How to Create a Short and Long-term Follow Up System

September 5, 2019

So often we either take leads and it immediately converts or we don’t really have a process by which we nurture them both in the short term and in the long term and they’re lost to us. It takes a lot of hard work to get leads in the first place, so the last thing you want is to allow them to be lost to you before they convert just because you lack a lead follow up system.

In this post, we’re going to be talking about short term and long term follow up programs along with what you should have in place to maximize the conversion of those leads over time.

Avoiding the Biggest Mistake

It happens to everyone: we get new leads and the sales and marketing teams are super excited. A new prospect! A fresh contact! A brand new way to push our company forward! 

We make that initial contact, and then sit back and let the lead fall on the floor or by the wayside. It’s easy to make that initial contact as the excitement is still fresh. 

But when you don’t have a good system for following up and making sure that you’re working on that prospect until it comes to some final conclusion, you’re going to lose them. Especially since that initial excitement will wear off and you won’t have that same fresh drive later on unless you can fall back on a follow-up system to push you back towards that lead.

Building a short term and long term follow up program will help you avoid this mistake of letting leads fall away after you get them.

So, let’s going through what each of these systems will look like. We’re going to go over a general and vague script that will help you build out a plan. However, it should be noted that these systems will vary greatly depending on your specific business/industry.

For example, what we go over here may be too aggressive for your approach. Or, it could not be aggressive enough. But this should give you a good general flow that you should look for when planning your follow up system. This is really just the framework you need to get started.

Day 0: The Initial Follow Up Includes Multiple Touchpoints

First thing’s first: email isn’t the only way to communicate with leads. You actually want to use as many touchpoints as possible. This ensures that you’re not alienating a lead or prospect just because you’re not following up in their preferred method of communication. 

This includes long term follow-ups as well. With long term follow-ups, there is a tendency to rely solely on email and not think about all of the different ways that we can reach out to these leads and create more opportunity for them to convert.

So, let’s start at the beginning. It’s day 0. You’ve just gotten a lead’s contact information from a phone call, a referral, an inbound lead, a bought lead, and even aged leads potentially. It’s time to make that first contact. 

The best that you can, you want to try to think about the mindset of this person/lead. How did you get their information? Where is this lead coming from? Are they expecting you to contact them? What do they want from a business like yours? What are their wants and needs? What did they want/need to happen when they reached out to you?

This is where you begin the short term follow up. It’s a follow up because you’ve gotten this lead in another way (web form, phone call, etc), and you’re following up with them by contacting them. You want to respond to them as immediately as possible in the same channel that you got the lead from. 

If you get a lead from a direct message on Instagram, your immediate follow-up needs to be on Instagram direct message, too. If you get it through an email, respond via email. If you get a phone number through a web form, respond via the phone as well. And the list goes on.

That initial follow up response needs to happen as soon as possible after you get the lead. You can even consider automating this if necessary and applicable (auto-email responders, AI responses, chatbots, etc, are all great immediate follow-up response options if you’re unable to do it yourself).

Days 2-3: Reach Out and Migrate

Once you’ve made that initial contact through the same channel where the lead originated, you can migrate it to something more efficient. For example, if they contacted you on Instagram, it isn’t efficient or convenient for either of you to keep talking through DMs. It’s time to migrate to talking via email or potentially on the phone. 

After this first contact and hopeful migration to an easier communication channel, if you haven’t made an actual meeting appointment or actually had a true conversation, reach out again. This step could vary based on how your leads flow, but generally, you should reach out via email after a few days to start the lead nurturing process.

So, by day three after initial contact/after initially getting the lead, you should be starting to funnel these leads into an email automation process and then into your CRM because you want to be able to email them and get them on the phone. 

Phone calls nowadays are often neglected, especially with lead follow-ups. However, phone calls are one of the most powerful ways to nurture and follow up on leads because not all sales teams or marketers actually call anymore. You’ll stick out in there mind when you reach out via phone.

Same goes for direct mail if you’re fortunate enough to get an address. Send them a card, a thank you note, a personal note because, as with the phone, no one ever does that. This will help you stand out and differentiate you from competitors.

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Days 7: Go with the Flow and Be Consistent

So as you’re going through this flow during days two and three, put them in your call list and devote some time during each day to go through and call the folks on your list.

By day seven, you’re probably beginning to lose them, especially if you haven’t followed up. 

