Nurturing your Lists
Definition: A marketing term for building relationships with potential clients even if they are not currently looking to buy a product or service.
The truth is, most people do not see an advertisement and immediately purchase or call for a quote. They move when they are ready.
To reach these potential customers, you need a systematic approach for developing trust and being there when they put up their hand. The not-so-secret weakness of small businesses is that they don’t follow up with leads as well as they should. But consistent, valuable follow-up messages can prove to be a huge competitive edge, as long as you approach the nurturing process with a clear communications plan in mind.
Set Frequency Expectations
Customers who opt in to your communications want to hear from you, but they don’t want to be overwhelmed by hyper-frequent communications. Create a consistent timeline for your campaign that fulfils the needs and wishes of your customers as well as your business.
It’s best to set your customers’ expectations upfront—for example, “Sign up for our monthly newsletter” or “Get our weekly specials.” If you have an online storefront, for example, you may want to send weekly emails with new products or a limited-time sale.
If you’re a motivational speaker, a monthly newsletter sent via email or SMS might be a better approach. Daily emails are almost never a good idea unless your subscriber is expecting it. Daily SMS messages are even worse.
Less is more
If you have an idea of how many emails you would like to send to your customers and prospects, halve this amount, and then halve it again for your mobile campaigns. With mobile, less is more. Here’s why!
Email is no longer working for marketers
We have come to live with the volumes of junk email we receive in our inboxes. We expect to wake up each morning with dozen of emails offering ‘get rich quick programs’, ‘earn $100,000 a month’, ‘appendage enlargement pills’ and ‘offers of millions from a long lost relative’ from a ‘verified banker’ based in Nigeria! See my point!
Because of this unfortunate paradigm and the proliferation of ISP filters and junk folders, less than 15% of your marketing emails will ever be read and of these, less 10% (1.5% overall) of your audience will interact with your messages and offers. Sadly, we can expect the same for another five (5) or ten (10) years until email is finally replaced by new and ubiquitous communication platform.
Treat the mobile (SMS) channel with respect
There is hardly a person on the planet that cannot receive a text message. Since 1992 till the present day, the humble text message has not changed a great deal.
Messages received to our personal phones are in the main, from contacts within our network of close friends and family and lastly, business. From time to time, we may choose to ‘opt in’ to receive information or offers from various people. Of these, we generally DO NOT expect to receive follow-up reminders or ‘upsell’ offers to our phones from this company or person that we subscribed to as we have become accustomed to with email.
Being an avid and terribly amateurish golfer, I recently subscribed to a site that promised to improve my golf swing within 30 days. As you can imagine, I was as keen as punch to learn all about it……….Until, after receiving around ten (10) emails after only the third day, I was totally sick of the whole experience and brand. They were toast and my swing was left to its own sad ways. My point is this! I gleefully signed up to improve my game but not the bloody barrage of emails.
The mobile world is very different to its email cousin. Of course this is true technically, but also from the perspective of the overall user experience.
SPAM mobile at your peril
Brands and individuals (consider yourself to be both of these) that SPAM and harass their lists via mobile (SMS) are on a one way track to disaster. Unlike email, we treat our personal mobile number very carefully. We provide this to people we trust with the understanding that this permission will not be abused (mothers are excluded from this comment – they can reach us as many time as they like.
The same is true for brands, yet the relationship rules are greatly amplified. If you step over the line and start sending daily messages with promises of endless wealth or life itself, your audience will unsubscribe (opt out) in a heartbeat.
Less is more – how much is too much?
This is probably the question I get asked often as do my team at MOBIT. The answer differs of course depending on your industry, profession or even the message itself. If you have signed up for daily weather alerts or a daily deal site then fine. In the main though, here are a few things to think about before blasting away at your lists.
If it’s not worth saying, don’t say it.
Is your message of high value and importance?
If you do NOT have permission then don’t send it – ever. In countries where you can buy mobile lists or obtain them from unscrupulous sources, it is tempting to send out a broadcast message and ‘hope for the best’. You will not only be blacklisted from your SMS provider but your brand will suffer irreparable damage with the mountain of opt outs and angry messages you will receive.
How many emails would you send your list each month? Halve that number, now halve it again. If that number is any more than one (1) message per week then it’s still too many. This excludes reminder messages.
Personalize every message
Studies show that customers respond better to communications that are personalized to them. Evaluate your follow-up communications—whether email, mobile (SMS), direct mail or other methods—and determine how you can customize them to each person in your database. It could be as simple as using their first name or as targeted as suggesting products based on past purchases.