Tag Archives: lead nurturing

Business holiday cards build customer loyalty

Building customer loyalty is on the top of most businesses’ to-do lists at any given time of the year, but with the current economic slowdown and the approaching holiday season it’s more important than ever.

Connecting with business contacts, customers and clients during the holiday season can help strengthen bonds and forge lasting relationships during times of economic uncertainty.

At the end of the year, business holiday cards are the most popular form of communication between businesses and customers, and customers enjoy and appreciate the connection, according to recent national research by Hallmark Business Expressions, the business-to-business subsidiary of Hallmark Cards Inc..

The findings of its 2008 national consumer attitude survey about holiday greeting cards revealed 78% of respondents receive holiday cards from businesses. Half of those recipients are more likely to do future business with a company that sends holiday greeting cards.

Sending business holiday cards helps create a positive company image and improves customer loyalty. Of survey participants who receive greeting cards, the majority appreciate the gesture and feel it shows the company truly cares about them.

“Nurturing relationships with your existing, loyal customers is cost-effective for businesses because those customers have shown a propensity for your brand. When the customer is considering his next purchase, the business that sent holiday greeting cards will likely benefit,” said Marc Wagenheim, product marketing director for Hallmark Business Expressions.

Business holiday cards can send a smile and a little laughter this holiday season when times may not be as easy as they were in the past. Lighthearted and funny greeting cards may be one way to get a chuckle out of stressed-out customers.

If you’re worried that a humorous holiday card could be viewed as unsympathetic or disrespectful, try looking for cards that are lighthearted, but with a humorous twist. Send a card with some holiday cheer, it may be just what your business contacts need this year.

BtoB study finds better results with quick forms

People are willing to answer a lot of questions as long as they can complete them quickly, according to the latest BtoB study by Silverpop. Their business-to-business research also found that once registered, people are anxious to hear from companies.

“Time is the difference between a lead and a lost contact,” according to Silverpop’s Benchmark Study of Lead Management Practice. The longer it takes for someone to answer a list of questions, the more likely they will abandon the questionnaire.

From MarketWatch:

“The forms that were able to be completed quickly — say within one to two minutes or less — were most likely to be finished, while those that took longer were more often abandoned mid-way through,” said Bryan Brown, director of product management and development for Silverpop’s BtoB Vtrenz solution. “The number of required fields appeared to have little impact on completion rate.”

He said that “update” forms populated with pre-existing data the company had already collected from sales leads were completed at a rate 20 to 25 percent higher than new-lead forms. Brown recommends that marketers create forms that are simple, clear and brief, with fields that can be completed without any hesitation.

Researchers suggest when acquiring new leads that companies approach the lead with “as few questions as possible.” Companies should also avoid open-ended questions by providing drop-down menus with defined choices, to help evaluate information.

Once companies gather initial information on a lead, then marketers should send forms with pre-populated fields along with additional questions to acquire more information. Any new lead that expresses immediate interest in product demo or a call from sales should be sent directly to the sales department.

“Customers who receive a sales call within hours of indicating they’re ready to talk will be much more impressed with your program than if they sit for days without a contact,” Brown said.

Drip marketing: Everything’s coming up roses

Drip marketing – a marketing strategy using a series of messages delivered over a period of time to a group of opted-in leads.

Though it may be just another way to say ‘lead nurturing,’ drip marketing can add value to customer relationships and will return better results than your average ‘batch and blast’ marketing, according to Ardath Albee at Marketing Interactions.

After a contact accepts your request to email them (remember to follow CAN-SPAM), you then send messages, spaced out according to a predetermined amount of time. Using progressive emails, over time, you form a relationship with the customer. When the customer is comfortable with the relationship, they’ll be more inclined to buy.

“Drip marketing gives you the opportunity to create interactions that help both you and the lead get to know each other better. You provide information they want and they get it because they’re willing to give you more information about themselves with each response they make to your communications.”

Because most B2B sales cycles averaging longer than six months, a well designed drip marketing campaign will help you stay in touch with customers, build your credibility, gain customers’ trust and keep you ahead of the competition.

FYI – While it may sound like a new form of water torture, the term actually comes from a gardening technique called “drip irrigation,” using small amounts of water over long periods of time. The marketing technique comes from the “Law of 29,” the idea that a prospect will only become a customer after viewing a message at least 29 times.