Lead nurturing is one of the most important practices that any marketing team should consider. Nurturing your leads can result in sales opportunities and end with your lead becoming a prospective customer, which is the goal of all marketing teams.
But how do you go about the conversion process? Is a nurture campaign a good idea? And what are some good methods in considering target audiences? In this article, we’ll go through the best practices when it comes to lead nurturing, and how you might be able to turn leads into customers.
What is lead nurturing?
First of all, let’s address some of the main questions – what is lead nurturing? And why is it so important? Creating a lead nurturing strategy is an extremely useful method of maintaining a relationship with your leads too, so we will also take a look at the key elements for creating a suitable strategy.
Lead nurturing is the process of developing and maintaining a relationship with the customer at every stage of the buyer journey. It focuses your marketing and communication on listening to and responding to, prospective customers. By providing the information and the answers to any questions they might have, you may be able to convert prospects into customers.
So why is it important? Well, according to a study carried out by databox.com, nurtured leads make 46% more purchases than non-nurtured leads. In marketing terms, this conversion rate is substantial, so creating a nurturing strategy could lead to a rise in customers.
Key elements in developing a lead nurturing strategy
Lead nurturing can take time and effort. It certainly isn’t about instant gratification – you’ve got to keep the effort going, sometimes for a substantial amount of time. A campaign strategy can last quite a while – years, sometimes. The rewards can be numerous, however, so there’s no time like the present to develop a lead nurturing strategy. Here are some key elements in developing your own lead strategy.
Aligning marketing and sales
These two teams can historically be at odds. Sales teams might claim that marketing teams don’t give them enough leads, whereas marketing teams might accuse the sales teams of not following up on their leads or nurturing them.
The best way to get the marketing teams and the sales teams to align is to have them agree on the definition of a lead – what you do with each lead and which team has ‘ownership’ over the said lead. If a lead has responded well to marketing campaigns, they’ll be singled out as a qualified lead, and sent towards the sales process. Qualifying your leads is a great way of aligning the common goals of your marketing and sales teams.
Gather lead intelligence
Lead nurturing is all about sharing relevant, targeted, and, where possible, personalized information to keep yourself front and center of the customer’s mind. To do this, you need to get a really solid overview of what kind of buyer you are dealing with, and what they might expect from you. From this information, you’ll be able to create a buyer persona, which will help you understand your prospective customers much better.
There are lots of different ways of doing this, from email marketing campaigns, monitoring social media activity, or even sales calls. Creating a buyer persona helps you to develop the leads into customers, as well as making it easier to tailor content to specific needs and concerns. This becomes your prospect list.
Email marketing campaigns
This is undoubtedly the quickest and easiest method of getting your message out. 51% of email marketers say email segmentation is the most effective way to deliver a personalized lead nurturing experience.
Emails are a crucial part of the lead nurturing strategy, but you must be aware that at any one point, the email marketing campaign must help your prospective buyers to either save money, entertain them, educate them, or solve a problem they might have. You’ll want to try and keep some consistency in the emails, and gather intel about the clickthrough rates too – these prove that people are engaging, and could be prospective customers.
Cold leads are definitely the trickiest prospective customers to get on board. They’re prospective leads that you haven’t contacted before and are the hardest ones to convert into buyers. It’s definitely worth keeping them on the side and reaching out to them on a regular basis. But how do you go about nurturing a cold lead?
Have a clear goal
If you know what you want to achieve before you get in contact with your cold leads, you may have more of a chance of creating a prospective customer. You may not get an instant sale, but you may be offered the opportunity to forward on more information and obtain their contact details.
Follow up with them
This follows on from the first point about nurturing cold leads – following up on your initial contact. The lead is more likely to respond to your campaign if they can trust you to do what you say you will – this trust could be transformed into a prospective customer opportunity.
Use multiple channels
Once you have consent from your cold leads, you should consider other methods of nurturing them. These can involve contacting them using different or multiple channels, such as text messages, direct mail, or even social media. However, you don’t want to bombard them and scare them off, so work out which channel has the best results.
Take note of your results
With every cold lead you nurture, note down your approach and the end result. Record how many of these prospective leads turn into customers. This will give you a good idea of your conversion rate, as well as which approach works best when nurturing cold leads.
