Catch the Crumbs With a Solid Lead Cycle Strategy

Your dog left you, your wife left you, your leads left you, and it’s Sunday, meaning you can’t even get into a liquor store in some states.  As your life begins to sound more and more like an old country song, there’s one area where Content Equals Money can help.  Your dog and your wife may be long gone, but those leads that have been dropping off… we can help you get those back!

No matter how rock solid your lead cycle is, some crumbs are going to fall through the cracks.  Last month, I wrote a blog post about lead nurturing, discussing some strategies for feeding your leads and finding new ones.  Key strategies in that post include:

·     starting with a small focus

·     using SEO strategies to optimize new leads

·     being outgoing

·     asking leads what they like

·     encouraging social media sharing

·     rewarding those who consume your content.

Whew!  That’s six strategies to get your lead cycle well oiled and in-gear.  Hopefully, you’ve had time to try at least a few of those lead cycle strategies.  If so, I hope you’re noticing an improvement.  But, at the same time, you might have noticed that these strategies aren’t foolproof.  There are always crumbs that fall through the cracks.  Today, I’d like to help you go after those crumbs!

Identify the Dropouts

Alright, it’s time to put on your all-business face and be like the motivational high school teacher who hounds the dropouts.  You’ve got to have charisma.  Gumption!  You’ve got to pull them back in!  But, unlike the high school teacher, you’re not dealing with your leads in a face-to-face environment.

So, the first question is, “How do you identify the dropouts?”  Well, because your business is operating online, you have a host of tools available to you.  Many are free (Google Analicyts), and then there are many other wonderful paid-services that can help as well (HubSpot being one).

Today, let’s keep it simple, and just look at Google Analytics.  While HubSpot and other paid services offer some great things, I want to focus on programs and strategies that you can use immediately without having to commit to a paid service.

PPCHero has a terrific advice article that highlights Google Analytics’ functional use in the lead cycle.  I found the first point in this article to be especially relevant for identifying drop-offs.  The PPCHero article discusses a special function in Google Analytics that allows you to set up a goal conversion funnel.  You probably know how you want your customers to purchase on your website.  After all, business conversions usually come through repeat channels (e.g. landing page > our services page > free consultation page > purchase page).

As the article points out, if there’s a snag in the chain, Google Analytics can help you identify it.  Chances are, there’s something that’s not quite “clicking” with the page that’s causing drop-offs.  You might poll your leads, or you might operate on your own sense of intuition, but whatever you do, fix that page.  The “fixing process” is going to vary.  It could be that your call to action is weak or non-existent, or it could be that your content is below the fold.

Take some time to figure out the problem.  I can’t tell you exactly what the issue might be on your site; it’s my goal to help you identify where your leads are falling off.  Start using Google Analytics today to identify the problems, and catch those leads.

Interacting With the Dropouts

So, you’re using Google Analytics to identify where people are dropping out.  You’ve made an attempt to minimize the drop-off rate.  Now, it’s time to start talking to the dropouts themselves.  You don’t want to lose them, but you don’t want to be like the clingy ex-girlfriend after a breakup (you know the type – calling every day to talk about why you broke up).

Clearly, there’s a delicate balance when it comes to interacting with the people who have dropped out of your lead cycle.  You want to reel them back in, but you don’t want to annoy them or weird them out with relentless attempts.  We’re going to assume that these people are “qualified leads,” which means they’ve been customers in the past, or they have been serious enough to have at least given you an email address.  So begins the wooing…

Email Marketing Campaign

Email marketing is still a big part of the lead cycle (especially for B2B companies).  It’s key that you have an email marketing campaign already designed and ready to go for those leads that are dropping off.  Wait too long, and they’re gone forever.  A good email marketing campaign of this nature will be more like a friendly check-in – not a hard sell.

I used this blog post (Goldilocks and the 3 Lead Nurturing Programs) in the July blog post I linked to at the top of the page, but I think it’s worth sharing again.  Heather Foeh makes a great point about the importance of using email marketing appropriately.  See the paragraph under “This Lead Nurturing Program is Just Right.”

Practical Examples of Email Marketing

If you’ve made a sale in the past to the dropout, ask them how they’re enjoying the product or service.  Ask them if there’s anything else you can do to make it better.  Remind them that you’re always there for support.  This initial email isn’t the time for pushing an additional product or service.

If you don’t hear back from the customer, give it a little time, but don’t wait too long – you don’t want them to drop out for good!  In your second email, offer the lead something more, but use the email as a teaser.  The link I’ve included is a great two-minute video from Eloqua (definitely worth your time) that drives home the significance of not sharing everything in your email.  Use this second email to offer a guide, a video, something that will be of value to the lead and demonstrate why they should do business with you.

Gamification

Which leads us to… gamification.  If you’re new to marketing, you might not be familiar with the term, but you’ve definitely seen its effects at work.  In fact, you’ve probably made your fair share of purchases in the past because of gamification techniques.

Gamification is a very elementary concept, but it’s incredibly compelling, and generally does very well at driving business conversions.  Here’s how it works: with gamification, you offer a reward – an incentive – to those who engage in your marketing efforts.  A very obvious example of gamification is McDonald’s selling happy meals to crazed Beanie Baby collectors in the late ‘90s.

For you, gamification can work in a slightly different way.  Your techniques might be discounts, referral bonuses, or free product.  Tuck these away at the end of your content as a reward for those who consume your content.  Or, offer them outright (probably the better option when it comes to dealing with dropouts).  If you’re at a loss for ideas – or want more creative suggestions – check out this fun list from Social Media Examiner.

Don’t Get Emotional

As a final reminder, I want to emphasize the importance of knowing how much these clients are worth before you jump in.  While it is important to chase after those leads that are dropping out, it’s also important to pay attention to the customers who are actually paying for your products/services.  As you strive to attain more business conversions, don’t let yourself operate at a loss for too long.  By scoring your leads, you know what a potential client is worth, and whether or not they’re worth your time.

As for the dog that left you… it might be time to go adopt a new one.  And, as for the wife, maybe you’ll be able to get her back – this time as a customer through your new killer lead cycle strategy!

How have you been able to catch the crumbs in your lead cycle strategy?  What works?  What doesn’t?

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Ben Richardson is a writer based in Nashville, TN. While he loves writing on a variety of subjects, he's our go-to on all things related to branding and the creative aspects of content marketing. Follow him on Twitter!

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