When you’re first starting out in the lead generation game, attracting the right types of prospects can be quite difficult. Depending on the nature of your business, you might find yourself casting a really large net (Ex: Targeting businesses in a particular region you focus on) or casting a smaller net (Ex: Targeting businesses in an extremely uncommon industry). Now, regardless of whether your net is large or small, attempting to market to many of these prospects can still be cumbersome, since many of these businesses very likely have different wants, needs and goals.
Sending out an e-mail blast that discusses your products and services to people within either one of those nets might not be incredibly fruitful for a number of reasons — one of them being that the offered solution just doesn’t apply to their current situation. For instance, they might not have any immediate issues with their digital commerce, but maybe they have a brick and mortar store that wants to get more consumers through the door — which you know you can actually do. The question is, how do you prove to these businesses that you’re able to help them get more consumers through their door better than the competition and how can lead segmentation improve campaign success?
In my experience with car dealership lead generation, I’ve found that it all boils down to segmentation. Lead segmentation is an excellent way to divide up prospects and hone your marketing message based on those prospect’s specific wants, needs and business preferences. With it, you can weed out prospects that (while valuable), have no particular reason to buy your product or service at the moment. That said, if you discover that some prospects have very particular needs (that your business is able to solve), it’s time to reach out to those prospects and explain your value as soon as possible. Even though your segmented list will be quite a bit smaller than a non-segmented one, the folks on that list will be more likely to respond to an e-mail that, say, highlights the differences between you and a competitor that the prospect is currently using to get more folks into their store.
One of the challenges you’ll likely encounter when starting with lead segmentation is that your prospect list won’t contain a lot of detail – mostly just the basics like names, e-mail addresses and industries. Those marketing qualified leads are in there somewhere, but you’re not going to be able to segment them immediately. Luckily, a little something called “progressive profiling” can help you collect the information you need about your prospects without creating forms so long no one will fill them out. For those who are unfamiliar, “progressive profiling” is when your business leverages forms that progressively ask more specific questions to prospects that are already in your database. Instead of asking for a prospect’s title every time they access your gated content, you can start to ask the questions that will allow you to segment your list and create targeted messages relevant to the prospects in your segments.
Here’s an example scenario using Lifecycle Marketing that’ll help you to understand what I’m getting at:
Let’s say you have some prospects that are still in the top of the funnel of your Marketing Lifecycle. On social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn), you promote a piece of gated content. It’s purely informational and doesn’t make mention of your product or service at all. Because it’s being promoted on social media, anyone who sees the post (whether organically or through paid advertising), can click on the post and sign up to download the eBook. Assuming this is the first time many of these folks are interacting with your brand, they might not want to give away too much information; but rather, they want to “get their feet wet” and see what you’re all about. They want to see if your business is truly legitimate. That said, you’d probably just ask for simple information in the form-fill — name, contact, position, industry and maybe a dropdown that asks “Why are you here?” Nothing invasive whatsoever.
When you eventually do get a prospect’s contact information, you’ll naturally want to begin to guide them down your funnel. Because you have their contact information and a few other pieces of information, you might decide that you want to go after a prospect with the following attributes: Marketing directors (likely the key decision makers) who want to boost in-store traffic. You can shoot out promotional e-mails to these segmented leads and offer something that’s strictly relevant to their position and scenario — say, a webinar that gives high-level tips on boosting in-store traffic. If they find the information useful, they’ll likely sign up for the webinar. And since those prospects are attending a webinar on a specific subject, it’s pretty safe to say that you can ask a few more specific questions. Those follow-up questions could be “What are you likely willing to spend on marketing budget?” or maybe “What tools are you currently using?”
Once the webinar is over, it’s once again time to segment your list even further because (hooray!) you’ve discovered a few hundred leads that use your competitor’s tools. Possessing this information, you can now speak to them on a more personal level with more relevant email subject lines and calls to action. You can say “Look, I know you’ve been using this tool for a while — but can we take 5 minutes to tell you how our product/service compares?” If they say “yes,” it could lead to further consultations, demos and hopefully, an annual contract.
Bottom line, the more you continue to learn about your prospects, the better results you’ll ultimately be able to achieve. When you have a concrete understanding of what a businesses’ goals are, you can provide them with viable and irresistible solutions that’ll help them to convert more customers. And believe me when I say it works. Here at PERQ, as we’ve moved from very general to highly targeted email campaigns, our open and click rates have improved significantly and marketing has delivered more qualified leads to sales.