It’s a known fact businesses that excel at lead nurturing can generate more sales-ready leads at a lower cost. If this is the case, then why do so many organizations don’t adopt a clear and measurable strategy to nurture leads, save time and convert those leads into valuable, lifetime customers?
According to a Gartner, B2B sales and marketing all too often neglect lead nurturing: 15% of B2B organizations don’t include outreach in their marketing and sales process to keep leads warm.
One of the main reasons businesses fail to adopt lead nurturing as part of their marketing mix is a lack of content. Providing concise, relevant content along the buyer journey can ease purchase jitters and shorten time spent in the sales funnel, according to another Gartner survey on technology buying dynamics.
An efficient lead nurturing guides buyers through the sales process to their purchase decision. Sales closed from nurtured leads tend to have a higher purchase value compared to those closed from non-nurtured leads.
Here are few tips, to effectively engage and nurture your own prospects throughout their purchase journey.
Tips to Build Successful Nurture Leads
- Develop an ideal persona, lead scoring metrics, and clear goals.
- Follow your buyer’s journey using personalized content and messaging crafted to trigger actions, such as CTA ( call-to-action), forms, free assessment, to guide marketing outreach and support sales conversations based on those interactions.
- Personalize your nurture outreach to increase email response rates. Include the contact’s or company’s name in the email subject line, or select additional content to provide based on past customer engagement. Treat every lead as a unique sale and prospect opportunity, and remember that not every lead sees the same challenges, needs, or falls within the same stage of the funnel.
- Stay on top of buyer actions and feedback to ensure your outreach effectively meets prospects’ needs. Regularly review nurture track performance data and take note of stages that receive greater engagement or unsubscribe rates. Adjust your lead nurture tracks and messaging accordingly, as often as necessary to maximize results.
To effectively execute a lead nurturing program, you can't exactly have a deficiency in content. You need enough of it in order to keep your lead nurturing emails interesting and relevant at every stage in the sales and marketing funnel, from a lead's initial discovery of your business all the way through to purchase-readiness.
Furthermore, while many of the more basic lead nurturing campaigns focus on delivering content solely by leads' stage in the sales cycle, the most successful lead nurturing campaigns deploy content specifically tailored to the needs of different marketing personas, too.
Personalized emails improve click-through rates and conversion rates. However it also translates to a whole lotta content, so it's no wonder many marketers are hesitant to get started with lead nurturing.
You don't need to create all of this content from scratch. If you have even just a general baseline of marketing offers, you can re-work this very content to suit the needs of your various marketing personas and segments, saving you a lot more time and effort than crafting brand new content from scratch. Here's how to do it right…
Identify Your Personas
The first thing you'll need to do is identify your various buyer personas, which serve as detailed profiles of the people who are most likely to make great customers for the products and services you sell. If you don't already have well-defined personas for your business, that's where you'll need to start. Ask yourself the following 9 questions when developing your personas ( we elaborate on them here ):
- What is their demographic information?
- What is their job and level of seniority?
- What does a day in their life look like?
- What are their pain points?
- What do they value most?
- What are their goals?
- Where do they go for information?
- What experience are they looking for when shopping for your products and services?
- What are their most common objections to your product or service?
- How do I identify this persona?
As you're thinking about these questions, you'll identify clear distinctions between each persona, and you'll begin to understand why it's important to treat each of them differently in the content/offers. Using these questions as your guide, create detailed profiles for each of the personas you've identified. These profiles will be helpful to reference as you start tailoring the content you have to suit each persona.
Depending on your business, industry, and how many different products/services you sell, you may find that you have 1, 2, or 10+ personas (or anywhere in between). Businesses that sell a lot of different products for various target audiences, for example, may identify several very unique personas. And the more personas you identify, the more content you'll need (sigh).
As you complete this exercise, you may even start finding that you can nest specific groups of personas under broader persona categories. But when you're first getting started targeting your lead nurturing content so you can base campaigns on personas as well as the stage in the sales cycle, it’s recommended you start catering to broader groups of personas first. You can always get more granular as you build up your content arsenal, and it'll get easier and easier to more closely tailor existing content once you get started.
Select Your Best Marketing Offers for Each Stage of the Sales Cycle
As I mentioned earlier, most of the more basic lead nurturing campaigns are based solely around stages in the sales cycle. The process sounds kind of like this: A lead converts on a top-of-the-funnel offer like an educational ebook, so they get nurtured with similar top-of-the-funnel content. Then, once they're ready, they convert on a more middle-of-the-funnel offer like a product demonstration, a consultation, or a free trial, thus getting removed from the top-of-the-funnel nurturing campaign and swapped into the middle-of-the-funnel campaign to get nurtured by content/offers more appropriate to that stage in the buying cycle. And so on and so forth. Make sense?
