A prospect is a ‘prospect’ive buyer.
A lead is evidence that a person could become a prospective buyer.
Like in detective work…
The police chief calls for the community to report any leads.
It is an indicator, a hint, a clue.
It’s like the first time you met your wife.
She may have smiled, she may have given you a firm handshake, she may have agreed to eat your cookie… but she did something that made you feel good… like Jim Carey in Dumb & Dumber… “So you’re telling me there’s a chance!”.
She gave you a sign that she is interested, but has not SAID the words.
She is in the “lead” status of your dating CRM. She is leading you on. In a good way. Because she wants to move forward with you but is not fully convinced yet.
As soon as you feel comfortable asking her for a date AND she says yes AND she shows up AND you both liked how it went… now she goes into your “prospect” status of your dating CRM.
She is a prospective wife.
But she was never a lead.
Her friend that told you about her, gave you a lead, not her.
A prospect is a person.
A lead is data… it’s intel… it’s a long-shot… but a good enough possibility to spend more effort on.
If you get a batch of email addresses, mailing addresses, phone numbers, etc…. those are leads/data.
If you take those leads and convert them into subscribers or buyers, they are now a prospect… because they said they are. They have raised their hand and said “I am interested”.
I use the word “buyer” on purpose.
They are not yet a customer.
They bought your pitch.
But they are still testing you.
You offered them a bucket of balls for $1, they are a buyer. They are a highly qualified prospect, but still a prospect… not a customer.
A customer is a person who bought your core offer.
The core offer is the purpose of your business.
You sell a tee time because the market wants to spend time outdoors or because they like exercise or because they like the challenge, etc… that is the value you add to your market. You enable to relieve stress, etc… your core offer is vehicle to that stress relief… and you are the provider.
Now let’s say that they downloaded your specific lead magnet, bought your specific low-commitment offer AND bought your core offer, they are a customer.
These are the people you want to spend time with personally… at outings, barbecues, 19th hole, etc.
You want to throw a “customer” appreciation party.
Not a “prospect” appreciation party.
And definitely not a “lead” appreciation party.
Let’s say you have a “stress relief” package.
It’s a 1 year program.
You sell them a season-long league designed to get their minds off the stresses of life.
It also includes a weekly massage (say your friend is a masseuse) and a daily exercise program (say your friend is TPI certified).
They are taking care of themselves physically, relationally & emotionally.
That is worth ALOT of money.
And a package like that is expensive.
But what if you only charged them half of what it was worth?
What if your masseuse & personal trainer friends wanted more customers and were willing to work out a deal.
And what if it was a non-prime time slot?
You could create the package however you want, but the point is, they are paying for stress relief more than for golf.
And since they think “wow! this is a good deal!”… doesn’t that meant that you are ADDING value to their lives?
That should be the point of all your products, to help your customers achieve a goal or solve a problem.
So the more you sell, the more value you add to their lives.
The last thing you want is a database full of generic prospects.
This causes all kinds of problems…
So you want to segment your list.
You want them to get off the fence.
You want them to raise their hand and say “i am interested in this” and “i am not interested in this”.
How do you do this?
Lead magnets are the main strategy but this is what you do after you get the lead…
You use deadlines & scarcity to sell low-commitment offers.
There is a wrong, unethical way to do this, but let me show you the right way…
You design promotions around it.
I would not suggest doing this ALOT, but it should be an important part of your arsenal.
Here is a real world example…
Disney puts their movies into the “Disney Vault“.
Disney movies are sold on limited release. You can’t buy a Disney movie at any given time (historically speaking, now you can get them used on Amazon). They offer it for sale and tell you that it will go back into the vault if you don’t buy it by a certain deadline.
This causes us to get off the fence.
We can do the same thing.
We offer a product or service and attach a deadline to it…
“This package deal is for this weekend only”
There are a million things you could try.
But the purpose is MORE to segment your list then it is to make a profit.
The purpose is to make them decide.
