If you’re following our annual plan to better marketing, then you took the time in February to rekindle lost relationships with clients, customers and prospects. This month, sustain your lead capture and recapturing efforts by focusing on automating your follow up.
Following up is often cited as a primary differentiator between the “good” and the “average”, just ask any salesperson, but too often small businesses think it’s too expensive (it isn’t) or too complicated (it’s not), to set up. But by automating follow up, you only spend a little time now and reap the benefits for, well, as long as you’re in business. And the alternative is letting leads drop off your sales pipeline, become cold and lost forever.
Following Up After an In-Person Meeting
Separate business cards as you get them. Cards from those that may be business prospects go in your right pocket, those that are general contacts in your left. Send a personal email to right pocket cards within a few days and engage further with a LinkedIn invite. Send a general email and LinkedIn invite to left pocket cards. That’s free and takes 15 minutes the next day. How’s that for inexpensive?
Use apps like CamCard or Evernote Hello to quickly scan a business card and have the information automatically uploaded to your contacts. Use IFTTT to automatically send LinkedIn invites to new contacts added to your phone contacts and set up reminders to follow up in a few days. Apps are less than $10 or free and require no time apart from scanning and setting up recipes. How’s that for easy?
Following Up On Website Lead Generating Activities
You’ve put a white paper online to get new email addresses for your email marketing efforts but rather than simply adding these emails to your next e-newsletter, most ESPs, even the cheapest, enable you to automatically send a personalized, automated email marketing message with every download. Schedule several messages, each tailored to what they downloaded and tested in order to engage them further through the sales pipeline. And of course keep them in your email marketing lists.
Following Up On Reviews
While this may apply to just B2C small businesses, even B2B companies have reviews, so it’s worth taking note. Yelp Business Blog recommends responding appropriately, publically and timely to both good but especially bad reviews.
There are plenty of tools to help you monitor social channels in order to quickly identify poor customer experiences and reviews. Some tools will automatically send you an email or text alert so you can immediately respond personally, not automatically. The automation and follow up comes next. Add those customers with a bad experience to a special segmented list and include them on any “Try Us Again” campaigns. Send them a special discount to come back and follow up personally (set a reminder) to check in on their next experience and encourage them to update their review. Some personalization fueled by automation can turn a poor experience into a golden opportunity.