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lead nurturing Archives - STRYDE

Build Relationships of Trust & Watch Your Online Sales Skyrocket

By | Business | One Comment

build relationships

Sales is about building relationships with others… PERIOD! How about that for an opening sentence of a blog post found on an online marketing blog? The thing is, it’s absolutely true, even if you are an online business.

As the years go on, consumers are becoming more and more internet savvy. They aren’t afraid to search for your company name coupled with “reviews”, “complaints”, or any other modifier that might help them dig up dirt on your business before spending money with you.

Since this is the mentality of most buyers these days, it’s more important than ever to build relationships of trust with every individual who visits your website. But how do you do this if you’re an online business only? (Meaning you don’t have a brick and mortar store front)

It all comes down to becoming a thought leader in your space as well as publishing great content and having a fantabulous drip email campaigns. It’s also critical to have a killer support staff to assist your customers post sale to ensure 100% customer or client satisfaction. We’ve seen this in the case with Zappos and many other online businesses who are growing exponentially year over year.

So let’s break these four components down and talk about each one specifically and why they are important for your business to succeed online.

Becoming a Thought Leader In Your Space

Let’s start out by defining exactly what I thought leader is. According to Wikipedia, who is the expert in all things, a thought leader is and individual or firm that is recognized as an authority in a specialized field and whose expertise is sought and often rewarded. Becoming a thought leader isn’t easy, but it’s necessary if you want to develop and maintain a thriving online business. So how do you become a thought leader? Well, there isn’t really a good answer… it just sort of happens. However, here are some things you need to start doing today to get started.

  • Start blogging everywhere! Write on your company blog, write on authoritative blogs in your industry (also known as legitimate guest blogging), write on LinkedIn, Etc. When you write, you must write amazing content. It has to be better, more thought provoking, and data driven than your competition.
  • Curate content and provide your own strategic insight. Nothing gets you noticed faster than sourcing other writers content and providing your own insight and angle on the topic.
  • Answer questions on social media. Looking for people asking questions on Twitter, LinkedIn, Quora, and other platforms and providing solid advice will help you get noticed and will help you start building a steady a following.
  • Start speaking at events. Usually after you’ve created a voice and a following through blogging, using social media, helping others and answering their questions, you can start speaking at industry events. Depending on how large the events are will determine how many people consider you an expert in your field, so start small and work you way up to large events.

Publishing Great Content

As I’ve just discussed, this goes hand-in-hand with becoming a thought leader in your space. There are two problems for many businesses when it comes to content. First, they try to create too much content and the quality suffers. No one, I repeat no one likes to read bad content and it kills your credibility. Second, the content isn’t targeted to your prospects needs or problems they’re trying to solve. If you can nail both of these with your content, you’ll build trust quickly and close more business.

Having Fantabulous Drip Email Campaigns

Email drip campaigns, also referred to as lead nurture campaigns move prospects through the sales cycle via email strategic email communication. Believe it or not, email is one of the most powerful marketing tools you have at your disposal. When building your content, make sure to build some pieces that require a name and email address to access. Once you have this, you can start sending non-intrusive emails on a regular basis that provide additional content to “warm them up” to you and your company. Remember, the goal is to build relationships of trust.

Having a Killer Support Staff To Assist Your Customers Post Sale

Your support staff should be ready and excited about providing world class service to your customer base. This can be done by providing live chat, phone, and email support as well as support via social media. When building relationships with your customers, there can’t be too many touch points or ways to get a hold of you. Make it easy and make it effective and you’ll win the hearts and increase the lifetime value of those who keep you in business.

Now that we’ve run through each component, can you clearly see how putting the four together will create a lethal weapon for growing sales exponentially. Yes, it takes time, yes, it takes a lot of work, but doesn’t anything worth pursuing? Good luck and looking forward to hearing your thoughts on building relationships and sales.

Don’t Waste Your Money On Content Marketing!

By | Content Marketing | One Comment

customer loyaltyAlright… that probably wasn’t fair, writing a post title like that, but it caught your interest, didn’t it?

