In this episode, we talk about alternative strategies for nurturing soft leads to a close.
00:00:49 - Traditional Lead Capture: Get an Email Address and Send Content
00:03:00 - Manual Nurture: Use Your Flow of Content to “Give” Some Value in Follow-Ups
00:06:25 - Get Users to Visit Your Website so You Can Show Them Ad Retargeting
00:10:22 - Create a Members-Only Content Access Group With Valuable Content
00:12:50 - Engage Prospects as Content Generators: Interview Them for Your Own Content
For more on the tools and tips in this episode, please visit:
Dodgeball Marketing Podcast #71: Alternative Strategies for Nurturing Soft Leads to Close
In this episode, we talk about alternative strategies for nurturing soft leads to a close.
Michael Utley: Hey everybody. Welcome to episode 71 of the Dodgeball Marketing Podcast. We're going to talk about alternative strategies for nurturing soft leads to a close. I'm Michael, this is Chris.
Chris Raines: How you doing?
Michael Utley: Hey, wait a minute.
Chris Raines: What's a soft lead?
Michael Utley: What's a soft lead. So a lot of times you have somebody out there you know is interested in what you do. Either your services, your products, but they're not ready to commit. They're not far enough down in a traditional sales funnel to commit. And so my frame of reference for this is we typically think of lead nurture as capturing an email and then sending them content. But there are a lot of other ways to stay in front of people. So we want to kind of broaden this concept of lead nurture out. So Chris, why don't you kick us off with our first part of this.
Chris Raines: Yeah, the first way to nurture your leads, this is probably the most traditional one on the list, and it's to send them content that's educational. People that fill out a form, probably only 10% or less are actually willing to have a sales-driven conversation right then. So you have to do something for that other 90%, other than just saying, hey, you want to buy from me? You want to buy from me? You want to buy from me? So this is kind of classic content marketing stuff. The delivery mechanism is different because you have a direct line to them from their email address.
Chris Raines: It's the same reason why you would produce content on your website or content on social media, on YouTube, et cetera. So, one of the primary ways to nurture your leads is to find out what problems they want to solve, what questions they have, and generate content to answer those questions. Send it to them via email. It's as simple as that. So yeah, that's the first way to take leads, nurture those soft leads, not ready to buy yet, and help them to... They already know you. Help build like and trust.
Michael Utley: Right. And on that, what kinds of content? What types of content? What formats?
Chris Raines: Formats. Okay. So it could be written content. It could be a piece of content that you have on your website on a blog section. That's one type of content. You could send them video content that you've done on your site or on YouTube, for instance. You can do downloadable. So maybe you've created a tip sheet, a PDF, a best practices document.
Michael Utley: White papers, infographics.
Chris Raines: Yeah. All kinds of things that can sort of exist as their own prepackaged content. You could do that. Probably more you could send them audio, you can send them podcasts. All that stuff. Can you think of any more?
Michael Utley: Yeah. I think it's great, but yeah, this is traditional category of sort of thinking about, hey, we have an email address, we know what services or what category they're interested in, and then dropping them into a flow of educational content for that category.
Chris Raines: Yeah. It's the jab, jab, jab to the right hook if you're a Gary Vaynerchuk fan.
Michael Utley: That's great. Yeah. Next up, and this is a similar idea but handled very differently and the workflow behind this will be very different: manual nurture. So use your flow of content to give some value in follow-ups. Now the first, the most traditional method is, you know maybe the category of service they're in and you drop them in and no matter who they are, where they are, you just start sending them a flow of content related to that category. That's the first topic we covered. Manual nurture is when a sales rep or someone has a very good, clear list of all of the items that are available to them. And maybe they're picking up on a conversation they had during an initial intake or some initial contact and they have some reason to know in much greater detail, what sort of information is going to be of interest to the recipient. And for me, this is generally in the form of a one off email.
Michael Utley: So the way this would happen is you receive a sales lead, you have some kind of conversation. And instead of saying, well, they didn't buy, I guess I'll give up on that. The next week you don't follow up with a very boring and salesy email like, hey, do you want to talk yet? Or, gosh, just checking in. Hey, just checking in. Do we need to put some time on the calendar? Skip all that. Instead, focus on their pain, what they're trying to solve, and use content as a way to give something. And so that give is, hey John, you and I were talking about how you all are not happy with your page speed. We just put out our new guide to the new Google page speed test tool and we want you to see where you rank. Here's the link. You can run your speed. You'll see that you guys are in the red on mobile. And if you look at this one page PDF, you'll understand why that's a problem. Let me know if you need any of my time. Here's my Calendly link.
