Lead nurturing, when executed efficiently and thoughtfully, is the difference between generating awareness and leads and generating actual customers. That being said, it can be difficult to create a solid lead nurturing strategy, and even to thoroughly assess the quality of your current strategy.
For this reason, we will be examining some key indicators that your lead nurturing is lacking in any of several crucial areas-- so you can get on your way to seeing it actually impact the bottom-line!
What is Lead Nurturing?
In essence, lead nurturing is the process of developing relationships with buyers at every stage of the sales funnel and through every step of their journey. The goals of a lead nurturing campaign include establishing awareness of your company, educating the buyer, and building trust to turn leads into customers.
Why is a Strong Nurturing Strategy Important?
Quite simply, your lead nurturing strategy has a direct effect on the rate of leads who proceed all the way down your sales funnel and become customers. Marketers see an average 20% increase in sales opportunities from nurtured vs non-nurtured leads. And that is without accounting for the truly well-designed campaigns— companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads at 66% of the cost!
In developing an effective nurturing campaign, marketers can feel more connected with their own leads and establish a stronger reputation in their industry. Lead nurturing also produces numerous other positive effects, including shorter sales cycles and lower cost per customer acquisition-- in other words, higher return on interest.
With that, let’s address at some indicators of significant (and completely fixable!) weak points in your company’s nurturing strategy.
Symptoms of a Lackluster Nurturing Strategy
1. You’re Unsure of What Pieces You Need
Just putting together the key elements of a nurturing campaign may initially seem intimidating! Remember that lead nurturing should contribute to a potential buyer’s experience throughout their journey, and thus needs to serve different purposes at various points in time. A well-developed campaign should include the following components:
- A hook
- Lead segmentation
- Landing pages
- Email campaigns
- Nurture content
- Automation tools
- Analytics and reporting
Of course, every campaign should be tailored to best fit your industry and company’s unique needs.
There are also important distinctions between nurturing for B2B (business-to-business) and B2C (business-to-consumer). Interested in learning the basic anatomy of these two kinds of campaigns? Our Blueprint for Lead Nurturing series offers everything you need to get started.
2. You Feel Like You Don’t Know Your Own Leads
Even with a good baseline strategy established, nurturing leads with a one-size-fits-all mentality is one of the worst approaches to take. Yet to cater to your leads’ needs effectively, it is necessary to first understand them. While it is realistically impossible to address every lead individually, the goal should be to get as close as possible to this through strategic analysis and organization of your lead list.
This is where lead segmentation comes in! Segmenting your database involves assigning them to groups with similar characteristics, needs, and interests using a variety of data. These segments can be based on demographics-- such as company position, location, and industry-- or behavior-- such as the lead’s interaction with your site content.
So how can you learn more about your leads? Automated software does a great job with certain behaviors, but there is also a simpler way to acquire information— ask! Constantly look for opportunities to learn more about potential customers, whether through landing page data forms, survey emails, or one-on-one interactions. By combining segmenting with comprehensive data collection and existing buyer personas from your lead generation strategy, you can confidently deliver the right message to the right people, at the right time.
3. You’ve Neglected Your Email (or Taken it for Granted)
Email campaigns are a cornerstone of lead nurturing, and regardless of rumors floating around the digital marketing sphere, email is most definitely not outdated. In fact, 59% of B2B marketers consider it their most effective channel for revenue generation. But if you’re using email in an outdated way-- un-automated, unsegmented single blasts-- you are not doing your nurturing strategy justice.
A well fleshed out email campaign (or ideally, multiple) will require creating a series of emails, similar but not identical to a drip campaign.These lead nurturing emails get 4-10 times the response rate compared to standalone email blasts! Behavior-based lead segmentation, as mentioned previously, is the key to delivering smartly targeted information to guide buyers with relevant content and offers. In addition to the copy itself, you should also devote attention to timing how the emails in your series are sent out relative to one another. Testing is the key to finding what works (or doesn't work) with your leads.