When dealing with cold leads, it’s incredibly important to identify your customers’ pain points and your unique selling points, or USPs. Our blog has some useful information about USPs and customers’ pain points, and how you can go about identifying them.
Creating a lead nurturing campaign
The next step to generating more sales, and converting leads into customers is to create a lead nurturing campaign. Before you start, you’ll want to set out some of the goals you wish to achieve by the end of the campaign, as well as how long you wish the campaign to last.
You will also want to decide what kind of lead nurturing campaign you will use, or which one might be best for you. This could be an email campaign, or a LinkedIn lead generation campaign. We’ll go through some of the key steps to leading a successful lead nurturing campaign.
Determine your goals
First and foremost, you’re going to want to determine what you will achieve by the end of the campaign. We have some top tips about LinkedIn lead generation goals and the importance of setting them, but whichever lead nurturing campaign you choose to go along with, determining your goal will direct your entire campaign. Be clear and forthright about what you can legitimately achieve.
Next up, knowing who you are trying to reach is essential. Your target audience will end up dictating the content you choose to run with, and this is when your buyer personas come in to play. These personas should paint a picture of exactly who you are trying to reach. From that, you can decide upon the best content plan for your lead nurturing campaign.
LinkedIn is one of the best (if not THE best) channels to identify your ideal prospects. Check out Zopto to help you build a targeted campaign and get the leads rolling in.
Levels of content
So you’ve managed to get your target audience’s attention. The next challenge is keeping their attention and nurturing them so they may turn from a lead into a customer. To do this, you need to map out the levels of content that they will engage with. When they first engage, it is unlikely that they will be a sales-qualified lead. However, as they continue to consume your content, you need to supply them with content that will communicate to them, and eventually lead them to become a sales-qualified lead.
Your lead nurturing campaign is nothing without a sales team who can follow up on leads and push them to become sales-ready. Make sure you are working with your sales team in an effective manner, so as to not miss out on any of the most qualified leads. If your sales team isn’t up to scratch, you’ll end up losing your prospective customers.
Generating more qualified leads
Qualified leads are undoubtedly the most fruitful. However, evidence suggests that between 40% and 70% of qualified leads weren’t actually ready to buy. So how do you go about not only generating more qualified leads, but turn them from prospects into buyers?
With any sort of campaign involving lead nurturing, you’re reaching out to prospective customers using multiple different channels. It may be tricky to know whether you are actually reaching out to the right people and focussing on your target audience though. Have a look at our guide on how you can conduct the best sort of customer research, ensuring that you will reach out to your desired target audience.
Nurture leads by using lead scoring
Implementing a lead scoring system into your lead nurturing campaign is an almost foolproof method of converting prospects into buyers. Lead scoring effectively is when the marketing team skim off the top leads and send them to the sales team. You figure out the most highly-qualified potential customers and separate them from the rest.
Using a lead scoring system to nurture leads is an incredibly efficient way of ensuring your leads are fully nurtured, as by doing so, you improve the customer experience infinitely and have a strong likelihood of generating loyal and returning customers. You can base your lead scoring on either lead fit (how they fit your persona) or lead engagement. By doing so, you’ll be focussing your energy on all the right customers.
So that’s a guide to lead nurturing, giving you some detail on the best practices when it comes to lead nurturing. As you can see, lead nurturing is a really essential practice for any company that wishes to attract more customers, and retain buyers too.
Lead nurturing itself also assumes that you already have a steady stream of leads and that you are working out which ones you might want to score. If you’re looking for any extra help with driving more leads, be sure to check out our demo.
Below, we’ll go through some of the more commonly asked questions about lead nurturing.
How does marketing automation help with lead nurturing?
Using marketing automation can help with a variety of different aspects regarding lead nurturing. These can include lead scoring, tracking customer behaviors, and managing your email marketing campaigns.
Is my sales team getting enough leads to begin with?
There could be many reasons your sales team isn’t getting enough leads. They may not be liaising with the marketing team about the leads, the prospects might not be being asked the right questions, or maybe you didn’t structure your persona properly. Communication is key, so make sure your sales team and your marketing team are communicating.
Is my sales team even calling the leads they do get?
Again, this is a communication issue. Cold leads can be overcome with a suitable plan of action, and filtering the leads you have generated by lead scoring can mean that the calls that are made result in buyers. If you are doing these things, and there are no buyers, then your sales team may be shirking their responsibilities.