According to a study by Marketo, 1/2 of customers on average are not yet ready to buy. Keep this in mind when developing your sales and marketing strategy. You don't want to annoy or drive away customers with a hard sell they aren't ready to receive. Great marketing treats customers at each level of the funnel accordingly.
For the 50% of customers who aren't ready to buy, you will need a customer nurturing strategy. Here are 6 simple ways that you can get started building stronger relationships through nurturing tactics:
The first step to nurturing potential customers into customers is knowing your customer. You need to get to know what makes your target customer tick. What are their interests? What is their main age demographic? What do they love/hate?
Unfortunately, when working with clients we often get at best a brief description of their ideal customer. For example, a car manufacturer might define their ideal customer for a luxury sports car as a male in their late 40's. But if you dig deeper, you can create a more specific buyer persona based on data. The company could build additional elements into their buyer persona, such as marital status, number of children, yearly salary, etc. A more complete buyer person looks like, a single male in their late 40's with an annual salary of $100,000+.
Your ideal customer profile can make or break your marketing. A great customer profile will make decisions on a tactical level easier. A weak customer profile will force employees in tactical roles to base some of their targeting decisions on assumptions instead of an agreed-upon profile.
After you develop a customer profile, you will have a clear understanding of their wants, needs, and pain points. So now you need to create a library of valuable content that helps them solve a problem or learn something that's related to their problems and desires.
This content could be videos, long-form blog content, a podcast, etc. If you're a team of one or close to it, go with what you're good at. If you're an English major in a marketing role, a blog is probably the way to go.
Whichever route you decide on, you will not see significant results without consistently releasing content over a significant time period. But with patience, you can develop a resource that your ideal customers and current customers come back to time and time again. The value of an owned asset like this is huge.
One of the best ways to nurture potential customers is through automated email marketing. The automation and scalability of drip campaigns make email one of the top choices of marketers.
We placed email campaigns under content marketing because successful email marketing relies on relevant content. Emails in a drip sequence are intended to build customer relationships by delivering value.
If you have an email account, you know that email marketing is easy to get wrong, and a lot of marketers do. If you're one of those marketers sending emails that are of poor quality and/or low relevance, you will do more damage to your customer relationships than good by sending.
If you serve a sizable niche, the chances are members of your niche hang out on social media and they might even hang out in groups. It's your job as a marketer to locate and find out how to interact with your potential customers online.
Your followers are low-hanging fruit. They have self-identified themselves as members of your niche. Make sure to interact regularly with your followers as that will build more trust. Add a personal touch too. For example, don’t answer similar questions with the same scripted response, try to treat each question with a personal approach instead.
For non-followers, you're going to have to spend more time searching and listening for them. You could invest in a social listening tool to aggregate relevant keyword mentions, hashtags, and accounts. Or you can manually search these relevant social media markers and commit to consistently engaging and providing these people with value.
Dance with the ones who brought you! Always remember the customers who have been loyal to your brand. The individuals who were there when you were just starting out, your packaging sucked, and when you made mistakes. These engaged customers were "working" for you before the potential customers you're going after now even knew about you.
So don't forget to thank them and remind them that you know they played a role in your success. You can do this by sending them a special thank you like a discount coupon or code, a free gift, a special price, or early access to a new service or product.
Some brands have been accused of creating new customers better than loyal customers. TV providers, Internet Providers, etc. have offered lower rates in the past for customers who switch to their service leading to unhappy customers. This has probably happened to you and it probably didn't give you the warm and fuzzies. We would aim to separate the level of customer service/experience your company provides from these communications companies.
Customer feedback is essential to an evolving business. It provides invaluable information that a brand can use to connect with their audience more effectively. Asking for feedback from your customers makes them feel valued and heard. Taking action on that feedback is even better.
We aren't saying that "Always Be Closing" is bad advice, but it's going to drive some customers away. The tone of your sales and marketing should be set on customer acquisition and revenue goals. The goals, available cash flow, and past performance will decide how aggressive your strategy should be.
If your company is healthy and looking to build a business for the long term, invest in customer nurturing. You can sell without constantly shoving your product/service down someone's throat. Focusing on educating and building relationships will establish your brand as a helpful guide, and will ensure that you're considered when those you help have a need.