lead nurturing

When you look at stats collected on lead nurturing, it proves that lead nurturing programs are a key focal point for B2B marketers as 74% of companies say their top priority is converting leads into buyers. While many businesses report that their qualified leads turn out to be longer-term opportunities, versus immediate sales, it is still essential to have a strong lead nurturing program. So, the question is not “should I have a nurturing program?” and instead is “what do I need to do to create the most effective lead nurturing program?” Here are five things to consider when creating a lead nurturing program that focuses on ensuring you use content, messaging and more to develop strong relationships with your leads.

1) Understand Your Audience

To set up a successful nurturing program, you must first understand your audience. To do this, you will need to think about your new leads, current leads and past leads that have either turned into buyers or were lost in the process. Mapping out the different stages of the buying cycle and identifying key criteria that define each stage will help you understand your audience. From your findings, you can then create your segments that align with the key characteristics and criteria. Where your lead is at in the buyer’s journey largely influences what segment they are included in, but you can also segment other ways. Dividing your leads by industry and job title or role are additional segmentation ideas. For these segments, you will need to deliver content and messaging that relates to their buying cycle stage, industry or role.

2) Define Your Goals

It is important to identify the goal of your nurturing program upfront. This will allow you to determine the actions that you want your different lead segments to take as they progress down the pipeline and through the program. Remember to vary offerings throughout communications to make sure you appeal to a variety of interests and always keep your offerings relevant. It can also be helpful to set small goals for your team as you work through the lead nurture program. For example, you can set goals to have a 20% open rate and 15% click-through rate on the emails you send at a certain stage. As you move through the program you can set a goal to convert a specific number of leads after a certain stage. Setting small goals can help you achieve the overarching goal of the program.

3) Personalize Content and Messaging

Grouping leads based on their stage in the buying cycle, industry, role and/or preferences will enable you to tailor messaging to appeal to their unique interests. The more tailored your message, the better the program will perform. Why is the personalization of messaging so important? 77% of B2B marketers say that personalization can build stronger relationships with leads and buyers. Take the time to ensure your content and message is relevant to your segments.

4) Determine Your Marketing Mix

Email Marketing

Emails are a must-have in lead nurturing campaigns. Much of the activity and movement in the buying cycle can be driven by the emails you send. 42% of organizations believe emails are the most important marketing channel for generating leads, so nurturing these leads should be fueled in part by email marketing.

Content Marketing

Blogs, articles, eBooks, case studies and more can be used throughout the buying cycle of your leads. What stage they are in can influence what content is delivered or presented to them. Here are some pieces of content that you can use at each stage of the buying cycle to nurture your leads:

  • Awareness: Blogs, articles and infographics
  • Consideration: eBooks, webinars and use cases
  • Decision: Case studies, demos and product/solution comparisons
  • Retention: Buyer-focused e-newsletters, best practices and customer only webinars
  • Advocacy: Surveys and feedback, customer appreciation, content exclusives
Social Media Marketing

Social media has become a widely used channel by B2B marketers. To nurture leads on social media, you can utilize targeted ads, communicate in groups or communities and deliver valuable content on your various channels. On social media, a primary goal is to keep them engaged and interested in the information you are putting out there.

5) Establish a Schedule

For your lead nurturing program, you will need to determine a schedule and frequency that will align with your leads’ preferences. In addition to regularly scheduled communications, you should also map out actions that will trigger communications based on a lead’s activities. While communication frequency may vary across segments, the time between scheduled emails should remain as consistent as possible.

Nurturing your leads is an important part of moving them through the buying cycle as well as building strong relationships. These five tactics can help guide your lead nurturing program.