If you've been sitting pretty in the marketing world for a while, you know as well as the rest of us how important leads are - it's the metric that keeps you up at night, and the one thing on your mind during the meets with the big cheese. With the seemingly overwhelming pressure to generate as many leads as possible as a marketer, the very LAST thing you'd want to do is leave 'em hanging (and the folks over at Sales questioning...). Turning leads into customers with lead nurturing is the best (and in fact, the only) way to expand that sales funnel and keep buyers flowing through it.
These days, consumers need a lil' handholding before parting with their hard-earned cash – which is where lead nurturing comes into the picture. Let’s uncover the art of lead nurturing and 10 ways you can improve your nurture campaigns today!
So, What is Lead Nurturing?
To achieve better results from your marketing strategies, you need to focus on what really matters – your customers!
Lead nurturing is the process of building and improving relationships with these potential customers.
Its primary objective is to not only draw in new prospects but to also maintain relationships with existing prospects as they make their way through your sales funnel. With the regular cadence of communication spelling the success of your lead nurturing efforts, it doesn't necessarily have to be a complicated process! The key to an effective nurturing process is finding out what makes your customers tick – what do they like? What marketing messages do they respond best to?
With 67 percent of B2B marketers reporting at least a 10 per cent increase in sales opportunities after implementing lead nurturing tactics, lead nurturing is hands-down one of the most effective components of modern marketing strategy. Knowing this, taking the time out to plan for an effective lead nurturing campaign is essential ... often made easier through the use of tactics and strategies purpose-built to strengthen your campaign and build greater rapport with your customers.
So, on that note, we've put this article together to fill you in on the best tactics available to you for creating a fool-proof and highly effective lead-nurturing strategy, because the reality of the buyer’s journey is that you can't just hook your prospects attention – you also need to maintain their interest throughout the process to keep them moving through your sales funnel (long term things, no short term flings gang...).
10 Lead Nurturing Strategy Tactics
1. Unite Marketing and Sales Strategies
The first step in any brand’s journey to boosting their marketing results is to unite their marketing and sales teams (because teamwork makes the dream work right?)
But before we get too 'kumbaya', let's clear something up first. Your marketing team is responsible for bringing in new leads, and your sales reps are responsible for converting those leads into actual deals ... so who is responsible for the time in between the initial contact and the sale? Hmmm ...
Consider this: When you treat marketing and sales departments as separate entities, you lose opportunities to map out the path for buyers to take.
So, lead nurturing is best achieved when both departments work together. As a united front, they can then determine the most effective ways to guide your customers towards the desired actions (such as making a purchase!).
By working together, marketing and sales teams can also come up with many more innovative solutions for keeping your customers firmly on the buyer’s path. Email automation, for instance, is a great example of an innovative method for ensuring your leads are continuously followed up with as they funnel through the sales process.
In fact, automated lead nurturing is utilised by 74 percent of top-performing companies!
Without unification of your marketing and sales teams, you are much more likely to miss out on these kinds of creative approaches and ideas.
2. Utilise Email Marketing for More Direct Communication
Just because a customer shows interest in your products or services does not mean they are ready to make a purchase.
The reality of the buying journey is that it can take several weeks – or even months – for the customer to make a buying decision, no matter your industry.
This makes staying in direct contact with your leads all the more important – but how exactly can this be accomplished without practically badgering them?
Email marketing is one of the most effective methods of lead nurturing and can help keep you in close contact with your prospective customers. Thankfully, email marketing is also one of the most easily automated methods, allowing you to drip emails to an email list without having to be overly hands-on.
Behaviour-based email marketing automation allows you to set up regular communication with your prospects. Additionally, automation can help you to better track your customer’s behaviour, including what percentage of customers open your nurture emails and follow the links provided.
Top tip: According to GetResponse Analysis, emails with social sharing buttons had roughly a 115 per cent higher click-through rate than those without such buttons. Including elements such as social sharing buttons is an essential component of an effective email marketing campaign.
3. Define a Clear Sales Cycle Timeline
Knowing how to nurture your leads requires you to have a clear sales cycle timeline.
A sales cycle is defined by the period of time it takes between lead generation to the final sale. Determining this timeline is highly necessary, as it will help your marketing and sales teams to plan out when to contact your prospects.
However, you need to be clever with your timing. Contacting your leads too frequently can result in decreased email engagement, and ... at the end of the day, royally pissing them off.
Consider your own experience as a lead: don’t you get frustrated when brands email or contact you multiple times every day? Well, we can guarantee your customers will likely have the same reaction!
Generally speaking, you'll want to get in touch with your prospects at least once a week.
For example, if your sales cycle operates on a month and a half timeline that will result in weekly contact for six weeks.
4. Outline Specific Goals and Objectives
Goals give you something to aim for, and nowhere are they more important than in the world of marketing.
