We have been discussing campaigns for nurturing leads and the challenges you face when establishing your opt-in policies. We should also mention that it is equally important to fine tune your approach to lead nurturing, taking into account the preferences of prospects. By giving prospects the ability to customize their communications, you will make your marketing efforts much more relevant. You can automate your email campaign by specifying the frequency of communications, types of content (email, text messages, direct mail, etc.) and areas of primary interest (industry news, new products, etc). You can offer checkboxes to allow prospects to select the types of content desired.
Now we’d like to turn our attention to “stay-in-touch” campaigns, which are used when prospects are not quite ready to speak to sales agents. The main idea is to drip out valuable content to a prospect over time. This approach is not only educational, it helps build credibility and trust for your company. If you are dealing with a business-to-business (B2B) relationship, focus your stay in touch campaign initially on the “buying committee” – those individuals within the company responsible for making the purchasing decisions. These individual can include the primary product users, people who can influence the decision (such as staff or consultants), and a board member involved with overall purchasing policy. It has been estimated that midsize companies (100 – 500 employees) have about seven people involved in a significant buying decision. At larger companies, that number can triple.
Your marketing efforts can be fine-tuned in a number of ways:
- product line
- company size
- language and culture
- market size
To succeed, you need to understand your different audiences and tune your pitches accordingly. Many companies build “buyer personas” which characterize the different types of individuals involved in purchasing decisions, then assign prospects a persona and base contact decisions accordingly. Personas and profiles help you target the most qualified market segments and give your campaigns a “human” touch.
As you work out the various “buyer roles”, pay attention to how you can customize your stay-in-touch campaigns to maximum benefit. We’ve already mentioned the importance of discovering how frequently to communicate with a buyer. A more sophisticated approach involves a discipline called “progressive profiling”, in which you modify the fields on your call-to-action forms so that they reflect the information you’ve already collected. You can also use page-visiting histories to augment your progressive profiling data. In this way, you can match each prospect to the optimal role-based content.