4. Your Content is Lacking
It may seem reasonable to designate one main component of your campaign, such as your emails, as the centerpiece of your juiciest content. However, the multi-channel nature of lead nurturing actually requires a multitude of content-- everything from to landing pages to social media posts!
The difficulty of understanding what kind of content will “cover all of the bases” along the way is the reason why strong lead nurturing campaigns incorporate content mapping. In this process, content is designated to be received by leads at appropriate points throughout the campaign. The distinctions between the top, middle, and bottom of the marketing funnel (ToFu, MoFu, BoFu) can be used to guide your content. Alternatively, you can implement certain content assets for stages of the sales cycle:
- Awareness: Checklists, e-books, white papers, instructional videos, and webinars
- Evaluation: Case studies, demo videos, and data sheets
- Purchase: Trials, demos, quotes, discounts, and consultations
Learn how to create content for every stage of the funnel and assemble it into a campaign in your free How to Create a Lead Nurturing Campaign [Guide]
5. That “Personal Touch” is Missing
Yes, categorizing leads via segmentation is a major component of lead nurturing, but segments are not a substitute for personalization. The two concepts may appear similar to one another, but in fact, they are quite distinct. While segmentation attempts to organize a group of people by common traits or behaviors, personalized marketing leverages data collection and analysis to deliver individualized messages and offers it's focused on the single user.
Having gained a considerable amount of insight into your leads, it can be tempting to sit back and let algorithms do the work. Yet leads respond well to a human touch in a marketing process that is often highly automated. That is why maintaining a degree of personalization matters! An Experian study found that personalized emails generate on average 6 times as much revenue as those which are not personalized.
Fortunately, there are numerous ways to incorporate personalization into your lead nurturing strategy, such as sending emails triggered by specific behaviors (which involves creating workflows) is a set of automated actions triggered by certain events. and including leads' personal details, like name and company, in the body of the emails.
6. Leads are Lost to Untimely Follow-ups
One of the most common lead nurture challenges is creating a scheduling process through which you will send out content and get in touch with your leads. The odds of a lead becoming qualified are 21 times greater when contacted within five minutes versus 30 minutes after converting on your site.
In addition to automated scheduling, a timely followup email or a phone call can still often be an effective means of converting inbound leads into qualified sales opportunities. Testing out various time intervals with your various lead segments and gauging their effectiveness is the best way to find a strategy that works for your company. Which brings us to another common problem...
7. You Have no Idea how to Test Your Results
From the software required to the indicators which are best to focus on, reporting and analytics can be challenging even for a seasoned marketer. Yet the “scientific process” is crucial to the success of your strategy, as an understanding of strengths and weaknesses will enable you to optimize it efficiently.
Thankfully, you don't have to do it alone; there is a multitude of resources available to present an idea of which metrics matter most, and a large portion of the work can be done through the push of a button (or rather, a click of the mouse). Standard digital marketing software will most often include tracking and analytics features, easily lining up key metrics such as
- Click-through and site/content engagement rates
- Conversion rates
- Cost per customer
- Average conversion time
Going Forward: Finding Resources to Improve Your Lead Nurturing
If all or any of these issues sound similar to what your company is experiencing, congratulations! Only by assessing areas for improvement is it possible to begin improving your lead nurturing strategy. Luckily, there is no shortage of digital and human resources at your disposal.
Marketing leaders like HubSpot, Marketo, and Salesforce constantly publish lead nurturing-related materials, including articles, e-books, and more. If technology is the main pain point, marketing software comparison sites and online tutorials can guide you through the automation setup process, from research to implementation.
Finally, consider reaching out to experts! Campaign Creators can provide the lead nurturing expertise you need— don't hesitate to contact us for an assessment and consultation about your current strategy.
This blog is part of Your Definitive Guide to Lead Nurturing series and Your Definitive Guide to Conversion Rate Optimization series.