There are some distance and disconnect forming. They’ve given their info a week ago and they likely forgot or moved on to other things. They also could potentially have found another solution or business to work with. Or perhaps they got distracted with some other priority and your product/service isn’t a priority anymore. 

That’s why day seven is crucial. By day seven, because of this distance, you want to change the way that you communicate with them. 

Start to include some content and some value to your product/service instead of simply saying “hi” or a quick introduction. You want to either talk about some of the things that your company is doing, the way that you’re serving clients, projects you’re working on, etc. 

This is so they get an understanding of where you could add some value for them. This is going to remind them why they inquired with you in the first place and cement your value in their minds. This lessens any distance time has brought in and reminds them of why they need you. 

Obviously, this is going to depend on you and your industry. If you’re a lawyer, for example, you might speak with them about clients you’ve had in similar situations. Or perhaps you’d mention your win-rates. For a mortgage company, you might discuss the current state of the market or how your process works.

Day seven is all about giving these leads an understanding of the value of your content, product, or service. You’re basically saying, “Hey, here’s something that might help you or here’s something I saw that you might be interested in,” or, “Here’s an example of how we’ve done it for another client.” 

Day 14: Short and Sweet

Another week has gone by and maybe your instinct is to keep up with the value and content. But this can seem pushy and many are turned off by salespeople who won’t stop pushing their product or service.

That’s why on day 14 we recommend a short and sweet approach. You’ve already been supplying them with information and content for about a week or at least a few days out of the week. 

So on day 14, simply send a super, super, super, (yes, three supers) short email that just says:

“Hey, I just wanted to make sure that we didn’t miss each other. Are you still interested in setting up a time to talk?” or, “Hey, just checking in. Are you still interested in talking?”

Make it super simple and personal to the client. This serves to break up the sales-y flow that is easy to fall into. It maintains the connection without being overly pushy. 

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Day 21: Transition to Long Term Nurturing if Necessary

As you go into week number three, you should switch back to the content/value method from day seven. By week three, the distance is larger and you want to reinforce your value.

You also want to frame them as more of a long term nurture prospect. You want to start to transition them into my lead nurturing process. 

At this point, you’ve tried to connect with them many times with emails, phone calls, and more. You’ve given them some good and valuable information that’s relevant to your industry and to them specifically. 

If they haven’t converted or given you much after this, but haven’t given you an outright “no” yet, they might just need more time to consider or perhaps they don’t need you now but might need you in the future.

So, at this point, you should transition them into your long term strategy. Add them to your lead database to stock yourself up with leads for the future. This will help you stay in contact with them. 

After this, you need to adjust your actions based on theirs. So, If at any point you got a positive acknowledgment from them and they want to set up a meeting or a call, bring them back into your short term follow up system from above and move them through your sales process. 

If at any point if they go to sleep on you or become non-responsive, you can then push them back into that long term nurturing program.

Into the Long Term

Begin your long term lead follow up system by using as many channels as you can with your digital marketing strategy. At this point, the lead is essentially like a brand new sort of lead (since nothing has pushed them along your funnel) or they’ve just reverted back to being a part of your audience. 

Vary Your Channels and Content

Using multiple channels to interact will help you maintain that audience and keep them around for you to then treat as a “short term” lead in the future. 

Using these channels, keep your focus on content. Create content that you know will be valuable to these long term leads. Think about problems they’re trying to solve, challenges that they have, things they desire, etc.

Also, make sure the content is diverse. Remember what we said about being pushy? You don’t want your content to be pushy either.

For example, let’s say you’re a digital marketer and every single piece of content you make is about website design. This is obviously pushing your product and eventually won’t add value to an audience of leads because they’ve already understood that value five blog articles ago.

Vary your content. In the digital marketing example, you could discuss SEO, challenges customers face with marketing, how to hire a marketer that works for you, how AI affects marketing, etc. Imagine yourself as providing value to them through your presence in their lives not simply with your product/service you’re trying to sell. 

Social Media and Email

Don’t limit this value to your blog, website, and email, either. Try to encourage these long term leads to get into your social media audience as well. Encourage them to like and follow you on your various social media channels. 

So if they’re on your email newsletter, for example, encourage readers to follow you on YouTube as well. This will give you another point of access to the lead and help to ensure that you’re a part of their day-to-day workflow, which will encourage contact and conversion later on. 

