A few months back, I tried to sign up for a free trial of an outreach platform. I entered my information, like my name and email address, but I stopped dead in my tracks when I got to the next stage of the signup process. I had to enter my credit card info. While I have no qualms about paying for something online, I am usually hesitant to enter my payment info for free trials.
So I abandoned my signup attempt. The next day, I woke up to an email from the company encouraging me to complete the process. They even sent me a link to sign up without entering my card info. Not only did they seem concerned that I had abandoned their site; they correctly assumed the reason for my abandonment and brought me a solution.
This is an excellent example of lead nurturing in action. Any company that’s worth its salt realizes the importance of nurturing leads, regardless of whether or not it is in danger of losing those leads.
At the same time, having a lead nurture strategy in place isn’t always enough. You need to keep optimizing your strategy to keep up with the evolving consumer landscape and changing demands. Here are a few tips to help you out:
1. Improve and automate your lead nurture email efforts.
Email marketing is the most effective lead nurturing tactic, according to a study by Ascend2. And you’re probably already using it in your strategy. In fact, the Content Marketing Institute found that lead nurturing emails are the second most popular type of email used by B2B marketers for content marketing.
However, there’s always scope for improvement to get even better results out of your nurturing efforts. If you aren’t doing it already, make sure you automate your lead nurture emails, which may include:
• Welcome emails triggered by signups and subscriptions
• Thank you emails triggered by purchases, donations and downloads
• Onboarding emails to educate leads about your products or services or to help them get started
• Emails containing exclusive offers and discounts
• Email newsletters and company/industry updates
• Cart abandonment emails to remind leads about abandoned/unfinished purchases
• Emails to reengage inactive leads
• Emails notifying leads about activity or updates on their accounts
You might not need each and every type of email depending on your industry and target audience, so try testing different hypotheses and behavioral triggers to see which works best for you. Then optimize your lead nurture strategy accordingly.
You can use automation platforms like ActiveCampaign or HubSpot, which let you send personalized emails triggered by actions. They even let you send automated follow-up emails, helping take your lead nurture efforts to the next level.
2. Host educational webinars and follow up.
Many of your leads are still at a stage where they need more information and education before they decide to purchase. So you need to engage them and educate them with valuable information that would convince them to convert.
According to the 2018 Demand Generation Benchmark Survey Report, the top lead engagement tactic for 68% of respondents was in-person events.
But it’s not always feasible to participate in these events, as they don’t happen year-round. For a long-term strategy, you can opt for the next best thing: webinars.
Fifty-four percent of marketers said that webinars are effective for converting and accelerating leads at the middle and late stages of the sales funnel. You can start hosting webinars that provide valuable information and guides to your target audience. Not only will this help you capture new leads; it will also engage your existing ones.
You can further optimize this strategy by following up on your webinar participants with survey emails, thank-you emails, and webinar download emails. It’s easy enough to set this up using a basic video conferencing platform like Google Hangouts or Zoom. Premium dedicated webinar platforms like ClickMeeting can help you host successful webinars and capture valuable audience insights. You can then easily segment the participants and send out follow-up emails to the most engaged people, continuing to nurture the relationships until these leads are deemed sales-ready.
Your email could also include surveys asking them for feedback and social sharing buttons encouraging them to talk about the webinar. The platform even lets you record your webinars, so participants have the option to download it for later use. This is all excellent for encouraging leads to engage with your business and nurturing them to eventually convert.
3. Adopt a multichannel lead nurture strategy.
The previously-cited Demand Generation report found an increasing shift in focus on multichannel lead nurturing. Forty-one percent of marketers in the survey expressed their intention to use multi-channel lead nurturing in 2018, making it second on the list of top tools they planned to test or deploy.
If you’re going to optimize your lead nurture efforts, you can’t just focus on one or two channels that have worked for you in the past. You need to diversify your outreach efforts by adopting multiple channels and platforms that will help you reach and engage more leads.
Email marketing may have helped you nurture half of your leads, but that leaves out the other half that’s not responsive to your lead nurture emails. In such cases, you can try using retargeting ads and social media promotions to reengage the remaining leads. Even if you manage to engage half of them, the combined result is still a lot more than the leads you nurtured through email alone.
Your lead nurture strategy should consider every channel that your target audience uses to engage with your business. It should consider every touch point and every stage of the sales funnel. Neatly segment your leads depending on their stage in the customer life cycle, preferred channel and behavior. You can then deliver the most appropriate lead nurture content for each lead through the most relevant channel.
These are some of the essential steps for optimizing your lead nurture strategy. It’s important that you also optimize your content across various channels and touch points. This will improve the relevance and effectiveness of your efforts for each lead.
Originally published at Forbes.com.