Five Ways to Nurture your “Not Now” Prospects by Jae-ann Rock

Posted on Jan 10, 2017 in Blog, Meeting/Event Planning, Principles of Success, Training and HR

You’ve worked hard to develop a pipeline of qualified leads…BUT, not every prospect is ready to buy when you ROCK, JAE- ANN, SMILING - WEBcontact them.

So – how do you stay in front of prospects when they’ve said, “not now” without becoming a pest?

Prospects need time to develop trust in you, your company, and your services before they will consider buying from you. As a matter of fact, data has shown it takes an average of seven impressions before a prospect will remember your company. But, it’s not just the number of touches that matters…it is also the quality of those touches.

What does this mean for those in marketing and sales? At a minimum, it means:

  • You must remain in front of your prospects regularly, so that when that elusive “time of need” arises, you will be front-and-center, ready to assist them.
  • You need to provide added value at every touch.

Of course, we all know that the “last one in” the door is often the one to make the sale. So, how do you become the “last one in” without becoming a nuisance?

You must reach out to prospects regularly, providing VALUE at every touch. Easy to say, but it requires some thought and planning to do it right.

One way to achieve this value-added outreach is via the use of regularly scheduled email marketing campaigns. Some B2B marketers have actually begun to shy away from email marketing altogether, due to the misconception that people no longer read B2B email marketing content. But, the truth tells a different story!

On his B2B services marketing blog, guru Chad Horenfeldt, recently wrote, “Social media is all the rage these days, and I’m in complete agreement that it should be part of your campaigns, but let’s not overlook the power of email.”

So, don’t fall into the trap of thinking “we’re not going to use email marketing because everyone is doing it.” GOOD email marketing is actually being underutilized by many B2B companies today. This creates a great opportunity for you to use email marketing, as long as you do it right.

It’s HOW you use email marketing that makes all the difference. The key here is to provide VALUE ADDED CONTENT.

  • Value added content provides answers, insights, information, or solutions.
  • Value added content is NOT an advertisement or solicitation to promote your company’s services.
  • There is a HUGE difference.
  • Ideally, your content should be 90% informative and only 10% promotional. When developing content, think, “What will HELP my prospects gain value immediately?”

When producing value-added content, ask yourself, “What are my prospects and clients interested in or concerned about? What are common challenges in this industry? What questions arise again and again?” Content addressing these questions will provide immediate value for your audience.

Strive to provide content relevant to your target industry in the form of tips, a handy checklist, or best practices. A 600-word blog article will do – as long as it contains value-added information such as “five tips” to resolve a common industry challenge or the “best practices in X.”

(Hint: To increase curiosity, opens and click rates, include a number in the subject line… e.g. Top Five Ways to Increase Your Marketing Results. Also, email content should be short, sweet, and bulleted [an “email teaser”] with several clickable links where people must “click here to read article.” Only then can you track who has actually clicked through to read the full article. Follow up on all click-throughs with a phone call within 48 hours for best results!)

You can also make use of mini email marketing campaigns to further nurture qualified leads based on their needs or interests. The goal is to continue to be viewed as a helpful resource throughout the sales cycle.

Here are five top ways to NURTURE your “not now” leads:

  1. Special Articles: Send an “I thought of you” article once a quarter, citing a source of industry information which could prove helpful to your prospect.
    1. Research industry trending topics.
    2. Categorize your prospects by industry, area of solution required, size, or other variable.
    3. Match and send relevant content based on each prospect’s industry or need.
  2. White Papers: Develop a “hot topic” white paper available for download, providing tips and ideas or education regarding solutions relative to the industry’s needs.
  3. Webinars: Invite prospects to attend a webinar 2-4 times per year. Offer curriculum-based information to assist prospects in resolving a common problem, addressing industry trends, or providing best practice recommendations in a specific area.
  4. Newsletter: Provide a content rich newsletter, delivered consistently once or twice a month, with topics targeted to your industry.
  5. Phone Outreach: Call them – nothing beats a personal phone call.
    1. Call on all email click-throughs, white paper downloaders, and webinar attendees ASAP.
    2. Ask if the prospect has any needs or questions you can help them address. Ask open-ended questions to spur dialogue and uncover hidden needs: “I saw you downloaded our white paper on top email marketing techniques. What kind of email marketing campaigns have you tried and how effective were they?”
    3. Continue to provide value. Engage in meaningful conversation about their current reality, daily challenges, or needs with which you can assist.

Remember to test, analyze and tweak your campaigns based on results. Be politely persistent as you move your prospects through the buying process.

By sending value-added, though-leadership content you can achieve the following results:

  • Increased email open rates and click through rates
  • A favorable image of your company – BRANDING!
  • Increased website traffic – readers are more likely to investigate your company
  • The opportunity to be in front of prospects at regular intervals
  • Prospects will REMEMBER YOU when they are ready to buy

Keep up the great work!  Prospects and clients alike will come to anticipate and appreciate your content when you follow these basic guidelines.

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