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What's Lead Nurturing and How to Do It Right?

Lead Nurturing

Any marketer knows just how important it is to generate leads, but what about the process of nurturing leads? If you’ve done your homework then your inbound marketing strategy must be on-point. This means you’ve figured out a business method that will attract new customers by tailor-making a content marketing experience that relates to them and solves their problems. One of the ways to do this is by creating an interactive product demo that helps convert leads into loyal customers. 

But what about the fine line between generating leads and sealing the deals? Knowing that it takes about 10 marketing-driven touchpoints for a lead to convert, the answer is clear: Nurturing. When done right, it has the power to boost your customer loyalty levels, retention levels, revenue and so much more. In fact, businesses that are experts at nurturing leads generate 50% more sales at a 33% lower cost than non-nurtured prospects. 

So, how do you go nurturing leads like a pro? Read on to learn more about what it means to nurture leads, the best practices for doing it and what the future holds for your nurture leads strategy. 

Just let us lead the way. 

What is lead nurturing? 

Lead nurturing can often go by other names including marketing automation, drip marketing, auto-responders and others. Whatever you call it, the process of nurturing leads relates to the act of tracking down and engaging with new potential customers. As one of the key focal points for any new or old business, lead nurturing involves maintenance every step of the sales funnel or buyer’s journey. This is done by offering your target audience relevant information that they will find interesting, personal and helpful. 

Since on average 50% of your leads will not be ready to make a purchase right off the bat, this means you’ll just have to work a whole lot harder to get them to give you their money. In order to get them interested and willing to commit, you’ll need to prove your value. 

Why is lead nurturing important?

Every marketer is interested in generating as many leads as possible, with 53% of marketers spending around half their budget on lead generation.

Lead nurturing is important for both B2C (business-to-consumer) marketing as well as B2B (business-to-business) marketing: customers need time to educate themselves prior to making a decision to buy a product. While B2C consumers are usually more impulsive when deciding to purchase something, B2B customers need all the information and data you can give them and have a nearly 9 month sales cycle on average.

With so many options laid out before them there’s no wonder your potential consumers are feeling overwhelmed. This means you can’t afford to bombard them with too many choices since these can lead to fewer sales. Lead nurturing is there to relieve your consumers from their worries and address their concerns, which means you’ll need to earn their attention and stand out from the crowd if you want them to make it to the finishing line.  

Lead nurturing is a way for you to share your knowledge and build (paying) relationships between you and your potential consumers. It allows you to engage with your customers and make them feel good about their buying decision. It is also a crucial method that will determine your business’ success and bottom line since it drives 20% more sales opportunities than non-nurtured leads and can do wonders to your ROI (return-on-investment).

Nurturing leads can also help you make more money on bigger purchases from your targeted consumers. In fact, deals that closed on nurtured leads received a 47% higher order value than deals that were closed on non-nurtured leads. It can also reduce customer acquisition cost (CAC) and increase average order value (AOV). 

When does lead nurturing take place? 

Nurturing leads can be part of your business’ funnel process but not only. A sales funnel is how marketers refer to the journey a customer goes through when deciding whether to complete a purchase. It is referred to as a funnel since while all potential consumers may start at the top-end of a company’s sales process, only a mere few will make an actual purchase once they’ve reached the end. Usually termed the AIDA funnel, a term first coined back in the 19th century by businessman E. St. Elmo Lewis, it describes the four stages a potential consumer needs to go through: awareness, interest, desire and action. Some marketers even suggest adding customer loyalty to the end of the funnel. 

At the top of the funnel you may meet the potential consumers that you’d, later on, wish to nurture and turn into loyal consumers. They still don’t really know your company or what it is you’re offering but they might be curious to learn more. As they go down the funnel they might turn into actual leads that you could potentially sell your product or service to but they still haven’t engaged with you. 

Then there’s the more advanced stages of the funnel in which both the sales and marketing teams must come together to pinpoint the precise location of the particular lead in the sales funnel. This is basically the cornerstone to a strong lead nurturing system which will include the relevant data about the potential buyer, when they last engaged with the brand, what content they’re interested in, and more.

The best practices to nurture leads

In order to create an effective lead nurturing strategy follow the next best practices: 

Set up a goal and a timeline

Discuss with your sales and marketing teams what it is that you are trying to achieve by creating a lead nurturing strategy. Are you trying to increase your consumer quality, get in touch with old leads or discover new ones? Once you’ve figured out what your goal is, determine how long it will take you to reach it. Take into account that 75% of leads buy within 18-24 months and that B2B sales cycles are getting longer so you’re going to have to be patient and not try to rush them into completing a sale. This also means you shouldn’t email them every single day.

