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Lead Nurture and Automation

Lead nurturing may sound like a gentle, fluffy process but the reason it makes sense for every business is based on cold, hard numbers.

Most new leads – about 80% – will never buy as much as a paper clip from you so you really need to make the most out of the rest. First, that means understanding where they are in the customer buying cycle (are they information gathering, comparing options or reaching for their wallet/purse?)

Next, you need to tailor all of your content (email, social media and website) to connect with those prospects at the appropriate stage with the goal of nudging them a step closer towards a sale.

Finally, if you are realistically going to nurture more than a couple dozen leads, you are going to want to look at automating the whole process using some fancy tech.

Getting your Content Right

Before we look at how software can help with managing the process, here are some examples of different kinds of lead nurture campaign along with the types of content that might suit it.

Welcome Campaign

A welcome campaign combines the general ‘admin’ of accepting a prospect into your sales funnel (confirming their email address, providing them with access to any lead magnets you have used to attract them, etc.) with a series of follow-up emails.

The type of content that these emails link to needs to be light and the frequency not too intense. Rather than focus on a product or service in depth, an effective welcome campaign will use conversational blogs, social media posts, short videos and similar content to educate the prospect on the nature of the problem that you intend to solve. At this stage they only need to know that you are offering some kind of solution.

Top-of-Mind Campaign

This is a type of ‘middle-of-the-funnel’ campaign in that it targets prospects who have moved on from the awareness stage of the buying cycle to the research stage. The content needs to be more detailed at this stage and might be presented as longer videos, in-depth blog posts, white papers or articles based around industry news. The important thing is to drip feed enough material to ensure your brand is ‘top of mind’ when the prospect is ready to start comparing specific products and services.

Re-engagement Campaign

It is worth noting here that just because a prospect may be stuck at the awareness stage of the buying cycle, it doesn’t follow that they are a lost cause. External circumstances (budget, time, decision-making ability and more) can all slow down progress.

A re-engagement campaign targets prospects who signed up some time ago but have yet to buy. Blog posts, white papers, interactive content and case studies can all be used to give old prospects a friendly nudge.

How Automation Works

With large numbers of prospects all at different points along the sales journey, manual lead nurture can quickly become a logistical nightmare.

Introducing automation!

There are plenty of services out there – for all budgets – which can be used to automate your lead nurture process. The best combine Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software with automatic email marketing to some degree.

The CRM software part enables you to monitor your customers’ behaviour so that you know where they are along the buying cycle. For example, your dashboard might show you who has downloaded your lead magnet, who has browsed your pricing page, who signed up more than 30 days ago, etc. The email autoresponders can then kick in to trigger pre-loaded content campaigns based on that info.

So your new sign ups get hooked into your welcome campaign, the price browsers get put on your top-of-mind campaign list and the inactive prospects get a wake up call courtesy of your re-engagement campaign.

By automating your early and middle stage prospects like this, you or your sales team are free to focus your time and energy on those customers with their finger on the buy button.

In this way, even the smallest in-house sales and marketing team can run a smart lead nurturing operation.

Nothing fluffy about that, hey?

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