Do they decide to buy? Great!!! This person goes on this list/segment.
If they decide not to buy, they stay on the generic list until you can get them to raise their hand and “tell you” what they are interested in.
When prospects decide to buy, they are:
Your prospects must be ready right now, they must be willing/interested in your offer & they must be able/have the money, time, etc.
So do not assume that your prospects are ready, willing AND able, all at the same time.
Assume that they are willing & able.
You assume they are willing to buy because they opted in to your email list.
You assume they are able to buy because everyone knows golf requires money.
But the unknown is readiness.
Is the timing good? Will they get distracted? Do they have a better offer somewhere else right now?
There are lots of reasons why they may not be ready right now.
But this definitely does not mean they will not be ready tomorrow, next month, next year.
So all you care to know is, what are they interested in… and you can only know that by their behaviors.
What do they buy… what do they click on… what do they watch… what do they say “no” to.
By using techniques to get them off the fence, you have a better quality list.
Imagine going into your email system and seeing 100 segments.
You think to yourself “10% of them are going to LOVE this promo & I bet these 10% will at least like it… but these segments, no, they will really get upset by this”.
So you send an email blast to promote a new offer only to the most relevant prospects.
Then a few hours later, another idea hits you.
It’s totally different.
The group that you just blasted will hate this offer.
So you select the other side of the aisle and send a totally different pitch to a totally different segment.
In both cases, you won.
In both cases, your customers won.
What if you would have sent both promos to both groups?
EVERYONE would have gotten mad.
And you would assume that email marketing doesn’t work… and miss out on a lot of profit.
Now, you can do this every day. You can take 10 segments (let’s say) and ask yourself each day… how can i serve this segment today?
Then the next day, how can I serve this segment?
And you keep doing that for the rest of your career.
After you have sent a “Welcome” email to a new subscriber, what should you do next?
Send them a content-based email the next day.
In the welcome email, you introduced your brand to them, which includes telling them what to expect, which includes suggesting how often you plan to email them.
So I would make a subtle reference to this 2nd email.
You could say something like… “We love to help so we will be sending content to you in the near future”.
Then they get the 2nd email 24 hours later and the content is so good that they are captivated by it & WANT to get more emails from you.
If you deliver average content, you will get average interest.
So you MUST send compelling content… the kind of content that gets you on the edge of your seat… usually a “story” is compelling.
It could be humorous, it could be educational or it could inspiring.
It doesn’t have to be your content, it could be a TED talk, a golf show video, a piece of news or something that you just know will improve their life.
The reason it does not have to be YOUR content is because you are only trying to build rapport, with your brand.
Content that you or your team creates builds authority… which is ideal… but not necessary.
All you want to to do is get the relationship off on the right foot.
Do you want to be Matt Kuchar? Or do you want to be The Shark?
They both are successful, but they have very different personalities, goals, etc.
You want to envision your hyper-avatar and you want to build rapport in these first few emails.
Why do i say “few”?
Because your next email should also be content based.
Just 3 solid days of warming them up to your brand & delivering more value then expected.
If you can find an hour or two to brainstorm (hopefully with your team), your business would benefit from thinking this through before implementation.
Come up with 100 ideas of compelling content.
If you can narrow it down to just the top 2 and send 1 on day 2 and the other on day 3, you will be in good rapport with your audience & this bit of work + automation technology means that you will have a list full of prospects that like & trust you for years to comes. And you may be using this same sequence years from now.
Day 1 – Welcome Email to introduce your brand & make a good first impression
Day 2 – Your BEST piece of content that you recommend they check out (which is very compelling to your hyper-avatar)
Day 3 – Your 2nd best piece of content that you recommend they check out (which is very compelling to your hyper-avatar)
Now set a plan for the next decade.
How often will you email them over the next decade?
Put a repeated event in your calendar with a notification to remind you to send an email out.
You don’t want to outsource this part.
You are the leader.
You don’t have to be the face of the company, but you do have to be the leader.
