You are your list when it comes to marketing and sales. If you don't have one, the middle of your Inbound Marketing funnel is empty. If you you don't already have an email marketing list that you've grown, fear not. Check out the following posts to get up to speed and start growing your list of leads:
There are many more posts here that will help you to generate website traffic that you convert into leads, but those will get you started.
It's really important to understand that you have to segment your email marketing list. The more managing and planning you do up front, the better position you'll be in as your list grows to a much larger size. You may be asking, "Getting them on the list is the goal, so what else is there?". Let me ask the following...
Do all of your new leads have the same product/service interests?
To clarify this question a bit, do new leads that contact your company have the same desired outcome of buying your product or service? Do they all plan to use your product or service the exact same way? Are they all solving the exact same problem? To use our services as an example, when we speak to new leads, some are looking for a new website with SEO while some are only interest in pay-per-click advertising. Some want a long term relationship where help them perfect their Inbound Marketing strategies over time, while some want to consult with us on an as-needed basis.
In the manufacturing industry, you may make a smaller component that goes into a larger component that your customer makes. You likely sell these smaller components to a variety of other businesses that use the component a little differently. They may be in completely different industries. They may be solving completely different problems with your product.
Because your customers probably vary in industry and needs, it makes sense to create segments or groups in your email marketing list that properly categorize these customers or leads. You may also want to define where they are in the buying process. Are they still researching? Are they quoting? Are they negotiating? Are they repeat buyers? With the appropriate segments in defined in an email marketing list you can send much better emails to them. More tailored emails get opened more and help to move leads down your Inbound Marketing funnel towards becoming a customer.
Do you have content for each segment?
If you have a nicely segmented list, the next vital component is having content for each segment. Some of this content will be general content that would appeal to any of your leads or customers. This may include case studies with testimonials, announcements of awards your business has earned, or general how-to articles.
You should however have content specifically written for each segment and stage of the buyers' journey. Here're some general "buckets" of content that should be filled:
- Early stage buyers - researching
- Middle stage buyers - narrowing down vendor
- Late stage buyers - contacting vendors
- Final stage buyers - making buying decision
- Industry-specific content
- Specific use-case content for each lead-type
- Product/Solution-specific content
Finally, You Have To Send The Darn Emails!
If you have a segmented list with content for each segment, you need to have the appropriate workflows in place to make sure that each segment is followed up with regularly, using the content. Email marketing platforms like MailChimp allow you to setup some simple workflows so that your leads receive emails at different intervals with content specific to their needs. This step is vital. What's the use of segmenting the list, generating great content for each if you don't implement the delivery?
Although it takes a diligent effort up front, your workflows can operate on their own, automatically, if you set them up correctly up front.