Summer is now over. We are into October, into the autumn. This is a time when everyone should be getting back from their holidays. We need to have a really good push for the final course through the year to make 2017 a really, really good year.
This week’s show is called How to Follow Up a Website Lead.
What Is A Website Lead?
Now, I first want to start by qualifying what I mean by a website lead. What I’m not talking about is when you get an enquiry via your website or a quote request, someone who has contacted you saying, “I want what it is that you do. How much will you charge me for doing it? Can you come and talk to me?”
I would class that as an enquiry. A lead is someone who would subscribe to a newsletter, puts their email address in to be sent a brochure, downloads a free e-book, attends a webinar, someone who basically gives you their contact details but hasn’t necessarily requested that you contact them about a specific project or a specific product. We would call that a lead.
Leads Take A Bit More Work Than Enquiries!
Most businesses are very good generally at dealing with immediate enquiries and immediate sales opportunities but often small businesses are terrible at following up the more general leads. These could be where people have just downloaded some information or signed up on your website or subscribed to your blog. These are sales opportunities, but they take a bit of work and they do need to be followed up.
Understanding The Buying Funnel
Before I get into actually how to do it, it’s important to understand the different stages of the buying funnel, the buying decision process. The first stage when anyone makes a buying decision is becoming aware of a need or a problem or a potential solution. We call that awareness. Then you have the consideration stage. When people have worked out, right, I’ve got a need, then they go into the consideration stage where they’re looking at their options and they’re trying to research and learn more about which way is going to be best for them to solve that problem.
Then once they’ve worked through that stuff, they go to the decision stage, which is they’ve got a clear picture of what they want and now they’re just looking for the right vendor or the right version of the product or the right type of service or someone that does it in the area or whatever it might be. That’s the decision stage.
People who make enquiries are generally at the decision stage. People who just download a brochure are quite often in either the consideration or the awareness stage, the same with people subscribing to your blog or downloading e-books or attending webinars. They’re just information gathering and they’re not at the decision stage.
How Do Most Businesses Follow These Types Of Leads Up?
Most businesses are, as I said, poor at following these types of leads up. Yet this is an opportunity that is a chance to start a conversation with someone when you get someone that interacts with your website in that way. So most businesses do one of two things. If you have a salesperson and the salesperson immediately contacts those potential leads, quite often the approach can be too aggressive and a salesperson can immediately pick the phone up to someone who has just downloaded an e-book and effectively try to sell to them straight away. That slightly aggressive approach often leads to poor results because the prospects just aren’t ready to have that type of conversation. They’re not necessarily in buying mode yet. So they put off the salesperson and the salesperson blames the leads and thinks the leads are rubbish.
That’s one common pitfall. The second and the one that happens far too often is that those leads are completely ignored and there is no follow-up and there is no attempt to try and turn that interest into something more substantial.
How Should You Follow Them Up?
Well, the first step. As soon as someone downloads an e-book or puts their email address into your website, the first step is to send them whatever it is that they’ve requested. If it’s a brochure, you email them the brochure immediately and perhaps offer to send them a physical copy.
If it’s an e-book download, then you send them the copy of the e-book and you check that they’ve got it. If they have asked for a free report, you send them a free report, whatever it might be.
Now ideally, that step should be done immediately or almost immediately and the best way of ensuring that is to automate that follow-up. So if someone downloads an e-book on the JDR Group website, there is an automatic follow-up that immediately sends whichever resource it is that someone has requested.
Reviewing The Lead
Step two is to review that lead. So if you’re sitting there in your business, into your inbox, pings up an email and you have someone who has downloaded an e-book let’s say or a free guide from your website, the second step is to review that opportunity to do some research. What you’re looking to do is to see, “Are they a good fit for you? Are they a good potential prospect?” Have a look at their behaviour on your website, what pages they looked at, what emails they looked at, what their history is on the website. If you have a marketing automation software programme like HubSpot, Infusionsoft, SharpSpring or Marketo or any of those programmes, you will be able to get a history of when someone first visited your website, when they first interacted and what pages they viewed and that can give you priceless information to help weigh up whether this is a good prospect for you.
You also want to look them up on LinkedIn. Go to LinkedIn. You can search these leads to find people, see what their job role is, find out more about the company they work for and obviously you can go to the company website if they’ve used the company websites in their company domain and their email address. You can go and have a look around the website. See if that particular individual has been mentioned on the website to see their role if you can’t find them on LinkedIn.
Does this look like the type of company that you would normally do business with? Is there anything you can tell from what they’ve put on Twitter, put out on LinkedIn, that makes you think that you would be a good fit for them or you could help them?
Deciding The Approach
So once you’ve done that analysis, you then decide, “Right. Do we follow this up immediately or do we have a more long-term nurture approach with this particular lead?” If you’re going to follow them up immediately, you have to connect with them. It’s best to use both phone and email for this. The best approach is to use a friendly, helpful, almost like a customer services style approach rather than a sales approach.