You don’t have to create the content, but you have to make sure the content goes out as promised to your list.
And if you don’t do this, your competition will.
The best way to write an email that introduces your brand is to model the “dress to impress” method of socializing.
When you go out to a party, you wear nice clothes, do your hair, wear cologne & prepare some funny lines, questions & stories that help you make a good first impression.
You don’t know who you will meet, so you want to be prepared for that golden opportunity.
Same with email.
You don’t know who is reading it… it could be your dream customer who refers you to 10 more dream customers.
And this is their first exposure to your brand… assuming you are targeting cold traffic.
You want to write from the heart.
You want to give them your best.
This is not a formal conversation… and this is definitely not corporate speak… you want the email to come from YOU or another human on your team… not “support”, “management”, “_____ golf course”, etc.
You want to treat them like a new acquaintance that you would like to build a long-term relationship with.
It requires professionalism, but it also requires personality.
What is the personality of your team?
Funny? Helpful? Organized? Competitive? Laid back? Sophisticated? Kind? Wealthy? Healthy? Humble?
Use that to your advantage.
Let your team know that you want to double down on that personality.
It does not mean you have to ignore the other personality types, it just means that there is 1 over-riding characteristic of your course that attracts those kinds of people.
All of your marketing should reflect this personality.
And email is your most intimate form of marketing at scale.
People who trust you give you their email.
And they check their email several times a day.
So they will be seeing your emails.
And if you do a good job, starting with this first impression, they will want to read the 2nd one… and if the 2nd one is just as entertaining, they will want to read the 3rd one… and so on.
The purpose of the welcome email is to welcome them.
How does Disney welcome?
How does Chik Fil A welcome?
How does Panda Express welcome?
Model a business you admire.
And convert their “real life” welcome to email.
I suggest you write 3 welcome emails, actually. Here is an article on how.
You don’t want to take up all their time on the 1st email… so break your story up into 3.
You can sell, but only if it is very natural & appropriate. I would shy away from it. I would rather point them to resources that are even more entertaining on your blog, Facebook page, YouTube channel, etc…. which THEN lead to an offer.
Just keep it market-centric.
Email marketing averages a 4,000% ROI.
For every dollar spent, the average marketer gets $40 back per year. source: Lyfe Marketing
The next best is SEO at 22 to 1.
This is a good use of your time.
The challenge is… who has time to write all those emails, let alone learn the technical side like timing, segmentation, hygiene, etc.?
My goal in this article is to encourage you… and to inspire you to do this right away.
First off, you need to know, it’s not as hard as it seems… if you follow my plan.
Second off, it is actually MORE profitable then mentioned above… the statement above talks about “average” ROI… you are not average, you are a local business owner who cares about your customers & has the ability to speak into their lives because of your years of conversations with them & your team.
So writing is going to be easier then you think.
The tech part is a little more challenging, but I have a shortcut for you.
Here is the plan…
Start off with your hyper-avatar in mind.
Write 3 emails.
The first email talks about a dream, goal, vision or something positive.
The second email talks about stats, numbers or something analytical.
The third email talks about pain, news or something negative.
All 3 emails link to your sales letter.
All 3 emails are content based; they are all helpful in some way.
And they all naturally transition into the sales letter.
The reason you want to select these topics is because you want to see what motivates them.
And then you want to segment them.
Each contact gets a “tag” in your email system.
If they clicked the link to your sales letter from the first email, they are motivated by “gain”. You should send them more emails that talk about winning, shooting lower scores & adding yards.
If they clicked the link to your sales letter from the second email, they are motivated by “logic”. You should send them more emails that talk about PGA Tour stats, fantasy golf & golf hacks.
If they clicked the link to your sales letter from the third email, they are motivated by “fear”. You should send them more emails that talk about missing out on the celebrity golfer who just played at your course, caution on the 13th hole & what to do when you have had too many drinks.
These are natural conversations for them.
And when you have that 1 guidance system for yourself, it makes your job of writing much easier.
