I just listened to a webinar by Stacy Roach from Power of 3 Consulting, "How to Use a Call List with Your Drip Marketing Campaign." Stacy, a veteran ACT! Certified Consultant and longtime Swiftpage user and reseller, talked about several principles that struck me as to the power of a tightly integrated E-marketing solution like ACT! E-marketing.
One of the things Stacy mentioned was... "people buy from people." That is, people (customers) need to feel a connection to the people they are buying from. Even if there isn't a personal connection (such as in a pure-internet business), I believe there is still a connection made, at some level, everytime a customer makes a purchase decision. Stacy illustrated the point by showing us personal information from a newsletter about the host of the webinar - Swiftpage's David Leach - as an example of what contributes to her opinion that Swiftpage is "a great company." Stacy's opinion is obviously not coming only from Swiftpage's products and services; but on it's people, and her connection with them. Most often this connection is facilitated by knowing what the customer needs and when they need it - which is exactly what Stacy's webinar gave detailed instructions on how to achieve.
What jumped out at me while listening to the details of how to tie a Drip Campaign and Call Lists together is just how powerful this can be. Let me be very clear on a couple of points to help you understand: A Drip Campaign is a series of stages designed to nurture a lead to the point that a sale or other transaction is best facilitated. A Call List is a scored, sorted list of recipient responses to an event or multiple events - specifically, it's a mapping of results by contact. Since Swiftpage's service allows you to design the scoring per Call List, and to filter that Call List a number of different ways, the end result is that you have the ability to know exactly what your customers want from you.
Let me give you an example. I may be interested in a particular product, and in the early stages of researching vendors, product types, support costs, etc. I want to do my own research but I'm not ready to start the sales cycle - I don't want a quote or a proposal, and I'll be annoyed if I get some pushy salesperson on the phone. However, I get an email from one of the vendors (who I gave my email address to on their website) inviting me to attend a seminar related to government safety regulations for the product I'm researching. Now, I'm highly interested in this and I click around on several of the links in the email to find out more about the seminar. I don't know what to do - I really want the information, but I don't want to get involved with a salesperson yet. So I don't make a decision. The next day, I get a phone call from the vendor asking if I'd like to attend the webinar, and assuring me I am under no obligation, that I won't be contacted by a salesperson, and that I will receive a free market report for attending. WOW! I have now figured out a way to meet my needs exactly!! More accurately, however, is that this vendor has figured out my needs, by tight integration of Drip Marketing, Call List, E-mail templates, and Call List script. They know what stage of the process I'm in, and they know what stage I'm not in.
The end result is that I have now made a connection with this vendor. I'm probably 10 times more likely to buy from them, once I get to that point. I feel like they know me, and are paying personal attention to me. Are they? Well, yes, by paying close attention designing these elements to know exactly where I am in the process and interacting with me exactly the way I want them to. But all it took was one quick phone call - an easy one to make since it wasn't really a sales call. The rest, as Stacy and others are fond of saying, is "set and forget." Bring the customers in, and close them when they're ready.
The key, which should be obvious, is not to treat these elements as features, but as parts of an ongoing, nurturing dialog with each and every prospect (and customer) you have. Every contact is indeed an individual conversation, but careful design of the campaign and the followup allows you to meet your customer's needs exactly - every e-mail, every postcard, every phone call coming at exactly the right time with exactly the right message. And by leaving the grunt work to Swiftpage, you are free to focus on the design.
Consider going to an expert like Stacy or one of her peers as a starting point. Stacy showed an example of how e-mail templates, Call List settings, Call List scripts, and Drip campaigns are woven together to achieve the desired results. If you make the contact feel like you know where they are in the process and follow up accordingly, you will indeed be nurturing those contacts towards a sale, a repeat purchase, or even a lifetime connection.