Lead Nurturing with Email and Text messages
Someone interested in your product is sent to your website through Google search or visits a landing page by clicking on your Facebook ad.
You capture their email through a form.
The nurturing starts.
A small group of people are going to jump on board with your product right off the bat, a very small group. The majority are going to take their time, ruminate on the need, explore other options and then if the entire sequence of events works in your favor, arrive back to become a paying customer.
That’s where nurturing emails come in to ease people through the customer journey. They educate people around the topic that initially piqued their interest, provide social proof around your business, and get people to take actions that move them down the sales funnel.
But hold on; take a look at your personal inbox.
I bet there are at least ten unopened emails from yesterday waiting to be read. And the same goes for your leads.
That’s not to say people don’t read emails. Email marketing benchmarks released by GetResponse show a negligible disparity between metrics for 2018 and 2017. On average, open and click-through rates remained the same even with the explosion of content and thousands of more businesses vying for the prospect’s attention.
But the way emails are being used has changed, with interactive emails containing or linking to surveys, quizzes, contests, and games leading the fold.
As we move forward, businesses making use of similar interactive channels to communicate are going to see higher engagement from their audience.
And that’s where text messages come in.
Emails by themselves are not going to work anymore
Let’s look at the basic version of a lead nurturing flow (I’m assuming we’ve already captured a lead).
First, the educational email goes out to get people on board with your idea. Running a gym? Educate people about the importance of a healthy body.
Secondly, address the problem. Let people know what happens when you don’t take care of your body.
Thirdly, the solution email. Let the person know what you have to offer.
Fourth, provide social proof. Testimonials from longtime gym-goers (with pictures) should do the trick.
Fifth and final, make the first ask.
And unless your ask effectively leverages the value that you worked to create over the series of nurturing emails, it will fall short.
Your ask has to go out at the right time. It has to strike the right chord with the person. And it has to be convincing enough to get them to sign up.
Emails, with an open rate hovering around 20%, give you no guarantee that the person will see it at the time it will create the most impact.
A well-timed text message, on the other hand, is personal, to the point and actionable.
With an open rate of 98%, it’s almost guaranteed that the lead is going to read your text. And when it is sent based on previous history of interaction with your emails, the chance of a positive response is much higher.
With the text going out as a personal message, even those who aren’t interested are more likely to take the time to let you know their decision. For a business, being able to make that distinction between an immediate buyer, a future prospect and an uninterested lead is extremely important going forward.
Blast SMS VS Peer to peer text conversations
You can go two ways with text messages. They can be (1) in the form of a broadcast message that is more informational in nature:
“Get 10% OFF on your gym membership. Use code ROYAL30. Join at roy.al/member.”
Or (2) in the form of a conversation:
“Hi Jon, this is Melinda from Royal Fitness. I saw that you were interested in our Bootcamp Classes. Would you like to come in this week for a free session?”
Depending on individual lead activity tracked using software like Wishpond, you can decide if the lead warrants a personal approach or if they require more nurturing through promotional offers and educational content before you make the ask.
For people with high engagement metrics who’ve proved their intent to buy, a personal conversation can be the biggest driving force to get them to convert into a paying customer. And peer to peer texting tools make that easier by letting membership advisors and small business owners handle hundreds of conversations at a time.
Broadcast texts, on the other hand, make sense for promotional offers and time-sensitive discounts that are sent as part of a long term nurturing campaign.
Collecting phone numbers
With businesses used to collecting emails, changing the workflow to get phone numbers can seem daunting. But the majority of people are comfortable with using text messages as a medium to discover products and receive personalized offers. It’s a matter of making the ask in a way that nurtures trust with your prospects. That’s where a well designed landing page can work in your favor. If you’re using a service like Wishpond, add an additional mobile field to the form on your landing pages where you want to collect mobile numbers.
Another way to let people join your list is to run a text to join campaign using tools like CallHub. You display your number on any form of outreach like email, direct mail, social media or at events, and let people text you to join your list and receive offers and updates. For example, you can display a message saying “Text ROYAL to 565656 to be the first to receive offers and alerts from Royal Fitness.” which would capture lead details in the way of an automatic conversation.
As soon as someone joins your list, start them off with a welcome email and follow up with a series of well-timed nurturing emails.
If you are using Wishpond and CallHub, you can automate the process by connecting both the tools through Zapier.
Using Zapier to integrate CallHub with Wishpond
You’ll need to create two automation or ‘Zaps’ in Zapier to send leads from your Text to Join campaign in CallHub into a specific list in Wishpond. The first automation sends the information you collect through texts to Wishpond and the second adds the lead to a list of your choice which would then trigger the nurturing emails.
You’ll need three things to get started.
- A new static list in Wishpond named “Mobile Subscribers”.
- A nurturing email series to go out to new leads that’s triggered when a lead is added to the list ‘Mobile Subscribers’.
- A Text to Join campaign on CallHub.
Create a new Zap that creates a lead in Wishpond when a new text message is received in CallHub.
Connect your CallHub account by entering the API key.
Connect your Wishpond account.
Connect CallHub form fields to Wishpond to define the data points you want to send to Wishpond. In this example, we’ll be sending an email (default), first name, last name, and the contact number.
That’s it, name your Zap and you’re done with your first automation.
Click on ‘Make another Zap’ to start with your second automation that will add leads captured through your Text to Join campaign into a specific list in Wishpond.
Choose CallHub as the trigger app and set the specific trigger the same as earlier – ‘New Text Message Received’.
Since your accounts are already connected, you can move on to the ‘Wishpond Action’ section. Set the action you want to achieve as ‘Add lead to list’.
Choose the ‘Mobile Subscribers’ list we created earlier from the list of available options. Follow this by connecting the CallHub email field to Wishpond.
Name your automation and you’re done.
All leads subscribing to you through text will now be automatically added to the ‘Mobile Subscribers’ list and get started on a lead nurturing campaign on Wishpond as you can see in the image below.
Once you have your lead nurturing emails and Text to Join campaign ready, the automation will only take a couple of minutes to set up. It’s a simple set and forget strategy that saves you the trouble of manually adding each mobile subscriber into a lead nurturing campaign.
Finding your balance
Your lead nurturing workflow determines the first touchpoints that your business has with a prospective customer. Capturing their attention during this time requires you have to find the right balance between personal and mass communication. And that’s exactly what the right mix of emails and text messages can do for your business. Follow the strategies outlined in this article to set up your initial lead nurturing workflow. As you grow and learn, modify the workflow to align with your specific requirements.
I admit, finding your balance is going to prove a bigger challenge as you grow. Businesses that take on the challenge are the ones that will stand out in an overcrowded and overwhelming market.
Tony works on stories at CallHub, where the customer is the protagonist and the setting changes across nonprofit and business. He shapes and builds the story arc to help them overcome conflict, be it to convert prospects into customers, mobilize supporters across the nation, or fundraise for a cause. Connect with him on Twitter at @tonyjoyoye