What is lead nurturing?

Lead nurturing is one of the most important parts of an Inbound marketing strategy. The purpose of a good inbound marketing strategy is to make sure that your lead nurturing campaign is performing as good as possible. 

Lead nurturing will help your business to get more prospects, but also to assist in retaining happy customers. The more effort that gets put in lead nurturing, the more your long-term customers will also feel valued. Starting a relationship with a client off in a good manner will make sure that the relationship keeps going. 

Around 50% of leads or not yet ready to buy a product when they come to your website. This means that it is important to educate and engage with those leads on a regular basis. This doesn’t mean having generic conversations but providing real and personalised information to your clients. 

If a lead is visiting your website, looking for a television, then sending them messages about the great laptops you sell will not help. Or if you call a lead and don’t know anything about what they are interested in, then this lead will most likely not feel very looked after. 

Because of sophisticated technology businesses can track leads and can be more personalised with their approaches and messaging. Knowing that a lead is looking at your website to find out about Email marketing, can mean that your automated lead nurturing campaign will start providing this website visitor with helpful Email marketing content. 

This is very different from a one-size-fits-all drip marketing campaign. This is the emails that will automatically start pushing out to a lead on pre-set times. This can either be direct mail or email. These campaigns are non-adaptive and don’t use the personalised information that is available to marketers. 

This is why a lead nurturing campaign is more successful and more recommended. Businesses that can tailor the message to the lead will more often get the work. Contextual marketing and content marketing are key. 

Lead nurturing is not only on your website. Since the customer is the focus of the lead nurturing campaign, your marketing activities are focused on where the customer is. This means also engaging them on Social Media and anywhere they visit on the web. Making sure that your message is targeted to the customer of course. 

Lead Scoring

Lead scoring is an important aspect of the lead nurturing strategy. Lead Scoring Is the shared marketing and sales methodology to help determine how ready a lead is to sell to. By using lead scoring you can better segment and nurture leads during the buying cycle. 

Lead Scoring is a key element when it comes to lead nurturing. It helps companies decide whether someone is able to be sold to, or needs to be nurtured more. When using the lead scoring methodology, business sees their ROI increase and see their sales team spend less time selling and more time actually closing deals. 

There are four dimensions to lead scoring. They help you determine whether someone can be fast-tracked to sales or should be nurtured more. These four points are: 

  • Lead Fit – This is also called, explicit lead scoring, and is based on observable or directly shared information. Often shared via an online form or a registration process. These consist of: 
    • Demographics – Aside from age and location. For a business lead, they often consist of Title, Role, Years of Experience. 
    • Firmographics – the business-related information. They consist of: Name of Company, Company size, Company location, revenue, number of departments, number of products/services sold, industry and products already owned 
    • BANT (Budget, Authority, Need, Time) - Budget means if they can afford your product. Authority – do they have the authority to make the decision. Need – is there a pain point our product or service can solve? Time – what is your lead’s purchasing timeline and does it match up with your sales cycle? 
  • Lead Interest – how interested does this lead seem? This is done by tracking his behaviour on your website and seeing how attractive you are to your potential customer 
  • Lead Behaviour – This is more in-depth than the lead interest and lead fit. You actually quantify how likely a lead is to purchase depending on their website activity. Lead Behaviour can be put into two categories 
    • Latent Behaviours (Engagement) - These show how engaged the user is with your content. You add positive (+) points for positive behaviour and reduce points by seeing negative behaviours (-). Things such as: 
      • Reading early stage content: +2 
      • Sign up to the newsletter: +3 
      • Read blogs / visit a webpage: +1 
      • Attend a webinar: +5 
      • Visit Careers Page: -10 
      • Inactivity: -1, -4, -12   - for example: -1 for inactive for 2 weeks. -12 for 2 months.
    • Active behaviours: These are more sales oriented actions on the website. Things such as: 
      • Visit pricing pages: +10 
      • Watch Demos: +5 for a quick short watch and +10 for actively attending 
      • Engage in Mid-stage content: +10 
      • Engage in Late-stage content: +15 
      • Chat to customer support team: +5 
      • Engage with chatbot for more info: +3 
      • Search for branded keywords: +8 
  • Buying Stage – Which stage of the buying process is the lead in? This also comes back to Lead Behaviour, are they already showing active behaviours or not? 

Content Marketing & Contextual Marketing

The pillar of a good lead nurturing campaign is to have relevant and high-quality content. This content must be tailored to the audience. The pages that can help users decide whether to purchase a product or not should have content related to them.  

For example: If a user visits a webpage related to email marketing, they can get content that helps them write a better email. Or perhaps an email with 10 best email writing practices. We have also created a detailed blog on Email marketing that can be found here. 

A lead has to really trust your business and has to build a relationship, with you before they will even consider working with your business. This means that your business needs to provide them with real and genuine value. 