And the reason you start off with just 3 emails is because it is totally doable.
You can spend the next 30 minutes and write all 3.
Then you can google “how to build an email sequence in _____(the name of your email software)”.
And a few hours from now, your first batch of emails will be in your prospects/customers inbox.
And if they are content based, you are not going to offend anyone.
And if half of your list unsubscribes, who cares?
You are going to lose 75% if you wait til next year.
You have a great little goldmine sitting there.
If you have 5,000 prospects & customers and 2,500 of them are interested in getting content from you… you have a HUGE advantage over someone who is starting from scratch.
Think about that….
If it normally costs you $10 to generate a lead, you have $25,000 worth of leads, right now.
This means, you can make money right now.
Yes, you will lose alot of them.
But if you don’t do this, you will lose all of them.
And here is the best part…
Say you make $1,000 from these 3 emails…
Use that to hire an email marketer.
Now you have an expert for free.
And now you can create another campaign like this… but instead of $1,000, the email expert helps you turn $2,000.
So now you hire him or her again with twice the budget… which means you make twice the coin… which means you can double the budget again… until you have an optimized email machine that generates sales on autopilot & sends the best leads to your sales team to upsell high ticket items… which means you have more money for leads… which means you make more sales… which means you have more money for automation… which means you have more time for your family.
And the virtuous cycle to heaven continues.
98% of visitors do not take the action you want them to take, on the first visit, according to retargeter.com.
Let’s say you spend $1 per click…
That means you spend $100 to get 2 people to take the action you want.
If you are asking them to buy a $50 tee time, you break even.
Not actually too bad.
But what if you could followup with those 98% of visitors who did not buy?
For every touch, the conversion rate goes up.
So let’s say it goes up to 3%.
Now you advertise to 98 people and 3% of them buy.
That’s 3 sales.
This time you spent $100 and made $150.
So you do it again…
4% of 95 people buy….
That’s $200 in sales.
And you keep going.
Maybe that is overly simplistic, but the strategy remains the same.
You definitely want to be doing more remarketing.
But what do you say in the ads?
How is it different than the initial ad?
Each ad should be relevant.
The first ad says “check out my article”.
That is relevant to a cold audience… you assume they don’t know who you are, so you ease your way into the relationship. You don’t ask for an order, you deliver value in advance.
So now they have clicked on ad #1, visit your article & get cookied into audience #1 (available for you to see inside your ad account).
So you go into your ad accounts, select audience #1 & place an ad that only goes to the people that clicked on that article.
But remember, 2% bought.
So now you have 98 members in that audience.
You select those 98 members by picking audience #1 and excluding audience #2.
Audience #2 are the buyers, the 2 people that bought a tee time.
And you don’t want the message to be the same for the 98 who didn’t buy, as the 2 who did.
So this is what your audience #1 ad could say…
“Don’t forget to purchase a tee time”.
You would obviously make it more relevant, but that is the concept.
Now you say… “but I have 2 people who already bought a tee time, aren’t they my best prospects? Shouldn’t I be advertising to them?”.
Unfortunately, these ad networks have a minimum of 20 members per audience before you can advertise to them, but once you get this figured out, it should go pretty quick and then the audience will always have more than 20 members for as long as you keep the system live.
So you get 20 tee time buyers and you want to advertise to them.
What should THAT audience #2 ad say?
It could say…
“Dear VIP customer… I wanted to extend a customer only special to you”
Or whatever is relevant.
The point is, every audience is different.
Every audience represents a behavior and/or interest.
If you talk to members about tee times, they may get angry.
If you talk to health nuts about hot dogs, they may get angry.
If you talk to loyal students about your introductory lessons, they may get angry.
So keep an audience for every page.
Every page indicates an interest or a behavior.
Either they are interested in putting, eating, weddings, etc
They behaved like a prospect that likes this type of content, a customer that buys that kind of product or a candidate that is interested in this kind of work.
