A Beginners Guide to Lead Nurturing
Here we explore one of the most important processes in email marketing: lead nurturing.
What is lead nurturing?
Lead nurturing is the process of cultivating leads that are not yet ready to buy. Good lead nurturing anticipates the needs of the buyer based on who they are, and where they are in the buying process. Your prospects need to be nurtured and you need to give them relevant content to keep them engaged.
Nurturing is the safety net for every step of the buying process, ensuring that prospects don’t slip through and revenue is lost.
If done well, nurturing can build brand loyalty before a prospect is ready to buy. It will also accelerate active opportunities by giving prospective buyers the information they need to make purchasing decisions.
Lead nurturing is most effective when triggered by prospect’s activity or behaviour. Using real time software allows you to track leads and automate your content delivery.
Why does my business need to know about lead nurturing?
Research company SiriusDecisions conducted a study which found that 80% of prospects that don’t buy today, will go onto purchase from you or a competitor within the next 24 months. And you want your company to be at the forefront of their mind.
Lead nurturing primarily focuses on converting contacts that already exist in your database, not generating new ones. Prospects become leads and leads become sales.
Lead nurturing basics
Segmenting – Building a relationship requires a certain knowledge of your prospect so that you can provide them with relevant content. Segment your list using title, role, industry or sales stage. Good content also reduces unsubscribes.
Customer nurturing – Nurturing isn’t just for prospects. Capture data when you bring on a new customer, and tailor their journey specifically for the information they have provided. This builds trust and offers them a smooth buying process.
Be customer focused – Use personalisation whenever possible; use the customers or the company’s name. Each time you send communication it should answer a specific question or it probably isn’t providing much value.
Progressive profiling – Instead of asking the customer who they are, where they are, what their favourite foods are and what their favourite colour is, take it slow. A process called progressive profiling asks the user for one or two pieces of information every time, allowing you to build a bigger picture of the prospect.
Steps to Lead Nurturing Success
1. Understand your buyer
Prospects go through a number of stages before they buy, and you need to understand those stages and what content is best for each one. Interview your customers, through an online survey for example, and find out what annoys them, what is their purchase process, what turns them on and off when online shopping?
2. Find out what motivates your buyers
Look through any campaigns you have previously sent and analyse how customers reacted to it. See how many leads moved through the sales process and the content delivered.
3. Create the ideal user experience
Start with your end goal in mind and create a blueprint for the process leading to it. Try to anticipate any roadblocks your customer may encounter and make revisions. Consider personalising the experience based on the information you already have about the customer.
4. Define your nurture program
Determine the campaign goal, communication channels and over rhythm of the campaign based on previous interactions. Think through all possible scenarios.
5. Automate communications
Set up an automated ‘welcome’ campaign. Say hello to new prospects as they enter information into your database and try to find out more about them.
Lead nurturing best practices
- Start simply
Focus on a specific segment of your list with a call to action. See how this performs and make adjustments accordingly. Then you can add paths based on buyer persona, sales stage and personalisation.
Keep your emails generic at first, for example, helpful information about your product or any additional material. As the contacts then send time on your site, and based on their actions see how you can personalise future communications.
Contacts are much more likely to share information with you within the first 30 days of becoming engaged with you. Use progressive profiling to learn more about them.
- Look for automating opportunities.
Identify a trigger and react. This could be a welcome email, shopping cart abandonment or contract renewal for example. An automated sequence will save you time and effort.
- Nurture by stage
Again use automation to move prospects along the buying stage. Using a CRM system allows you to see what stage the prospect is at.
- Manage exclusions
You don’t want to be sending automated emails to those who have unsubscribed. Make sure they are removed from your list.
- Measure effectiveness
Monitor your campaign by comparing your goals to your current position. It’s easy to assess open and click through rates at first, and make changes if you aren’t hitting your targets. Like anything else, by understanding the purpose of your program, you’ll understand what to track.
Yay, your prospects are now customers. Now what do you do with them? Don’t ignore them. Enter them into a customer nurturing program to build loyalty to your brand to have them coming back time and time again.
Pic source: Antranik.org