No this isn’t a post about how content marketing is a big waste of money, in fact, I love content marketing and think it’s a brilliant investment for every company doing business online. However, even the best content marketing efforts won’t help you grow your business, unless your sales team and process are set up to make the purchasing experience 100% positive. Let’s discuss…

Alert! You Sell To Real Humans!

Many companies who do business online have forgotten that they are selling their product or service to a human being. They’ve gotten so far into the weeds that they all they can focus on is SEO this, PPC that, build this piece of content, and so forth. Well I’ve got news for ya… humans care not only about your amazing content and how it led them on their journey to purchase from you, but they also care about how you interact with them in the sales and service process. It can’t just be all about how you are perceived online.

To truly take your business to the next level with online marketing strategy and execution, you need to solve the problems of your users and potential customers. This should begin the moment you start developing your marketing plan, all the way through servicing the client.

Key Areas of Focus

Problem #1: Humans hate to be interrupted. This is why online marketing companies like Stryde exist, because we’ve gotten so fed up with the push mentality that we created strategies to pull people to our clients websites, which creates a more positive experience with the prospect!

Problem #2: Humans have gotten way more web savvy. Your prospects don’t just care about your product or service anymore, they care about the details, about its ability to help relieve their pain, and so forth. Believe it or not, most of your customers are almost all of the way through the buying cycle before they submit a request for more information or pull the trigger on your latest and greatest product. They demand thorough information… they demand product or service reviews… they demand the world… SO GIVE IT TO THEM!!! This is why content marketing and lead nurturing are so powerful. By understanding your target audience, you can help them sell themselves and save you loads of time in the process.

Problem #3: Post-sale relationships matter just as much as pre-sale. Yup, you read that right. Your customers care as much or more about their experience post-sale than they do pre-sale. Humans know when they’re being sold. Sales reps will give them the world to get them to spend money with their business, and it makes us feel good doesn’t it? Well, if you don’t get that same treatment post sale, your won’t be a customer for long, will you? Businesses who truly get content marketing… or just general marketing principles at that, understand that you need to deliver a whole package that caters to the customer. They need to feel like they are your only customer and when this happens you will create a brand advocate for life! Which should be the goal of every business!

Obviously, I can’t lay out a plan to follow because each and every business is unique, however, I can promise that if you start to think of yourself as the customer and strive to build each process with humans in mind, you will see the value of your customers skyrocket. They will keep spending money with you, spend more money with you, and bring others to your front door.

7 Ways to Use Content Marketing for Lead Nurturing

By | Blog | No Comments

When people think of Content Marketing, they often immediately think of blogs, social media, viral videos, and other content that gains awareness.

But that’s only one part of the equation.

If you want shares, likes, Stumbles, Pins, Reddit views, etc., your content strategy is going to be very different than if you want to keep leads engaged and interested in your brand. Each stage of that sales-funnel journey needs a specific type of content.

 

For this purpose, I’ll break it up into 3 areas:

Awareness:

      Content that drives people to your site, and lets them know you exist.

Evaluation: Leads that have subscribed to your blog or email list. They might be aware your product or service could fulfill their need, they might be determining whether you are a good fit. Or, they just like your content and are not interested in your product, yet.

Purchase: Leads that have become customers, and have the potential to become customers again

Most content created, and most that is talked about on social media blogs, is focused on the awareness portion, those at the top of the sales funnel. To make your content work, you need to put just as much focus into developing content for those deeper in the funnel. First step:

Find holes by mapping customer journey

There could be many different ways your leads become customers. As you map it out, however, you’ll find similar patterns and the ideal ways a visitor moves along that path. Here’s a hypothetical situation from a visitor who first comes to your site through your blog:

    Visitor lands on a company blog post and downloads a free eBook >>> Clicks through to site from eBook campaign offer and navigates to Product/Service pages >>> Clicks on a case study, loves it >>> Clicks on a call to action for a free trial of your service >>> After the free trial, receives another nurture email with a coupon, and then becomes a customer.

As you map out these conversion pathways, you’ll notice holes where you should have particular pieces of content, touch points or calls-to-action. Once you know where those holes are, you can start planning content for mid-funnel leads. Here are a few ideas:

7 Content marketing ideas for mid-funnel Leads

The first thing to remember is to continue to give these leads value — content that’s as closely related to what caused them to give you their email in the first place. At the same time, offer something that conveys your expertise, instills trust in you, that helps them in their specific problem.