The key to successful internet advertising is communicating like you are 1 on 1.
It is not easy, but it is effective.
And once you figure it out, you can scale it & there is practically no limit.
When you setup remarketing, it can get messy.
You could quickly have 100 audiences because there are all kinds of behaviors, content & metrics.
The best way to get started is to use a keyword system.
Here is how you do it…
You use 1 particular word (or phrase) that represents the topic.
Usually this would be a “category” on your blog.
If you talk about putting in an article, that post gets categorized into the “putting” category.
If you talk about distance, that is another category.
If you talk about food, that is another category.
So you could have 3 audiences built based on those categories/interests.
You use the word “putting” somewhere in the URL of the page.
Then you use the word “putting” on every other page that is about putting.
Now you go into Facebook, Google, etc and create an audience for putting.
You make a rule that tells the ad networks to add visitors who visited any page with the word “putting” in the slug.
The slug is everything that comes after your domain name.
So if your domain name was samplegolfcourse.com…
And your page was samplegolfcourse.com/putting-tips…
Then your slug would be “putting-tips”.
So every URL from now on should include at least 1 word that connects all pages to that topic.
If you have lots of content and the URLs are already established, you will need to re-direct the old URL to the new URL, in order to take advantage of this tactic.
What you DON’T want to do is change the URL from your current slug to the new slug.
This will frustrate Google.
If that page is currently ranking in the search engines, even if only a few searches a month, and a user clicks on the link in the search results to visit your page that currently has the old slug, they will get a “404” page, which tells the user that the page no longer exists.
They will click back & Google’s algorithm will take note.
If that happens a couple more times, Google will know that it is a major mistake on your part… not just a temporary glitch.
So they de-index your page.
WordPress has a plugin for this.
Go to wordpress dashboard > plugins > add new > search “404”
You will see a list of 404 redirect plugins. Pick the one that has the best combination of reviews, # of downloads & update recency.
Once you complete this task, your current pages with the old slugs will remain in Google and users will click on it but instead of seeing an error page, they will get redirected to your new page with the putting keyword in the new slug.
Now they just got cookied.
Now they are in your “putting” audience.
If you only have (or plan to have) 100 pages or less on your entire website, including your blog…. this is not critical… but it is still useful because everyone on your team will be aligned and find it easy to run ads to the right people.
If you have more than 100 pages, I think this is critical.
Imagine you end up with 1,000 pages.
You would have 1,000 audiences just for each page.
Then you would have to multiply that by each behavior, lookalike audience, saved audience, etc.
You could be looking at 10,000 audiences…. which would be impossible for 1 person to effectively manage.
And this also keeps you and your team in check…
If you have no boundaries around what content you create, you will get off topic real fast and create a bad user experience.
If you are primarily serving the golfer who is interested in exercise, you wouldn’t want to talk about fries & soda, as much.
But if you primarily serve golfers that come for stress relief, fries & soda is a great audience to keep.
In other words, you should limit your topics/categories.
Don’t have 100 topics “because you can”.
Have 5 topics because that is what your primary market is interested in.
Now you can create 5 folders if you want.
Every blog post gets categorized into one of the 5 topics and a folder is automatically created.
Now you tell the ad networks, I want to create an audience of people who have visited any content inside this folder.
Here is what a folder looks like…
Your site is samplegolfcourse.com.
Your blog post is samplegolfcourse.com/putting-tips.
If you use a folder, your new slug will be….
So now you create an audience in the ad networks where “putting” is the only word that is required and your content title can be anything.
Here is how to set that up…
WordPress dashboard > settings > permalinks > custom structure > clear the field out > click the button that says “%category%” > save.
I also include “%postname%” in mine, after category because it helps with SEO.
So here is the custom structure, if you like that strategy…
Once you save it, you may have to wait a while for it propogate, but that should do it.
Now all you have to do is make sure to select a category every time you write a blog post & your audiences will only see content that is relevant.