If you want to phone up someone who has downloaded a free guide from your website, you have to do it in a customer service marketing approach rather than a sales approach.
You would want to say something along the lines of, “You came to our website. You requested a free guide. We’ve sent you that guide. I just want to check whether you received it, whether you found it helpful. Then once it’s fine, you’ve obviously got – looking for information on this particular subject. It’s something that we deal with, X and Y problem all the time. We help businesses just like yours to X, Y and Z and I wondered if you will be open to having an initial conversation to see if there’s a way that we could help you with your particular need.”
That very simple initial call can lead to the start of conversations, which ultimately lead to new clients and new customers. Now you won’t always get a hold of people the first time around. So you may need to have several attempts. I would always approach people by email and I would always approach people by phone. Ideally, you would create some kind of cadence whereby perhaps your first attempt is via telephone to reach them.
Failing that, you send an email. If they don’t respond to that, perhaps you phone again and then if they haven’t responded to that, you send them an email that says, “I’ve been trying to reach you. I’m going to leave it there.” It’s what we would call a breakup email.
So that’s an example of a sales cadence that you can use to follow up someone that has downloaded a brochure, who you have determined is a good fit for your business. If you’re unable to get hold of them or you decide that you’re not going to attempt to get hold of them because you don’t see an immediate fit right now, the final step, step four, is to put someone into a long-term nurture sequence.
There are three main big tips for this...
1) Newsletters & Broadcasts
So the first is you can use newsletters, blog subscription emails, some kind of regular broadcast email and you basically build up a bank of email addresses of people who have shown interest on your website and you send them a monthly newsletter or a monthly round-up of your blog or something like that as a way of just staying in touch. The same comes and goes to everybody.
That’s the most basic way of doing any kind of follow-up and long-term nurture.
2) Marketing Automation Software
A more advanced method is to use marketing automation software. So as I mentioned, HubSpot, which is the platform that we use, but we also work with Infusionsoft and SharpSpring and Marketo and lots of others. So some kind of programme like that where you can programme an automated sequence of follow-up emails that have been specifically written based on behaviour that this prospect has shown on the website.
So if you’re a builder, let’s say, and someone downloads a guide to loft extensions, your follow-up email sequence would have lots of information about loft extensions. If they downloaded a guide about a two storey extension to the rear of their property, your follow-up emails would be about extensions and the pitfalls of extensions and how to choose the right builder and that type of thing. You would feed this content to them over any period of time to provide more useful information to hopefully help them as they weigh up their decision and as they mull things over.
So that can be automated and that can stop if someone unsubscribes or if they actually become a sales opportunity and you don’t want to do that long-term nurturing and all of that can be happening automatically.
3) Lead Scoring
Now the third thing that you can do with this long-term nurturing and follow-up system is lead scoring. This is where the people in your database are given an automatic score based on their level of interest. So that can be calculated based on the number of visits to your website, the number of emails they’ve opened, if they view any kind of critical pages on your website, like a pricing page, a case studies page, maybe the contact page. They would earn more points. It could be based on their location, their job title, the amount of information that you have about them.
So if you’ve got a database of say 10,000 prospects, lead scoring helps identify who the most interested prospects are from that database. That enables you, in the long run, to not just be sending emails and staying in touch with people, but you can actually pick the phone up or make more direct approaches to people who have been in your database for a while, if they start to show more interest. That can be calculated, as I say, using lead scoring.
It’s important to understand when people are visiting your website, the majority probably are going to be in the consideration and awareness phase of their buying decision rather than the decision phase. That’s why you get so few enquiries or sales compared to the overall number of people who look at your website.
So for those consideration and awareness stage visitors, having free guides and free resources and webinars and brochures that they can download and sign up for, is really useful. It helps inform them and it means that you get their contact details, so you can stay in touch with them over a long period of time and understand that particularly in a lot of business to business companies, a lot of service businesses, people aren’t necessarily going to make fast decisions. It is absolutely valuable to get people’s contact details early in their decision making so that you can nurture and stay in touch with them.
Doing this well and playing the long game and building up a pipeline will grow your sales. But it does need to be done right and the worst thing that you can do is to do the first part, which is to capture the contact details via your website, and not do the follow-up and the nurture because that’s the way to make it work.
So I hope that’s useful. For more information, go to our website. If you go to the Resources tab on the website, you will see our Digital Prosperity blog, blog.jdrgroup.co.uk/digital-prosperity-blog
A link to the podcast - www.jdrgroup.co.uk/podcast
And a link to our YouTube channel - www.youtube.com/channel/UCAqOnTPPkmD0rkUUBAQ5nfA
We also have a page for the free guides. One of those guides is called How to Get Clients and Customers Coming to You, the whole system we’ve developed to attract people to your website, convert them into leads and nurture them into sales - www.jdrgroup.co.uk/b2b-guide-on-how-to-get-clients-coming-to-you