Maximizing lead value through lead nurturing

You have mastered SEO. Visitors are pouring in to visit your website. You have developed a great landing page that is actionable for them. You have figured out how to get targeted people to hit that landing page. You have collected their email addresses to market to them.

Are your leads now magically converting into customers? Not quite, right? You must actively fight lead inertia through nurturing. Lead nurturing is listening to your prospects, finding out what they need and/or want, then giving it to them to keep them engaged and moving through the lead funnel — keep propelling them down to that final conversion or sale.

Benefits of lead nurturing

As SalesFusion documents in their lead nurturing guide, there needs to be an educational path that is organized for leads, to prevent them from being rushed through the sales funnel too quickly. A disorganized sales funnel can cause headaches for the sales department, with leads ending up deep in the funnel and not being qualified or wanting to actually purchase.

Lead nurturing, which should be done through every level of the lead generation process, is a way for your business to build relationships and trust with the lead. No matter how sophisticated your current site traffic software might be, there is nothing on the market right now that will tell you what the visitor needs — just where they have come from (i.e., Google or social or a unique link) and what they have clicked on.

Lead nurturing can benefit your sales team immensely. That is due to the fact that:

  • 15–20 percent of leads that are not ready to convert initially will, after nurturing.
  • Many companies have seen a 45 percent increase in the ROI of lead generation when consistently nurturing their leads.
  • Leads who have been nurtured have made 47 percent larger conversions (or purchases) than non-nurtured leads.
  • Businesses that routinely nurture their leads see 50 percent more conversions at a lower (33 percent) cost.

People are more willing to do business with companies or people they like, which means that lead nurturing is vital to building that trust and relationship between salesperson and lead. Not only does lead nurturing begin that relationship development process, but it also organizes your content and helps you see patterns in the lead generation cycle. If more people are converting off of one content marketing piece than another, it would be more beneficial for you to produce more pieces like that one, or market that one more.

When you are ready to start nurturing your leads, it is important to remember that you should not market to them all in the same fashion. Just as you have different interests than every single person you know, so too do your leads. Here are some tips to get started:

  • Utilize your automated marketing software to segment your marketing efforts by major interests. Organize these segments based on similar actions or visited pages on your website. For example, you might market to people who visit your YouTube page differently than those who signed up for a white paper downloaded from a landing page.
  • Email your segmented leads with expanded information based on these interests. Perhaps offer content of more value than they were initially introduced to, or offer a free sign-up to a loyalty program, or a link to a related video.
  • Monitor the interaction levels of these segments and mix them up as needed. If one segment is converting fast or more frequently than another, it might show that this segment is worth more marketing efforts — or that other segments need similar marketing tactics.

Overview of lead scoring

Lead scoring is a way to rank your leads or prospects against a marketing or sales scale that details the perceived value a lead is worth to your company. (See Chapter 6: How to measure your lead generation efforts for more information on how to create measurements within your lead generation efforts.)

You use your lead score to determine which lead nurturing process they will be sorted into. This process helps to organize your leads, and separate the high-quality leads from the “just browsing” leads.

Does your business need lead scoring? Only about 21 percent of B2B marketers have an established lead scoring program in place. Karen Rubin from Owl Labs shares some pro tips in her article, “When Lead Scoring Is a Waste of Marketers’ Time.”

Evaluate whether it’s the right move for you, by asking yourself:

  • Is my sales team getting enough leads? If not, go back to Chapter 2 and re-evaluate whether your lead generation strategy is generating enough leads for scoring to be actionable.
  • Are my sales team members taking action on these leads? Are your salespeople taking actionable measures to guide your prospects down the lead funnel to conversions? If not, go back to Chapter 4 and evaluate whether you have the right software for an automated lead generation, and see if changes can be made to reach out to leads more effectively.
  • Are we collecting enough data to implement scoring correctly? Your conversion forms should be capturing the appropriate information so that enough data is being collected. Review Chapter 6 and your landing page lead conversion form, and fix any chain in the link that is not performing optimally.

