We are no Jedi, so it’s safe to assume that you never had a Yoda-like teacher either. But, I am sure you had a favorite teacher sometime during the whole 16-18 years of your school-college stretch. What was it that made them your favorite?

Though their methods might vary, great teachers are very much alike. They, in their own ways, try to connect with students, instead of just skipping through chapters to cover the syllabus.

Let’s talk about how you can emulate awesome teachers to create a truly educational and effective lead nurturing strategy. After all, both need relationship building, knowledge sharing and building a sense of trust and rapport.

Keep your prospects at the center

Lesson 1: The prospect is your protagonist

I had this Chemistry teacher in school, who managed to make everything about himself. Every class started with “When I was your age…”, which had us all switch to auto-pilot mode, and mute out everything that followed. Though he definitely meant well, but I am pretty sure that he’s the reason why even Walter White couldn’t make Chemistry cool for me.

Ion you

A better teacher would know that he has to reach out to the students by keeping them at the center. It’s not without reason that in every (okay, most) good teacher-student movie you saw, the protagonist is a young student desperately in need of guidance – moral or otherwise. And, needless to say, our teachers, play humbly along the sidelines, dishing out all their sage advice to help save the day.

Yoda to Luke Skywalker, Albus Dumbledore to Harry Potter, Gandalf to Frodo Baggins, anyone!

yoda-quote-star-wars

So, lead nurturing lesson number 1 ; you need to keep your prospects at the center.

If every nurturing email that goes out from you is “Me, me, me”, pretty soon your prospects would stop even opening your emails. Yes, you want to make a sale. But, first you need to get your prospects to see that you have their best intentions in mind. After that, you can send all the direct sales emails and the likelihood of them getting ignored is less.

Take a look at this example from fitness products company FitBit – it’s fun and it completely concentrates on the individual receiving the email.

Lead nurturing lessons - Fitbit email campaigns

Picture Credits: https://blog.getvero.com/15-data-driven-email-marketing-campaigns-to-help-you-kick-ass-in-2014/

Lesson 2: Show your prospects that you understand their pain-points – Gain their trust

Professor X is perhaps the best example that you can emulate in your lead nurturing methodology in maintaining a personal connection. He nails connecting with each of his students on an individual level (though he did have telepathic powers to help him along, which I bet all marketers would kill to have in context of knowing their prospects’ thoughts).

However, the most important point is this – the young mutants are able to relate to Professor X so well, because they know that he had the same experiences, same fears, growing up, so they trust him. This is the kind of voice you need to develop while nurturing your leads; they have to sense that you speak from experience, and that you actually understand their pain points.

A new generation of mutants is emerging,

Establish an immediate connection with the prospect

Lesson 3: Make an impact when you first touch-base – take risks, stand out

Who wouldn’t love a teacher that roller-skates his/her way into the classroom on the first day of school, treats students with candy on pop-quiz, dresses up Shakespearean on theater day, and uses references everyone can relate to. They are not like every other teacher – that’s why they make an impact. Think Robin William’s John Keating in Dead Poets Society! Instead of drawling out the written in stone curriculum like his peers, he encouraged his students to think out of the box.

Now, similarly, you need to stand out against your competition in your prospects’ inbox as well. If a prospect fills out your form, chances are that he would fill out 10 others. People who aren’t sales-ready are more likely to open an interesting sounding email as opposed to a direct sales pitch.

For instance, if someone looks at your Australia Budget Tour Package, you would do much better by sending them “10 awesome things to do in Australia on a budget”, rather than sending “Australia tour package details.”

Lesson 4: Don’t be boring – Make a conversation

Okay this is almost the same as Lesson 3, but it needs to be emphasized. Boring teachers can really put the students off a subject. This clip from “Ferris Buller’s Day Off”, is a reminder of every boring class ever that made us want to skip school. He talks in a mind-numbing monotone right at them, instead of making a conversation.

If you are doing one-way talking, your email open rates would drop with each email, or worse, won’t get opened at all. Therefore, try to make a conversation in your emails.

Listen before responding

“A teacher that never listens to his students is bound to fail.” A conversation is never one way – you have to know them, and listen to them. Listening in terms of lead nurturing would constitute tracking their online behavior, and then sending custom content. Instead of sending time based emails to all your leads that enter the system, set up nurturing campaigns based on their interests.

If some of your leads are spending time on your Mauritius package page, and others on the Australia one, and you send both of them the same Traveler’s handbook, it’s not going to do you much good. Therefore, you must set up your nurturing campaigns in a manner that takes into account the pages that your leads are visiting in general.

