How CRM systems can help you turn leads into
prospects and prospects into clients
In the last article, we discussed
the concept of ROI and showed how using a CRM application can help you track
the return on your marketing campaigns so you can more effectively allocate
your marketing budget. In this article, we’re going to turn our attention to a
more practical marketing application and focus on the concept of drip marketing
- an incredibly effective way to build your client base and create opportunities
to secure additional business from your existing clients.
What is DRIP Marketing?
If you conduct a Google search for the expression “Drip Marketing
Definition” as I recently did, you’ll find that Google returns more than 2
million results. I’m going to be honest and will tell you that I didn’t work my
way through all of these results - in fact, I limited myself to reviewing the
first 2-3 pages. Even so, those first few pages were enough for me to realize
that many of the definitions they contained were actually saying pretty much
the same thing and allowed me to determine several core concepts about the
nature of drip marketing. I’ve baked these definitions and core concepts down
to a simple definition and for our purposes, will summarize drip marketing as
Drip marketing is a strategy that
involves sending out a series of messages at predetermined intervals to a
defined set of contacts that not only have something in common, but also have
opted-in to receive messages from you.
To further clarify this
definition, “messages” will typically (but not always) mean emails while
“contacts” will usually fall into one of the following categories:
The reason why you would want to engage in some form of drip marketing
would seem to be fairly obvious – you want to close sales, grow revenues and
build your practice. However, I believe that view is a little simplistic and
would propose that a more appropriate reason for implementing drip marketing
programs would be that they’re an excellent way to feed leads into your sales
funnel, nurture those leads to the point they become prospects then
subsequently move these prospects through the funnel until they become your clients.
This is an important concept to understand and accept because it highlights
another critical component of successful drip marketing which is, that when we
talk about drip marketing, we’re not talking about implementing a single
program of planned communication, we’re actually talking about creating
multiple campaigns, each with their own specific message themes, each with
their own goals and each targeted to a different audience. To give you an
example, a drip marketing campaign could consist of the following components
Message Target -> Leads
Message Goal -> Build awareness of your
practice with individuals or businesses with which you’ve had little prior
Message Target –>Prospects
Message Goal –> Promote your practice as a
viable option at a time when your prospects are evaluating different solutions
and different solutions providers.
Message Target –> Customers
Message Goal -> Provide them with timely and
useful information that will encourage them to make continued or additional
purchases from you.
As you read this article, I
encourage you to consider drip marketing as an exercise in nurturing and
relationship building. Unlike other forms of “one & done” message-based
marketing which involves sending out huge volumes of messages and which has an
uncertain return, drip marketing delivers a steady stream (or “drip”) of
messaging that’s timely & which contains valuable information that helps to
establish and build a relationship that’s profitable both for you and the
What Are the Consequences of Not Engaging in Drip Marketing?
If you don’t have a strategic drip marketing program in place for your
practice, I would strongly encourage you to consider implementing one because
not utilizing drip marketing concepts makes it difficult to capitalize on a
number of important and profitable opportunities. These include:
to build lasting relationships
to improve customer or client retention
to solicit feedback from you customers that can help you develop product
or service enhancements
to establish credibility by being perceived as a knowledgeable expert in
to get your message in front of potential buyers
to weed-out the “tire-kickers” who may distract you from talking to actual
to engage new leads and nurture new profitable relationships
And finally, the most significant
opportunity of all:
- Opportunities to make sales & grow your practice
Implementing Your Drip Marketing Campaign – What to Do & What Not to
While there is no definitive list
of the dos and don’ts of drip marketing, there are a number of generally
accepted best practices that you should consider as you develop your drip
Marketing - Things to Do
Give people a reason to respond.
drip marketing campaigns are an opportunity to learn more about your clients
and prospects so ask them for their feedback on a particular topic or invite
them to share their experiences in working with you or your practice.
want to develop content that adds value for the recipient. Good examples of
this type of content would include “How To” guides or “Top 10 Lists”.
Promote an event.
o If you
have an upcoming event, particularly an educational event such as a seminar,
your drip marketing campaign is an excellent opportunity to provide your
contacts with more information and get them excited about attending.
Make your messages relevant and
your messages on topic and keep them short. This will help to keep the
recipients attention and increase the likelihood they’ll read future messages.
Develop a timeline of strategic
don’t want to send out random messages so you’re going to need a communications
plan. Remember, drip marketing is all about nurturing a relationship with your
contacts so think ahead and map out a series of messages that lead your
contacts down a carefully planned path.
- Things Not to Do
Don’t be Pushy
your message recipients believe your emails are just there to sell them,
they’ll quickly learn to ignore you.
Don’t Overwhelm Your Contacts
o As we noted above, you need to have a
communications plan. An essential part of that plan is to map out a message
delivery timeline that doesn’t overwhelm people with tons of emails. A good
rule of thumb is to send no more than one email a week.
Don’t Blast Your Entire Database
with the Same Email
You should attempt to craft messages
that resonate with the individual receiving them so be thoughtful and develop
messages that are specific to each of your contact types.
Don’t Be Afraid to Change Your
try to mix it up. Test and try new messages, formats and subject lines. Until
you’ve tested a variety of content, you’re not going to know which messages
will generate the best response.
Don’t Send the Same Email Twice.
original. Sending the same email out more than once is counter-productive and
will impact your credibility. Also, sending out the same email more than once
increases the chances that future messages will be ignored.
Using a CRM Application to Deliver Your Message
We’ve seen that CRM applications are incredibly powerful and not only
include the same type of messaging functionality seen in standalone email
campaign applications (such as Outlook), but also include a wealth of other
functionality you can use to manage your practice. Making the investment in a
CRM solution provides you with a single location that allows you to manage
multiple facets of your practice. Not only that, CRM systems typically
integrate email delivery and management functionality which means you can
manage your drip marketing campaigns from the same location you manage your
schedule - all this at a price point that’s more than likely the same or just
slightly more than you might pay for a standalone email delivery program.
we’ve noted in earlier articles, when looking for a CRM solution for your
practice, choose one that was designed for insurance and financial industry
professionals. InsurPro (www.startercrm.com/insurance-pro.aspx)
is a great example of such an application. It was developed by Lodestar
Technology Labs who used their experience in the financial services industry to
build an application designed to meet the needs of insurance agents and
financial advisors. What makes InsurPro so appealing is that not only does it
come with everything you need to manage your clients, prospects and leads, it
also allows you to create and execute drip marketing programs that can help you
turn your prospects and leads into new clients for your practice.
Conclusion – Drip Marketing is the Best Thing You Can Do to Grow Your
Using an application like the InsurPro
CRM solution offers a number of tremendous benefits to insurance and financial
professionals. It offers you a single location to store and manage your client
data and provides you with the means to track and resolve client and prospect
issues. Importantly though, it also gives you the tools you need to create an
ongoing program of targeted messaging that’s delivered to your leads, prospects
and clients. I strongly believe that this is the single best thing you can do
to build your practice for a number of reasons. Specifically:
reaching out to your potential and recurring clients allows you to stay
fresh in their minds.
delivery of targeted, relevant messages will help you to:
your credibility and establish you as an “authority” in your profession.
relationships and build trust with your clients and prospects.
the time you currently spend educating your leads and prospects.
sales opportunities you might otherwise have missed.
out non-buyers thereby allowing you to devote more time to serious
your rate of conversion over time