In terms of email, try for one email per week (but, again, this can vary). Email is one of the most efficient channels to keep in contact with long term leads since it’s easy to automate and it’s something that people are pretty comfortable with either reading, storing, or looking at later.

Call List

You can also occasionally give these long term leads a call on the phone. Limit these calls to once per month at most, even once every couple of months would be fine. This can help reduce “pushiness” while keeping you in the front of their mind.

Reach out and leave a voicemail so that they hear your voice, they know you’re real, and they know that you’re truly interested about wanting to connect with them.

CRM Database

Last, but not least, is the inner glue that holds the long term process together: the CRM database. This ensures that leads will be properly sorted and placed into your long term follow up workflow and makes sure no one falls through the cracks.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, this has been nice little introductory framework on how you can build a very basic short term and long term follow up system. 

Don’t just put them on your email list, call it a day, and expect email to do all of the work. You need to be consistent; try to again be communicating and in their lives through as many touchpoints as possible. 

If you have any questions, definitely leave a comment down below. Think we missed something important? Don’t hesitate to reach out!

SHOW TRANSCRIPT
HIDE TRANSCRIPT

Hey Aged lead store fans. Today I want to talk about creating a short term and a longterm followup process. Um, so often we’re kind of doing one or the other and we don’t really think about how these work together as we get an inbound lead or even a referral for that process. What are the steps that we should be doing in the short term and what are the steps that we should be doing in the longterm to make sure that we’re following up and closing every single one of these leads? That’s possible. Stay tuned. We’re going to talk about that in a sec.

[inaudible]

okay. We’re going to talk about followups specifically and again, when we’re following up on leads or any sort of [inaudible] marketing and inbound marketing channel, uh, there is a real, uh, opportunity to kind of let these things fall on the floor, uh, because when we get them in, we’re often excited, our sales team’s excited to get a new lead, we make some initial contact or we try to make some initial contact. And then from there we just don’t have a good system for following up and making sure that we’re working on that prospect that lead until it comes to some final conclusion. And that’s either a yes they buy or a no and sometimes even the no is kind of something that we may want to continue to nurture as well. So the way I think about this is building a short term followup program and a longterm followup program.

And I want to go through what each of those will look like. Now I’m going to give you almost a script here, a to follow and building out these plans. But again, depending on what your industry is, uh, you will have to tune this a little bit. So it may be a little too aggressive. Uh, it may not be aggressive enough, but at least you’ll get the flow now that I’m looking for when we’re building out these programs. And this is literally the framework that I start, uh, with every single client that we’re building out a, some sort of followup programs. So, um, first and foremost, when we’re thinking short term follow up, I want to actually use as many touch points as possible so I’m not really throwing anything out of the mix. Um, and even as we go into longterm, uh, there is a, a tendency for us to just rely on email exclusively and not think about all the different ways that we can touch someone and build a program, uh, to reach out to these leads over a longer period of time and create more opportunity for them to convert.

So even in the short term, um, this is what I’m looking to do. So Day zero, the moment that I get this contact information, web lead comes in or phone call or however that inbound lead kind of gets to be, maybe I’m actually buying the lead. Uh, maybe actually I’ve even taking, uh, some consumer data or some aged and actually trying to warm them up. The process is really the same. And you want to think in terms of this short term process. So the best that I can, and sometimes depending on the volume and the scale your business, you can’t do this perfectly, but the best they can. I want to first try to think about the mindset of the person that has that lead. Where did they come from, what are they expecting, what do they need to happen next when they reached out to you?

And then I want to start my short term followup. So Day zero, of course when they come in, which is oftentimes a web form, uh, or potentially a phone call, I want to immediately respond to whatever that contact was and I want to respond in the same channel. So if I get a lead as a direct message on Instagram, my immediate followup needs to be on Instagram direct message. Hey, I’m going to make my first communication there. If I get it through email, I’m going to respond via email. If I get it through a web form or respond via email, uh, the web form, if they give me a phone number, I’m going to also respond via the phone as well. Of course, if they called me and left a voicemail, I’m going to respond, uh, to the phone call. So that initial response, I want to happen immediately if I can, I even want to automate it and I want to stay in the channel that they approached me with.