Bonus lesson: Have a sense of humor

While you are out there trying to make a conversation, bring out the funny. A teacher with a good sense of humor generally gets bonus points on the favorite teacher chart. On that note, this assignment seems pretty cool:

Lead nurturing lesson - have a sense of humor

Photo Credit: Reddit

If your emails are relatable and funny, the chances of them being read is high. Folks at US food ordering app, Eat24 realize this well, and craft awesome emails that not just provide value, but are a delight to read. All direct marketers have something to learn from them. Here’s an example (P.S: Read the fine print as well – you’ll not regret it):

Eat24 emailLesson 5: Know (more than the names of) your prospects

One routine that I remember from every class is the introduction drill. The new teacher would introduce herself on the first day every year, and have the students introduce themselves as well. The parroted responses get really boring after a point.

We got this new communications teacher one year, and she had a really interesting approach to this. She asked us all to write an obituary for ourselves, if we were to die that very day. Kind of bizarre and morbid, but we went with it anyway. Turns out, she was trying to figure out our self-image (what we thought of ourselves). Not only did the assignment make us think, but she got to know more than just our names. The best part – she remembered what we all wrote, and spent the whole year dealing with us accordingly.

She did turn out to be a disciplinarian in a complete pain-in-the-ass way, but the fact that she made this effort stuck with us, and we always worked extra hard on her presentations to not let her down.

Similarly, before you start your nurturing campaigns, you have to know more than just the names and designations of your leads – you have to define their persona. Take into consideration not just their demographic and firmographic attributes, but their behavioral attributes as well. What keyword did they use to land on your landing page, which specific pages have they been visiting, etc. and then draft your nurturing strategy.

Know your Prospect

And, segment them accordingly

A teacher cannot have the same set of materials aiding her for an advanced Trigonometry class, and a junior Maths class. The juniors would be lost, and demotivated if you do that, and to advanced students it would just be ridiculous to study the basics again.

Similarly, some of your leads might be ready to buy now, whereas some might need additional nurturing to aid them in decision-making. So, while sending pricing details, and product comparisons would be a good idea for your advanced leads, you would need to send helpful guides and educational blog posts to the beginners.

Segmentation can depend on factors other than sales-readiness as well

a) Geography of the prospect (both B2B and B2c)

b) Interest of the prospect – specific products/services (Both B2B and B2c)

c) Industry (B2B)

d) Job function of the prospect (B2B)

e) Company size (B2B)

f) Status in the buying cycle (Both B2B and B2C)

g) Other interests – what pages are they visiting, what documents are they downloading etc. (both B2B and B2C)

To do this efficiently, you should have an intelligent system in place that tracks the kind of pages your leads are visiting, and then sends them nurturing content accordingly.

Take a look at this email campaign from Etihad Airways. It goes out only to customers flying solo and flying long distance, therefore it is a customized offer based on customer preferences.

Lead nurturing lessons - Etihad emails

According to research firm MarketingSherpa, following is the percentage of B2B prospects placing importance on specific type of segmented and customized content:

Prospects placing Value on Specific Content

Lesson 6: Have an authoritative voice:

Now, yes it’s true that everyone loves an adorable goofball as a teacher. But students would also take him for a trip, if he is a goofball all the time. Students generally respect teachers that know how to balance being authoritative and approachable at the same time.

Professor X once again is a great example here. He emanates the classic intellectual energy that all students look up to and respect, while knowing that he is on their side.

Professor X

In a similar manner, have an authoritative voice in your lead nurturing process, while adding some real value, so that your prospects take your advice seriously. After all, you really do want to add value to your prospects, otherwise how would you gain their trust.

So, when you are off sending your nurturing campaigns, be sure to act as an influencer. You can even involve some real industry influencers in your campaigns.

For instance, if you are in travel business, get some influential travel bloggers to share their opinions on the place that you are trying to sell.

If you are in education business, you can share counselling advice from experts with your prospective students.

Lesson 7: Don’t give a test on the first day of class

What do you say about teachers that give a test the first day of class? Well, not a whole lot of nice things. They might have the best of intentions, but there is a process to get there.

Similarly, don’t start pushing your product on your prospects in the beginning of the nurturing campaign. You should aim instead to send them some educational/entertaining content first, and then based on their further web behavior, trigger custom offers etc.

Lesson 8: Successful teachers love what they do

To emanate positive, contagious energy, a teacher has to love what he does. He is passionate about the subject, and about the thought of helping his students succeed.

It applies to your nurturing campaigns as well. Do you care about making your customers successful? It would reflect in the response to the nurturing campaigns. A wholeheartedly crafted nurturing campaign is really easy to spot, because it reflects the work that has gone into segmenting the different prospects and sending them customized emails. Even though with marketing tools the process is automated, but still it shows that you actually care.

Lesson 9: Successful teachers aren’t afraid to adopt methods more popular amongst students

Great teachers understand that it would not hurt them to adopt references and channels already popular amongst their students. Like this teacher, who made Physics cool.

