In order to dominate your marketplace and secure new customers to your brand you have to adopt a killer marketing strategy.
There are hundreds if not thousands of ways to develop a killer marketing strategy, however there are two main approaches that are usually taken. This includes-
1. Creating a powerful, attention grabbing idea that can be risky, expensive and have consequences, but leads to immediate and sometimes viral results.
2. Frequent, low risk engagements over long periods of time that show commitment, dedication and build relationships with the brand slowly.
This second option is also known as lead nurturing and is the perfect strategy to weed out or transform your cold leads into leads who actually have the intention of buying.
Nurturing your leads can often lead to a more effective marketing strategy as not only is lead nurturing more cost effective than loud, viral-wannabe campaigns, but they also help to establish your brand.
Research has also found that only 10 percent of leads will buy on the first time contact with your brand, this means that around 90 percent of your leads may not resonate with your one-time campaign.
Of course, depending on your business model there may be a time and place for a loud viral campaign, however there is always room for an effective lead nurturing strategy.
In fact, marketers that spend time nurturing their leads and building that relationship see a 20 percent increase in sales opportunities. Leads that are nurtured are also 50 percent more likely to purchase and 33 percent of these sales are generated at a lower user acquisition cost than normal.
Nurturing your leads also makes your customers to feel valued, and we all know that valued customers can go on to be lifetime customers, which can increase the reputation and longevity of your brand.
Despite statistics and anecdotal evidence supporting the use of lead nurturing, only 36 percent of marketers are believed to practice it effectively. This is often the case as marketers get too focused on immediate results and lose sight of the bigger picture.
We all like to be nurtured, so why not nurture your leads?
Lead Nurturing is a crucial part of any inbound marketing campaign and can help you to understand when your lead is ready to buy and the right angle to approach them with.
This truly is the secret sauce when it comes to why we nurture leads. In today’s society when people want to feel in charge of the content they consume and educated about the purchases they make, lead nurturing can help to create this.
The Lead Nurturing process involves:
- Informing your leads
- Educating your leads
- Involving your leads
- Validating your leads
- Converting your leads
- Keeping your customers up to date with your brand
Lead nurturing is really just one component of your inbound marketing strategy, but many would argue that it is the most important. In fact, having a solid lead nurturing campaign can help you fight off competitors and keep your customers highly loyal.
Before you can even begin adopting a lead nurturing strategy however, you must have a few steps in place first. These steps include-
- Having a solid understanding of your demographic or who your target audience is
- Knowing your overall intention for your brand and the intention for each marketing campaign
- Having tracking tools in place to monitor lead involvement, such as Google analytics etc.
- Involving your entire sales and marketing team so everyone is on the same page
- Having quality leads to nurture
- Defining your “nurture track”
What is a Nurture Track?
Nurture tracks are your plan of how you are going to take your lead and turn them into a customer.
For example, your brand may have a series of emails lined up which are automatically sent out in intervals. These emails will then help your brand to know how your leads are responding, where improvements need to be made and how to educate your leads.
This is not about being salesy or pushy with the process but rather leading your prospects down a track that makes them realize that they want to buy your product all on their own.
When a customer doesn’t feel coerced into purchasing your product or service, they feel more assured about their decision, are more likely to trust you and are more likely to feel satisfied with your brand.
It is likely that your brand will have to create many nurture tracks in order to be effective. These tracks will most likely include:
1. A Welcome Track: focuses on educating your prospects about what your brand offers, also focuses on acquiring leads in the first place.
2. Low Intensity Track: As prospects move along the welcome track, you may realise that they are not yet ready to buy or that you need to slow down the sales process. You will then move them to the low intensity track which is less direct and simply more of a “reminder” that you are there.
3. Education Track: You may notice that certain prospects show interest in certain topics or information, you may decide to move them to an education track that helps to offer more detailed information about your products or services. This helps to give them confidence to move further down the track.
4. Reminder Track: Often prospects that race down the welcome track become inactive towards the end. If this is the case, you may need to move them to the reminder track to help refresh their mind and keep them engaged in what your brand is offering.
5. Accelerated Track: If prospects show interest very quickly and obviously when moving down the welcome track, you may want to move them to an accelerated track that gives them all the final information they need to make a purchase
6. After Sale Track: This track is for customers who have made a sale. It is important to keep communicating with them and asking them for feedback, questions and if they are interested in upgrades or further services.
