As the shift of balance moves away from outbound towards inbound, companies have started adopting various inbound marketing strategies. One such strategy is lead nurturing.
Gone are the days when you knocked at someone’s door with samples of your products. Today companies have started appreciating the fact that customers don’t want to be sold to from the word go.
In this article today, I’ll about what lead nurturing is and how to go about building relationships and turning leads into customers using this strategy.
Let’s go wild!
What Is Lead Nurturing?
Lead nurturing is the process of building and stimulating relationships with prospects to turn them into paying customers.
Let’s unpack this statement.
The first part speaks about relationship building with leads. And that is the most crucial aspect of lead nurturing. How you stimulate and advance your association with leads affects their buying behavior.
You see, most leads are not ready to buy that instant when they enter your ecosystem – by filling a form or attending a webinar.
But this doesn’t mean they’re not going to buy at all or they are not your target customers.
It’s your responsibility to build trust, credibility, and stay top of mind. And when the leads are ready to buy, you’re the first company that comes to their mind.
The second part speaks about turning them into paying customers.
Businesses often make the mistake of offering value to people only after they become customers. That’s a wrong approach.
The moment a prospect enters your ecosystem, they should start receiving value. This builds trust and gives them the confidence to engage with you financially.
Lead Nurturing vs Lead Generation
The main difference between lead nurturing and lead scoring is that lead generation is a sales process while lead nurturing is a marketing process.
Lead generation is finding prospective buyers for your product. Lead nurturing is building strong relationships with these prospects so that they make the purchase.
Lead generation can be of two types – inbound and outbound.
When you do inbound marketing, you potentially attract people to your business. Through email sign-ups, downloads, etc. people often leave their information with you. These are called inbound leads.
Outbound lead generation is reaching out to your prospective buyers to educate them about your product and know if there’s a requirement.
Lead Nurturing And Lead Scoring
Not all leads should be treated the same. Once you receive an inbound lead, it needs to be assessed for fit. There could be several criteria that can be used here and are mostly unique to your company. Some of the major parameters to check are:
- What stage of the buyer’s journey are they in?
- What type of buyer are they?
- Are they both the buyer and the user?
And so on.
Based on these answers, the leads are segregated into groups. A good lead nurturing strategy treats these groups separately.
This process is called lead scoring. It enables businesses to know and segment prospects better. Create a personalized journey for them. And ensure they are receiving the best possible content.
Why Is Lead Nurturing Important?
If as a business you worry about how you can reach your potential customers, build relationships with them, and help them grow as you do.
Say no more, lead nurturing is your go-to strategy.
There’s a famous analogy that marketers use. Lead nurturing is like dating. You meet someone at the bar. You ask them to marry you.
There’s something wrong here, right?
The missing steps are asking them out, getting to know each other, building a relationship. It’s the same with your prospective clients.
You can’t just have a prospect’s email ID and start bombarding them with sales pitches.
The Importance of Lead Nurturing – HubSpot
01. Establishes Quick Connect
Lead nurturing campaigns make it incredibly easy to quickly touch base with your prospective clients.
Through the power of automation, you can send that first email without even having to do anything.
02. Builds rapport
Businesses run on relationships. If a prospect doesn’t like you, chances are they will not buy from you even if your product is top-notch.
Therefore it’s important to build rapport with them.
03. Helps Stay Top Of Mind
A solid lead nurturing campaign can help you keep in touch with your prospects consistently.
So the next time they need to make a purchase, they come to you instead of going on a research loop.
04. Provides Word Of Mouth
If you provide value, your content will get shared.
And even if a prospect is not ready to buy, they may refer you to someone who does.
05. Builds Trust
Companies often ignore this. But most buyers first need to trust you before they can do business with you.
Think about it.
Would you want to buy from someone whom you barely know?
Lead nurturing can be an essential element for account based marketing as well. Check out this article on Pardot’s blog to learn the great things lead nurturing for can do for your account based marketing strategy.
The Three-Pronged Approach To Lead Nurturing
HubSpot’s three-pronged approach to lead nurturing is one of the most helpful ways to approach it. They mention that the most holistic way to nurture leads is to create a campaign that’s timely, efficient, and targeted.
As marketers, we want to pick the best time to reach out to customers and fail at it quite often. This is where marketing automation comes into the picture.
With the help of marketing automation, you can create tailored marketing campaigns that reach your prospects at the right time.
The odds of an inbound lead becoming qualified are 21 times greater when they’re contacted within 5 minutes vs 30 minutes.
