In the modern world of sales and marketing, if you have a website – you need automation. Simple as that. In particular, you need automated emails. There are a vast number of different automated emails you can set up for your company, including some hyper-personalized messages, complete with video and smart CTAs. But, we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Today, let’s start with the basics.
Sales cycles are getting longer, especially for B2B organizations like VAR/MSP companies. Because of this, not every lead that comes in from your website is ready to become a customer right away. Some of them need more nurturing and information before they are able to convert from lead to customer. One of the best ways to do this is through some basic email automation.
Let’s Get Automating
If you want to start improving your lead to deal conversion rates, you need to start with 3 basic automated emails. These emails will help reduce the amount of time you and your sales team spend manually contacting and evaluating leads and will help push the leads towards conversion on their own.
The 3 Emails are:
- The “Welcome” Email
- The “Wait – There’s More” Email
- The “Where’d You Go” Email
Let’s dive a little deeper into each of those. There’s also an example for each of the types (but I’ll confess, these are from my personal email inbox, which mostly consists of books or cats so I’m not sure how much variety there will be).
The “Welcome” Email
The welcome email does exactly what is says – it welcomes people. When a lead fills in any sort of form on your website, it’s important you acknowledge that you know they’re there. Whether they’ve contacted you to request a quote, or just downloaded an ebook, you should immediately let them know that you’ve noticed they’re interested – and thank them for that.
After you’ve thanked the person for reaching out (or signing up, or downloading) you have a few options for how you can use this email to guide them down the path to conversion:
- Point them to other resources/content on your site they may find interesting.
- Ask them to provide more information about themselves (progressive profiling) so you can send even more personalized content.
- Give them the option to reach out to you with questions or book a meeting.
Here’s an example from PetSmart. It’s the welcome email they send when you sign up for their loyalty/rewards program.
There’s a simple thank you, a quick description of what the loyalty program includes (not screenshotted) and then, a call to action reminding you to complete your profile and earn bonus points. This fits in with Option 2 for conversion – they’re incentivizing subscribers to provide them with more information about themselves. Once your profile is completed, PetSmart will have more information about you, and will be able to more precisely target you with future offers.
The “Wait – There’s More” Email
Ok, so you have a lead who signed up for something on your website. Whether they signed up for a webinar, a free trial of your service, a pricing quote, or actually became a customer, you always want to be continuing to follow up and keep in touch with them.
The “wait – there’s more” email is, essentially, an upsell/cross-sell email. A certain amount of time after the lead comes in, you can send an email letting them know that your business has more options to help solve their pain points than the one they already took interest in. The time you want to wait depends on the scale of the original and new offer, but a couple of weeks is fairly standard.
Here’s an example from Telus (some might say the king of attempting to upsell customers).
Unfortunately, this is an older email and the images aren’t downloading correctly anymore, but you get the picture. This email gets send some time after a person signs up for Optik TV – encouraging you to add more channels to your subscription. They’re even incentivizing the upsell by offering a new channel pack free for the first 3 months.
With an upsell/cross-sell email like this on, your organization can start getting more value from leads and/or customers you already have, which is always significantly easier than collecting new leads. This kind of email is particularly effective if you offer different “levels” of service.
For example, if you are a software company with 4 different versions of your software, you should be scheduling a “wait – there’s more” email to go out to anyone who signs up for one of the lower or less feature-rich versions to tell them about what more they’ll get if they upgrade to a higher version.
The “Where’d You Go?” Email
The final automated email your company needs to increase lead to customer conversion rates is the “where’d you go?” email. Sometimes, depending on how it’s formatted, we call this the “breakup” email. But, that all boils down to one point – you need this email to re-connect with leads that aren’t engaging with your content.
The goal with marketing in a longer sales-cycle is to ensure that your business is always top of mind for leads. So, if a lead comes in through your website, but then hasn’t clicked in, or even opened, your emails for some time (and you’re definitely going to want to track this with marketing software), it’s your job to get them back.
Here’s an example of a super-creative re-engagement email from Penguin Random House.
Don’t worry – you don’t have to animate a fake late-night text message to have a successful re-engagement email. In fact, for B2B organizations, a simper, more personalized email can often work better. All it takes is a friendly reminder to your lead that they signed up to hear more from you for a reason, and that there’s still more to be gained from staying engaged,
If you have the kind of software that allows you to track email open and click-through rates (and you really should have it), then all you have to do is set up your email automation to send your “where’d you go?” email to leads who haven’t opened your last 5 or 6 emails.
Get Started Automating
Ready to start improving email conversion rates? It’s time to get automating.
Neither you nor your sales or marketing teams have time to be personally reaching out to every lead who reaches one of the stages mentioned above. Plus, the margin for error in writing out your emails every time is just too high. With an automated system for emails, you can ensure that all leads are getting the right emails at the right time.
There’s lots of options for email automation out there – and plenty of those options (like our software partner HubSpot) have a ton of other marketing and even sales automation components.
If you’re interested in learning more about best practices for email automation, or who to improve your email conversion rates, we’d love to help! You can ask us an anonymous question through our monthly advice column, or you can reach out to our team for a more in-depth conversation.