Most lead generation methods recommend only capturing a small amount of information in exchange for your offer.
That is sound advice but presents a variety of challenges. For example, what do you send them next?
Your goal is to turn them into a customer but you’ll drive the bulk of your leads away if you immediately ask them to spend some money. Unless you know why they would buy and that they are ready to buy, you’ll need to nurture them.
Effective lead nurturing requires that you know a few things about your leads. So how do you collect even a minimum of information so you can start a meaningful dialogue? Here’s one idea: just ask them!
Let’s say you sell widgets and someone completes a form and downloads your “guide to using widgets”. You have name and email – so what now? You have no idea if this inquiry is:
- A potential distribution partner
- The head of purchasing for a multi-national corporation
- An engineering student studying widgets
Each of these people warrant different response levels. You have good distribution partners but you’re not opposed to talking to new ones. You have been calling into large companies but haven’t really broken through. You’d rather not spend much time on an engineering student. Each of these people will need very different information so it’s tough to send something that appeals to everyone.
This is where a “welcome” message, sent via email, comes in quite handy. It might go something like this:
Thanks for downloading our whitepaper – hope you got a lot out of it. If you are interested in more information on the widget industry we can help. First let us know what your interests are and we’ll be happy to share specific information that will match your interest. Here’s a quick questionnaire to get you started.
CEO Widget World
Recipients click through your email and answer one question: Choose the option that best describes your interests. The options are:
- Considering using widgets in our products
- Provide logistic solutions for widget manufacturers
- Researching different widget suppliers
- Not a customer, just curious
The data you get from this form is extremely important – it will help you quickly target your next content offer in your segment-specific nurture programs. The rest of your nurture will then continue to profile your leads but now you’ll ask for appropriate details. You also know when to turn your leads over to your sales team and which sales team. Students and low-value segments can stay in low-touch automated nurtures without requiring internal resources.
What’s important to take from this example is that you can ask your leads to self-segment. It has to be worth their while to give you this information and you have to fulfill any promises you make. Most importantly, you have to resist the urge to give a sales pitch. Remember, you don’t know where they are at in the buying-cycle so you don’t want to scare them off.
You may be in the opposite camp. If you feel this “welcome” message is too bold, keep in mind that they found you and requested information. They are asking you to service them. If they don’t want that then you need to look for the signs and react. For example, if they don’t download any of your future content you may want to ask them again to tell you what interests them. So go for it – put your leads’ interests first and it is okay to ask them how they want to be serviced.