What is lead nurturing?

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

What we will cover

Most new leads – about 80-90% – 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. Stick with us as we cover the process from start to finish…

Getting your Content Right

The very first and last lesson in any marketing activity you undertake for your business is to put yourself in the shoes of the person you are trying to reach and ask – am I adding value? – If your product solves a problem, they will buy it. But only if the perceived value outweighs the capital outlay. In short? Sometimes we need educating on how valuable buying something can be.

This process of education is nurturing our leads, and unlike an old cliché with a cigar-bearing salesman, these can be fulfilled by various digital resources and even automated so it happens by itself. 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 community or sales funnel (confirming their email address, providing them with access to any lead magnets or useful information 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.

Why customer personas are key

All of the above campaigns require you to understand your audience to make “suggestions” to them, if you have created a brand built on healthy eating and someone engages with you, then you can be sure a resource chocked full of healthy salads will be fairly well received. If your run Deer Hunters weekly then perhaps you could expect less engagement.

This is where we need that ven diagram of three key elements: understanding your audience, quality content and tone of voice – nail this like all the big brands out there and you will start to rouse an audience of brand promoters not just customers. Need help working your unique selling point (USP) or understanding your customers better – try one of our workshops below…

How to go about the lead nurture campaign

Okay so you have an idea, now you need to roleplay the dialogue. Think about conversations you are having as part of the current sales process, do you customers need help calculating their square footage for their extension at the start? Do they need advice visualising what they could use their extension for once its build? Would it be valuable to see how to finish of their new investment so it impresses visitors? – All of these could be classed as excellent customer focussed content that would fit a pdf download or blog article.

But that content is also where you refer your audience, there’s a conversation that is normally happening in someones mailbox, and you need to perfect that content too, appearing professional, friendly and personal whilst still being generic enough to automate is a challenge. Pick out a handful of resources, write up your emails, offering a referral in each one, and test it in your actual emails with actual customers – you will soon see if you have the tone right when you have to send what you have drafted.

How Automation Works

So you think you’ve nailed it? The goal is to get to the point where you can automate the above conversation, and create a compelling trigger point. Lets take our extension example above, perhaps we create a landing page on our website that begins to rank for the term
“how much does an extension cost?”.

Pretty soon we are getting some decent traffic and we just know a large number of that traffic would love a bit of info on how to measure up and choose styles, so we create our digital download and pop it behind a contact form signup. The contact form integrates with your email sending provider and for each new sign up the conversation begins.

How to do the 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. In the simplest form, Mailchimp provide the functionality to send a series of emails at predefined gaps which will get you started. But you can go into far more depth and trigger different responses for different reactions.

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? Hopefully that’s helped with “what is lead nurturing?” – if you need help with the doing, we are here to help.

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