Lead nurturing. The beginning

If you go and ask all of your colleagues in marketing whether they are doing lead nurturing or not and what their process is, you will definitely be surprised by the answer. Most of them are waiting for their leads to turn into a buyer. Why? Don’t wait! Turn you warm lead into a passionate buyer.

  • According to Marketing Sphere, 79% of leads never turn into a sale.
  • The research continually shows that 30–50 % of leads are not ready to buy immediately.

So, what is lead nurturing?

A large number of marketers would say that lead nurturing and drip marketing are the same. We would say they are connected but there is a slight difference between the two. A drip-marketing program sends emails, direct mails etc. at a specific time set by the marketer. But it does not take into account their activity and behavior. Since lead nurturing is more personal and takes into account the behavior of a lead, drip marketing has less value. We would define it as a component of lead nurturing.

Lead nurturing is the process of creating effective relationships with prospects throughout the buying journey. Usually the process includes a series of content promoted via email and other multiple channels. This practice builds more trust, increases the likelihood of a purchase and provides the lead with additional value. Lead nurturing will allow time for a sales team to close qualified leads and spend less time on qualifying them Nowadays, technology helps to automate all marketing processes and make lead nurturing personalized, adaptive and reactive on the buyer’s behavior in real-time. In modern conditions, you can respond to buyers on multiple channels, not just through email.

Why it is so important for business?

Lead nurturing is all about understanding the nuances of your leads’ timing and needs. By getting these details right, you will succeed. If it typically takes your leads a month to make a purchasing decision, then make sure you are spreading out your communications to keep them engaged throughout the month. By taking this approach, you save your sales organization time because you educate and qualify the lead over time. This is only one of the reasons you should start doing lead nurturing.

Do you still have doubts? Here are some facts from researchers:

  • According to the Annuitas Group, nurtured leads generate 47% greater purchases than non-nurtured leads;
  • According to MarketingSherpa, businesses that nurture leads have a 45% increase in lead generation ROI;
  • According to DemandGen report, nurtured leads produce, on average, a 20% increase in sales opportunities versus non-nurtured leads;
  • According to CSO Insights, companies that nurture leads have a 9.3% higher sales quota achievement rate;

By lead nurturing you provide your prospects with information more quickly that helps them know your business faster. You spend time on starting a relationship with a buyer and gain their trust. Due to this, your buyers are more willing to communicate with you and absorb the information you provide.

You establish long-term relationships that can lead not only to a sale but advocacy as well. And there is no better way to generate leads then from the advice of a satisfied customer.

We work now in extremely connected market. And our buyers expect us to listen to them and react on their demand or problem through all possible channels.

Lead nurturing makes a buyer’s journey and sales cycle shorter. Leads spend more time exploring all possible variants, technologies, prices, additional options etc. They simply educate themselves about a product and easy, and quick access to huge amounts of information make this process longer than ever. The reasons why the sales cycle has become longer can be different: among them are increased options, smaller budgets, more steps for decision-making and others. The direct task of lead nurturing is to shorten this long process and not allow a lead to leave a funnel, but be more involved. If you are not helping people choose your products, you are losing your opportunity for a sale because you leave more space for competitors to interrupt.

How to start and what to do

When you start your lead generation you probably think that the hardest part is to find prospects and create a database. But you need to understand that this is just the very beginning stage. Usually, it is a cold base and you need to warm them up. This is the point where you start your lead nurturing program.

But before continuing with this question, think about your tactics for engaging new leads and your approach to creating a constant contact with your brand. What helps you now to establish close relationships with your prospects?

The thing is that you are not limited in ways of communication with your leads. E-mails, newsletters, social media, blogs, calls and even events are readily available for you.

Before starting a campaign, do research on your buying cycle. Review all your current offers and define them according to the phases of a cycle. Find out what offers mostly turn leads into buyers.

But let’s start from the email nurturing campaign.

Hubspot created a list of the main components of email. Every single email you send should have:

  • From name: “Person’s Name — Company Name”;
  • Reply to email: email address from the name;
  • Subject line: less than 45 characters that provides the value/offer and a compelling reason why they should open the email;
  • Email headline: the first two sentences should relate to the email subject line and provide information on the email’s content;
  • Email body: should be short, ideally 150 words or less that includes one call to action;
  • Signature: make sure the “from name” signs the email using the name that is in the “from” address.

Be aware of making a common mistake and create a blanket email for all leads. Create diverse email marketing and generate different campaigns for different phases of the sales funnel. Leads that are at the top of a funnel need a more welcoming introduction to the product or service; the one that has already been more engaged and has some clue about your industry needs more content with case studies or possibly webinars.

For example, if you are an SaaS company and have a trial version for your customers you can divide your sales funnel and your email nurturing strategy into three parts: pre-trial, in-trial and post-trials as Oktopost did. For the pre-trial, create emails that will encourage individuals to try your product. At the same time, create another series for those who have finished the trial but did not become a customer post-trial (the one who did not become a customer after the trial version). You can create a series of emails that motivate a return and produce a customer.

At this stage of the funnel send an email once a week or every two weeks (do a test to consider your amount of emails). Nurture your leads in a non-commercial way and provide them with useful videos, webinars, links to a blog post, eBooks etc. This will show them that you are keeping them in mind and this will increase awareness of your product.

For those who are using your trial version, create another series based on the period they are testing your product. At this stage, you can send emails more often: once a day. The first email should be welcoming and you should include a “thank you” for giving you the opportunity to approach them. Other emails will teach you leads about the products, showing some of the features and possibilities of your product. It would be great if the last email from this series were a reminder that the trial period is coming to an end.

The best thing with lead nurturing is its automation. Some software is available (HubSpot lead nurturing software , Marketing Automation by Marketo , Swiftpage by Act ) that allows you to set up a series of emails to target a specific activity or event. This means that you can prepare your emails in advance and schedule them to be sent after the lead makes takes action on your website.

Multichannel strategy and lead nurturing

One you set up your email campaign, you can follow up your leads via social media. Once your lead visits a website, try to connect with him or her via LinkedIn or Twitter. These two networks are more conducive to business propositions unless you have been working with the end customer. In this case, you can probably use Facebook or Instagram as well.

When someone has just signed up or started a trial period, you can tweet a welcome to them. After he/she has responded, keep tracking mentions or responses on your tweet. Let the conversation begin.

LinkedIn is more business oriented and it would not be enough just to add your lead to contacts. Write a personal welcome message. The same as with Twitter, do not forget about this lead. Start your conversation, exchange useful information or recommend a group.

H2H — this is one of the best ways to warm up your leads

Automation is super cool, but due to the scope of the information sent, personal communication gives more value to your lead. If someone showed interest in your product or just downloaded an eBook, try to surf the Internet and find out a bit more information about him. You can send him a personal email without information overload. Just show him that you are a human not a machine that sends thousand emails per minute. You can suggest setting up a Skype talk to clarify more details. Voice communication is another step in your relationship with your lead.

Real-time chats Make your brand more available. This is not used as commonly as other channels but you can believe that this is no less important h2h than making calls. Your prospect will feel that they can ask questions and receive an answer from you. They do not need to wait for all your emails with features or they can find out something important exactly for him.

But remember that installing messenger on your site obliges you to answer immediately. That means that you can often be disturbed from your workflow. So, the best way out is to provide customer service or at least a person who will be responsible for that.

Looking through all possibilities and ways of lead nurturing is the best way is to use different channels. This will create more brand awareness, trust and long-term relations with your prospects that are your potential customers and brand advocates in the future.

Originally published at blog.1000leads.co on September 17, 2015.

Like what you read? Give Helga Zabalkanskaya a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.