Most sales cycles can universally be boiled down to 3 distinct stages in the sales cycle: awareness, evaluation, and purchase. You can learn more about each of these stages and how to appropriately map types of lead nurturing content/offers to these stages in this post, but here is a brief rundown:
Attract (which caters to leads in the awareness stage ): Attracting is about using your expertise to create content and conversations that start meaningful relationships with the right people.
Engage(which caters to leads in the evaluation stage ): Engaging is about building lasting relationships with people by providing insights and solutions that align with their roadblocks and goals.
Delight(which caters to leads in the purchase post-purchase stage ): Delighting is about providing an outstanding experience that adds real value, empowers people to reach their goals, and become promoters of your company.
Personalize Content to Cater to Each Persona
Once you've chosen your 3 general offers, it's time to personalize them to suit each of your personas. So if you've identified 2 personas to start out with, you'll need to tweak each of your 3 offers for each persona, meaning you'll end up with 6 separate offers.
Cater to the Persona's Individual Needs, Problems, and Interests
Think about that persona's individual needs, problems, and interests. Is there anything specific they might care about or need a solution for that your offer doesn't address because it was meant for a more general audience? If so, work these concepts into the content.
For example, if you're a school that provides horseback riding lessons to learners with a variety of skill levels, you may have 3 different types of students -- beginner riders, intermediate-level riders, and more advanced riders. If these are your three personas and you've identified that your best top-of-the-funnel offer is your ebook on The 10 Skills Every Horseback Rider Needs, you'll probably want to tweak this content to cater to the 3 skill levels of your students. If this is the case, the skills that advanced riders need probably aren't very applicable to skills needed by beginner riders (and vice versa).
Adjust Formatting, Depth, and Length
To piggyback off my last point, because different personas will likely have varying interests, the way you present certain information may need to vary. For example, if you're catering to an advanced horseback rider in your ebook compared to a beginner, that content might lend itself to a more in-depth explanation of certain topics than content suitable for a beginner, who may prefer bullet point summaries of the topic. In other words, the way you present your content -- in format, depth, and length -- may vary depending on the individual persona you're targeting. Keep this in mind.
Modify Language and Tone
Another modification you'll want to make involves changes to the language and tone used in the offer. Do your different personas respond to the same type of language, or do they prefer to be communicated with differently? Do they prefer language that is more formal and professional or a more informal and casual tone? Are there any variations of the jargon these different groups use to describe similar things?
Going back to our horseback riding school example, let's say you were tweaking your bottom-of-the-funnel offer, which is a free-20 minute horseback riding lesson. In your lead nurturing email to promote this offer, you'd likely want to tailor your language based on the skill level of that prospective student. An advanced student, for instance, would probably have a wider knowledge of advanced horseback riding terminology, so it'd be suitable to use this jargon in your email. The language used to promote the lesson to a beginner-level student, on the other hand, who probably isn't familiar with advanced terminology, would need to be much more basic and novice.
Incorporate Industry/Persona-Specific Examples
Another thing you'll want to do is make sure your content/offer is as specifically relatable to each persona as possible. A great way to do this is to incorporate examples that resonate with that particular persona. Does that persona correlate to a specific industry? If so, replace general examples with industry-specific ones to illustrate your points in a more targeted way (or add these examples where there are none). This makes it so the content is even more personalized to the needs, interests, and problems of that particular persona.
Let's refer to our horseback riding school example one again. If you were creating a middle-of-the-funnel webinar discussing the teaching methodology your horseback riding school follows, and you were targeting an intermediate-level rider, you could include a case study of an intermediate rider who came to your school and, as a result of your methodology and training, became one of the top riders in their division and moved on to compete with more advanced-level horseback riders.
Modify Your Lead Nurturing Campaigns
Once you've tweaked your content/offers based on persona, then you're ready to start incorporating them into your lead nurturing campaigns! Using your marketing analytics and lead intelligence, determine which characteristics to use to categorize individual leads by persona. By identifying which leads correlate with what personas, you can then use your lead management system to segment them into different lead nurturing campaigns based on their stage in the sales cycle as well as their persona.
Regularly review nurture track performance data and take note of stages that receive greater engagement or unsubscribe rates. Adjust your lead nurture tracks and messaging accordingly, as often as necessary to maximize results.
Congratulations! You now have a much more segmented, personalized, and effective lead nurturing program to help you nurture leads, save teams time and money while converting those leads into valuable, lifetime customers.