7. Lost Lead Track: this happens when you lose a lead to a competitor. Some marketers will delete this lead from their list and abandon them altogether, but a better approach would be to send them reminders about your products and services so you are still on their radar. By staying connected you may win them back, especially if they are unsatisfied with the competitor or impressed by your brands approach.
Your business model will determine the types of tracks that are best suitable for your brand and of course, they will need to be tested and perfected with feedback from your actual leads, every step of the way.
Once you have some tracks in place you need some strategies to help fill them with. There are so many lead nurturing strategies available to marketers these days with the growing presence of social media however, we have sourced some of the best tactics for your brand.
Here are 7 of the Best Lead Nurturing Strategies
1. Targeted Content
Targeted content can be one of the best way to create a relationship with your leads. In fact, research has found that when targeted content was used as a lead nurturing strategy, it increased sales opportunities by more than 20 percent.
When you offer content that is valuable and entertaining to readers, they start to resonate with your brand. It may not happen overnight, but over time if your leads enjoy your content they will keep coming back for more.
But how do you go about ensuring this?
Forrester Research Group discovered that 33 percent of B2B marketers find it difficult to deliver targeted content and struggle to know who the right people are for their brand and the right time to share the content.
In order to determine this for your own brand, you must have an understanding of your demographic and the times of day that they are most active on your page or on social media.
When you truly understand the ins and outs of your audience through analytical software, reviews, social media responses and through anecdotal evidence, you will be equipped with the knowledge of what content to offer them and when.
You may also find that your content is not “one size fits all”, you may have a varied demographic that is looking for different things and different features, at different times. This is where you need to work on having multiple content sources for your different lead persona’s.
For example, if you sell water bottles you may find that your male demographic respond to your product through Facebook, however your female demographic may respond better through Pinterest.
As a marketer, this will help you to create your strategy for each different platform and will guide you as to what images, text and information to include.
Even though this may take time to generate, when you start to learn how your audience responds, you can begin automating the process.
2. Multi-Channel Lead Nurturing
Email is by far one of the most overused lead nurturing strategies, however many argue that email is still the best.
Sending out emails allows you to fulfil a lot of your lead nurturing goals. Emails help remind your leads of your presence, they help to educate your leads and they can also be individually tailored.
Emails definitely help a lot when it comes to lead nurturing strategies however, often marketers don’t branch out and forget about other resources that may be available.
Emails can also create mixed results. In fact, four out of five marketers state that their email open rates don’t exceed 20 percent. This means that if you just focus on emails, a huge portion of your leads are not being nurtured.
In the lead nurturing process it is crucial that your brand adopts a multi-channel approach which means that you work on nurturing leads across a wide variety of platforms.
These platforms include social media like Facebook, Instagram etc, website content, targeted landing pages, video content, webinars, etc.
3. Multiple Points of Contact
The average lead needs to have at least 10 points of contact with your brand before they go ahead to make a sale. This means that your brand has to offer at least 10 very significant opportunities for contact.
Despite this statistic, at least 49 percent of marketers only offer 5 points of contact to leads along the sales funnel process. By doing so, many marketers lose valuable leads to competitors.
10 points of contact may seem like a lot, however it is important to remember the customers journey. This journey usually involves some sort of problem that the customer has and how your products or services can solve their problems.
These 10 points of contact clearly need to address your customers main concerns and issues, as well as build trust and have evidence to back up any claims.
Some suggestions to achieve this include having a solid social media presence, sharing reviews and testimonies, offering e-books, e-courses, free templates, valuable blog content and webinars.
4. Perfectly Timed Follow Ups
Studies have found that leads are more likely to turn into qualified leads if they are followed up with in the first five minutes. In fact, marketers who follow up with their leads in the first five minutes have a 21 times greater chance of getting a sale than those who follow up after 30 minutes.
This means that by immediately following up with your audience when your brand and message is in their mind can be the perfect way to start your nurturing track.
In this day and age where we have multiple devices at our finger tips, it is almost the norm to be able to respond to email and text messages within a matter of minutes.
Customers want to feel remembered, they want to feel like they matter, and when you follow up when they are still likely to be searching or browsing your website, they are more likely to respond.
Having an automated process that helps you to reach your prospects may be helpful here. This may include an email or a phone call that they receive as soon as they have signed up.
