So you have a funnel, big deal. If you don’t get the Tofu, Mofu, and Bofu right, you’ll forever suffer the “conversion disaster.” Why do I say that? Well, because it’s true.
Sure, some prospects might make into the Top of the Funnel, but will they ever convert? Or, how about the lead that has been nurtured a bit at the top but gets pushed to purchase prematurely. Where do you think she goes? Yep. Boing!
The same thing goes for the Middle of the Funnel. A great deal of leads might never see the light of day once they enter your funnel unless you get it right.
The Bottom of the Funnel is referred to it as “conversion city,” where the purchasing decisions are made. But will there be enough to keep your business afloat?
Hard Gets Harder
Many small business owners find difficulty in convincing prospects to raise their hand, but when they do, they’re often discouraged to a more in-depth exploration of your product or service offering because of the rush to judgment. By that I mean, they are pushed to commit to purchasing long before they are ready.
Sure, there are those that buy on the spot, or after a slight nurturing, but those are few and far between. Remember, today’s consumer is researching their intended purchase long before they actually do. Rushing the decision causes them to judge you harshly more times than not.
Even though SMB’s might struggle to bring prospects to the Top, they might jump right back out if not handled correctly. There’s a process, a system, and a well-conceived method to bring them along and remain engaged until the time is right to commit dollars and cents to the relationship you build.
Take it More Easy
“Relax, don’t scare away the prey.” That’s something a friend would say to his new students in pheasant hunting lessons he would give at a local Hunt Club. It’s the same in the lead nurturing, although it’s just plain wrong to call them prey. After all, they aren’t pheasants waiting to be shot full of buckshot.
You want to take your time, allow the lead to get to know you, develop some trust, and educate them along the path to purchase. Top of the Funnel is where the first dance with a new partner occurs. It’s that getting to know you.
In my book, Business Kamasutra, I speak of business and romance in a way to clarify the approach in a manner anyone can understand. Two people meet, they appear to have something in common, so they spend time getting to know each other.
They might have a first date, which, if they find they are initially compatible, concede to a second and third date. One doesn’t say, “Hi, I like you, let’s get married.” At least not in this part of the world.
It’s the same thing in business. One person doesn’t want to experience anything like that. “Hi, buy from me because I want you to buy from me!” In a way, that’s what you are telegraphing when you make a rush to judgment. You’ll freak out the prospect and have them running from you.
Let the relationship unfold at the pace of the lead, not because you have to make payroll in a few days. Good things take time.
You wouldn’t make a cake by throwing in the flour, eggs, milk, and butter into a cake pan and toss it into the oven, only to remove it before it is baked.
No, you would follow a recipe to add the ingredients in their proper order, ensuring they are blended, smooth, and then placed in a cake pan that has been prepared to receive the cake batter.
Then you’d have the oven set at the perfect temperature, place it on a middle rack, and keep track of the time until the recipe says it should be done. But, you just don’t take it out with checking it, at least once. Testing to see if it is ready to come out is like trial-close steps in sales.
The Time Element
Every individual is different, there are no two alike. People purchase on their own timetable. Today’s consumer does a lot of research prior to purchase. The days of “buy now because we want you to” died with the fellas on Madison Avenue.
While the time for closing cannot be rushed, don’t ignore your leads either. If they are consuming your content, they are worth the time investment. You’re already producing content. What does it cost to send an email to them? So, long-term nurturing should have no expiration date.
In terms of time and the funnel, it’s up to the lead. The first graphic reflects early-stage funnel entry as a low score. That means that lead scoring is an essential part of lead nurturing. The lower the score, the longer the nurture campaign. If your process includes free trials, demo appointments, and then sales get involved when the close is imminent. Before that, it’s premature to rush to close. These things take time.
Email for Nurture Campaigns
You’ve managed to trade something for contact information, so why not use it to nurture your new lead. The prospect raised their hand to request more information, so don’t be Seinfeld and leave them wanting more.
Email is the most cost-efficient means by which to develop a relationship. It literally costs next to nothing in the big picture of things. Every business needs some form of CRM, even if it’s just used for housing their contact list. Naturally, you should be doing loads of things with that data.
When your leads come from the online world, make sure each time a prospect comes in contact with your company that your messaging is sound, consistent, and engaging.
Your contact list is your property; an asset. Assets are worthless unless they are performing a function for the betterment of the individual or the business. Putting your contact list to use is why you are reading this article, so follow a process and system of consistent relationship building.
Lead nurturing can be utilized at every stage of the conversion strategy. Keeping track of what each lead does during this courtship is fundamental to know when the buying decision is nearing.
And, leads can float from the middle of the funnel back to the top at any given moment, so taking things for granted will not bode well for sales forecasting. Be mindful of the finicky nature of the human being.
There’s More to Come
I hope you are getting value from this article. But, it’s not the end. On Wednesday, I’ll be sharing Part 2 of this two-part blog piece.
We’ll be diving into the various types of lead nurture campaigns, as well as some novel ideas that you may or may not have considered. I’ll also share the logic behind what I propose.