Join in the community forum! The thINK blog is a place for community members to share their opinions, best practices, successes, and challenges. Add your comments to the blogs published here or write a blog and we’ll post it for you.
Ramp Up Your Social and Email Outreach to Prospects
As you identify prospects who may be interested in doing business with you —folks you can characterize as being in the middle of the sales funnel — the time is ripe to enhance two of your most potent marketing tools, email and social media. The point is to encourage further engagement, interaction, and ultimately a state where you’ve got warm/hot leads ready to hand off to sales.
Let’s think first about increasing your email list-building. Why email, you might say? Simple. Fifty-nine percent of marketers say email is their biggest source of ROI, according to marketing automation company HubSpot, and 93 percent use email as a major channel for content distribution.
At the top of the sales funnel you were giving away lots of general content for free, to get people acquainted with you. Now, knowing who downloaded content — a key indicator of interest — you can ask them to register with their email addresses to access other smart content, such as deep-dive case studies, expert guides, white papers, email blasts, and even webcasts and live Facebook interactions, all of which demonstrate your ability to solve their problems and needs.
In addition to suggesting to mid-funnel prospects that they continue to access your deeper-dive content, suggest that they share your email blasts. Include something as simple as an “Email to a Colleague” button. Include a “subscribe” call to action, to allow these new contacts to opt-in to your content, thus garnering you more interested email addresses.
When it comes to the middle of the sales funnel, personalization is key. Personalized emails delivered to those prospects that you know have interest in your company or service deliver 6 times higher transaction rates according to Marketing Land.
You know what individual prospects have responded to your blog or social post. Now, offer to them personalized content that extends details on the generalized material, but requires an email address to access.
That leads us into how you can expand and extend your social media outreach that leverages your already-interested mid-funnel prospects. The fact is, email and social are the dynamic duo of marketing, and both can be teamed to great advantage.
Make It’s A Two-Way Street
So far, you’ve been blogging and posting thoughtful pieces to Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. But that’s a one-way street. Mid-funnel marketing means identifying those people who are responding to your posts and talking about you, to begin a two-way conversation and push them deeper into the sales funnel toward conversion.
According to Salesforce, 88 percent of high-performing marketers collaborate with their service department to respond to social inquiries and concerns, compared with just 37 percent of underperformers. Social also helps your sales teams identify brand advocates, huge influencers who can spread the word about your expertise.
Some key tools you can use to identify interested prospects in the mid-funnel include Hootsuite, a mashup of social listening, management, and analytics. It can help you determine which ones of your content is encouraging engagement, so you can deliver more of the same to the right people.
Other effective social media tools that can help feed engaging social content to interested prospects include Sprout Social, listening in on the social conversation to tell you how your content is performing; Zoho Social, enabling you to analyze your social audience and how they engage with you; and Keyhole, monitoring brand mentions, influencer activity, and industry-specific social conversations. Knowing these key metrics will identify mid-funnel prospects so you can feed them even more engaging content for an ultimate hand-off to sales.
And don’t forget the tools that the top social platforms offer, including Facebook Insights, LinkedIn Analytics, YouTube Analytics. There are tons of these social tools. Ask around to see what colleagues and others in your company size are using, and try out a few.
The middle of the sales funnel is your time to pinpoint interested prospects and nurture them toward conversion. Use extended email lists, more robust social media posts, and personalized content to leverage the influence of these prospects, to pull more into your dynamic sales funnel.
Christopher Hosford is editor at large for Target Marketing. Former editor-in-chief of Nielsen’s Sales & Marketing Management magazine, he’s covered all aspects of sales, marketing, and cutting-edge marketing technologies.