It is interesting to note that many brands don’t follow the immediate follow up strategy as they feel it makes them look too “desperate” and puts them in a lower position in terms of power. In fact most brands prefer to wait at least 48 hours before reaching out to prospective leads. This however, is an outdated sales tactic and is not supported by today’s research.
5. Personalised Content
We have already touched on targeted content, but what about personalised content?
Personalised content such as a personalised email that includes the leads name, generates up to six times more engagement and revenue than an email that is generic or not personally addressed.
Several studies have also found that personalised emails outperform all other types of emails when it comes to lead nurturing.
The reason for this is probably obvious. People love to feel that they are special and that they are a respected and valued buyer. By including their name, it personalises the process and helps them to feel that whatever message you are communicating is exclusively for them.
Personalised marketing can be highly effective as it instantly activates engagement and gets your leads to sit up and take notice.
If you want your leads to feel nurtured and important, personalisation is the way to go.
Other ways to personalise your content includes sending out birthday cards, special birthday coupons or gifts to regular clients. Doing small acts like this can be a great way to build and maintain relationships and nurture your leads.
6. Lead Scoring
Did you know that nearly 68 percent of successful marketers believe that lead scoring is the most effective tactic for increasing revenue when it comes to lead nurturing tactics?
According to Hubspot, Lead Scoring is-
“A methodology used to rank prospects agains a scale that represents the perceived value each lead represents to the organisation. Lead scoring can be implemented in most marketing automation platforms by assigning numeric values to certain website browsing behaviours, conversion events or even social media interactions. The resulting score is used to determine which leads should be followed by with directly by a sales rep or which leads need to be nurtured further down the funnel.”
Lead Scoring can save marketers a lot of time and money and helps them to also better understand the effectiveness of their campaigns and how their audience is responding.
Even though lead scoring is a highly effective tactic, research has found that less than 21 percent of B2B marketers use it in their lead nurturing strategy.
7. Alignment of Sales and Marketing
The market research firm CSO insights conducted a study which found that when both sales and marketing were used in the lead nurturing process, companies experienced significant improvement on conversion rates.
Another study also found that 89 percent of companies that aligned their sales and marketing strategies together in the lead generation process, were more likely to result in obtaining qualified leads.
By aligning your sales and marketing strategies, you can better work out where your leads are in the sales funnel and when they need to be transferred to different nurture tracks. In fact, one of the reasons we lead nurture in the first place is to work out where our leads are in the sales process and how best we can meet their needs in order to ensure they continue down the funnel.
When you combine both sales and marketing to this process, you also gain more insight on how to optimise landing pages for your specific audience, which in turn helps to boost conversion rates.
Lead nurturing is a great way to help your audience feel supported as they move through the sales funnel. Lead nurturing also allows you to assess and review the different types of leads you have acquired and how you can move them down the appropriate track in order to achieve the most desirable outcome.
Not all of your leads are equal and when you can tailor a program that is specifically suited for your leads, that is when you will really see a boost in results.
To recap, here are the 7 best strategies for lead nurturing:
- Targeted Content: offering specific content that is of value to your readers and tailored to a specific nurture track, can include blogs, ebooks, webinars, videos etc.
- Multi-Channel: offering content on a wide variety of platforms from emails to social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook.
- Points of Contact: working on offering at least 10 significant points of content in order to achieve a sale as studies have shown that this is the most effective number to reach.
- Perfectly Timed Follow-Ups: test following up within the first 5 minutes of obtaining your lead as studies show this is the most effective approach to turning your lead into a qualified lead.
- Personalised Content: make your leads feel special by using their names on your emails and sending special birthday coupons. You may even send gifts at the end of the year to your most valued clients.
- Lead Scoring: assessing which stage your leads are at in the buying cycle and using this assessment tool to send them down the right nurture track so they can receive the information they are looking for.
- Aligning Sales and Marketing: results are enhanced by combining both marketing and sales tactics in order to best serve the lead as they move down the sales funnel.
Lead nurturing truly helps you to understand your leads better at every step of the sales funnel, helps you to classify when your leads are ready to purchase and can help you turn your leads into paying customers.
By offering a range of lead nurturing solutions, your brand can be well on the way to increasing sales and profits. In fact, most brands that adopt a solid lead nurturing strategy go on to see dramatic improvements not just in sales, but in the overall engagement and satisfaction rates of their customers and leads.
Does your brand have a solid lead nurturing strategy?
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