to a blog is a great idea because blogs are often seen as unbiased articles. Bloggers also love it when you borrow their content and they’ll often reward you by linking to your website or even featuring you in a future blog article.
2. Best Practices (How-to and Tips)
The odds are you have specific knowledge and insights that other people want. Find a niche and write about helpful tips and strategies that others can implement. Don’t worry about giving away too much of your “secret sauce”. Research has shown that even if you give away 90% of your ideas, people will still pay a premium for the remaining 10%. Best of all, sharing your knowledge will demonstrate your expertise and establish your credibility.
If you don’t want to write the article, search online for other people who have written about a specific how-to topic.
3. White Papers
These could be written by you or by a third party. Did you conduct a study where you could share your results? Do you have a case study or success story from a client? White papers can be a beneficial way to educate your audience and help them think differently about their needs (and your services).
4. Free Tools & Resources (ROI Calculators, Analysis Tools, etc)
Email your prospects a link to a helpful tool or resource they can use in their business. For example, I created a drip campaign for marketing managers and one of my emails includes a link to a tool called Website Grader. Simply type in your website address and this tool will tell you how to improve the SEO of your site. Mortgage Brokers and Real Estate Agents offer their clients a Mortgage Calculator that will tell them what their monthly payments will be for a home. What kind of tools could you create for your prospects that they will find equally useful?
5. Top 10 Lists
People love Top 10 Lists, just like this article you are reading. David Letterman made a career out of his Top 10 Lists. Build such a list for your prospects. What about The Top 10 Trends In Your Industry? Or The Top 10 Ways to Produce _______ Result?
6. Industry Surveys and Trends
You can find thousands of different surveys online that have been conducted on nearly every imaginable topic. Do a Google search and see what comes up. You could also create your own survey by reaching out to your customer base. People love to hear what their peers think. You could ask your prospect to participate in the survey and promise to share the results after the survey is complete.
7. Recorded Webinars
Webinars are a great way to promote your services while building value for your prospects. Best of all, it’s easy to record them and then archive them on your website. Provide people a link to a recorded webinar. You could also ask people to submit their name and phone number before they have access to the recording.
Recent research has shown that the popularity of videos is growing and the YouTube generation responds more to a video than to an article. Do a search on YouTube and find relevant videos you could send to your prospects. Better yet, create your own video. The good news: it doesn’t need to be professionally produced. Today good content is more important than good video quality.
9. Humorous, Tasteful Cartoons
Humor can still be one of the best ways to break the ice. A Dilbert cartoon or even a video clip from the TV show “The Office” can provide an entertaining way to connect with prospects. However, make sure to show the cartoon to a few people you know to get their reaction before sending it to prospects.
10. News articles
Send your prospects industry news and notices about recent events. It shows them that you’re in touch with their industry because it’s relevant to their business. An article is especially useful when it’s about your prospect’s competitor.
After you create a series of email messages, you’ll need to have a system for scheduling when articles will be sent to each prospect. While you could use a spreadsheet for this, I’d recommend using a Lead Management System. However you decide to manage your emails, you’ll generally want to send a message to your prospects every 2-4 weeks. Remember, consistency is king.