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Promote Lead Nurturing with these 7 Surprisingly Powerful Strategies

Dave Orecchio
by Dave Orecchio on May 27, 2014 2:15:00 AM

It is springtime here in New England! Trees are sprouting new leaves; tulips and daffodils are blooming, and the no-longer dormant grass is green again after a long winter. Homeowners are out in their yards doing spring cleanups and planting summer flowers and vegetables. People are crowding garden centers seeking advice and buying plants, fertilizers, and more for the summer growing season ahead.

lead-nurturing.gif

Lead nurturing is the cornerstone of the spring season of the Buyer’s Journey:

  • Leads are the seeds of new customers! Like newly planted seeds, your leads must be carefully cultivated to encourage growth.
  • Just as a drip irrigation hose slowly delivers the right amount of water to promote seedling growth, an automated lead nurturing system drips the right content to your leads at just the right time to help them blossom into customers.
  • Your content serves as fertilizer for your leads, distributed in the form of whitepapers, blogs, videos, and social media posts to boost lead development.
  • Your website is a garden center! In the same way that a garden center lures buyers who need gardening tips and materials, your website attracts leads who are searching for the products, services, expertise, and solutions offered by your company.
lead nurturing marketing automation landscape Marketing Landscape of Lead Nurturing tools, courtesy of Chiefmartec.com 

Apply these 7 strategies to nourish your springtime garden of leads and yield a summer bounty of new customers!

1) Formulate a comprehensive content development strategy.

Meaningful content is the essence of lead nurturing. It keeps your leads engaged and provides incentives to move forward in the Buyer’s Journey. For most effective nurturing, create content that maps to each stage of the Buyer’s Journey and ensure that it is highly relevant to the leads that resemble your company’s Buyer Persona. It is also essential to review and revise existing content to keep it up-to-date and relevant in a fluid business environment. Document your content development plans and timelines to achieve buy-in and obtain resources for implementation.

2) Educate leads as they traverse each stage of the Buyer’s Journey.

Offer premium content to educate your leads, delivering real value and becoming a trusted resource. Content quality, not quantity, is what matters, and the quality of your content is determined by its relevance! Even cutting-edge content will have little impact if it is irrelevant to your leads at their current stage in the buying process.

Awareness Stage: The buyer starts the process by hunting for the cause of a particular problem. So your awareness stage content should connect the problems addressed by your business with their probable causes. Strive to create “aha moments” where buyers gain new insights into what causes their problems; this increases the likelihood that they will view your website as a useful resource and revisit in the future. For awareness stage content, keep the focus on buyer education and refrain from blatant product promotion.

Consideration Stage: The buyer has determined the cause of the problem and is researching possible solutions. Content for the consideration stage should introduce the solutions provided by your company’s products and services.

Decision Stage: The buyer now understands what solutions are available and is ready to begin evaluating specific products and services. Content for the decision stage should include detailed product information, case studies, and product demonstration videos. At this stage, leads are fully qualified and ready to be turned over to your sales team for person-to-person contact.

The Buyer's Journey Stages

Delivering relevant content to your leads distinguishes your business from competitors as your leads progress through the Buyer’s Journey. By educating your leads, your business gains competitive advantage by building trust and influencing purchase decision criteria.

3) Automate the lead nurturing process.

Segment your leads according to their positions in the Buyer’s Journey. Use email drip marketing to deliver relevant content to the leads in each segment at just the right time to nudge them along toward sales-qualified status. Employ lead scoring to further differentiate each segment by level of engagement and Buyer Profile fit. When individual leads attain predetermined score thresholds, personalized emails with pertinent content can be transmitted to those leads automatically.

Implement an automated system to manage your lead segmentation and nurturing processes. There are currently over 50 vendors who offer a wide range of marketing automation software tools to fit specific needs. Ask us for a recommendation of a marketing automation solution that fits your needs and budget.

4) Offer content in various formats to engage leads on their terms and at their convenience.

In addition to delivering content through email, offer a broad selection of easily accessible content to your leads through a variety of other sources including:

  • Website pages
  • Blog posts
  • Links via social media (LinkedIn, Google Plus, Twitter)
  • Downloadable whitepapers
  • Videos, podcasts, and webinars
  • Mobile apps

5) Connect with leads on many levels to encourage active engagement and extend lead nurturing beyond content delivery.

To more fully engage your leads, send email inviting them to subscribe to newsletters, participate in webinars, or attend upcoming user conferences. Use blog posts to announce new product releases, share editorial comments, explore industry trends, and invite reader feedback. Encourage your leads to participate in LinkedIn, Google Plus, Twitter and other social media platforms frequented by your customers, giving your leads the opportunity to share in social interactions between your business and your existing customer base.

6) Reach out to unresponsive leads.

Monitor the activity of your leads and make an effort to re-engage any leads that appear to stall or drop out of the process. Try to reconnect by offering new information with some incentive (i.e., a future purchase discount in return for watching an informational video now). If your efforts are unsuccessful, ask why their interest in your company has waned and whether they have dropped or postponed their search or given their business to one of your competitors.

7) Use analytics for insight into lead behavior.

There is an abundance of usage data generated by marketing automation software, website hosts, and social media. Leverage this data to monitor the activities of your leads and tweak your lead nurturing protocols. Analyze your usage data to obtain accurate answers to questions such as:

  • To what types of content do your leads respond best?
  • How does the timing of content delivery affect lead engagement?
  • Which content delivery formats generate positive lead response?
  • What percentage of leads convert to customers?
  • What percentage of leads drop out of the process?

Lead Nurturing is an important element of the Inbound Marketing methodology. It shifts email engagement from "blast" outbound interruption methods to opt-in, person-to-person, humanized communication. If you would like to learn more about lead nurturing or Inbound Marketing, please download the 8 Steps to Attract Qualified Leads for your Business.

8 steps to attract qualified leads for your business

Bristol Strategy is a full funnel inbound marketing agency and inbound sales agency offering the full complement of  Inbound Marketing services that enable our clients to surpass their business objectives by transforming the way they engage with their buyer on-line.  Reach out to us to learn more about how our experience and capabilities can help your business grow. 

Tags: Lead Nurturing Content Marketing Inbound Marketing

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Dave Orecchio
Written by Dave Orecchio
Dave Orecchio is one of the earliest adopters of Inbound Marketing. As one of Hubspot’s first customers and CEO of a Boston-based startup, he experienced the benefits of this effective digital marketing methodology. Dave now provides Inbound (marketing & Sales) services to businesses to help them grow and realize the positive results that an integrated program can provide. Dave is a high-tech marketing and sales expert with more than 25 years of business experience.
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