Follow the Leader: Targeting Different Lead Types

Creating a target strategy to reach leads isn't as simple as it used to be because the purchasing process has changed. Consumers aren't just walking into a store and making a purchase anymore. They might learn about a product from a friend on social media, Google it to learn more, read online reviews, browse various websites to compare prices and then purchase the product online.

Since every consumer seems to take their own journey to the checkout, how can brands target different leads? Here are tips you can use based on the kind of lead you have:

Suspects

Suspects are leads who have interacted with your company in some way. They may have just stumbled onto your website or wanted a free download, but don't necessarily have any interest in your products and service – yet.

Get a sense of what suspects want by creating an introductory email campaign or a social ad that offers new customers a deal.

Prospects

These leads are "digging around" to see what they can find out about your brand. They've shown initial interest. Your company may have some limited knowledge about this kind of lead such as what web pages they have visited.

If you have enough information to contact a prospect, engage him or her with a welcome email series. The first email can simply welcome the new prospect and provide basic information, the next email could introduce a specific product or service and the third might include a coupon.

Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL)

Unlike prospects, MQLs have more certainty of becoming a customer based on specific actions they took (e.g., watched a video).

For MQLs, companies may be able to tell what items the consumer is interested in, creating an opportunity to answer questions or provide solutions (e.g., based on analysis of the person's keyword searches). Nurture MQLs with free trials, demonstrations, and buying details.

If your product is complex or the buying cycle is longer than usual, you could also provide links to content that help leads make educated decisions.

Sales Qualified Leads (SQL)

These are your researched and vetted leads who have shown an intent to buy. They may have requested contact and are just waiting on a salesperson to reach out. Jump on it! Assign a sales person to call this contact, send a coupon via email or use remarketing ads on social to remind the almost-customer of products they looked at on your website.

Remember, targeting leads isn't a numbers game — it's about giving your sales team high-quality leads by creating strategies to reach each type.

Read Part 1: New Destinations: Mobile and Social Effects on the Consumer Journey

Read Part 3: 5 Effective Lead-Nurturing Tactics

Read Part 4: Keep Customers Coming Back With Loyalty Programs and Post-Sales Marketing