What is Lead Nurturing

Familiarity has marketing power. If you ever wondered why Disney has managed to sell all of their characters and how people can familiarize themselves with nonsense words like “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”, familiarity is the answer. There is something about familiarity that just pushes people to move towards them. The mind loves it and the chance of a person acting on something familiar is always higher.

This is the reason why brands use familiarity to market their products and services. In marketing, applying the familiarity principle is called lead nurturing. This is where a brand builds a lasting connection with its audience by addressing all their needs in a the whole journey. For example, a customer who wants to lose weight will first want to know how to get started. Then, he will want to know specifics about calorie counting and going over a weight loss plateau. From there, he will want to build more muscles and burn fat. If a brand is able to address the needs of the customer in all points of the journey, the brand’s chance of closing a deal in the future is higher than before.

The key to lead nurturing is repeat contact. This is where the brand doesn’t stop with just one point of contact. Instead, contact is done again and again and needs are addressed along the way. When this happens, a relationship is made with the customer.

Today, you’ll learn how to drive engagement through lead nurturing campaigns. This will help you retain your existing customers, encourage more sales and guarantee the sustainability of your business. By the end of the article, you’ll know how to create your own lead nurturing campaign and acquire practices that you can implement in your organization.

What is Lead Nurturing?

Before we can go into the process of creating a lead nurturing campaign, we first need to know what it is. Lead nurturing is about continuously connecting with your customer in their lifecycle. This is where you answer all of their needs in each point of contact. A person will usually have more than one need. As stated in the earlier example, a person who wants to lose weight will need more than initial strategies to jumpstart his weight loss journey. He will also need more information along the way. Lead nurturing is all about addressing all these needs for information. It is about providing the right marketing message and providing solutions to their problems every step of the way.

Lead nurturing is different from traditional marketing because it focuses more on old customers than new ones. Traditional marketing is about getting the word out about a business. It is about getting as many people on board. It is about getting as many sales as you can possibly can. Lead nurturing is about treating your customers well after the sale. It is a process of creating repeat customers or fans who will be willing to buy from a brand again and again over time.

Why sell to old customers? Well, studies have found that is cheaper and easier to acquire. According to Aberdeen Group, they found that selling to an existing customer is 4.8x cheaper than trying to acquire a new one. Changing your focus from new customers to old ones can help you get as much as 400% increase in sales.

Also, nurturing leads doesn’t look like it’s optional. A company called DemandGen found that companies get as much as 20% more sales opportunities from nurtured leads. This shows how nurtured leads just buy from a brand like clockwork — no convincing needed.

Lead nurturing works if you have a strong brand. With this, proper brand creation and messaging should be done before nurturing. A consistent message must be sent in all channels and everything should be geared towards helping customers.

For example, you can create blogposts or videos designed to help a customer overcome a problem. It can be educational (somewhat like a tutorial) or a list of tips. Then, you should also take a personal approach to your customers. These days, it is about talking to them one-on-one. It is no longer about shouting to a crowd. With this in mind, it is very important to create a trusting relationship with your consumers. It is only through this relationship that familiarity is fostered.

For lead nurturing to work, you need to learn to connect with your prospect’s emotions. After all, customers are human beings with problems and pain points. These problems are usually powered by emotions. With that, you should create content that tackles these emotions. It is only in doing this will the customer feel understood. The customer need to to feel understood in order to create a lasting connection with them.

In the same way, community must be encouraged. It is hard to create a lead nurturing campaign without a community. A community powers and solidifies a brand. But a community can only develop if you have created multiple relationships with your customers until they eventually grow into a huge number of followers.

From here, you are probably wondering how it differs with content marketing. Content marketing, after all, is the process of ‘warming up’ prospects with initial content before asking them to buy anything from you. Content is a part of lead nurturing but the process focuses on the interaction with the consumer. Content marketing is all about structuring the content the right way and promoting it to the right people. Lead nurturing is about looking out for your customer’s needs and addressing their problems. Both of these processes can work together for a better customer-oriented business but they are still quite different from each other.

Here are some examples to help you see how lead nurturing works.

Example #1: BuzzFeed

When they said that content dilutes SEO, I don’t believe them. You see, users need a constant stream of content to keep coming back to a website. These content should appeal to multiple types of audiences at a given time. Once all of these traffic come into a place together, that’s when the magic happens.

But contact with the customer should not stop with just having one content that speaks to them. Remember, relevance is very important. In fact, a survey from MarketingSherpa shows an increase in unsubscribes for this simple reason. So it is important to constantly feed them with new content that they are interested in.

One of the main things that you should consider is their needs. Find out what their problems are. How do you know? You ask them. Create a survey to know how your customers are feeling. If that doesn’t work, invite someone for an interview over coffee. You’ll be surprised with how much you can learn. Next, you can also observe them. You can do this by visiting sites that they frequently visit and taking note of their most common questions. This will give you a hint about your prospect’s problems.

This is what Buzzfeed has done when it has over 20 email newsletters for different market segments. It knows that its market is so broad that they have to break it down to hyper-targeted categories. The result? Higher and better engagement. Users would often appreciate the extra mile that you have to go through.

But don’t forget about user experience. It is important that you make the content viewing as rewarding as possible. When you do that, your prospects would be more than happy to come back for more. Design is very important. Some of the best content are not read just because of the design. Don’t make that mistake.

Example #2: Target

Did you know that a welcome email or page is very powerful? But it is only powerful if you have harnessed it correctly. With this, you should create a welcome message but keep it short so as not to take so much of your customer’s time.

Just look at the message on Target. It is warm but is straight to the point. It doesn’t contain unnecessary information. It has a specific call to action and that is to ‘watch out for emails’ but it is done in a way that is not intrusive to the person reading it.

Also, notice how the design is created. Instead of just having a blank page with some text, it is done creatively. This effectively engages consumers without boring them. It helps if you can include some images. Aim to be creative with your welcome page or email. Don’t just copy a template and pass it as your own. Create something different. Use GIFs or videos if you need to.

The focus is also on value. It is about what Target has to offer. For some brands, they take this as an opportunity to introduce their market into more content. As long as the content strengthens the relationship of the user with the brand, it’s still good. Target has created a discount offer but you can offer something else if you like to.

Also, don’t forget to link to the important items in the website. Notice how Target has a link to its clearance items below and have a link to shopping areas at the top. This is done intentionally so that users can easily transition from being welcomed to being customers.

Example #3: Zappos

Zappos is a classic example on how promotional emails should look like. Not only does it have a catchy title — “We’re playing with fire” with an emoji on the subject line. It also has a user-friendly email interface that is worth the click.

Note: This article was originally published on the OSI Affiliate Blog. To see the whole article you can go here http://www.osiaffiliate.com/blog/what-is-lead-nurturing/