There really is only one reason that any B2B company needs a lead nurturing plan. It's because 96% of website visitors are not ready to buy. Your website might be attracting a lot of traffic, but those visitors aren't real opportunities for your sales team to pursue. Lead nurturing is what keeps those prospects aware of your company from the time they start researching until they're ready to buy (or at least ready to talk with someone at your company).
The bottom line: if you aren't nurturing leads, it's time to start.
What is a lead nurture campaign?
An email lead nurture campaign sends a series of emails to individuals based on their behaviour. It usually begins with the marketing team building a flow chart that has multiple if/then branches. The actions that take place within the lead nurturing process depend on the actions that each individual takes.
Here's an example. Let's say someone downloads an article from your website. You then send them a whitepaper on that same topic to provide additional relevant content. If they chose to read that whitepaper, you then send them a recorded webinar on the same topic to get more in-depth on the subject and highlight your company’s solution to the challenge. If they choose to watch the webinar recording, then you know they have now engaged with three pieces of content on that topic, so they may be ready for a free trial or a demonstration, and you can send them a specific offer that will encourage them to connect with your sales team.
How does lead nurturing differ from drip campaigns?
A drip campaign is similar to a lead nurture campaign in that you are sending a series of related emails. However, in a drip campaign, it is the same series that will go to everyone in that campaign. There would be a pre-set time lapse between emails, but the sequence of the emails is not adjusted depending on the actions taken (read, clicked, etc.) unless they meet the goals that you’ve pre-defined at the onset of your campaign.
Typically, drip campaigns aren't as effective as lead nurturing campaigns because they aren't tailored by behaviour.
Keys to successful lead nurture campaigns
The point of a lead nurture campaign is to avoid the hard sell. You don’t want to seem pushy and you don’t want to jump right to the free trial as prospects are likely not ready. Prospects and customers alike want information. If you deliver great content then you can control the conversation and guide prospects through the buyer’s journey, answering the questions they have along the way and getting them ready for the sales rep.
Personalize the experience
As I mentioned earlier, unlike a drip campaign, a lead nurture campaign will adjust the content based on the user’s actions, so the messaging can be hyper-personalized as you will know what’s of interest to the prospect and what they already know on the topic. The more you can segment your database, the more you can provide targeted, relevant content.
Use a marketing automation tool
Managing a drip campaign without marketing automation isn’t easy, but it's possible. It means organizing the dates of email deployments and ensuring you have a reminder in your calendar to do so.
That isn't possible for lead nurturing. Marketing automation software is used for lead nurturing because you need to track each individual’s activity and follow up according to their behaviour. And it isn't realistic to execute this manually. There are many great marketing automation tools available and 80% of marketers using automation software generate more leads and 77% convert more of those leads.
Not all leads are created equal
Generating leads is the top priority for most B2B companies. If you’re a looking for tips to help generate leads, read the blog, The Most Popular Lead Generation Tools.
But not all leads are created equal. 80% of new leads never translate into sales. So, generating new leads is important but finding a way to convert them into sales is even more important. Lead nurturing is a great way to do that. By putting a new lead into a lead nurture campaign that will deliver them highly relevant, valuable content appropriate for their stage of the buying cycle and will slowly guide them through the buyer’s journey, you will be getting them to a point that they are sales-ready and the percentage of leads that will translate into sales will increase dramatically.
Given how critical lead nurturing is to B2B companies, it's incredible that only 35% of B2B marketers surveyed have an established lead nurturing strategy?
If you are among the 65% who are not using lead nurturing campaigns, I hope I’ve convinced you to strongly consider it.
To learn more about generating high-quality leads and turning them into warm, sales-ready opportunities, watch the webinar From Prospect to Profit.
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