This is a huge difference. Especially when applied at scale. But it’s impossible to respond to each lead within the first 5 minutes.
An automated first response can ensure that your team is spending more time solving real problems, helping prospective clients, and nurturing relationships.
That’s why efficient allocation of time and resources can go a long way in proper lead nurturing.
Here’s an article by Neil Patel on how automated lead nurturing can supercharge you sales cycle.
Personalization is key. Gone are those days when personalization only meant adding your prospect’s first name in the email.
Today, email campaigns are created based on a prospect’s specific actions. For example, a prospect that downloaded your ebook should not get the same email as someone that attended your webinar.
And to do this, you have to track your customer’s journey.
Creating A Contact-Focused Lead Nurturing Strategy
OK, you know what lead nurturing is and why it is so important today. But how do you practically start utilizing it?
Well, you first need to understand your business and then come up with a lead nurturing strategy that works best for you. But what does a lead nurturing strategy mean?
What is a lead nurturing strategy?
A lead nurturing strategy is a charted roadmap that can be followed to build relationships with your prospects, provide them value, and enable them to make that purchase decision.
Steps To Create A Lead Nurturing Strategy
To create a lead nurturing strategy that works, you need to know your contacts well. But what do you do with that information?
This is where contact management comes into the picture. Contact management is the process of documenting and organizing a contact’s data in the company contact database.
When you have multiple touchpoints with your prospects, it generates information on them. As a business, you need to store and utilize these details to enhance a customer’s journey.
A robust contact management system helps store details about individual contacts and divides them into groups. It enables companies to tailor content and messaging specifically for each group.
Segregating contacts into smaller sections helps create relevant target groups. Each of these groups will have their own set of features.
This helps in providing similar information to groups that are relevant to them. Relevant information makes them feel like you know them and creates trust.
Learn more about and how to pair it with segmentation here: Easy Contact Management: All You Need To Know In 2020
The final element of creating a lead nurturing strategy involves knowing where they are placed in their journey.
Someone who’s just starting their journey will require a lot of educational information. Things that’ll help me understand their problem better.
On the other hand, someone who’s at the end of their buying journey will be more interested in knowing the prominent players in the field and how you’re placed against your competitors.
So the messaging needs to be customized as per these needs.
Looking for lead nurturing tactics? Here’s a great article by Alexa.
Lead Nurturing Examples
People often think that lead nurturing can only be done through emails. That’s not true.
Yes, email campaigns are a major lead nurturing tactic. But there are several other aspects you need to incorporate into your overall lead marketing campaign. Some of them are:
- Email drip campaigns
- Sales calls
- Social media marketing
- Content marketing
- Retargeting ads
B2B lead nurturing example
Let’s look at an example of a B2B lead nurturing. Imagine you’re a company selling software solutions to Human Resources.
Rashmi is the Head of HR for a small SaaS company. She faces a lot of problems in keeping a track of employee leaves. Employees typically send her a leave application via email; she notes the date and keeps a track of it in an excel file.
This is not an ideal setting but she’s too occupied to look for solutions.
Example of a B2B lead nurturing campaign – A B2B HR solutions company & the head of HR of a small SAAS company
One day Rashmi finds your ad on social media regarding a free webinar on improving the efficiency of leave application management. She registers for it and receives an instant email about the webinar details. She also checks out your company page and follows it.
After 2 days Rashmi attends the webinar where she learns she’s not the only one facing these problems and there are solutions to tackle them.
Post that she receives an email giving her a synopsis of what was discussed in the webinar and actionable points. After a couple of days, she finds an update on your social media page about an ebook download.
She downloads it but doesn’t get time to read it. Simultaneously, she receives emails about the contents of the ebook. She reads them.
She checks your website and finds your leaves tracking solution interesting. At this point, she’s pretty impressed and she also knows your company a bit. She schedules a demo with your sales representative.
She doesn’t have the budget this quarter the deal doesn’t go through at this point. But she keeps receiving an email newsletter that keeps you on her mind.
Now she sees a retargeting ad on social media giving her a 20% discount coupon. She talks to her CEO and arranges for a quick discussion. The deal is finalized.
This is how a real-life lead nurturing campaign would look like.
Over To You
In this article you learned about what lead nurturing is its importance and its aspects. You also saw a real-life example of a lead nurturing campaign.
Now it’s time for you to create lead nurturing campaigns for your company. Remember the key to a good lead nurturing strategy is empathizing with the prospects.