Michael Utley: That's a very sophisticated response. And you can see how that would take a little bit more information on the front end. You can't automate this, but it's darn effective when it comes to the person knowing, oh wow, they're tracking with me. They understand where my pain is. They understand where my head is and they actually know what they're talking about. And they actually seem to be like leaders in this category because they're able to kind of put together something that's of use to me. So the example I just gave is kind of like for us, a web design, SEO shop, but it would apply to any business.
Michael Utley: So if you're like a major facility management company and somebody comes in and you have an initial conversation where they're trying to decide between using project-based pricing for vendors, or to engage with a subscription-based or maintenance level facility management company. You could have a PDF where you show the ROI of each approach. And this could be something where after a conversation, you don't just say, hey, are you ready to talk again? Hey, do you want to get back on the calendar again? Hey, anything you need? But instead, you say, hey, I want to show you. Here's the calculator tool for you to sell subscription-based maintenance services within your company. So that's idea number two, manual nurture.
Chris Raines: Yeah. Awesome. Number three in alternative strategies to nurture soft leads to close is remarketing with ads.
Michael Utley: I love this. Yeah.
Chris Raines: So remarketing, so like we said, this is not just for people who have given you their email address. For everyone that's on their website, they're on your website for a reason. So a lot of those people chose not to give you their email address, but there's some level of interest, otherwise, they wouldn't be on your website. The cheapest way to start advertising by far is retargeting. And so this is exactly what it sounds like. You're retargeting people on other websites or other platforms and they're in that audience because they visit your site. So you're advertising only to people who went to your site. Every platform from Facebook to Google, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Twitter, they all have code that you can put on your site that captures people's browsing activity. And if they're on your website, you can remarket to those on those platforms.
Chris Raines: And so you could literally start a 360-degree remarketing campaign for maybe $500 to $700 a month and target people everywhere on Facebook, Instagram, Google display on websites and apps, LinkedIn, Twitter, wherever you want to be. And so the benefits are twofold. One is you're staying in front of people without having to do anything really. The system just works on itself and they're constantly reminded of you. And once they're ready, they've gotten so many impressions of your brand that they're going to just call you back.
Michael Utley: Yeah. So this is when somebody hits your website, they're cookied, unless they have their settings set not to do that. And that's totally fine if they don't want to do that. We respect everybody's privacy. But then you can kind of follow them around the internet with ads, for what? 30, 60 days? How does it work? 90 days? Can you do something that long?
Chris Raines: It depends on the platform. On Google, you can actually follow people for over a year if you wanted to. As long as they don't clear their cookies, I think it's 540 days or something.
Michael Utley: Okay. Just throwing a number out there. [crosstalk 00:08:39].
Chris Raines: Other ones like Facebook I think our 180 days. So, a long time. That's six months. That's a long time. But the second benefit to that is for smaller companies, it makes you seem bigger and more important. In a lot in a lot of people's eyes, their perception, they go to your website and they're like, gosh, I see these people everywhere. I see YouTube videos pop up. I see them on Facebook. There's everywhere. What people think is God, they've got these advertising budgets. They're just sending ads everywhere. They must be prominent. A lot of people still have that perception. So you're kind of creating this aura about yourself when you're remarketing everywhere that you're a big deal. And so that registers with people.
Michael Utley: And side note on this, I would say avoid any ads that feel creepy. Unless you're doing cart recapture where you're trying to recapture an abandoned shopping cart, treat it like a general advertisement. There's a little bit of a happy medium between, hey, we know you went to your site and we're showing you this ad. So don't use language like, hey, come back to us or hey, give us a second look. Avoid that.
Chris Raines: Yeah. You see a lot of, we noticed you didn't fill out the form. Okay.
Michael Utley: It's like, dude, don't pressure me.
Chris Raines: Okay, I know that you can track and you can exclude people that filled out the form, but it's best to maintain your original call to action. Make it appear as if it's just a broad ad to everyone.
Michael Utley: A little bit of social distancing.
Chris Raines: You know that you're retargeting. They know that you know, but you can't say it.