Leads that are still in the nurturing stage typically need more information before they’re ready to convert. The best lead nurturing will come from two things: your thought leadership, which will build trust in you and what you’re selling, and free resources.

1. Free-Tips Email Content

The first type of content you should have? An email or newsletter that is aimed at truly solving customers problems with free education, tips and resources. This could include a newsletter that includes your blog posts, other relevant third-party content, and perhaps a case study, or a feature of your product.

A good nurturing email will have significantly better open rates than typical email blasts:

 

  • 50% of leads are qualified but not ready to buy
  • Lead nurturing emails get 4-10 times the response rate of standalone email blasts
  • 25-50% of sales go to the vendor that responds first.

 

 

Sources: Gleanster Research, SilverPop/DemandGen Report & InsideSales.com

2. Some Promotional Email Content

If someone gives you their email, they expect to be sold to.

Resist the temptation to do it often.

First, delight them by giving them even more valuable and resourceful free content. If you’re going to go promotional, try to keep it as educational or as helpful as possible. A couple weeks ago, I received the best marketing email I’ve ever had. I started following his Facebook page and ended up signing up for his newsletter to get more fitness tips. The email was just one simple sentence:

Hi Dan, are you interested in building 10-20 lb’s of muscle?

Alex

I responded, “Yes.” In a couple minutes I received an email with a pitch to an exercise program.

One email solved a couple problems: He was able to answer whether I was a qualified lead, and I knew whether or not he was there to solve my problem. At the same time, I felt like he connected with me. This went from a social follower to having him talk to me personally on email. It’s the kind of connection you want with your customers.

3. Automated emails

Although it can be argued “Automated Email” isn’t a piece of content. I think it is. Acting quickly ensures the lead gets a response quickly and says something about your organization. Content is more than just words written on a page. Plus, 25-50% of sales go to the vendor that responds first. Automated emails help to pre-qualify people in early stage and keeps you top of mind. Nurtured leads also have a 23% shorter sales cycle.

4. Product-based Webinars/Blogs/Videos/Articles/Podcasts/Social Media Updates

Yep, it’s basically the same thing as content for awareness, with just a slight twist.

Let’s pretend for a minute you sell garden tools. To create awareness, you might have written a blog post like “How to Dig the Perfect Hole for Your Garden Plants.” Now that you have an email list, you might send an email with, “7 Ways to Use Our Awesome Square-Headed Shovel to Dig Perfect Holes For Plants.”

The difference is in helping people solve their problems by using your product or service. This not only helps convert mid-funnel leads, but can also help former customers return. As the saying goes, it’s much less expensive to retain customers than to get new ones.

5. How-to case studies and testimonials

Trust and confidence in your abilities is perhaps the biggest trait that will move mid-level leads to become customers. This is not new. Case studies with testimonials have long been powerful tools. But to make them better, tweak them a bit so they can also be a resource with solid tips. Back to the gardening example, it could be something like, “How Zach Used The Awesome Square-Headed Shovel to Dig Terrific Holes.” Then tell Zach’s story.

6. Data Sheets

Few things convince people these days more than hard numbers and facts. Customers are getting smarter an don’t respond as well to generic ad copy. They want numbers to back up your claims. Mine data within your industry and your business, then share that info with your customers where it’s relevant. Avoid data dump for data sake by finding how those numbers tell a story or solve problems. Look for patterns in that data, and think of how those numbers can be a resource. This can also give you a lot of ammo for infographics and pitching media.

7. FAQs

I’m not talking about the typical FAQ pages you see on people’s websites. I’m talking about real questions your customers are asking everyday about your business and your industry. Turn each one of those into blog posts. People are typing those same questions into search engines every day to find the answer. Even tackle the tough questions you don’t want to face — like the problems with your products or services. This is all about being transparent, and you may think it’s counter-productive, but it’s a big, big deal. Go here to see how one guy did this with his swimming pool company and made more than $500,000 just from the leads it produced.

Your turn

What other content have you used that has helped you nurture leads?