Today, I want to talk to you about a serious problem that affects businesses of all sizes, in every industry.
Lead decay is what happens when the leads you’ve generated don’t become paying customers (or clients). Overtime, many of them gradually stop engaging with your marketing at all — and eventually become impossible, or almost impossible, to convert.
As your business accumulates inactive leads, they can cause a sharp decline in your marketing performance, reducing conversion rates and depressing metrics across the board.
So if you’re wondering, “Why do my emails get such abysmal open and clickthrough rates?” or, “Since when do we convert less than 1% of total leads?” — the answer is probably lead decay.
Now, what can you do about it as a business owner… besides doubling down on lead generation (which, let’s be honest, you’re probably doing already)?
Today, I’m going to share with you 3 strategies that will help you minimize lead decay in your marketing pipeline — or even prevent it altogether. Implement them in your business, and you’ll always have a highly engaged pool of ready-to-buy leads to convert!
Let’s start with the simplest, and at the same time the most underrated, practice…
1. “Clean house” regularly (remove inactive leads)
You know how the saying goes… “The money is in the list.”
And even though it’s 100% true, many marketers and business owners take this piece of advice a little too seriously. As in, they hold on to every single lead in their database or on their email list — often way past the point where they have any chance to convert them!
That’s a problem, for a few reasons.
- Bloated databases full of inactive leads cost more money to maintain. Those fees from your email marketing provider will add up, fast.
- Having too many inactive leads tanks your metrics — open rates, clickthrough rates, conversion rates etc. — which negatively impacts your ability to make smart, data-driven decisions.
- When doing outbound sales outreach, your team members waste time trying to reactivate old contacts… when they could be nurturing new ones.
That means, in order to maintain a “healthy” sales ecosystem, you want to clear inactive leads from your database / email list on the regular.
A good rule of thumb is:
If someone hasn’t opened an email from you (automated or manual) in 90 days, then it’s totally fine to stop contacting them and delete or archive their info. Before you do, feel free to send those leads a courtesy message — who knows, it might even reactivate them!
But if even that doesn’t get you any engagement? Assume that the leads in question won’t ever become buyers, and move on. This will save your company time, energy, and money in the long run.
Converting every single lead, as awesome as it sounds in theory, is not possible nor desirable. So don’t make this your unspoken goal.
Remember: your business and your offers are not for everyone — and that’s OK!
2. Adopt a long-term nurturing strategy with solid follow up
It’s not easy to nurture stone-cold leads into loyal buyers. No matter how amazing your marketing is, lots of people won’t become your customers right away.
Sometimes it happens because they just aren’t a good fit. But most of the time they simply aren’t ready to say yes… yet.
Many brands resist this obvious fact and try to wear those leads down instead. They inundate them with sales messages, over and over again. “This time they’re sure to buy! No? Maybe this time? Nevermind, third time’s the charm! … OK, how about now? And now?”
And then they wonder why prospects stop engaging!
This is the business equivalent of a fidgety toddler who keeps asking, “Are we there yet?” — even though there’s still miles and miles to go until the destination.
The truth is, customers arrive at the buying decision at different velocities, because they have diverging needs and stages of awareness. Some will buy right away (bless them); others will warm up to the idea over a few weeks or months; still others will take years. And some might never purchase!
So if you want to avoid lead decay and acquire more paying customers, you will need to play the long game. You can accomplish this in two ways:
- Inbound marketers: if someone hasn’t bought at the end of your “main” nurture process, switch tactics and deliver free, ongoing value to your leads. As long as they keep interacting with your content, and you stay top of mind, these people will think of you when they are ready to solve their problem.
- Outbound marketers: once you’ve exhausted your outreach and followed up a few times, take a pause. Set a reminder to reconnect with the lead later — say, after 3, 6, and 12 months. By then, they may well be in a better position to consider your offer!
Every business is a relationship business. And relationships take time to breathe, grow, and develop. Don’t erode your prospects’ goodwill by rushing them. Slow down, and you will close more sales in the end.
3. Shorten the sales cycle by making your offer earlier
Sometimes, business owners are so focused on nurturing and warming up leads… that they forget to sell! They wait forever to pitch their product or service, and miss out on converting ready-to-buy prospects who are already in their funnel.
Like I said earlier, customers come across your brand at different points in their journey. Some are keenly aware that they have a problem, and are looking for a solution. Others already know which solutions exist, and need to be shown why yours is superior. And some won’t be ready to buy until much, much later down the line — if at all.
In order to maximize conversions, you want to use a two-pronged approach to marketing that caters to all three types of leads. Here’s how…
- Take all your new leads through a short (5-7 days) campaign that combines nurturing and selling. Give 100% value for the first 2 days, then do 75% value / 25% selling, then reverse it into a 25 / 75 split — and on the final day, do a “hard sell” enhanced by scarcity and urgency.
- Keep nurturing whoever doesn’t convert after that initial campaign, and follow strategies #1-2 to keep the relationships alive and your database active. Re-expose prospects to your offer on the regular — e.g. every 3-4 months.
Thanks to this 1-2 combo, you’ll be able to convert more prospects faster, and still pick up new sales on the “long tail” from people who need more time to make a buying decision. Win-win!
Also, one final tip: to make sure your “first touch” campaign is as successful as it can be, use a “limited time, one time only” offer. As in, create a custom package for your new leads, and give them a deadline to purchase it (72 to 120 hours). This will create a massive incentive for them to take action as soon as possible.
Stay top of mind for your leads with unlimited video content
Yep, you read that right.
Unlimited video content. As in, my team here at The Draw Shop can create as many high-converting videos for you as you want…
…all for a fixed monthly investment.
Unlimited Video Content is our newest service package for brands looking to create high volumes of business-boosting videos — for a variety of business and marketing goals, in a wide range of styles, and with consistently mind-blowing quality.
So for example, if you’re looking to convert as many leads as possible, and keep your audience highly engaged with unforgettable content… this is exactly the kind of package that could help!
Unlimited Video Content includes:
- As many videos as you want to create (no limit on length either!)
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And much more.
Interested? Then check out Unlimited Video Content here!