Insights from the Tactical to the Strategic
The basic premise of lead nurturing is simple: get to know your prospects, and allow them to get to know you, before you ask them to buy your products.
By now, most marketers have been schooled on the importance of lead nurturing. We know that, according to Forrester Research, companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales leads at 33% lower cost per lead. And we know that in order to keep our sales teams happy, we should educate and engage prospects before we pass them off to sales.
Marketing teams work hard to generate leads, but more often than not, these leads need a bit of warming up before they’re ready for a conversation. According to Gleanster Research, 30 to 50 percent of the leads that marketers generate are qualified, but are not quite ready to buy. This makes it absolutely crucial to have lead nurturing programs set up to keep these prospects engaged, and keep your brand top-of-mind until the buyer is ready to purchase.
Today’s buyers have unprecedented access to information about products and services. They no longer rely on vendors to supply details on product benefits and specifications. Buyers aren’t likely to call your sales hotline or browse your printed catalogue to find answers. 9 times out of 10, they’ll head to a search engine first. A whopping 89% of purchase journeys now begin with a web search. More than ever, buyers are in control of their purchasing journeys.
This has created new challenges for marketing and sales teams. We have to get in front of buyers earlier, understand buyer preferences, and predict when they’re ready for conversations. The burden is on us to provide the experiences that are compelling enough to attract buyers and gain their trust.
Traditional lead nurturing wisdom tells us to build automated email programs that deliver messages to a prospect’s email inbox over time. These messages are usually delivered at a regular cadence, and respond to the prospect’s behavior and preferences. Email has remained a top-performing channel for marketers over the last decade. According to the DMA, email marketing has an ROI of 3800%.
Email nurturing is still working and essential, but your buyer’s attention isn’t just on their inbox. They browse the web, they interact on social networks, and they check their text messages.
So it’s natural that marketers would ultimately want to apply everything we’ve learned about email nurturing to other digital channels like social media, advertising, and our websites.
The first expansion pack in the lead nurturing game is the enhancement and customization of website experiences. It’s best practice to personalize email messages with buyer’s first names, company information, or product preferences. So why not extend this enhanced experience to the website pages?
New technologies allow us to personalize greetings, offers, and images to create consistent experiences from the inbox to the landing page.
Buyers today expect this type of personalized attention. According to CMO.com, nearly three-fourths (74%) of online consumers get frustrated with websites when content (e.g., offers, ads, promotions) appears that has nothing to do with their interests.
This expectation for personalized attention extends beyond your own website properties. Why not take it a step further and personalize digital advertisements to the unique needs of individual buyers? Advanced ad retargeting platforms list listenloop allow you to do just that if you use it alongside your marketing automation platform.
Traditionally, we’ve only been able place ads around the web based on contextual keywords or by targeting specific site categories. But now, the possibilities are endless. Trigger emails based on clicks in an email, visits to a web page, or even which company they work for.
With new technology, digital advertising is the perfect extension to nurturing in the inbox. Trigger personalized ads that mirror the messages you’ve sent in your emails, so that whether your target buyer is in checking emails or reading articles on their favorite blog, your messaging with be front-and-center.
Modern ad platforms give you the ability to drip ad messages to your audiences just like you would in an email nurture. Use email and ad nurturing in tandem for the perfect one-two punch.
Modern marketing automation platforms have also added the ability to trigger messages in all manner of other marketing channels. My two favorite? Send SMS direct messages via tools like Twilio, or personalized direct mail with vendors like printSF.
When you’re scoping out a solution for lead nurturing, make sure it includes the ability to integrate your nurturing campaigns with these types of multi-channel tools. Check for off-the-shelf integrations with your marketing automation platform or better-yet, make sure your platform has an open API to extend the reach of your nurturing programs.
When you’re planning your next nurturing program, think outside the inbox. Your customers are wandering the internet looking for solution to their problems. Make sure you’re there to meet them.