When people have an accident in real life, we use CPR to save them. But when they drop off our marketing radar, we often let them disappear into an abyss. Why is that? After all, they're still people, not numbers in a system. Saving just one of them every day would be a noble (and profitable) thing to do. Yet, the fact remains that a very high percentage of your prospects simply aren't ready to convert at the very moment you offer them your product or service. Research suggests that as much as 98 percent of your MQLs fail to result in closed business. And that's a pretty high number.

A lost opportunity

98 percent is certainly a scary statistic for a business owner to hear. It pretty much reduces all but a tiny portion of their lead generation efforts into a waste of time. And money. But your marketing department's end game isn't getting the visitor to your website or into your store. Marketing shouldn't stop when the phone rings, or your online chat box pings. There needs to be more fluidity and continuity between marketing and sales.

When all your marketing efforts are placed on driving traffic to a website or store, what happens if a potential customer deals with a lackluster salesperson, or simply leaves their wallet at home? They walk out, or click off into the deep blue yonder never be seen again. But that doesn't make them a lost opportunity, at least not according to Pete Williams.

Resuscitation marketing

Pete Williams, entrepreneur, marketer, author and co-founder and CMO at Infiniti Telecommunications coined the term resuscitation marketing. As the name suggests, the focus of this strategy is on bringing dead leads back to life. Specifically, engineering marketing campaigns to leads that are otherwise considered dead. Most companies end their marketing efforts and hand the job over to sales when the customer reaches the store or landing page. But this creates a frighteningly wide gap between marketing and sales for their prospects to fall into.

What many businesses don't realize is that trying to revive "dead" leads is far cheaper and easier than kickstarting the lead generation process from zero. There are many reasons a customer might not be ready to buy from you in that particular moment. They might be waiting for payday. They may feel as if their questions aren't correctly answered, or that their needs aren't being met. Perhaps they simply need a little time to reflect or be lured in with the right hook.

Most companies are already aware of the importance of customer retention. According to research by Bain & Co, increasing customer retention rates by just 5 percent will increase your profit by 25-95 percent. Businesses understand the need to treat their existing customers well and have a rock-solid, or at least functioning CRM that allows them to do just this. But when it comes to disengaged leads, it seems they apply the old adage. You can bring a horse to water but you can't make him drink. But what if you offered him something else instead, or water when he's actually thirsty?

Resuscitation marketing in action

Resuscitation marketing is much cheaper than new lead generation. The cost of generating leads for every business is significant. So, you want to keep wastage to a minimum and understand the value of not letting these leads slip through the net. But you have to do more than just send a blanket email every now and then. You need to start tailoring your offers and putting as much love and attention into your lost lead campaigns as you do from the start.

Get creative with your content

Williams came up with an effective way of bringing these lost leads back from the dead, trialing his first resuscitation marketing campaigns at Infiniti Telecommunications. They segment leads that languish in the funnel (dead leads) by assigning them tags that every business can understand. For example, "lost to competitor," "lead went MIA," "disengaged," and so on. The campaign for each type of lost lead will be very different. If your goal is to lure a lead away from a competitor, you'll need to offer them something better. If they've simply gone missing in action, or the timing wasn't right, a simple reminder of your presence may be enough.

But rather than a standard drip email campaign to warm up cold leads, the idea is a somewhat more aggressive revival tactic. Getting creative with their content. Infiniti sends out emails that are humorous and stand out from the hundreds of other marketing mails in the prospect's inbox. They use subject lines like "Get attacked by a T-Rex?" for customers who have disappeared. This shows a more human side of the company, maybe even raises a smile and encourages higher click through. They are then pulled back into the funnel, but this time with the right approach to take from the sales person. Recognized as a savvy marketing strategist, William's resuscitation tactics caught the eye of Infusionsoft, who awarded Infiniti the 2017 Small Business ICON award for lead nurturing.

Get straight to the point

Dean Jackson came up with a winning way of bringing lost sheep back into the fold. He invented a 9-word email to revive dead leads. The same thinking applies. Out of, say, 100 leads, you shouldn't put all your efforts focusing on one and waiting for them to convert. You have to be patient with leads. Most of them aren't ready to buy at the moment that you offer. But, there's every chance that if you approach them again in 90 days, they will be.

Jackson instructs to collect your scraps of paper, notes, business cards, emails and all possible lead sources, and then send them a simple 9-word email. Nine words might not seem like very many. But if they're the right nine words that get straight to the point, they can be all you need. For example: "Are you still looking at getting your kitchen renovated?" or "Are you still thinking about getting a new patio?" You jog the customer's memory and send them a targeted offer when the time is right.

Using automation as a game changer

Resuscitation marketing is easier when you have the right tools at your disposal. Your resuscitation marketing campaigns can be completely automated, allowing for your marketing team to include them into the mix, rather than focusing all their efforts on them. After all, you'll never have dead leads to bring back to life if you don't have any new leads in the first place. Using tools like Infusionsoft or Active Campaign allow marketers to set up cross channel campaigns easily managed through their company CRM. This takes a lot of the legwork out of pumping the chests of your flailing leads. Sending out creative emails and offers automatically without any manual work.

Focusing on ongoing campaigns that you can set up once and monitor over the long term, according to Williams "is much smarter ROI." Use this tactic in conjunction with fresh lead generation and customer relationship management. You can jump on the band wagon of flash promotions like Black Friday and Valentine's Day, but remember that these are short-lived. Nurturing dead or missing leads is a constant process. It's about having patience and realizing that you're missing out on opportunities. Targeting your offers, using automation, getting creative with your content and harnessing predictive analytics models. So, if you aren't trying to breathe life into leads that haven't converted yet, it's about time you did.