Lead nurturing lessons - Connect with your prospects

Image Source: Buzzfeed

Or, this one:

Lead nurturing lessons - Batman Equation

Image Credit: Buzzfeed

Similarly, a great nurturing process would speak the language of your prospects, and use channels that your prospects are most comfortable using.

If your audience is on Facebook, then incorporate social nurturing using custom audience, along with your standard nurturing emails.

If you are a travel company, you might want to think about really including Instagram and Pinterest in your regular lead nurturing strategy.

Lesson 10: Successful teachers reflect on their methodology from time to time, and make amends

Only the stuck-up know-it-all teachers stick to one technique just for the pride in having devised it. A better teacher would instead (having reflected on the success of his methods) change his ways to fit student understanding. If your emails aren’t being opened, or read, you wouldn’t really stick to them despite their obvious failure, would you. So, be open to change and adapt. Analyze.

“If no mistake have you made, yet losing (3)

So, what was your favorite teacher like – add in the comments any lead nurturing lessons you learned from them (or, any other teacher story you want to share with us).

A number of interesting questions were asked at the webinar ‘How to organize your Lead to Revenue Lifecycle’. Those of you who missed the webinar, here’s a summary of some of the questions asked during that session. You could also listen to the webinar recording here.

How to organize your Lead to Revenue Lifecycle

View the Recording

Question 1

What is the common definition of lead, for both sales and marketing?

This definition has to be derived by the sales and marketing team together. There are simple parameters that you can look at, which are usually driven by certain numbers. For example, in B2B business, the marketing team could say that if I get you a qualified appointment, with the VP of Sales, or the VP of marketing, or the Chief Financial Officer of a company, with the size of over 1000 people or 10 million dollars revenue, I have done my bit.

But then, the salesperson may say, no, that’s not enough because the marketing team is essentially just handing over a name and saying call him up without knowing if he is interested in the product or service, or having a sales conversation. If that is the case, then the marketing team needs to further qualify the lead. The marketing team needs to have a little more bandwidth to have a meaningful conversation before handing over the lead to the sales team.

Question 2

Sometimes, a lead may yield revenue only after a long period of time? How can we track those leads?

Tracking these leads would certainly require a system. If the lifecycle of the lead (till closure) is a couple of months, then it’s very hard for you to keep track of them, manually.  It can be done if the lead volume is less. Then you can keep a note of the details in excel sheets. But that can be tedious. I would say, if the lead volume is big, having a system in place to track such details is advisable.

Question 3

Can we depend on social media for leads or is it just for branding in B2B marketing?

LeadSquared is a B2B company and we generate good leads from Facebook. This post will give you a better idea of how you can use social media for leads. Here’s an interesting infographic from Quick Sprout on social media as an emerging lead generation channel.

Social_Media_for_Lead_Generation

Question 4

Is a lead lifecycle, from lead generation to closure, different for every marketing channel?

Yes, it is possible. A lead who comes from Google ads would probably be searching for that product or service already. For example, if I am moving from Bangalore to Indore, I would be looking for Packers and Movers and I would take a decision with 5-15 days, depending on where I am. I look for it on Google, I find a couple of options and fill a few forms. Now, at that time, if I am on Facebook and I find a similar ad, I would still fill the form, whether I use it or not. But on Google, the intent is from me because I am actually searching for  it. That’s how you can see how one channel could be better than the other. I’m not saying that Google is better than Facebook but in this case, the intent is more clear on Google.

Let me give you another example. I see a newspaper ad about real estate property. I am interested in it and therefore I am making a call. So in this case, the lead is making an effort to reach out to the business. The more the lead tries, the higher is the interest of the lead coming from that marketing channel and that affects the lead lifecycle.

Question 5

What is lead nurturing?

When we were young and in love, we gave roses and letters to our beloved to. We would try to get their attention. All the stuff we did or sent to them is nurturing. So basically, he nurtures her so at some point she would close the deal. In the business side of things I would say, engage with the prospect, try to understand what their needs are, and send them information which will help them make the decisions easier. In the older days, we would send traditional mailers to engage with our prospects. But today we have emails and so many other methods to keep them engaged.

Question 6

Will you help small business put this process in place?

Yes, many small businesses are using LeadSquared and we have helped them set it up.

Question 7

How to get leads for corporate training?

Corporate training is basically B2B training. I would have to take a B2B approach:

1. I would run ads.

2. I would make outbound calls.

3. I would send outbound email campaigns.

4. I would attend seminars, webinars and other local events where the HR or representatives are available from corporate organizations, and exchange business cards with them.

Question 8

What are referral websites?

Any other website (other than your own) from where you are getting traffic is a referral website. For instance, in our case, Quora is one such example. We get a lot of traffic from this website because we engage a lot on the questions there. Sites like Just Dial and Sulekha where businesses have advertised are also referral sites.

