Unless you’re completely new to the B2B marketing game, you’re probably familiar with lead nurturing. Lead nurturing campaigns are those sets of educational emails that are released over an extended time period, with the aim of nudging your buyers along their buying journey as they get ever nearer to being ready to buy.
For B2B marketers understanding how to do lead nurturing correctly is vital because…
- Lead nurturing is a fundamental part of the pre-sales process. It switches the focus from buyer’s problems and challenges to more middle of funnel content that discusses your offer and how you help.
- It’s the bridge that takes top of the funnel unqualified leads to marketing qualified or sales ready leads, ready to engage with sales.
Here are the top 4 mistakes that B2B marketers should avoid when it comes to nurturing their leads:
1. Campaign goals aren’t SMART
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Often the goal is “I want as many customers as possible as soon as possible”, but having a goal that’s too generic makes your nurture campaigns impossible to measure. Instead, refer to your sales and marketing funnel, and determine some clear, realistic goals that you can aim for. Speak to your salesperson if necessary.
Brainstorm goals that are:
- Specific: simple
- Measurable: manageable
- Attainable: achievable
- Relevant: results-oriented
- Timely: time-oriented
For example, you can say “I want to increase my customer base by 10% in 6 months using a lead nurturing campaign.”
It’s important to have specific numbers and information on time. That way, in 6 months, you can clearly identify if and by how much you have exceeded or missed the goal’s mark.
2. Campaigns are not targeted to persona
Do you even know who your personas are? To know them well, you need to understand their:
- Business challenges
- Their business goals (KPIs or MBOs)
- Career goals
- Role and responsibilities
- Company culture
- Favourite internet destinations
- Personal background
You have to seek to understand them in a deeper way so your campaigns are personalised to the needs of each persona and not a faceless market segment. If you make your email copy generic and bland, then your messaging won’t resonate with your target buyers.
3. Campaigns are not targeted to buying stage
Many B2B marketers make the mistake of pushing content that their buyers are just not ready for, causing their campaigns to be ineffective. For example, just because someone downloaded an informative ebook doesn’t mean they’re ready to free trial your software.
There are basically 3 stages that your buyer goes through:
- Awareness: There’s a problem and I need to conduct some research on it.
- Consideration: There’s a solution for my problem out there, but I need to establish my organisation’s buying criteria.
- Decision: It’s time to evaluate vendors because I’m ready to buy.
Best practice dictates that you refrain from mentioning your product/service until they are well into the consideration stage.
Where are they in their process?
Putting yourself in your buyer’s shoes can be as simple as asking yourself the following questions:
- What do they think now?
- What do they need at this stage?
- What do we want them to think?
- How do we sell the next step?
Each email needs to contain a natural next step to take. Otherwise, your email becomes one of the many spammy messages delivered to their inbox daily. It will barely leave an impression – or if it does, it’s likely to be a negative one.
You need to adapt your content and message around your buyer’s needs and what stage they’re at in their buying journey.
4. Timing of campaigns is off
B2B marketers make one of the following mistakes when it comes to nurture campaign timing:
Too eager to batch and blast? People have tons to look at in their inbox so pull it back to 1-2 emails a month. Anything more than this can serve to annoy your prospects (and you really don’t want to do that).
Too scared of coming off as spammy? Consider what a webcast by CleverTouch revealed:
- Frequency increases engagement. They conducted an analysis of monthly versus weekly emails, and found that whilst monthly emails had more open rates, weekly emails drove more sales. Also, an increase in email volume didn’t change their click-through and open rates.
- People prefer to get commercial messages via email. This is for both B2B and B2C sectors, for people of all ages. Your buyers expect you to sell to them, so don’t feel bad about it.
- People will only sign up to 1-2 email subscriptions per category, which gives you a significant edge over your competitors if you’re one of them. Get people to subscribe to your blog whenever you can.
You have no reason to fear hitting the ‘send’ button if what you’re sending your prospects is truly useful to them at the stage they’re at in their journey.
In the end the best policy in striking the balance between “too often” and “not enough” is to look at your analytics and listen to what your buyers are telling you. Every industry and job role has a different appetite for information.
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