And then at some point I may migrate to a more efficient channel. If they contacted me on Instagram, I will probably try to make a connection, uh, such that we can talk via email. Uh, and then potentially on the phone. Of course, a lot of, uh, what, uh, you folks do requires a phone call or discovery or some sort of, um, in person meeting. And so we definitely want to get to that. But first step, respond as fast as possible, potentially automated in the channel. Then within, uh, two to three days. If I haven’t made an actual meeting appointment or set that or actually had a true conversation, uh, that, uh, around that day two or three, I’m going to reach out again. Uh, and then again, this sort of depends on how your leads flow, but generally I’m going to reach out via email and start to kind of give that nurturing process and help me to automate at scale, can’t really scale a direct message in Instagram or a message.

And I and I iMessage in our, uh, a messenger, um, message in Facebook. Um, so those kind of like social media messaging platforms, sometimes it can be hard for me to really sort of automate the followup. And even in day two, I need to start to, uh, to create that automation. Now, if you’re working those social media channels and you’re super active on it, um, you should absolutely make sure that you’re going and following up until you kind of get them into a sort of your more scalable channels. So go back through those messages. If they haven’t responded to you, go ahead and hit them up again. Again at that day two day three, but by day three, I’m sort of trying to funnel them into my email automation process. Um, then of course I want them in my CRM because I want to be able to email and I want to be able to call them on the phone.

I think calling on the phone, uh, is so often neglected. Uh, but it can be super powerful because it doesn’t necessarily happen that often. Uh, if you are fortunate enough to get an address, direct mail is another opportunity like that to drop them a card, drop them a thank you note, drop them a personal note. Again, no one ever does that. Um, and so you’re really going to stand out and differentiate yourself, uh, if you do do that. So as we’re going through this flow, I would always, um, put them in my call list and devote some time during the day to just go in through and calling, uh, the folks on my list and making that connection there as well. Um, so I’m going to do that on day three. I’m going to also do that on day seven. By Day seven, I’m starting to create some, they’re starting to create some distance and probably disconnect, um, in a couple ways.

One, they can in seven days simply forget, uh, that they actually inquired with us. And so that causes a problem. Um, in seven days they could potentially have found another solution or gotten distracted with some other priority and it’s not a priority anymore. So, um, by day seven, because of this distance, and it sounds like not a very long time, um, I don’t want to assume that they’re not interested, but I want to change the way that I communicate. So by day seven, I’m starting to include some content and some value. I want to in the day seven email, I want to either talk about some other things that we’re doing, the way that we’re serving clients. So they get an understanding of where we could add some value or simply adding in or create or delivering some content that maybe even just shows them a little bit of a DIY approach to what they’re trying to do.

So you and your industry, your contacts are going to have to kind of think what that content is. But as of day seven, I’m starting to give sort of value added content, non-sales value added content to say, hey, here’s something that might help you, or here’s something I saw that you might be interested in. Or, um, here is a way to kind of do what you were asking me about. Or here’s an example of how we’ve done it for another client. Again, value added content day 14. So now I’m going to have kind of a weekly, uh, tempo here. Um, again, I’m going to put some more content, uh, into a day number 14, or I’ve tested this as well. And sometimes this is just as valuable. Stop the content for a second. And in day 14, I’m going to do a super, super, super, can’t say that enough short email that just says, hey, I just wanted to make sure that we didn’t miss each other.

Are you still interested in setting up a time to talk? Um, so again, one sentence or even it could be just a simple, I’ve done this as well. Hey, just checking in. Um, are you still interested in talking question mark. Um, again, make it super simple, make it super personal. Um, and you can again apply that. Now you’re at week two, you kind of break up the flow. Then as we go into week number three at day 21 ish, again, we’re trying to do that content because at day 21, week three, because of the distance, we’re actually starting to get them conditioned to be more of a longterm nurture prospect. Um, and so that actually we want to start to condition them what they’re going to experience in my longterm and our trend campaign. So about day 21, I’m actually just going to, um, through automation going to transition them into my lead nurturing process.

So at this point I’ve tried to connect with them. One, two, three, four, five, about five different times, done some phone calls along here. I’ve given them some good valuable information. At this point I’m going to transition them into my longterm strategy, uh, so that I can again, I can fill that database, stock that pond for the future, definitely want to stay in contact with them, any point in the short term process that you actually get a positive acknowledgement, um, and they want to set up a meeting or they do set up a meeting or you get them on the call and you’re talking to them, you should break that short term process then then you should determine kind of hand them, handled them manually as you move them through your sales process. And then at any point if they go to sleep on, you become non-responsive, you can push them back into that longterm nurturing program.