Michael Utley: Yeah. You don't need to make it feel pressure-oriented.
Chris Raines: Yeah. All right. On the next one.
Michael Utley: Yep. Okay. Next step, this is similar to the previous one I shared, but create members only content with valuable content. I like this. This is a little bit of a manual nurture process, but it's playing a little bit hard to get. And the reason this is helpful is if you are doing this thing where you're sharing new pieces of content with sales prospects manually through email, hey John, I was thinking about you. You and I were talking about this. We have a new resource on this. Here's the link. It's not a bad idea to require something of them to get the content by putting it behind a form fill. So when you gate that content, this is a good tool for using your content as a way to see how interested they are. Because maybe they get an email, they see the email, they're interested. Maybe they kind of accidentally click on it. And suddenly you're like, oh, they're really excited. This is great.
Michael Utley: Well, you don't really know that. All you know is they clicked on a link. They may or may not have meant to click on it. They may not have been that interested. If you've got somebody you're kind of working with, you can actually just gate content, as what we say, or put it behind a form fill on your website. And so then when you invite them to it, you can say, hey, here's a username and a password for you. And I'm giving you access to this members only content because we've been talking. And now if they complete that form, or even if you don't provide login info, if they just complete it as a cold form fill, it's going to let you know, oh, they were interested enough to take the time.
Michael Utley: So it's similar to the manual lead nurture process, but just giving it a little hint of playing hard to get to see how interested they are. And when they do that, if they take that action, you can kind of move them in your tracking a little bit further down the funnel and say they were willing to take an action to get something really valuable. And then when you're producing a content strategy, often what we'll do is plan content that starts out in this deeper in the funnel category of requiring a form fill. And then over time, as it gets recycled out, it becomes open to anybody who has the link and then eventually open and exposed to search engines. So this can be tied to a really smart content strategy that starts off in that hard to get lower in the funnel category and kind of moves up depending on the nature of the content.
Chris Raines: Yeah. Perfect. All right. Last one here is we've got it as listed as engage prospect as content creators, but I'm going to say invite people to your own media property and elevate them.
Michael Utley: I love that. Yeah.
Chris Raines: So if you have a podcast or if you have a blog, you can invite them to create content. And so it's a win-win because they're providing content for you and you're offering them an additional platform to elevate their brand. So this is actually a really good outbound strategy too.
Michael Utley: I love this. Yeah.
Chris Raines: If you're trying to get in front of, let's say optometry practices or something, and you sell optometry equipment or something like that. A really cool strategy would be to launch a podcast called optometry practice mastery and just invite every optometrist that you want to do business with and say, you're really successful in Milwaukee. We'd love to have you on. All we talk about is optometry. How to just kill it in optometry practices. I like that as an outbound, but it's also good here for inbound people that are already engaged with you to go ahead and invite them in. And boy, talk about increasing like on the know, like, trust.
Chris Raines: So you're not just giving them value. You're elevating their brand so then they can talk about how they were featured over here on this podcast or this video series, et cetera. So it's a really great way for the right prospect. You probably won't just do this for everyone, but for the right prospect. And you really want to nurture that lead and that it's a good fit for your content. Invite them to produce content for you or be a part of your content on video or podcast.
Michael Utley: Yeah. I love this. I think this is such a fun one. And when you're offering them a guests slot, there's also the benefit to their SEO of having links in the podcast distribution pointed to their URL. So if you have show notes, if you have a bio, any material that's being published, any of the podcast platforms that happen to allow outbound follow links, it's creating that network. That's how we do it. We package it up and say, hey, we want to put you on the podcast. It's really got three big benefits. Number one, ego. They to get to be featured. Number two, inbound links and exposure that works for search engines. Number three, and this can be part of the deal of having them on your podcast or your other content is you can ask them and insist that they plan to share the content with their social media networks.
Michael Utley: So think about it from their point of view. Hi, I'm part of company X, Y, Z. We were really happy to be featured on ABC podcast and here's the episode. So suddenly you're getting your podcast out to their social media networks. So, a real triple win.
Chris Raines: Yep. Awesome.
Michael Utley: All right. So this has been episode 71. Check us out on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn. Follow us, subscribe, drop your comments below. We love hearing from people through the podcast. And so thank you for everybody who gets into this content. We love it. And yeah, we'll see on the next one. Thanks, everybody.
Chris Raines: See you later.
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