Companies that need to generate results with their marketing often put their emphasis on attracting new customers. But there’s low-hanging fruit in any company that is often overlooked. You need to follow up with the people who are already in your funnel.
There are two key parts of your funnel where better follow-up is vital.
#1: Follow Up with Leads / Prospective Customers
Once your prospective customers are in your sales cycle, how often do you reconnect with them, whether they’ve made a purchase yet or simply given you their contact information? Once? Twice?
The average prospect needs 8-10 touches before they make a purchase, but most sales people stop reaching out after just two attempts. For some purchases, the decision making process can take seconds; others can go on for months. How are you making sure that it’s your brand they turn to when they are finally ready to buy?
#2: Follow Up With Current & Past Customers
This is the single biggest opportunity for your business. Current and past customers have done their research and they trust you enough to buy in. But those customers of yours need other products, more services, different options. Many businesses lose out on additional revenue by believing the customer lifecycle ends at the checkout.
The bottom line is this: You need a plan to follow-up with your prospects, and you need a plan to follow-up with your past customers. Here’s what we recommend.
How long does it take for your average customer to make a decision, from the point of inquiring with you through signing on the dotted line? If you aren’t tracking this information, take an educated guess. If you are tracking this data, a quick analysis can give you a better idea for how long you want to plan out your follow-up. You’ll have your outliers that make a decision in a day and those who take years to finally settle, but somewhere in the middle is the sweet spot of nurturing those prospects.
What are the main pain points and needs of your customer? How can you address those unspoken barriers in your marketing communications? Take time to brainstorm the needs and concerns of your potential customers and then map out a plan for how you’re going to address those needs. This goes for both your new prospects as well as your existing customers. The difference comes down to their needs.
Your communications ought to have a purpose beyond a sales pitch. People can sniff those out from the moment they land in their inbox. One of the most effective ways to get people engaged is to ask them what concerns they have. Invite them into a conversation. Provide clear calls to action for their next step in your communications.
Maybe you’ll plan out a sequence of four emails, each one addressing a different pain point. Maybe you’ll incorporate a personal phone call so they can ask you a question.
In addition to having a plan for what you want to say, it’s also important to think about when is the most effective time for communication. Is your customer most likely to schedule a tour within the first 24 hours of reaching out for help? When will your customer need your services again?
One of our customers is a carpet cleaning company. They survive on new business, but they thrive on repeat customers. They needed a way to follow-up more efficiently with their existing customer list. The company recommends a carpet cleaning every six months, so they designed a follow-up automated email sequence that triggers to send reminders out for their customers who haven’t scheduled their carpet cleaning within the last five months.
It wouldn’t make sense for them to send a “schedule your next cleaning” email one month out from their last cleaning; they aren’t feeling the pain of a dirty carpet right then. Every business has its own customer lifecycle.
There’s a place and a purpose behind the beautiful marketing brochure, but that doesn’t mean every touch point needs to be that polished. Sometimes the most effective communications are real, authentic, human-to-human correspondences that remove the flashy and replace it with reality.
Automation is the process of taking a manual system, mapping it out in a way that can be managed by timing and logic statements, and letting it run. The same degree of personalization and attention needs to go into communications that are automated as if you had a physical person sitting down to compose each and every communication. Automation often takes care of the work you’d normally do copying and pasting your form letters into emails and provides more time for you to do the hard work that often lands the sale: the in-person meetings, consultations, and phone calls that require a human touch.
We like automation at Spire, and have helped clients build it into their systems with great success. But automation isn’t the only way. If automation isn’t for you, the most important takeaway here is to have some kind of system. Make a plan. Know when and what you do at each stage of your follow-up plan. And stick to it. With a plan in place for follow-up, you are bound to see better results.
We enjoy helping companies plan effective follow-up and would love to sit down with you to map out how your system could be relieved by a little help from marketing automation. Let us know if you’d like to hear more.