(This BrandPro article is the fifth in a series of five articles that discuss the process of “Turning Prospects into Lifetime Customers.”)
Congratulations! You have successfully completed the first three steps of turning prospects into lifetime customers: Attract, Engage, and Convert. Now, you are ready for the Nurture phase. And, yes, you’re almost to the point of sale! However, not all leads will become customers. Depending on where they are in the sales cycle, some leads may quickly convert into a customer soon after they discover your product or service. Others may take some nurturing before committing to a purchase. Once a relationship is developed, you are more likely to realize your end goal: business loyalty.
Content marketing is at the core of nurturing consumer relationships online. It’s the process of consistently creating and curating valuable and relevant content for your customers or leads—without selling to them. It can include engaging photos, videos, articles, podcasts, ebooks, reports and white papers. It’s anything that can help, inform or entertain your target audience. Consider it as another service you provide. Without helpful or entertaining content, it may be difficult to create effective and engaging emails. And no one would respond to or share your posts on social media. Online conversation is created around content.
Email is the easiest, most intimate way to communicate with your leads online—a targeted message with interesting or helpful content is sent straight to their inbox. You know who they are, and you have their contact information. Give your email list special treatment by sending exclusive reports, limited-time offers, prizes and other value-added content. Create a two-way conversation by periodically emailing special surveys. And then later share the survey results with your list!
Social media is another great medium to nurture relationships and converse with your leads online. However, a “like” or a friendly response to a comment is not enough. Instead, offer helpful advice, tips or assistance in your response as an added service.
For example, let’s say you own a restaurant and a customer tweets, “Can’t wait for my birthday dinner tonight at @ABCRestaurant!” you may be tempted to respond with, “Happy birthday @CustomerName! Looking forward to celebrating with you soon!”
Instead, help the customer with your response, even if she didn’t ask for it. A beneficial response to the example could possibly be, “Happy birthday @CustomerName! Check out our specials on party appetizers and sangria pitchers! www.linktocontent.com/specials” or “Happy birthday @CustomerName! Here’s a sneak peek at what may happen tonight: www.linktocontent.com/birthday-song-video>”
It’s important to further develop a relationship with website visitors after they leave your website. This is possible through display remarketing. Display remarketing is an online advertising campaign that allows you to reconnect with past website visitors by showing them relevant online ads as they use other websites or mobile apps. It also helps reach leads and customers who are more likely to purchase your products or services.
Maintaining an ongoing, relevant blog that your target audience finds interesting will keep them coming back for more, and it will help develop your relationship with blog readers. Similar to social media, it’s most effective to respond to comments with more helpful information and insight to keep the conversation going. Including an RSS feed so that blog posts can be delivered straight to subscribers’ inboxes makes it convenient for your target audience to stay informed. If you develop a regular blog audience, you will be top of mind when they’re ready to purchase.
It’s hard to talk about nurturing relationships with customers and leads without talking about customer service. Consider every consumer touchpoint as an opportunity to provide an exceptional experience. Whether it’s helping people through social media, email, instant messaging, text messaging, over the phone or in person, every interaction with your business has the ability to enhance or deteriorate your relationship. Diligently create a consistent brand experience that’s worth talking about.
If a customer leaves a negative comment or complaint online, kindly thank them for their feedback and say that you will work with them offline to resolve the issue. Stay true to your word and follow up with the customer. If they have a positive experience, they may choose to remove or update their previous comment or review. No matter the outcome, always remain positive and helpful.
Now that we’ve walked you through each phase of the Marketing Funnel, we hope you leave with key takeaways that will help you optimize your website and inbound marketing efforts. If you keep each phase and the respective strategies in mind while developing a marketing plan, you can more effectively guide your target audience through the Funnel and ultimately turn your prospects into lifetime customers.
This is the last article of our “Turning Prospects into Lifetime Customers” series. If you have questions about any phase, goal or tactic discussed, please contact GREENCREST, and a marketing expert can assist you.