The biggest roadblock with a good lead nurturing campaign is the amount of content that is required. Writing blog posts, white papers and creating a few eBooks is very time-consuming. These might not cost money up front but they do take time and effort. And of course, time equals money.  

When you are writing the content it is important to make sure it is relevant. The last thing you would want a customer to think is: “You don’t know who I am, what I want and why I am here.”. These opinions will make a user never buy with your brand and lose you a lot of money in the long run. 

This doesn’t mean that you should be writing content for the sake of writing content. That will always be counterproductive. The value of writing the right content can’t be overstated. When working on your Buyer Persona’s and buyer’s journey, which we have detailed in this blog, you will find out what issues your ideal customers have. 

The issues that your ideal customer has are a great point to start at when writing content. Make sure that your content is relevant to the issues. Provide genuine helpful advice and customers will keep coming to you. 

Moving leads to more interested prospects

When a lead is in your database and a part of the funnel, the goal is to move them through the buyer’s journey to the point where they become more interested in your product and slowly make their way down the funnel. Using the Flywheel methodology to “Attract, Engage and Delight” the customer. 

With lead nurturing it is important to keep in mind that there are also different stages in the buyer’s journey. At each stage, the content that a lead gets should be tailored to their buyer stage as well. 

  • Awareness stage (Attract) - during this stage, the lead has become aware that there is an issue that they need to solve. During this stage, the lead has questions about their issue that need to be solved. During this stage there shouldn’t be active selling happening. Educate the user on the ways that they can solve their issue, that may or may not be related to your brand. Great sources of content are: 
    • Ebooks 
    • Whitepapers 
    • Infographics 
    • Educational content in blogs 
  • Consideration (Engage) - During this stage, the lead is actively trying to find a solution to their problem. They have been educated and are looking for different methods available to them. This is the stage where the buyer is actively looking to see if your solution is their best option. Content ideas are: 
    • Webinars 
    • Case Studies 
    • FAQs 
    • Data Sheets 
    • Demo videos  
  • Decision stage (Engage) – During this stage, the lead is making an active decision on who they are going with. The lead has made their list and is looking to purchase. To help pull them over the line use the following content: 
    • Free trials 
    • Live Demos 
    • Consultation 
    • Coupons 

After a user has become a client it is important to keep the Delight stage of the Flywheel in mind. Make sure that the new client has a near frictionless experience when it comes to customer support and service provided. This includes sending and paying invoices and any other back-office activity as well. 

Provide your existing clients with regular updates on the product and provide helpful tips and tricks on how to better use your product.

Keep existing customers happy

Even though the blog title says “lead” nurturing, we believe that existing customers deserve just as much attention as the leads do. Keeping an existing customer happy, and ideally upselling and cross-selling to these customers, will be a lot cheaper and less time consuming than working on leads. 

This doesn’t mean that lead nurturing isn’t important, you need to keep the funnel full and the flywheel spinning, but it means that existing customers also deserve the same love and attention. By providing the same contextual and relevant content and information to existing customers, you will keep them on board. 

The same techniques and ideas work for existing customers as they work for leads. Try to engage with them in a relevant and interesting way and provide genuine value.  

The benefit of keeping existing customers as engaged with your business as leads is not just that they stay with your business. Asking existing customers for regular feedback on the business and the products/services you offer means that you can improve over time. 

Using the feedback provided you can optimise your lead nurturing strategy and the content that you have written.  

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system

Important in managing the leads that you are nurturing and the clients you are generating is a properly segmented CRM system. 

By using a CRM you are able to keep an accurate and digital database of all your customers and where they are in the buyer’s journey. A good CRM system can help a marketing automation system become a lead generating machine. 

When users sign up for a webinar, they can be segmented into the “joined webinar” group and get send reminders about the webinar and be followed up with depending on how engaged they were with the webinar. 

Segmenting your database, and cleaning it, is very important. Without a clean database, you are going to lose customers and waste precious time and space. On average, every year you lose 25% of your database because of unsubscribes or bounces. 

By keeping your database clean you will be able to generate more, and better, leads. Over time the sales funnel will become longer, buyers will become more independent and attention spans will shorten. There is an increasing demand for effective lead nurturing, the time is now to become an expert in lead nurturing and be ahead of the competition. 

If you aren’t going to be lead nurturing, your competitors will be. This means you will lose market share and sales to more personalised voices.  

Don’t yell into the crowd, stand to the side and approach people individually and personally. You will see people start queueing for your business in no time.

Get your sales and marketing team together to start developing a lead scoring process, or improve on the existing one. When your database is getting too much to manually handle and you need to spend more time closing deals, and marketing effectively, find a good marketing automation system to help your business out.  

If you want to talk to HubSpot experts, we will be right here to answer any questions you may have.

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