You can do it however you want… the key is to make sure that it is easy & logical for your team & your customers.
When a prospect visits your site, they get a “cookie” placed on their browser.
This tells Google, Facebook, etc that “this user” has visited “this page”.
Now you can “re-market” to them or “re-target” them.
Google calls it remarketing.
Facebook calls it retargeting.
Inside your ad account with Google, Facebook, etc you will see an “audience” being built.
Each audience is a group of people that have something in common.
You designate the terms of each audience.
Maybe you want to advertise to people who visited your tee time sales page.
Maybe you want to advertise to people who visited your tee time order form.
Maybe you want to advertise to people who visited your tee time thank you page.
Each behavior should get a different ad.
You could create audiences around topics:
You could create audiences around products:
You could create audiences around metrics:
And you can exclude people:
Now you can combine these audiences to create relevant ads.
You program the ad network to deliver ads to people who match specific criteria.
Now you have 3 different ads running to 3 different types of people, which means that you are practically speaking to them 1 on 1… with the power of speaking to a group.
You have so much control that you can do this in a fun, easy, effective way… that will not make you look like a spammer or a snake oil salesman.
If someone bought a tee time, it makes sense that you would offer them a membership.
If someone bought a membership, it would not make sense that you would offer them a tee time (in most cases).
The point is, you spend good money on ads and the reality is, MOST of them will not buy nor subscribe to your email list.
So this is a way to followup with them to increase your conversion rates.
Let’s say you offer a tee time.
They read your sales letter and decide it’s not a fit.
You could offer another product or service as an exit pop.
So maybe they don’t want a tee time because they are not ready to spend $50 with you.
But what if they are ready to spend $5?
Couldn’t you make a range ball offer or suggest they come in for a free drink with a sandwich purchase?
You won’t get rich selling this item, but you build a list of buyers, which makes your sales team very happy with you.
Let’s say you offer a tee time.
They read your sales letter and decide to buy.
They click on the order form & then they see something they don’t like, and decide not to purchase.
You could then offer something that overcomes the objection.
What did you tell them in the order form that you did not tell them on the sales letter?
Why did they change their mind?
Maybe they just want to look at some other golf courses first.
So you could make them an irresistible offer.
Maybe you throw in a tee time so they can bring a buddy.
Maybe you throw in a bucket of balls.
Maybe you add a beer coupon.
The idea is to apply an incentive to get them off the fence.
This is where I would start.
If they say no to a paid promo, it is usually because they are skeptical.
But most people are not too skeptical to provide their email address, if requested.
Like Jeffrey Gitomer says…
“People don’t like to be sold, but they love to buy.”
They may WANT to buy from you, but just have not had enough evidence to be convinced that you are trust-worthy yet…
So they WANT to give you their email address so they can test you.
They WANT to get your emails to see how you roll.
If you affirm their good intuitions, they buy.
If you affirm their bad intuitions, they unsubscribe.
So make an offer & if they say no, assume they are not READY or that they got distracted… do not assume they are not willing or able… and don’t assume it’s personal.
Get their email, build rapport via email & keep making the offer.
But as always, use common sense.
How would you like to be treated?
I like the 80/20 rule of thumb for content…
80% content, 20% pitch.
That could mean 80% of each article is customer-centered & 20% is business-centered.
But I prefer to use the 80/20 formula this way…
80% of your promos are pure content.
20% of your promos are pure pitch.
If I send you 4 articles and then ask you to buy something, is that offensive, obtrusive or wrong?
No… you know that I need to make a profit in order to keep making you content.
And nobody is twisting your arm.
You can easily say no & you are not going to get yelled at if you do.
I use the same concept when deciding on exit pop quantity.
As long as I am generally providing 80% content, then I feel good about making a pitch 20% of the time.
If the offer is hardcore, big price, in your face… then my exit pop is going to be more monotone.
If my offer is very subtle, easy, low priced… then my exit pop may be a little more direct.
But I always ask the question…
How would I want to be treated?