Lead nurturing is all about longevity. It’s the process of developing a relationship with a potential customer, then maintaining it through each stage of the sales funnel and the entire buying process. In order to successfully develop that ongoing relationship, the first step is to listen carefully to the needs of your target customers. Then, you’ll use strategic marketing techniques to answer their questions, address their pain points, and position your product as a must-have. By the time they’re ready to buy, they’ll be well-informed and confident that yours is the right product to purchase.
According to Marketo, around 50% of new leads are not yet ready to buy, and around 80% will never become sales at all. That’s where lead nurturing comes in. If your company can really excel at nurturing leads, it’s estimated that you can generate around 50% more sales than a company that doesn’t. The better you are at lead nurturing, the more time you’ll spend closing and the less time you’ll spend chasing unqualified leads.
So how can you get good at lead nurturing? While there are many lead nurturing tips you can use to hone your craft, we interviewed digital marketing experts from across the globe to pinpoint the best of them.
Many of our experts agreed that one of the most important lead nurturing tips is to provide legitimate value and avoid being too sales-y. Let your potential customer know you care about them and think of them as a person, not a number, before you try to pull them through the sales funnel.
Consider welcoming new visitors to your website with a MailMunch popup that offers them a new subscriber discount, or by creating an email list welcome sequence with juicy tidbits that showcase the value you can bring them.
1. Create an engaging welcome sequence that "value-bombs" your subscribers and leaves them impressed with you and your business. When new people subscribe, they really don't know much about you at all, and you don't want to accidentally send them a sales broadcast. This is where a great indoctrination sequence comes in—you send specific content to your new subscribers to get them settled into your community.
First, you introduce yourself and the value you can bring to them, followed by a couple of emails that combine both the power of storytelling and providing solid content, before finally attempting to move them down your sales funnels.
2. My number #1 tip for lead nurturing is using personalized emails and having one clear call to action in each email. According to a recent study by Experian, personalized emails generate six times higher revenue per each email than a non-personal email. Having one clear call to action in your personalized email will help the reader be less confused and will encourage them to take action.
3. An eye-catching or attention grabbing opening line or subject line. Your experience and expertise can speak for itself, but without that great opening line, your email or campaign is going to fall into the basket with everything else the CEO, CIO, or whoever your target may be, is already receiving.
Making sales today isn’t about the hard sell. Instead, you need to create content that provides real value to your prospects. From tutorials on commonly Googled product questions to top ten favorites lists curated by employees or influencers, the pieces you create should help ensure that your prospects have the information they need to make an informed buying decision.
4. One of the most useful ways we’ve seen to move people through the sales funnel is to present them with meaningful content that they want to look at. It keeps them interested, engaged, and can help them understand the value of the product or service without tuning out like they might with a pitch.
There’s none better at doing this than men’s clothing and lifestyle curator, Huckberry. Each Sunday, they issue a “Rundown” email in addition to their product-centric email. These emails veer off the path of product-promotion and instead look into the lives of Huckberry employees, partners, and influencers. They talk about things that Huckberry customers will be interested in, such as reading lists, favorite gear, favorite Huckberry products, family stories, and epic adventures. The stories are interesting and relatable. Sometimes they feature some of Huckberry’s products, but never in a sales-focused way, and only as a simple link. Each story is followed by a couple of product features and a link to the blog, but these CTAs are presented very casually.
I think Huckberry wants to make sure they are providing legitimate value to their subscribers and this creates a loyal, engaged customer base that will almost always open and read through every email that makes it into their inbox.
If you have your website linked to a tool like Google Analytics, you have a lot of useful information at your disposal. Analytics data shows you the demographics of your website visitors, which pages your customers are visiting, how long they're staying, and more. The more you know about your prospects, the better you’ll be able to serve them.
5. Know the lead well, and know what their customer journey has been like. This comes with having a 360-degree view of the customer.
Having a 360-degree view of the customer doesn’t just mean you have a CRM with their profile information and past conversations on email and over the phone. That doesn’t show the full extent of how the lead has interacted with the company. A 360-degree view means that you can see all of their interactions, whether they messaged you on social media, opened one of your marketing emails, swiped the loyalty card at a store or spoke with an agent on the phone.
At Woveon, while working with an eCommerce client that sells children’s books and toys, we did an experiment nurturing customers and leads whose children’s birthdays were coming up. They had previously provided their children’s birthdays through marketing campaigns, online forms, support conversations, and surveys. In the three months leading up to their children’s birthdays, we started sending out present recommendations based on their past purchases and items they viewed/saved on the website. These recommendations were sent out to them via channels they used frequently to interact with the business: email, facebook, and SMS.
The result was amazing. 65% of the targeted group bought something. 40% bought a product that was recommended to them, and 20% bought more than what was recommended to them. In our follow up conversations with some of the customers, many mentioned they were really happy that we remembered their children’s birthdays, and actively helped them pick a present. Our client, of course, was also very happy we’d found such an opportunity.