Once you have finished fixing anything that may not be providing you the results you need to score your leads, it’s time to finish the process of lead scoring.

  • Who performs the lead scoring? Traditionally, the marketing department handles lead scoring, which involves gathering all of the information about the lead and passing them on to their sales counterpart.
  • Components of lead scoring:
  • First, you’ll want to establish what your marketing qualified lead (or MQL) is. These are leads who are more active on your site or with your content, and are more likely to convert.
  • Next, identify trends and behaviors that indicate the type and level of lead interest. Which actions led to the highest close rates? Evaluate the activity level of each lead.
  • Create your point system by utilizing your actionable data and activity level. Each activity should have a numerical point value, and your lead will gather points based on their actions.
  • Set a sales score, and once your lead makes that amount of points, pass them along to the sales closer as “sales ready.”
  • Types of information to gather in lead scoring:
  • Fit
  • Interest
  • Behavior
  • Buy stage/timing (how long it takes to get from the initial interaction to close).

Lead nurturing strategies

Use a multitouch system when it comes to nurturing your leads. Utilize one or more of the following strategies, and invest your resources in whichever one generates the most amount of conversions for you. On average, a lead receives 10 touches from the beginning of the sales funnel until the end.

Email nurturing campaign

  • Personalize each email.
  • Provide educational content.
  • Utilize your marketing automation software to trigger instant response emails.

Newsletter

  • Announce cool new demos or a new product announcement.
  • Utilize a newsletter on a weekly or monthly basis to keep your followers interested and engaged.

Event invitation

  • Host online events, and invite your current leads to attend for free.
  • Make sure the event is something of value, and is an educational opportunity for the lead to gather more information about you and your product/services.

Call or email

  • When possible, call, email, or chat with your leads.
  • An automated chatbot on your site can increase your lead conversion.
  • Automated email messaging can keep your leads in the loop.
  • Robo calls or one-on-one calls with a salesperson can increase your relationship building and trust.

Targeted content

Targeted content, or content aimed at specific people with specific interests, can aid in improving your sales opportunities 20 percent.

Utilize multichannel targeted content, like via social, email marketing and even newsletters. Retarget your visitors, in order to show them more content that is similar to what they initially visited your site for. Make sure your marketing automation system is up and running, and can greatly reduce the time it takes you to retarget content if implemented correctly.

Lead nurturing best practices

Once a visitor converts to a lead on your site, they are 21 times morelikely of entering the sales process when they are contacted within the first 5 minutes versus 30 or more minutes. What does that mean for your business? It means you should adhere to the following lead nurturing best practices and, above all else, make sure you are following up quickly, consistently and coherently (or with content that is specific to what they are interested in.)

Tips for your lead nurturing campaigns

  • Get personal: Personalize all content, such as emails, with people’s names and relevant information.
  • Educate (based on where they are in the funnel): Provide more relevant articles, links, or opportunities to learn more about your company and the product they are interested in.
  • Space out your communication: Don’t spam anyone. Try to limit your emails to no more than one per day.
  • Segment: One size does not fit all when it comes to lead nurturing content. Send personalized topics to groups with similar interests or actions.
  • Listen closely: If someone opts out of one type of content, but are still interested in another, make sure you are helping them to stay within your sales funnel and giving them the information they need to take action.
  • Track everything: Data, data, data. You can never have enough data. Collect everything you can, from Google Analytics information to marketing automation information. Clicks, downloads, scrolling if you can track it, do!
  • Keep going until the sale: Don’t pause or forget about anyone. Follow up on any and every action your lead takes. Once they’ve bought from you, keep in touch! They might come back again.
Chad is Director of Communications at JotForm. He’s also a frequent contributor to various tech and business publications, and an absolute wizard with a Vitamix. He holds a master’s degree in communication and resides with his girlfriend and cats in Oakland, California. You can reach Chad through his contact form.

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