So that’s the short term program. Now going into the longterm program, I’m going to start to use as many channels as I can, channels that are already supporting with my digital marketing strategy. Cause at this point a, they’re kinda like, uh, just a brand new, um, sort of remarketing, uh, sort of lead or they’re just part of your audience at this port. So you want to get them into that audience building system. But, uh, it’s still gonna have a longterm followup. If you’re sophisticated enough, you can actually segment these as followups and you can actually talk to them slightly different, but the program’s going to be kind of the same. So for longterm followup, I’m thinking about content. I’m creating content that I know will be valuable to those folks. So I’m thinking about other problems they’re trying to solve, other challenges that they have.

It may not even be associated with my business or what I sell, but I want to add value and I want to create some diversity in that content so that they don’t just say, oh, all build does his pound, pound, pound, pound, website, website, website, website, website. Right. I want to talk about some other things. Let’s, let’s talk about, you know, challenges that they’re having with employees, with training, with prioritizing their own things, other marketing channel, whatever the case is. Whenever you sell, trying to think about all of those other problems in that, uh, potential client’s world that you can realistically, um, and have some value to add back to them. So we’re going to be building content. Uh, we’re going to try to, again, most of this is going to be on our email flow, but during that flow we’re going to try to encourage them to get into our social media audience as well.

So we’re going to encourage them to like and follow us in different social media channels. We’re going to push out and show them examples of what we’re doing and other places on the web so that they’ll hopefully subscribe. So if you’re on our, uh, email newsletter, you know that we often push you out to youtube and encourage you to subscribe there. Cause again, it gives us just one more channel, uh, to be able to, to talk to you and be a part of your day to day, um, workflow. So social media, we’re going to try to get them into our social media channels. Uh, of course the email list. We want to have some, um, regular, consistent, uh, and frequent, uh, pushing out of emails. Um, generally I encourage once a week, but some people feel that that’s too much. Uh, but you definitely want to talk to them via email.

It’s one of the most efficient channels. It’s easy to automate and it’s something that people are pretty comfortable with either taking, storing, um, looking at later. Uh, it’s amazing how many of our emails that we actually push out. Uh, maybe it was for two or three weeks ago and we’ll actually see a conversion on that particular email weeks later. So somebody obviously stored it, saved it or maybe it got forwarded to them. Um, and they acted on that email weeks after the email was actually set. Uh, so don’t look like that. Of course you’re wanting to automate everything that you can in here as you’re working through the channels. Again, focusing on social media, your email list. I’m also occasionally, um, and I would, uh, again, this is based on your, your tempo and how you’ve managed your call list. Uh, but what I would take these people in either once a month or once a quarter, I would insert them back into your call list, uh, and have I reach out and, and leave a voicemail so that they hear your voice, they know you’re real, they know you’re intentional about wanting to connect with them.

Don’t just put them on the email list and just forget them and make email, do all of the work. Try to again, be encountering them through as many touch points as possible. Uh, and then last but not least, um, and all of this kind of the inner glue, uh, to all of this and the mechanism by which to make it work is to make sure that longterm they are dropped into your CRM a database. And then there is a structure that actually puts people through this longterm followup workflow. So hopefully this has been a little introduction to how you can build a very basic framework, uh, for both short term and long term follow up. If you have any questions, definitely leave them in the comments. I’d love to hear what you’re doing. Maybe things that I missed or things that you’re doing that are particularly effective both in short and longterm followup processes.

Uh, I’d love to get in. I love building these systems, love to get into that discussion with you in the comments. Again, if this was helpful, please give us a thumbs up on the video that helps us so much. It gives us great feedback and then of course allows the video to go further and do more for our audiences. And then if you want to make sure that you don’t miss any of these, we’d love for you to subscribe. Just hit that subscribe button, hit the little bell, the notification and then you will know every time we post a new video or go live, which happens about once a week. Until next time I encourage you to take a look at what you’re doing for followup short term. And Longterm and ask us any questions and we’ll see you next week.

About Bill Rice

Bill Rice is the Founder & CEO of Kaleidico, a digital agency. Bill specializes in providing law firms, attorneys, banks, and emerging technology clients with lead generation strategies enabled with content marketing, SEO, PPC, and email marketing.