As your company begins generating new leads, it becomes obvious that an effective lead nurturing strategy will be very important. In most cases, only a small percentage of website visitors and new leads are ready to make an immediate purchase, leaving 90% of your hard earned leads up for grabs.
A strong lead nurturing strategy can bring huge impact. Research indicates that marketers see an average increase in sales opportunities of 20% from nurtured to non-nurtured leads (source: Forrester.com).
Companies that excel at nurturing generate an average of 50% more sales at a 34% lower acquisition cost. Despite the upside, less than 1/3 of marketers actively nurture sales leads.
Without question, lead nurturing holds some low hanging fruit.
You’re probably asking yourself one of these questions:
• What do really successful marketers do that is different?
• Which lead nurturing tactics work the best?
• How do I get started nurturing leads and existing customers?
Of course, lead nurturing is just one component of a successful website development and inbound marketingstrategy. If you want to learn more about attracting traffic, converting leads, and closing customers, you can check out this complete resource – The Step by Step Guide to Inbound Marketing.
We’ve rolled up our sleeves and sifted through data to come up with the world’s best lead nurturing tactics for you. Let’s get cracking.
1. REALLY Targeted Content
Lead nurturing increases sales opportunities by an average of 20%
Research proves that custom content based on the interests, goals and behaviors of your leads greatly improves the results of your marketing strategy. It’s all about delivering the right information to the right people, at precisely the right time.
Think about your own shopping experiences. Let’s say you’re in the market for a new vehicle. You venture over to the dealership and talk to the salesperson about a new compact hybrid car. You’re really concerned about the environment and fuel economy. What if the salesman kept showing you everything – cars, truck, vans and SUVs?
That doesn’t make sense does it? Websites that behave this way are often met with the same sort of reaction. Even knowing this, businesses still struggle to deliver targeted content.
There are few requirements to get it done:
1. You need to develop and understand your unique buyer personas.
2. You need to deploy an assortment of content based on the interests and motivations of these buyer personas.
3. You need a software platform to help you convert, segment and target website visitors as you scale strategies over time.
2. Use Multiple Channels
It used to be that a few automated follow up emails was enough. With open rates typically below 20%, you need lead nurturing tactics that extend beyond just email.
You need a combination of marketing workflow automation, email marketing (it’s still a primary nurturing channel), social media, dynamic content on your website (user specific), and an integrated direct sales program.
There are many tactics at your disposal, all integrated with one another. To execute properly, everyone needs to be aligned and working cohesively.
3. Repeat Touches
Every customer and every industry is different, but research from Aberdeen.com shows that it takes an average of 10 touches to turn a prospect into a closed customer.
Funny thing is that almost half of all marketers include less than 5 touches in their lead nurturing automation. If you fall into this category, you might want to ramp up your nurturing efforts.
The best lead nurturing campaigns deliver the right content that users prospects through the buying process. You’ll address common questions in a helpful way, and cure pains. This isn’t typically accomplished with a single email or social media share. Many small steps are better than a big shove to the bottom of the sales funnel.
Use all the tactics you have available to you – blogging, social media, email, online tools or calculators, or even old school snail mail.
4. Quick Follow Ups
The odds of a new lead becoming a qualified lead are 20 times greater if they are contacted within 5 minutes of converting on your website.
Immediate return calls are hugely beneficial, but most companies still aren’t acting soon enough. A Harvard Business Review inbound marketing survey of over 2,200 companies about online sales leads tells us:
• Average response time is 42 hours
• 37% Responded within 1 hour
• 24% Took longer than 24 hours
• 23% Didn’t respond at all
Automation can help, but a quick phone call or email is the best way to convert online leads into opportunities. In fact, the odds of moving leads down the sales funnel are exponentially higher when contacted immediately after website conversion.
Your follow up call should be well informed to be most effective. You ought to have software that allows you to understand where the lead came from, what their browsing behavior was like, and other information about the person or organization.
5. Personalized Emails
Despite the aforementioned drawbacks, email marketing remains the most effective form of lead nurturing. Data consistently shows that personalized emails produce greatly superior results than blanket email “blasts”.
There are many different ways to personalize your emails. If the email was triggered by a download of website content, then you should be able to craft a message using the prospect’s name, company name, or reference the type of content they are clearly interested in.
Other triggers might be clicks on other emails you have sent or visits to certain pages on your website. When you combine these key triggers with some personalization, open rates and click-through rates skyrocket.
6. Lead Rating
Part of delivering the right content to move prospects down the sales process is all about finding the right person. Spend your time and energy on the prospects that are most likely to close for the highest total value.
Lead rating is a numeric system used to rank prospects based on the estimated value each lead represents to the company. Most marketing automation platforms have functionality that can assign values to certain online behaviors, events, contact information, or social media activity.
Determining which leads should be followed up directly by your sales team versus the ones which should be nurtured further down the funnel is a key to sales success.
Back to our original statistic, 90% of new leads are not ready or willing to make an immediate purchase. Lead rating is the best way to tap into that 10% who are looking to buy.
To review, let’s recap what we’ve determined to be the world’s most effective lead nurturing tactics:
1. Target Specific Content – Put yourself in the shoes of your buyer personas and create content that addresses their concerns and motivations.
2. Use Multiple Channels – Email isn’t your only option. Use an array of tools to touch your prospects an user them down your sales funnel.
3. Repeat Touches – A couple website visits and an email isn’t enough. Most prospects take 10 touches to become customers.
4. Quick Follow Ups – Odds of closing a sale decrease exponentially as time passes. Try to follow up with a call within 5 minutes of a new lead conversion.
5. Personalized Emails – Use personalization tokens from lead conversion forms or company research to make your messages more relevant to the individual.
6. Lead Rating – Set up a solid lead rating system so that your sales team can spend their limited energies on your most valuable prospects.
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About the Author
Little known fact about Casey: He played in the 2004 US Open Championship (golf). Now Casey heads up Inbound Marketing at Web Design Phoenix, a full service website design and online marketing firm with locations in both Phoenix, Arizona and Orlando, Florida. Clients include Mercedes, Airbus, and The PGA of America.