Make it personal

With the highest ROI in the business from 3,800% to 4,200%, email marketing continues to be one of the best ways for reaching out to new leads and making conversions, i.e. converting leads into sales. Unlike social media channels, when it comes to your email marketing strategy, your email subscribers are your own. Creating landing pages that are meant to convert newsletter subscribers into loyal customers can help you create a buzz around the launch of an upcoming product or service. More so, take into account that 41% of consumers will stop engaging with a business due to a lack of personalization and that by personalizing your content you could potentially reduce acquisition costs by nearly 50%, increase your revenue by 5-15% as well as your marketing spend efficiency by 10-30%. By personalizing each email to the interests of your leads and prospects, including their names or demographics, you can make a real difference.

Take it one step further

If you really want to take your personalized lead nurturing strategy one step further you’ll need to personally interact, face-to-face, with your leads. These interactions can include meet-ups with leads, social media connections, and can be left to your company’s Sales Development Reps (SDRs) rather than being tossed around back and forth between the different marketing and sales departments. 

Create targeted content 

Create content that your specific targeted audience will find relevant. This means you’ll have to research your buyer personas based on their interests, desires, objectives and drives according to data from analytics software, social media feedback and information, keyword research and more. By creating a content marketing strategy focused on your target audience’s pain points, you’re more likely to appeal to them so that they in turn will turn into loyal consumers that you can nurture. 

Create an automated process

When leads engage with your content, you can divide them into segments using appropriate lists and specific niches or problems they’d like solved. This should be done using an automatic process so that you’re able to reach out to your target audience with relevant information at specific times that will best suit them. 

Grading and lead scoring 

Consider ranking your leads through a lead scoring method to determine whether they are willing and ready to buy from you. Marketing automation software will enable you to know where exactly your lead is in the sales cycle so that you can adjust the content you send out to them accordingly. Grading and ranking leads helps you know when they’ve reached a specific threshold suggesting that they are ready to buy what it is that you are selling.

Communicate consistently and retarget your audience

Interact with your leads on a regular basis through digital platforms to ensure you’re targeting them with the right type of content. If you find that for whatever reason a lead seems to have hit the snooze button and isn’t engaging with you as often as they used to, re-engage. Ask them for feedback via email, offer them an incentive with a product or service you know they’ll find interesting and relevant and don’t hesitate to create a sense of urgency and FOMO around the whole thing. 

Map your consumers’ journey

Not only do you need to know your target audience but you also need to understand the way they do business. By outlining the stages they go through on your customer journey map you’ll receive priceless intel into their mindset and what drives them through your B2B sales funnel. Taking into account that each person responds to different content materials and that  77% of buyers want different content at each stage of their research, make sure to create as much relevant content for each stage of your consumer’s AIDA funnel as you can. This can include blog posts, infographics, emails, videos, case studies, success stories, white papers, landing pages, and more. 

By gaining insight into the way potential buyers think and act during their interaction with your brand, you’ll be able to deliver better content that relates to their specific needs and wants. 

Work with different platforms

Lead nurturing isn’t just about sending personalized emails to a list of prospects. In order to reach as many leads and nurture your relationship with them you’ll need to look at new technologies and marketing tactics that can up your game. By using automation platforms, social media platforms as well as paid media, direct sales outreach and ever-changing content, you’ll be able to cultivate your leads. 

Measure the data

Don’t simply create a lead nurturing strategy and think it’ll work out on its own. You’ll need to continually make sure that it is improving and that it is helping you reach the goals you set. In order to do so keep looking at your metrics and measure your website’s traffic, how long prospects are staying on your site and who is actually converting. No matter the results, there’s always room to grow and improve your strategy. 

The future of lead nurturing 

When it comes to nurturing leads, first impressions are crucial. After all, people spend an average of 15 seconds on a website before they leave it meaning you don’t get a lot of time to impress them with your product or service. That’s why sending an interactive demo to your prospective leads can help nurture them into loyal consumers. That’s what we do at Walnut. We help you to easily create interactive and personalized product demos that include your lead’s logo, name, figures, numbers, and of course, features to help get your potential consumers acquainted and interested in your product and understand why it’s the best solution to all their pain points. We also give you all the data and insights you’ll need about the ways in which your demo performed so that you can reach your goals and unlike with other nurture lead tactics, actually close the deal.

With so many techniques and tactics for lead nurturing you’re going to have to try out quite a few until you figure out what works best for your business. In order to do that you’ll need all the help you can get, from both your marketing, B2B sales, and customer support teams as well as from the potential consumers themselves. When it comes down to it, lead nurturing is all about cultivating relationships that will last, which means your potential consumer should be your number one priority in regards to your strategy rather than your product or goal. After all, once you show them just how you can solve their problems with your service and product, they’ll be hooked. 

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