How to create leads and nurture them to become more?
Is there a unique guideline that you can follow in order to have a good lead creation policy? There are many things your marketing team can do, like sending newsletters, engaging your contacts with appealing content and the like, but at the bottom of the matter is that you will need to tailor this approach to your needs and to your target customer audience.
The HubSpot platform is amazing in many ways, as we’ve been seeing so far, but do you know how you can implement their guidelines for lead generation and nurturing, as well as the conversion of leads to clients, opportunities, customers and even evangelists? Read on to learn more.
Definition of contacts per lifecycle stage
Before I delve deeper into explaining the specifics of marketing and lead creation and how you can utilize the HubSpot services to the max, here is a definition of the main terms we are going to use below. These are divided per lifecycle stage, meaning that they need to be constantly followed and updated so your marketing and sales teams can be up to date and on track with the right content and right offer every time.
Subscriber– this is a person that has heard of your product/service/company and would like to hear more about it from you. These are the people that subscribe to newsletters and blogs
Lead– a contact that shows more interest in the products/services, and is ready to make a buy. These are the people that ask for quotes or offers
MQL – Marketing Qualified Lead– this is a person that has shown serious interest in the offer presented to them but is not at the exact moment to execute a purchase. These people are the ones that reply to the specific forms usually sent as a part of a marketing campaign
SQL – Sales Qualified Lead– a person that is ready to make a purchase, meaning the sales team can take over. These people usually ask more in-depth questions about the products/services offered
Opportunity– people (contacts in the HubSpot CRM) that are fully intent on making a purchase
Customer– a person that has already closed a deal/made a purchase
Evangelist– this is a person that intends to become an advocate for your service/product and can offer a network of people that can become leads in the future
Other– this person does not belong to any of the stages outlined here, and there are always a few of these in any CRM list
All of these are used in the HubSpot CRM contact lists and can be automatically updated in the Lifecycle stage property of HubSpot and only move forward down the marketing funnel. However, this is a topic for another time.
Marketing phases – or going from a campaign idea to a satisfied customer
The HubSpot marketing platform allows you to custom-tailor your marketing efforts, and depending on your services/products, these can be aligned to the specific targets. The whole effort is divided into several stages, depending on the lifecycle stages (marketing terms), and here I will explain these in more detail.
1: Convert a Subscriber into a Lead
Not every visitor to your business website will commit to subscribing to your newsletter or making a purchase on their first visit, so you need to employ a clever marketing campaign to entice them to come back or commit to subscription and make a purchase down the road.
You will need to create a list of subscribers that are generally interested in your offer. Then you need to trigger the workflows tool in HubSpot and create an if/then branch for the subscribers. This is important as it allows you to have a clearer overview and if anyone enters the workflow later, you can keep track of them.
After the initial subscription and the creation of the contact list, you should send an email to the contacts within about two weeks of them subscribing. The email needs to be a high-performance awareness content offer that will spike their interest further.
The if/then branch segment comes in real handy here (that is why it is critical to use it) as it automatically divides the contacts into two groups: ones that downloaded (opened) the content and ones that did not download it. The people (contacts) that have downloaded the content (lead generation email) are automatically converted to leads and are on the way of becoming MQLs, and the ones that did not download the content get a second email with a more enticing offer and go through this cycle again.
2: Convert a Lead into MQL (Marketing Qualified Lead)
Sometimes a lead and an MQL can be considered one and the same, and other times these can be considered as different entities. Usually, a lead is a person who downloaded an offer; an MQL is a person that has shown more interest and is fitting the target audience. If you don’t discern a lead from an MQL, then go straight to step 3.
Any contact that has become a lead should receive a follow-up offer within a week or two. This is the stage where anyone that has not become a lead on the first go gets a second chance. The interested parties will download the new content and activate the if/then branch of the workflows tool, becoming ready for the next step.
If any of the contacts does not convert and become a lead, they should be put in the lifecycle stage marked as “Other” and considered at a later stage. The contacts that change their minds and become interested can enter the funnel at this stage and continue receiving marketing offers.
3: Convert an MQL into SQL
Any interested party in your product/service will most likely browse other similar products/services before they make a decision on the final purchase. It is in this stage when your marketing and sales teams should work together in helping the contact select your brand to do business with. The way to do this is by offering good content, good user experience, and good incentives.
When a lead becomes an MQL, they have already downloaded the initial awareness content email and know what they can expect. They have entered the if/then branching, so within a week or so, you should send them an email with consideration content that will lead them to think that your product/service has the solution to their issue.
After they download consideration content offer, they should also receive an intent offer within a short time frame, namely after a couple of days. The MQLs that download the intent product offer can be considered SQLs and are ready to be turned over to the sales team.
Any MQL that omits the download of the consideration offer should get another chance (another email) in a week or so. If they convert to SQL, they can be included in the next step, and if not, their status in the lifecycle stage should be changed to “Other” and considered at a later date.
4: Convert an SQL to Opportunity; giving them the option to become a Customer
The leads/MQLs that have reached this stage expect good treatment from your company. This means that your sales teams should work fast in accommodating them, usually with a free trial or a free consult. The conversion needs to be done within an hour of the MQL’s accept of the intent offer, as you have 700% more chance of making a sale and converting them into an opportunity and a customer.
The internal communication between the marketing and sales teams needs to be quick and it should contain the important criteria which will help the sales team to make a sale. At this stage, you need to have a branch in the workflows devoted to SQL contacts that have not yet become customers.
As I noted above, the sales teams need to be informed on this, as they need to take over and close the deal, converting the SQL into a customer. The workflows branches need to have a yes and no options, and the yes option will contain the opportunities and customers, and the no branch will contain the contacts that have opted out and these should be put in the “Other” section of the lifecycle stages.
5: Follow on customer satisfaction; convert a customer into an evangelist
In the case of closing the deal with the SQL, the contact has become a customer and needs to be labeled as such in the lifecycle stage. But the contact with them should not stop there, and constant contact should be kept. I’m not taking daily emails, but 2-3 emails over a period of time show your gratitude, appreciation and encourage them to repeat the business.
The happy, satisfied customers are the best commercial, as these spread the word among their friends, urging people to do business with you. The first email needs to be sent closely after concluding the sale (within a couple of hours) and should be a gratitude email with plenty of information and support content.
Another email can follow at least a week later, and this needs to remind the customers to spread the word of your business and their experience with you. This is a word-of-mouth marketing, and with proper incentive and rewards, you can use the existing customers to attract new leads and start the cycle all over again.
What we learned
This is a basic guideline, and it should not be taken at face value. Instead, it should be tested and tried, as the HubSpot workflows tool does work, and the branches allow plenty of opportunities, but not without trying it first. I suggest you ask HubSpot professionals for advice so you will hit the ground running with your inbound marketing campaign.