Traditionally, marketing teams focused almost entirely on lead generation, dumping the fruits of their efforts in the laps of the sales team and walking away. Whether eventual ROI was measured or not, the value of a good marketer is in how many eyeballs they can attract and how many of those eyeballs convert to a lead of any kind.

But content marketing changes things. Not only does content open up an entire new tier of lead at the top of the funnel – not yet qualified for a sales conversation – but it gives marketers an opportunity to build a relationship between the brand and the prospect well before a sales person ever picks up the phone.

There are a number of benefits to this.

  • It can be automated
  • Prospects are primed for the conversation
  • Less things need to be explained predicating the sale

A well oiled marketing machine can get a lead from the top of the funnel to within a few short steps of the sale without a sales person’s interjection. Technology and a finely tuned followup system make this possible.

How to Build an Effective Followup Machine

Once a lead enters the funnel, they can be contacted by your company as many times as is necessary to move them to the next stage of the funnel. In short, you have started a conversation, and until they get tired of that conversation or walk away, you can keep talking.

As a vehicle for conversation, email is one of the most effective ways to make that movement. With 73% of businesses saying that email is a crucial part of their online marketing strategy and the overall ROI of email surpassing social media by 20%, it’s a prime candidate for your followup efforts. Better yet, the entire process can be automated – allowing you to get all these benefits without having to manually reach out to all those prospects.

A good followup machine has three things:

  1. Automated emails based on specific actions
  2. A minimum of 6 weeks of engagement
  3. Solid calls to action in each email

Here’s what that would look like for a typical eBook download: 

  1. Someone downloads an eBook from your website.
  2. They receive an automated followup email with a link to download their book.
  3. Seven days later they receive another email introducing them to a resource library on the website.
  4. Seven days after that email, they receive another with links to recent articles and white papers written by the company.
  5. Two weeks later, the prospect receives another email that offers assistance in making a decision related to their problems.
  6. Two weeks later, the prospect receives a fifth email with a link for them to contact you and ask questions or get a consultation.

And that’s not it. Every time you send out a broadcast email or launch a new piece of content that might be useful to that particular lead, you can send yet another email that provides them an opportunity to engage.

How This System Works

There are several reasons this type of system works so well. Imagine the process of making a decision for your business. Especially when researching potential solutions, you might visit a dozen or more websites looking for more information. No one site will stand out as being particularly useful in this process.

But if one of those companies sends you a followup email a week later to ask if your questions were solved and then offer additional content on that topic, what then? You’re much more likely to remember them as you get closer to making a decision.

Staying top of mind is key to this process and one of the reasons why automated followup is a must. More importantly, you don’t have to do anything – once these emails are written and programmed, they go out to everyone who falls into this category. It can drastically increase response rates from your prospects in just a matter of a few emails. All without you or your sales team having to get involved.

The Bottom Line

Email followups work and when automated, they allow you to engage with your leads at every level of the marketing funnel without having to involve sales people or drastically increase your budget to reach those prospects. 

If you’re trying to build your own automation system and would like to learn more about preparing your website for a content marketing campaign, download our Marketing Ready Checklist from the link below: