Competition within the online marketplace continues to increase. Your customers’ buying behavior changes. These two current scenarios mean one thing: it’s not enough to generate leads anymore. You got to have an effective lead nurturing strategy to take them through each stage of your marketing funnel.
Lead nurturing is a carefully thought out process of providing personalized and relevant content to your leads at each stage of your marketing funnel.
By doing this, you achieve three important things. First, you further educate your prospects about how your product can solve their problems and why it’s the best choice for them. Second, you continue to engage and build a trusting relationship with them. Third, you’re able to screen your leads carefully so that you can weed out those that are the most likely one who will become your customers.
Why is lead nurturing important?
Despite implementing many lead generation strategies to capture leads and add them to your email list, only a small fraction of them are ready to buy. Without a lead nurturing strategy in place, you won’t have the chance to convince them to buy the product or service you’re suggesting. That’s a lot of potential sales for your business that’s going to fly out the window.
Also, customers today prefer to do their own research before they make a purchase. By the time that they reach out to a sales rep, they would have completed as much as 70% of their entire buyer’s journey. Additionally, 93% of their buying process begins by searching online on Google or another search engine.
Mapping your content within your marketing funnel helps. Once you’ve captured their interest, you now need to feed and nurture them with the right information by giving them content specifically targeted to their needs.
That’s the reason why businesses that have a lead nurturing strategy in place generate 50% more sales than those that don’t nurture their leads.
Also, because lead nurturing costs 33% less than other strategies, you’re going to experience a higher ROI for your marketing efforts.
The challenge with lead nurturing
Only 29% of businesses successfully convert the leads they collected into customers. Much of this lies in not having a carefully planned lead nurturing campaign in place and committing any one (or more) of these common lead nurturing mistakes.
You are not taking time to research.
Even though you may have collected significant data about your target market, you still need to do additional research on them. This will help you create more targeted content for your leads. It also tells you which part of your marketing funnel needs more nurturing. You will even know precisely what types of content they are looking for. That way, you can incorporate this into both your lead nurturing campaign and website.
Not having enough opt-in forms and lead magnets.
Believe it or not, some brands only add their opt-in forms into specific places on their websites. The problem with this is that you’re also minimizing the chances of your visitors joining your email list. So unless you do that, you won’t have the opportunity to nurture them.
The same thing is true when it comes to your lead magnets. Providing quality content for free is great. These, after all, help you get visitors keep coming back. However, there should be a limit. At some point, you need to get them into your email list so that you can convince them to become your customers.
You are not following up with your leads.
Many lead nurturing campaigns focus on getting customers to sign up for a demo or schedule a sales call. The thing is that even after this, your leads may not be sold entirely to buy your product or service. If you don’t follow up with them, you risk the chances of them going to one of your customers.
You are not testing your lead nurturing campaigns.
Many brands just launch their lead nurturing campaign without testing how it will fare with your leads.
As a result, you end up with a lead nurturing campaign that yields little to no results. You also end up feeling frustrated and wanting to quit because you’re not getting the results you expect.
Here are 10 effective lead nurturing strategies you can start using. Whether you’re creating your first lead nurturing campaign or looking for ways to increase its lead-to-customer conversion rates, these will certainly help.
1. Create targeted content.
If there’s one thing you need to remember in nurturing your leads, it is this: there’s no such thing as a “cookie cutter” approach in lead nurturing. In other words, your lead nurturing campaign greatly depends on your products and your target market.
The reason is that your leads are spread out in the different stages of your marketing funnel. Sending them content that addresses their pain points and relevant to their stage in your marketing funnel increases your lead conversion by 72%.
There are two things that you need to consider: your buyer persona and your marketing funnel.
Your buyer persona
You need to understand your buyer persona fully. In addition to giving you details on their pain points, your buyer persona tells you what questions they want to be answered before buying something. You can then create content based on what they’re looking for.
If you already collected leads or you have a following on social media, you can invite them to participate in an online survey. You can create one for free using SurveyMonkey or Google Forms. This will help you discover what content they want to receive and what format they prefer to receive this. So when this content to them, they’re more likely to consume it and convert into customers.
For example, one challenge my clients and those in my email list share is how to start building their email list without having to invest in a lot of tools or platforms. To help them out, I created a free ebook that contains a step-by-step guide and strategies to build an email list from scratch.
(By the way, if this is something that you struggle with, you can download this free resource guide here.)
Your marketing funnel
I mentioned earlier that your customers go through different stages as they make their journey from prospect to customer.
Your leads at each stage of your marketing funnel have a specific question they want to be answered. As a marketer, you got to make sure that you provide the right content at the right time. Otherwise, you can either give your leads a reason to opt-out your marketing funnel and go elsewhere.
I recently created a blog post where I go into more detail about the content types you should have in each stage of your marketing funnel. So be sure to check that out.
2. Use a behavior-based email marketing campaign.
As its name suggests, behavior-based email marketing is where you automatically send them an email when they take a specific action on your website on top of opting into your content offers.
Studies show that behavior-based email marketing campaigns generate up 39% more engagement among your current leads.
As a result, brands that use behavior-based email marketing generate 30% more sales and up to 77% increase in ROI.
The reason is that behavior-based email marketing helps you re-engage with your leads when they don’t complete an opt-in form or a purchase. When you send an email reminder within 24 hours, they’re more likely going to finish them.
The key here is to carefully choose which behaviors are noteworthy and beneficial for your business.
Say for example one of your leads checks out your pricing page. You can then automatically send an email to ask them if they have any questions or if they would like to schedule a demo.
Behavior-based email marketing also helps you segment your email drip campaigns. Not only does this help you build a stronger and more trusting relationship with your leads, but also send the right content at the right time.
3. Personalize your emails.
Studies show that personalized emails are 6x higher revenue than non-personalized emails.
However, personalizing emails is more than just using your lead’s name in your emails. You need to make sure that the content you send them is personalized.
RescueTime does a great job of this with those that signed up for the free version of their service.
Each week, they would send their users a report a break down of the time they spent online. It also tells each of their users whether or not they’ve reached set goals.
Another way you can personalize the content you send to your leads is based on their location when they sign up for your newsletter.
You can send them special offers and discounts you’re running in your stores within their area, just like in the case with OfficeDepot.
You can also provide your leads with the prices of your services in their local currency so they can figure out how much they need to invest in your product.
4. Set up triggers within your email campaigns.
Email triggers are conditions that tell your email autoresponder what email to send and, more importantly, when to send it.
One of the most common email triggers used in a drip email marketing campaign is to send out a welcome email when someone subscribes for your newsletter or signs up for a free version of your product.
Another is a thank you email after someone makes a purchase or downloads your free content.
Here are other email triggers you can set up to help you convert more leads into customers.
Click-throughs on your newsletter
The links your leads click in your newsletter are those that pique their interest. You can create an email trigger that will send content related to that topic.
Has been inactive
There are several reasons why your leads may not be opening your emails, even if you’re delivering great content to them.
Setting up a trigger that to ask them if they would like to continue receiving your content can help remind them about you and your business.
When they did not complete a purchase
There are different reasons why your customers don’t complete your purchase.
Maybe they did not have enough funds in their credit card to pay for your product.
Or perhaps they were trying to complete their purchase during their commute and completely forgot about it.
Even a sudden internet outage could be the culprit.
Whatever the reason may be, you can set up a trigger so you can send them an email to remind them to complete the purchase.
5. Use omnichannel marketing.
90% of your customers search for information on different online sources on top of search engines, social media, and third-party review sites. They also use various devices to access them.
That said, it’s not enough to just focus your lead nurturing efforts using email. You also need to incorporate these other channels into your lead nurturing campaign so that you’re always in the mind of your target market.
This is crucial since studies show you need to engage with your leads an average of 10 times for them to go through your marketing funnel and become a customer.
Omnichannel marketing also helps you retarget your leads so that they can either complete the purchase or upsell your other products.
Platforms like HubSpot, InfusionSoft, Marketo, and MailChimp allows you to create lead ads on Facebook and Instagram. When you run these ad campaigns, they will show up in the news feeds of your leads depending on how they engage with your website and content.
6. Engage with your leads using chatbots.
Chatbots have become a vital sales tool because it allows you to quickly engage with your leads the moment they reach out to you within minutes. That way you can soon qualify your leads and shorten your sales cycle.
Also, because chatbots are equipped with artificial intelligence and machine learning, they become better at qualifying your leads.
The best part about this is that it doesn’t cost a lot to create a chatbot to use for your learn nurturing strategy. Chatbot platforms like Chatfuel, Manychat, and Drift allow you to create a chatbot for free.
You also don’t need to know how any coding, either. These platforms let you create a workflow for your chatbot by merely dragging and dropping these details. So you set this up and launch it in minutes.
7. Implement lead scoring
If you are consistently generating leads, but your sales team couldn’t convert them into customers, it’s possible that your marketing team aren’t sending them qualified leads that are ready to buy.
Lead scoring can help you with this. This is a screening process where your marketing scores your leads based on their demographics, need, and behaviors. The higher your leads score, the more likely they are a good fit to become a customer.
I recently wrote a lead scoring guide along with some examples of criteria to score and tips for creating a workflow to automate the whole process.
8. Align your sales and marketing teams.
This ties in with lead scoring. Only when your sales and marketing teams are aligned can they come to an agreement which demographics and behaviors to score and how many points you’ll assign to each one.
Aligning your sales and marketing teams will also help you pinpoint which demographics and behaviors would disqualify a lead.
For example, if you’re targeting only customers or clients living in the United States, you can then disqualify leads that enter your marketing funnel who are from other countries.
More important, your sales and marketing team can agree on a threshold score for your leads. This is the minimum score they need to have before your sales reps reach out to them. By this time, they are ready to make a purchase. So it will be easier for your sales team to convert them into customers.
9. Listen to conversations on social media.
According to a study done by Global Index, 29% of people research products or services they want to buy on social media.
Social listening platforms like Mention and SproutSocial allow you to monitor each time that your target market either mentions your brand or asks questions about your product or service. This gives you the chance to jump into the conversation and answer their questions.
Social listening also gives you insight into the sentiments of your existing customers about your product and service. This is crucial because negative comments and reviews travel faster than the good ones, especially on social media. In fact, 54% of customers share a terrible experience to at least 5 people.
By keeping track of how your existing customers talk about your products and services, you’re able to quickly do damage control by immediately reaching out to them to resolve the issue. At the same time, you’re showing the rest of your potential customers the quality of customer service you provide. So not only are you able to redeem your brand but actually have the chance to win back the customer. One study even shows that effectively managing a negative comment promptly can transform them into brand advocates.
10. Automate your lead nurturing campaign.
Timing is key when nurturing your leads. Unfortunately, writing an email that’s personalized and packed with value takes time. One study shows it takes 2 whole days for a marketer to create an email.
Once your marketing team creates the emails for your lead nurturing campaign, they will be sent to your existing and new leads based on what they do on your website and where they are in your marketing funnel.
Whether you’re running a B2B or B2C business, launching a carefully planned lead nurturing campaign can significantly help you convert more customers and boost sales.
Have a clear understanding of your target market by developing a buyer persona made of data gathered from surveys and interviews.
Align your sales and marketing teams so they can determine which behaviors to track and have a unified understanding of what a qualified lead should look like. That way, they can help each other do their jobs better.
Also, don’t limit yourself to email marketing. Even though this is effective, understand that your customers are also using other channels to research possible solutions online. Make sure that you include these channels into your lead nurturing campaign. This helps you stay in the minds of your potential customers.
It will also help you retarget and remind those that abandoned their shopping carts. Doing this increases your chances of getting them to come back and complete their purchase.
Above all, make sure that you provide content to your leads that’s packed with value and personalized based on what stage they are in the marketing funnel. This ensures that you’re sending them the right content at just the right time. It will also help you encourage them to move through your marketing funnel more quickly, shortening the sales cycle, and converting them into customers.
By following the strategies are those that helped me and my clients convert more leads to customers and boost their sales. Start by choosing one approach and then apply this to your current inbound marketing plan. Evaluate and monitor the results before going to the next.
Pretty soon, you’ll be seeing an increase in the number of customers and sales in your business.
Is there any other lead nurturing strategies you use to boost sales that I didn’t mention here? What is the lead nurturing campaign you’ve used that gave you the best results? Share these in the comments section below.