Lead nurturing is a delicate process, and it requires you and your team to have a clear set of goals and objectives. Outlining specific goals and objectives is a necessary step during the process of unifying your sales and marketing teams as well!
Here are some quick examples of questions to answer to begin setting goals when starting any lead nurturing project:
- What is your company or brand’s area of expertise and how can this be relayed to prospects?
- How many leads do you need to generate per week/month/year?
- Who is your target audience and what do they respond best to?
- What products are you offering and how do they compare to the competition?
These thought-starters can help you to clearly define the main objectives of your brand, unify your entire business under shared goals, and broaden your team’s understanding of what kinds of leads you are seeking.
5. Practice Market Segmentation and Buyer Persona Development
Remember those questions from the last section? It’s time to put them to good use.
To practice effective lead nurturing, you need to ask yourself who your target audience is and what their main interests and problems are. Essentially, you need to develop as deep an understanding of your customers as you possibly can.
Creating and developing buyer personas is the key to revealing exactly who your target audience is and what they respond to so that you can show them how your products or services are perfect for their problems and needs.
Think of it like this: your customer is a hero on a journey to solve a specific problem and you are the guide providing them with the exact solution they seek.
By thinking of your customers in this way, it becomes much easier to identify the key characteristics and behaviours that make up their buyer persona!
6. Provide Educational Content for Prospective Customers
Ask yourself – what are you providing to your customers to encourage them to trust and return to your brand again and again?
Providing valuable and relevant content, such as educational blog posts and resources, is an excellent way to strengthen your relationship with your prospects and keep them coming back for more.
Take a moment to think about your own experiences as a prospective customer – what types of content did you respond best to? Which marketing emails grabbed your attention versus which ones ended up in your trash folder without ever having been opened?
The key to providing quality content is to understand how to employ contextual content marketing – a process of identifying the optimal content for each buyer persona, as well as the optimal times for providing this content.
7. Examine Your Customer’s Path to Purchase
Here’s an important question for you:
How do your customers and prospects find you?
Taking this question into consideration is crucial, as you need to know how your customers are coming to discover your brand and products.
For example, let’s say you receive a majority of your leads through social media. In this case, it wouldn’t make sense to focus all of your energy on creating the perfect email campaign. Instead, you would want to utilize social media to reach these customers and allocate more time and resources towards optimizing your social media content.
Understanding the demographics of your customers and where they are arriving from is one of the most essential parts of any lead nurturing strategy.
8. Engage and Interact with Prospects on Social Media
Speaking of social media, did you know that social media marketing has become one of the most effective forms of marketing to date?
A 2014 report showed that spending as little as six hours per week on social media resulted in 66 percent of marketers observing lead generation benefits. A more recent Genroe article published in 2021 found that YouTube, Reddit, and LinkedIn surprisingly present good opportunities for B2B marketing, compared to other platforms such as Instagram and Twitter.
As for the most used social media sites in Australia, the top five are (according to Genroe analysis):
- YouTube, with 78.2 per cent of 16- to 64-year-olds
- Facebook, with 77.7 per cent of 16- to 64-year-olds
- Instagram, with 55.3 per cent of 16- to 64-year-olds
- Twitter, with 30.2 per cent of 16- to 64-year-olds
- LinkedIn, with 28.7 per cent of 16- to 64-year-olds
Social media is undeniably powerful – and your customers are probably paying attention to your brand’s online presence.
Including social media tactics within your marketing strategy is not only a smart choice, it is also an extremely necessary one in this day and age.
9. Create a Well-Organised Customer Database
All this analysing of customer behaviour results in a lot – and we mean a lot – of data.
Without the use of a well-organised and structured customer database, much of this hard-earned data about your prospects can get lost in the wind.
By establishing a strong customer database, you can keep track of each of your buyer personas and their behaviour far easier, and without anxiety, that information may get left behind. Categories to incorporate within the database can include:
- How a customer discovered your products
- The time a customer has spent on your website
- What channels of communication the customer prefers
- Which buyer persona the customer fits in to
10. Keep Up with Your Analytics
If you aren’t keeping up with your marketing analytics…well then, you're head's in the sand - on purpose.
Analytics provide you with tonnes of crucial information.
Without analytics, it can be impossible to truly tell how well any of your marketing strategies are working effectively.
Here are a few of the most important metrics to track when carrying out a lead nurturing strategy:
- Click-through rates
- Time taken to secure a customer conversion
- Cost per customer (the marketing cost of each prospect)
- Conversion rates
Lead nurturing makes all the difference when it comes to improving your marketing results. Whether it's automating your email marketing or developing buyer personas, each of the above listed 10 tactics will help you in your journey to improving your lead nurturing strategy. So with everything you need to nurture your leads into sales-ready friends - it's time you got out there and started cultivating those relationships, gang!