Question 9

Is LeadSquared helpful only for those who have online sales promotion for their business?

You can capture leads from offline events, etc., as well but those with an online presence would definitely be able to get the best out of LeadSquared.

Question 10

For offline sales, how are email campaigns and tracking helpful?

Even if you generate the leads offline, (I am thinking that you would collect some details – maybe email IDs, etc.) after you have these leads in the system, you can engage them using LeadSquared. Plus, you can capture inbound phone leads as well. However, if you mean leads that are completely offline (not accessing internet in any form) then it would definitely not help.

Question 11

What’s the use of LeadSquared in real estate marketing?

You can manage your complete marketing and sales process, including lead capture, lead storage, engagement, management, sales intelligence and revenue in LeadSquared. You can streamline your marketing and your marketing strategies. For example, you can capture lead details using landing pages and keep them engaged with regular emails. Take a look at this case study on one of our real estate customers to see how they used LeadSquared to streamline their marketing process.

Question 12

Can you expand on how to engage leads?

You can send them intelligent emails based on the web pages they have visited, and the content they seem to be interested in. You could also set up auto-responders.

Question 13

What is API support?

API stands for Application Programming Interface. Let me explain how this works. Companies like Just Dial and Shiksha typically send leads via email and SMS. There could be a case where the business who is receiving these leads through SMS, has to manually enter those leads in their respective systems. With API, this could be changed. The option is to ask Just Dial or Shiksha to not send the leads via email but send those leads directly into the system. This would automate the lead distribution process based on their interests and eliminate lead leakage – i.e. losing those leads. To automate this process, you would need API support.

Question 14

How to engage through Web Chat?

There are multiple tools available to engage people through chat when they come to your website. We use Olark for our web chats. Another promising tool for engagement is Zopim Chat.

Question 15

How do you get data on page wise visit and time spent on that page?

You would have LeadSquared script installed on your website, and we record that data for the leads that are there in the LeadSquared system.

Question 16

How to efficiently create emails which would engage leads?

Email

Using web intelligence (pages visited, e-books downloaded, etc.) to segment your leads, and then sending them customized emails is the best way to go about it. This post will help you get started. Here’s what you should keep in mind:

Question 17

How to get more leads for financial planning firm? Best idea for doing that?

There is no best idea really. You have to work through it and find the best ideas yourself.  You spend money and try all the channels. There are essentially two parts to it:
1. Getting leads for financial planning.
2. Converting them to customers.

If you look at your audience, there would be some who you would go and pitch a deal to, saying you would look after their financial matters. Some people would agree immediately saying this has come from a trusted source and they would hand their money over to you. But a lot of people wouldn’t because they don’t trust you.

When it comes to money matters, trust is one of the most important elements for a financial planner. That being said, if financial planners continue to engage with their leads and build trust, which can actually be built over time, that could work as well. Let me give you an example. I had a banker who used to work with me. In 2008 I lost a lot of money when the stock market crashed and I started hating my financial planner because of that. Obviously, I was at fault as well. That point onwards, the individual has kept in touch with me. It’s been 6 years now. He understands that he made a mistake and so did I.

Today he has gained my trust. Over the course of those 6 years, he kept meeting me and talking to me, never asking for my business. Being a financial planner, you advise your clients when they are making wrong choices. Getting lead is not the most important thing in financial business. Earning his trust is equally important.

Question 18

What are the best practices for creating landing pages for lead generation? What are the main elements that we should have in landing page?

We have written several articles in the past about landing pages and best practices. Take a look at this post and the E-Book on Conversion Optimized Landing pages.

1. 6 HABITS of Creating Conversion Optimized Landing Pages
2. E-Book: How to Create Conversion Optimized Landing Pages

Question 19

What are the activities that we can consider keeping in mind for lead scoring?

It depends on the business. Since you are talking about activities, I can give you the example of webinars, which we organize regularly.  All the people who register for the webinar get a certain score. The ones who actually attend it get a higher score because they have naturally shown more interest in what we have to offer. That is how you would rate your activity and wherever you see a higher engagement or more effort from the lead to connect with you, that is where you would assign a higher score.

Lead_Scoring2

Let’s say you assign a certain score if someone opens a mail. But if someone fills a form, they should be given a higher score, indicating that they are more interested in the business. Even when it comes to forms, different forms should be assigned different scores. For example, a newsletter subscription form fill should ideally receive a lower score over a “Call Me Now” submission. So based on their interest and activity, scores should be assigned. For more inputs, read this post. You could also take a look at this webinar recording on Lead Scoring: Strategies & Benefits.

Question 20

How do you use content marketing to impact lead creation?

Create relevant content to drive traffic to your site. Use keywords that are relevant to your business and your audience. Include downloadable content such as E-Books and Whitepapers. This would be of value to your leads. You could also start a blog, hold webinars and other events which may be useful to your audience.