When a lead expires, what do you do?
Most companies move on to the next lead, forgetting about these leads entirely. After a few years have passed, this once insignificant pile of expired leads can look more like a mountain of missed opportunity.
In this post I want to challenge the idea that a lost lead is indeed lost, and how, using marketing automation software, can instead be the key to unlocking a large amount of additional revenue for your company.
First, though, let’s dissect what a lost lead actually is.
There are two kinds of lost leads
Broadly speaking, leads are lost for one of two reasons: distraction, or a poor problem/solution fit.
Leads can become distracted for a number of reasons, such as:
Reducing the number of leads lost to distraction is relatively straightforward - you simply set up reminders and incentives to bring them back to where they left off. We’ll walk through some of the best tactics for achieving this in a moment.
A problem/solution misfit, on the other hand, is often far more difficult to fix. Usually, this is an issue inherent in your business. Some common examples of this may include:
Generally speaking, losing leads due to distraction is more common at the top of your funnel. Losing leads due to a problem/solution fit tends to be more common towards the bottom. Using your own data you’ll be able to identify at what stage you’re losing the most leads, and why.
There are five different strategies for reducing and re-activating your lost leads using marketing automation and lead nurturing software.
Imagine a lead, called Jessica, downloads a report from your website at 11am, but is pulled into a meeting five minutes later.
When Jessica returns to her office at midday she has important work to complete before a 4pm deadline, and consequently forgets about your company’s report.
Jessica goes to her inbox and notices an email from your company, but with 25+ unopened emails and an impending deadline she archives the email without reading it.
At 4pm, having completed the work that was due, Jessica quickly checks Facebook. In her timeline is a Facebook Ad from your company encouraging her to schedule a call.
With this reminder, and a bit of time to spare, Jessica reads the report. Impressed, she arranges a call with your company.
This simple example illustrates the power of retargeting in reducing distracted leads. Despite having been around for many years, retargeting is more powerful than ever thanks to the CRM and behavioural insights offered by marketing automation software.
2. Give your leads a limited-time offer
As illustrated by WiderFunnel’s LIFT model below, there are six ways to improve how compelling an offer is. One of the most powerful of these six strategies is increasing the urgency of your offer.
Urgency is so effective because it plays on the power of loss aversion, which is the psychological tendency for humans to want to avoid loss, even at the expense of seeking a greater gain. When we see that an offer expires in 24 hours, we think to ourselves “What if I miss out and regret my decision?”
If all else has failed and your lead is not responding to other marketing efforts, you may want to consider using a time-sensitive offer as a last attempt to re-engage them.
With marketing automation software you can fully-automate these offers. For example, if after five contact attempts the lead is still responding, you could schedule one last campaign offering a compelling time-limited offer to spark their interest.
3. Use multi-channel and multi-device marketing
What if you lost a lead because your company’s emails were, for whatever reason, landing in their spam folder? What if your direct mail didn’t reach them because they were working from a different office?
There are many innocent reasons for why your leads may not be responding, which have nothing to do with their lack of interest in your services. To reduce the probability of this occurring, it’s important that your lead follow up strategy encompasses multiple devices and channels.
While you need to be considerate in how you contact leads, you can use your automation sequences to combine tactics like social retargeting, automated SMS, direct mail, PPC advertising, and voicemails.
When you communicate with leads across multiple channels and devices, it not only serves as a helpful reminder to your prospect, but it also eliminates the likelihood of a lead not receiving your communications.
4. Build educational nurturing sequences for your lost leads
When a lead turns cold, the worst thing to do is nothing. The best thing to do is slowly rekindle their interest by placing them into a nurturing sequence.
In fact, according to a 2014 study by Regalix, improved lead management and nurturing was the number one benefit of marketing automation software - as agreed by 86% of survey respondents.
Lead nurturing sequences work by playing the long game. By drip-feeding your content to leads over the long-term, you can slowly resolve their objections and educate them on the benefits of your service.
How you nurture your leads depends on your business. Most sequences, however, will typically make use of a combination of articles, webinars, videos, and other educational content formats to build trust and turn cold leads into warm ones.
5. Schedule long-term anniversary follow-ups
Regardless of whether your leads are lost due to distraction or problem/solution fit, your marketing automation campaign should include anniversary follow-up emails.
These are long-term emails designed to follow up with lost leads after 12, 24, and even 36 months after they were lost. As people get promoted, budgets get changed, and needs vary there’s always the possibility that today’s deadweight is next year’s golden lead.
These long-term follow-ups also allow you to systemize a long-term strategy for keeping in touch with important contacts and building your relationships.
If you’re considering adopting marketing automation software, or have done but are only using it for lead generation, consider the value of implementing the five strategies above into your company’s sales and marketing.
How much money would you estimate your company is leaving on the table by not having a process for reactivating leads?
Editor's Note: Today's post comes courtesy of Marcus Taylor, Founder of Venture Harbour, a digital marketing company that builds and grows a portfolio of award-winning online businesses, including Marketing Automation Insider.