An effective lead nurturing strategy should not be based on email and calls only
Nowadays it takes fewer efforts for marketers to create a solid lead flow. Use-case or clients’ paint-point centric approach on search engines as well as social media can deliver as many leads as your business needs, with CPA less than $40. In addition to that, demand generation professionals can use the advantage of supersaturated lead generation market to acquire any quantity of legit leads with the right criteria in-bulk. But how to convert those TOFU leads to sales-qualified?
The times of “handraisers” are gone, and not too many hot leads are available in the market. The majority of potential clients needs to be properly nurtured and guided via their journey before they meet salespeople. What to do to warm-up those cold leads? Lead nurturing strategy, based on customer journey plus marketing automation technologies, could be the right answer.
What is lead nurturing?
Marketo tells that lead nurturing is the specific process of developing relationships with buyers at every stage of their journey through the sales funnel. The goal of that process is to convert cold / TOFU leads to acceptable leads, marketing qualified, sales qualified, opportunities, won deals and advocates respectively. An organization has to determine the fit of the prospect based on what they do, where they go or what they say. In the simplest case, if a website visitor downloads an asset, there can be a business rule that places that person on a nurture path at a specific phase or stage.
According to the Annuitas Group, in 2018 businesses that use marketing automation and multiple-channel approach to nurture prospects experience a 451% increase in qualified leads and nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads.
However, not too many businesses in the US, as well as global, understand their customer’s journey and have an effective strategy in their hands. The common practice is to engage the leads via a very limited set of channels: email and phone calls.
Lead nurturing is not email and calls only
I cannot deny that email still remains the most effective channel to move leads through the funnel, but it is used very frequently. It annoys. Marketers cannot communicate with clients at the right time. That all leads to unsubscribe. My experience tells me that it is much easy to lose lead than to convert it with an email campaign.
Phone calls allow to get direct feedback from the client and immediately react on it as well. However, this channel has the same cons as email.
How to nurture your leads effectively?
I believe that the best practice is to use the power of all owned, paid and earned marketing channels to engage and delight all potential clients from your database. 20% of marketer’s job lies on the side of demand generation and 80% is situated in lead nurturing. Budgets should be allocated according to that as well.
If you would like to warm-up your leads, be ready to touch them at least 10 times via multiple channels and multiple offers. Your brand needs to earn their trust first.
As soon as you receive a lead you get enough information to target it and guide it via its journey. Modern marketing technologies are here to help. Social Media like Facebook and LinkedIn allow showing specific posts to a list of specific individuals based on their emails. Google Ads allows showing ads (display and search) to users based on their email address too.
Do not forget that if your brand is B2B, you also need to engage all members of the buying central. ABM is the best channel to keep your leads engaged at the account level. Let the whole company be aware of your brand and your offer. It did the job great for me.
To use all marketing tools effectively you need to segment users based on their stage in the sales funnel and then come up with a message that highlights the major need of that segment. Challenging? Who said it will be easy?
Here is an example of the light customer journey in B2B SaaS industry
0. A lead is captured by lead generation via content syndication program.
Let’s assume, it downloaded a white paper that highlights its main need on some 3-d party website. A lead has read it and forget about it successfully.
The nurturing is activated.
- Few days after first touch the lead saw the post on Facebook about the topic relevant to its need (that was previously identified). The lead ignored it by not reacting;
- Next day that lead saw another banned on the web, clicked it, landed on the website but not converted since it did not like the CTA. However, it became familiar with the brand;
- At the same day its colleague saw the same banner and told the lead about the offer;
- After a while, the lead searched the web for content relevant to his need and clicked on the ad on SERP. It liked the landing page and converted by downloading another white paper;
- Later, it received an email with an offer to download another asset and that worked;
- A sales rep contacted that lead and told it about the webinar that demonstrates how to solve his problem (need) completely;
- The lead attended the webinar and asked a couple of questions, as well as some of its colleagues;
- Finally, the lead visited the website directly and scheduled an appointment with the sales team. … and another nurturing campaign has begun to generate opportunity.
In this example, it took 9 touches or 3 pieces of content to get MQL, and we need more touches to receive an opportunity.
Welcome to content marketing era
As it is written, marketing is rapidly shifting from a product orientation to customer-centric and we need to determine all strategies based on clients’ needs. Marketers no longer advertise, to engage customer they run content marketing activity — a part of inbound marketing. Inbound methodology leads the majority of marketing efforts now. It requires us to attract, engage and delight our customers via multiple channels.
For all businesses, the real job begins when they capture the lead. Any lead has to be properly nurtured to become a customer and then an advocate of the brand.
The effective lead nurturing strategy consist of three things that works for a specific segment:
- The right mix of channels;
- Relevant message;
- The effective cadence.
That is hard to tell everything I can about lead nurturing in one article, so if you have any questions feel free to visit andreypalagin.com and reach me out for more information…
… and do not abandon your leads!