The 360-degree view of the customer helped to nurture the leads and customers in a welcome way that was non-intrusive and value-adding. To summarize, the key to our nurturing came down to:
Leads rarely buy at their first opportunity. In fact, it will likely take several touchpoints before a lead becomes a customer. Instead of waiting around for them to make a decision, be proactive and provide them with useful information to aid in their decision-making process. Show your leads why they should choose you and your product over the competition, and do it in a timely manner.
6.Nothing can beat a well-timed follow-up email in converting a lead to a sale. Here, developing a personal connection is the key to successful lead nurturing. And there is nothing more personal than a direct email in response to an action by a lead.
7. It is important to include points that aren't repetitive for the clients in your lead nurturing campaigns. We emphasize what is exclusively offered by us rather than raving about the quality of our service. Everyone exhibits their company as the best, but the client wants to know how! And that's where we place our focus.
For instance, highlighting the ROI of a purchase with us, supported by facts and figures from previous case studies always does the trick—especially if the case study is on a competitor.
8. I’m 100% convinced that focusing your email follow-ups on the absolute ideal customer will lead to your best results. That’s why as part of my follow-up sequence for prospects, I include resources for marketing managers that help them “take one positive step towards better results from their marketing today.” I make each tip or strategy somewhat easy to accomplish but also high-value, so I can share a valuable strategy with them—but make THEM the hero.
For instance, I’ve outlined a really clear A/B test of Facebook ads that takes only 10 minutes to implement. I then provide a gif of what it looks like to set up that ad, and bullet point the main steps. This is not the time to give your prospects a 2-hour task; that will make you look like you just are interested in selling them your wares. Instead, this is an opportunity to sell by teaching.
The simpler you can make your strategy and the easier it is for them to implement, the higher the perceived value. Even if the strategy is so basic from your perspective that you don’t consider it one of your best, it’s a door opener. Often our prospects are just barely at the door of change, so don’t bore or overwhelm them. Sell the next step, not the whole enchilada.
9. Lead nurturing, at the heart of it, is a process of befriending your customer and having regular and relevant conversation with them. It doesn't need to be always about selling. Sharing thought leadership, handy information, and the latest trends all help in keeping the customer engaged. Again, relevance is critical and so is persistence.
When it comes to your marketing efforts, ensure that you’re marketing to the right individuals. Trying to market to groups that aren’t likely to buy from you wastes time and effort. Instead, understand the market, create accurate buyer personas, and focus your efforts on marketing to the people who fit them.
10. B2B companies can now use account-based marketing strategies to garner leads. When optimizing and nurturing lead generating campaigns, it can become very time consuming to segment every single potential prospect with a perfect approach and message. That’s why many agencies are switching over to account-based marketing tactics in order to reduce cost but garner the same amount of leads.
For example, at El Toro, we help clients by providing the technology to target an entire office building with digital banner ads in order to nurture a relationship. These banner ads speak directly to the prospect because of their highly targeted nature.
Targeting an entire office building creates a much higher probability that an influencer within the company sees your ad. It captures attention and interest because it’s surprising that you would take the time to reach out to them in a unique way. As a bonus, digital banner ads are cheap, therefore bringing down the cost associated with your lead generating campaign.
11. People have heard the same boring lead generating tactics over and over again. If your audience is savvy, you can poke fun like I do in this parody video: 3 Secrets To Building A 7 Figure Personal Brand
That video is getting me about 50 email signups per 1,000 views. The key is that I took typical internet marketing tactics and flipped it into a joke that my audience can relate to, then plugged my mailing list at the end (also wrapped into the joke).
12. Over our years in the direct marketing business, we have observed that a good marketing campaign doesn't look like marketing. At Leadsrain, we think the steps to designing a marketing campaign are somewhere along these lines:
When a person buys a DSLR, they’re not just looking for a camera, they’re looking for a way to snap quality pictures and capture memories. So if you’re trying to market a DSLR, don’t focus on its design or color, but instead on the quality of images that it can take. Truly understand the real market demand behind the product being marketed.
Be a problem solver! Prospects often go shopping because they’re looking for a solution to a specific problem or pain point. When you can provide that solution for them, you’re on your way to making a sale. Therefore, one of your marketing goals should be to provide ample information that proves to prospects that your product is the best choice for alleviating their pain points.
13. Think about other areas of pain for your potential clients that are nothing to do with what you provide, then research and investigate how these pain points can be solved. Create a content piece around solving it.
Get the content to your prospects as part of your lead nurturing campaign and you will prove to your audience that you care about helping them and that you have the knowledge to solve their problem. When they receive follow-up messages from you, they’ll be much more open to your propositions knowing you’re a trustworthy source for information.
Lead nurturing is a critical part of business. Don’t leave leads hanging—use these strategies to turn them into new customers and long-term clients.