Remember those days when you were a kid? Playing hide-and-seek, you’d hide and wait, hoping not to be discovered? Or when it was your turn to be the seeker, you’d have a moment of despair, feeling absolutely certain that your playmates had disappeared into thin air, never to be found?
“Ready or not, here I come!” you’d call. And then came the work of turning over every square inch until you’d found each one of your pals.
You’re grown up now, but when it comes to the endless quests for leads and conversions, digital marketing can often make you feel a little like you’re trying to find the sneakiest hiders in the entire neighborhood.
You know what? Your leads might be hidden, but they’re not lost. In fact, they may be much closer than you think. You just have to know where to look.
Your Past Purchasers
It costs far less to retain a customer than it does to attract a new one, and it’s easier to convince a previous purchaser to press “buy now” again than it is to convert someone who has never bought from you before. Your past purchasers are already familiar with you, your products, and your services. And they were receptive to your messaging in the past. This means the hardest part of your job—earning someone’s trust—is already done!
Encouraging a past customer to buy again, often called remarketing, has impressive success rates. According to Salescycle, remarketing email open rates average 57 percent and a 30 percent conversion rate (versus a typical 21 percent open rate and 3 percent conversion rate).
All you need to do now is to do a little experimentation to figure out the best incentive to bring those customers back to purchase again.
Abandoned Shopping Carts
Research shows that although abandoned carts lost almost 4 trillion dollars, 63 percent of that total may be recoverable via the use of savvy email marketing.
Why do shoppers abandon purchases? According to Moz, an authority on inbound marketing and SEO, the top reasons include:
· Unexpectedly high shipping costs
· Not yet ready to make the purchase
· Comparing prices between competitors
· Price was too high
Did you know that, according to Salescycle, almost half of abandoned-cart emails are opened—and over 30 percent of clicks resulted in purchases? Even more exciting, the average value of these purchases was 19 percent higher than typical.
If you are selling online, abandoned shopping carts are not an issue you can afford to ignore. If the shopper added your product to their shopping cart, that’s a pretty strong indicator that they’re interested in what you have to offer—which means it would be worthwhile to follow up your abandoned carts with an email campaign. You don’t want to give up on these leads.
Your Social Media Followers
Your social media audience is likely the most engaged audience you have access to online, but it can be tough to move them from social media audience to sales prospect.
This is where you can implement social retargeting, which is when you target users who casually visited your site with ads on social platforms. This works because, after they visit your site and later log onto a social platform, there will be an ad for your product or service.
It might sound confusing, but it’s actually pretty easy to set up. If you’re just starting out and want to learn more, you can check out this article from Moz, an inbound marketing and SEO firm, which explains what retargeting is.
The Spam Folder
Spam. It’s the bane of small business email marketers’ efforts. Even though you’d never intentionally send spam, sometimes your emails get filtered into spam folders anyway. So there’s a very good chance that you’ve got solid leads out there, leads who actually want to receive your emails, but they’re just not getting them.
Once your email is lost to spam it’s highly unlikely your lead will ever see it. So, it’s best to stay out of the reach of spam filters in the first place. Here are some handy tips on how to craft emails that avoid the marketing purgatory known as the spam folder:
Remember, words matter
Some spam is universally recognizable (Viagra ads, foreign princes, free iPads, etc.). Beware of sounding like that. Check your email against a list of common spam alert words and play it safe.
Don’t get attached
Keep your content inside your email. Attached files are huge spam warning signs that will keep your email from reaching your lead.
Keep it clean
No, we’re not talking about a PG rating; we’re talking about your code. Messages with too many images and overload of links or sloppy HTML coding can bounce you right to email purgatory.
Monitor your score
Monitor your reputation through your sender score. If there are any issues, take care of them immediately. You can check your sender score on senderscore.org.
Ask recipients to whitelist you
When a lead joins your list, ask them to add you to as a contact or to add you to their safe sender list (you can even provide them with complete instructions for their email platform). This will tell your lead’s email client that they want to hear from you and significantly lower the chances that your email will end up flagged as junk.
5. Lagging at the bottom of your sales funnel
It turns out that adding new leads to your list is only half the battle. They may be interested now, but will need more time to make a buying decision. The real challenge is in keeping them engaged over the long term.
Many small business owners lose a significant chunk of their list each year to this very struggle, which hurts engagement rates and increases the danger of a spam report.
If your leads are disengaged, you need a re-engagement campaign to rekindle the flame.
Litmus, an email building and design tool, lays out a quick three-step system for reengagement:
· Determine whom you will re-engage. Is your campaign going to be aimed at people who haven’t opened your last five campaigns, or who haven’t engaged with your content by clicking through to your site in the past four months? Define the subset of your list that you’re working to reengage to make sure your campaign is on track.
· Create your reengagement campaign. Design one that you believe will best resonate with your target segment. Be ready to make changes as you begin to get results, or consider split testing two campaigns. A quick Google Image search for the term “re-engagement campaign” turns up a ton of inspiring examples.
· Say farewell to permanently inactive subscribers. It’s never easy to purposely make your email list smaller, but if these subscribers were not won over by your re-engagement campaign, keeping them on your list is only hurting you by lowering your engagement rates and making you vulnerable to spam complaints, all of which can impact deliverability.
And when your deliverability decreases now, it impacts your deliverability later. That means the people who want to see your content down the road will be less likely to see it. So bite the bullet and cull out those inactive subscribers.
Conclusion: don’t lose your leads!
It can be very much worth the effort of going through the exercise of finding lost leads. Of course, the most important takeaway from an exercise like this is that when you find where your lost leads are hiding, it’s your clue to tighten up that area of your marketing strategy.
Want to the best way to keep leads from slipping off your radar? Keep them engaged:
Practice progressive profiling
If you only ever collect your leads’ name and email address, your contact options are limited. Instead, consider implementing progressive profiling, where you request additional information incrementally as a lead engages with your content. This is great because:
· Leads become more qualified over time
· Conversions increase, as fewer fields are required on each web form
· Additional tracking options in the case of a future hard bounce
Set your target correctly
A huge part of keeping your list active and engaged is attracting the right people to sign up in the first place. Have you done the background work of getting down to the nitty-gritty of understanding your target customer? An in-depth understanding of your ideal audience will help you create the content and products that they desire and that will keep them coming back for more.
Not all leads are created equal, and it’s not always easy to know which leads you should spend time on. Incorporate a system of lead scoring (usually available via your CRM or email software) to assign a score to each lead based on actions they take with your website, emails, or content. This enables you to quickly determine if a hard bounced lead is worth the extra effort to track down, helping you focus your future marketing efforts.
Segment and target
Your target market may be made up of recognizable groups (often called buyer personas) that have specific needs and requirements. Once you fully understand your target customer, use your campaign metrics and audience demographics (gender, time zone, etc.) to segment your list even more. Use this segmentation to send highly relevant emails that drive engagement and conversion.
Ben Snedeker joined Infusionsoft in 2015 to do full time that which he loves most: writing the stories that inspire action. He holds a MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College. In his prior life, he was a freelance writer working days at MIT as a grant manager. After a decade of paper-pushing in academia, writing for a fast moving company like Infusionsoft is his dream come true.
Jeanette LeBlanc also contributed to this article.