This is a continuation of the blog series, "How to Optimize Your Marketing Funnel."
In my last post on How to Optimize Your Marketing Funnel, part 1 we went over the first 4 steps where you:
- Investigated and defined your buyer personas' decision process
- Created compelling content ...
- That met your buyer personas' needs (and her influencers') at different stages in their decision process, and
- Published/shared compelling offers with CTAs and Landing Pages for your content as widely as possible.
Now it's time to focus on setting up your lead nurturing efforts, tracking results, and analyzing them for insights.
STEP 5 - Create lead nurturing workflows (aka "drip campaigns") that anticipate your buyer persona's information needs.
By now, you've captured some leads and it's time to start sharing additional information with each lead. Based on the content each one has consumed to date, you should have a good idea of where each buyer is in their journey. Armed with that knowledge, you can create a series of emails that speak specifically to some of the questions or concerns they are probably grappling with at that stage. You help them resolve and work through those barriers with offers of additional content you've specifically created for those conditions.
And each one of the offers in your emails is another opportunity to deepen your relationship with them. In such a fair exchange of value (your information for their information), you are accomplishing a number of very important things:
You are educating each lead by providing objective information of various options and potential solutions. This empowers the lead and encourages the impression that you are a credible, reliable source that can be trusted.
Your lead is getting into the habit of saying "yes" to you. Each little commitment, each form they fill out, each piece of information they consume, is a repetitious act. In effect, they're nodding their heads, deepening their trust in you and lowering their barriers to let you in. When the time comes for you to make a big "ask", it becomes easier for them to say "yes" and harder for them to say "no."
The longer your buyer persona's decision process is, the easier it is for them to forget you. Lead nurturing provides the
ideal way to stay in touch with them, pulling them through the funnel while qualifying them as a potential customer. Lead nurturing, when done right, is not only welcomed, but becomes an eagerly anticipated "event," instead of being felt as intrusive or confrontational.
Let's go back to our example of our project team leader who's been guiding her team through a process to make a buying recommendation to their GM. She's downloaded several pieces of information and shared them with her team members. These folks, in turn, have gone up to your website and discovered other information and downloaded different items that speak to their specific interests and concerns. In your leads database, you now have information on all those people. If you've been paying attention to your reports, you've anticipated this development and already set up different email workflows that have rules such as:
- Read these [specific] blog posts [Ah, a visitor]
- Downloaded this white paper [Yippee, a prospect!]
- Watched this video [Yes! Now they're a qualified lead!]
- Set role = "influencer"
- Set department = "finance"
Your content map shows that this person is in MOFU [middle of the funnel]. Since your content map was based on this buyer's journey, you figured out that he needs more specific information to show him how your product / service can solve their company's (and his) problem.
You now decide to set up a series of emails to offer individuals who meet these conditions even more exclusive, detailed information they might not find just browsing on the site. Based on their response to this first email:
- Those who download the information offered continue with this email series.
- Those who don't download the offer get a different set of emails.
You see, you're tailoring your communications based on either your prospect's behavior (most effective) and/or the timing of their actions or events so you keep them moving through the funnel. All of which hopefully will lead them toward the inevitable conclusion that your solution lands at the top of their recommendation list.
But — wait a second — how did you know:
- Those email rules were working?
- How effective the emails were?
- That they were ready to look at the next information?
- That you were sending them the right content? When to hand the leads off to sales?
So...how DID you know?
You knew, because you've been doing Step 6 — tracking, testing and analyzing data —which we'll cover next time in Part 3 of How to Optimize Your Marketing Funnel.