Most marketers have their eyes on many moving targets — lead generation, conversion rates, new customer acquisition, customer retention, and even customer expansion. And many of the best marketing organizations also align lead generation teams to different stages of their sales funnel — usually divided into top of funnel, middle of funnel, and bottom of funnel (to learn more about mapping lead generation to your sales funnel, check out our cheat sheet here). At the top of your sales funnel, you’re looking to simply educate and entertain your potential customers, laying the foundation for your customer-company relationship. At the bottom of the funnel, prospects are making final sales decisions, and need product-specific info. Mid-funnel prospects are some of the toughest to reach — you want to nurture these leads, and start talking about your products, but your prospects still aren’t ready to buy.
With that in mind, here are five of the most common mid-funnel lead nurturing mistakes:
1. Don’t Let Your Data Go Bad
Has your database been languishing all winter long, pulverized by the polar vortex of decay and desolation? Tune it up by refreshing your customer information. Career paths are much more fluid these days, which means titles and roles of your buyers will frequently chance. Make sure you are current to increase your chances of getting a response and, just as importantly, not aggravating people who will never buy from you. Read more about cleaning your list here!
2. Don’t Forget to Test
Yes, this is up there with changing your oil and flossing on the list of “Things You Know You Should Do But Probably Don’t Do Enough.” But seriously, Marketo makes it dead easy to automatically segment your list and send out several different versions of your emails, evaluate results, then dispatch the winning email to the rest of your list. Try it. Not only will this make you a more effective marketer but, unlike flossing, you’ll have fun. Get started with this list of 30 Things to Test for Lead Generation.
3. Don’t Use Jargon in Your Email
It doesn’t impress people. And it can be awfully confusing, even to people who should know what you mean. I’ve seen the term AIDA since the beginning of my marketing career, and I still have to stop and say the individual words to remind myself what the acronym means (Attention Interest Desire Action, if you’re wondering). Always spell out/define acronyms and abbreviations, avoid buzzwords, and err on the side of over-explaining complicated terms.
4. Don’t Talk Like a Robot
This is a companion to the above recommendation, but it’s more about tone than vocabulary. Don’t intimidate (or bore) your audience with long, highly-technical sentences, or with pushy, over-the-top sales pitches. Use a conversational (even a humorous!) tone, and help your audience solve their problems with real words, not gobbledygook. Your customers are human, and you’re one too, right? Right???
5. Don’t Get Too Fancy
So many marketers try to use all of features in their marketing automation platform, all at once — without stopping to think about the point of their technology. You invested in marketing automation so that you could have interesting, relevant conversations with the right people — not so that you could impress them with bells and whistles. So leave the complexity on the cutting room floor, especially when you’re first starting out. Keep it simple.
To paraphrase Seth Godin, the best time to perfect your nurturing programs is two years ago. The second best time is right now. If you’re ready to dive deeper into successful lead nurturing, and you’d like to learn some of Marketo’s secrets for outstanding nurturing programs, be sure to register for Leadspace’s webinar on Thursday, April 24th with Marketo’s VP of Marketing, Jon Miller: Make Your Nurturing Campaigns Sing.