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Welcome back to the Lead Nurturing Masterclass! In this lesson, we’ll dive into the specific tactics you can utilize to guide leads through their buyer’s journey, from casual beginnings staged at the top of your funnel to being ready to purchase at the bottom of it.
How your business markets itself has changed a lot in the past 30 years. Companies once advertised using local newspapers, Yellow Pages and corporate print runs. Now, they have a digital canvas at their ever-ready — “The Website.” Pretty much anything a company can think of to splash on their websites these days — from embedded video to pages upon pages of text optimized for Google — is doable at high quality and reasonable cost.
Websites have become centerfold, replacing old channels and giving businesses a new front for advertising themselves. Additionally, websites offer you numerable more ways to connect with customers than seen previously. They’re customizable and personable. They’re optimizable for audiences’ intent. Most importantly, they position your business as helpful and gives your target audience a guiding hand.
The matter of fact is your website can be a powerful tool for lead nurturing for several reasons including:
Perhaps the best thing about websites is the degree of customization and personalization they offer you creators. You can craft pages, sub-sections and even entire websites geared around attracting customers related to your ideal buyer personas. There are no limits to the number of pages your company can push out onto the web and search engines in the service of this goal, positioning your company as subject matter experts for the types of customers who might benefit most from your solution. This also allows more virtual doorways for customers to reach your company.
Nothing need be left to chance in the web design process for businesses. You can use A/B split-testing to ensure, down to a granular level, that every element of your website is helping convert leads and increase your bottom line.
To effectively A/B test, create 2 near-identical pages with just one key difference. For example, testing a call-to-action by placing it in different locations on a webpage. Continuous testing allows you to zero in on and refine what’s working and quickly discard anything that isn’t performing optimally. You can also combine A/B testing with analytics software, such as HotJar, Tableau or Google Analytics, to identify behavioral triggers for customers (i.e., what aspect of a page triggers conversion).
When designing a website to nurture leads, take a subtle approach rather than a direct one. More often than not, your website visitors are at the top-of-the-funnel and early in their buyer’s journey. At this stage, they often aren’t ready to make a buying decision, particularly on more expensive goods or services and have only just begun to identify their problem and search for a solution. So it's recommended that you use your website to position your company as a helpful, friendly face for customers.
If you do this effectively you pave the way for customers to do business, and perhaps more of it and at a higher price point, with you down the road. That’s the goal of marketing, isn’t it? To deliver not just more business, but better business.
Upon a contact’s first visit with your website, it’s not imperative they be converted. In fact, research suggests that just 2% of prospective customers will convert at this point.
What’s to be done about the other 98 percent? In a word: Retargeting.
Retargeting is one of the finest stealth tools available to you in your lead nurturing efforts. If you do it effectively, retargeting can increase brand awareness and conversions. It’s a low-cost way to increase return on investment (ROI) by recapturing lost leads and generating additional quality ones.
The process for retargeting is fairly simple and largely automated, via tools such as AdRoll, Retargeter, Google AdWords or Perfect Audience. These and other retargeting tools place a small bit of code on a web page, so when a possible customer visits one of your website’s pages, it captures and stores their internet protocol (IP) address.
When your prospective customer visits other websites, the space on these sites for banner or other display ads will highlight your ads, if you use retargeting software. There aren’t limits for how often the prospects see retargeting ads, though top marketers generally recommend using safeguards to ensure the ads aren’t shown more than 17-20 times a month.
Retargeting works for both B2C and B2B though the modus operandi varies. The biggest thing to remember when retargeting in B2C versus B2B is your audience. B2C audiences tend to engage in shorter sales cycles and B2B in longer sales cycles. So, adjust your retargeting efforts for such. Perhaps with B2C, you’ll need to be more direct, and perhaps with B2B you’ll need to employ more elaborate remarketing strategies.
The three key things to do when creating a retargeting campaign are:
You should consider other factors beyond frequency when employing retargeting for lead nurturing. One of which is subtlety. Retargeting is about helping and educating, to propel consumers through their buyer’s journey. Considering this, take into account what was said earlier about putting on a friendly, helpful face. Doing so, in regards to retargeting, will help you not appear overbearing nor pushy. For this reason, display ads on retargeting platforms are best executed with softer colors or calls-to-action.
Additionally, before you begin retargeting, you should choose whom you want to retarget, which is best done via automation, and audiences for your automated marketing processes to retarget is best chosen by utilizing segmentation. Use segmentation to determine who receives your retargeted ads based on age, geographic location or other demographic factors, as well as contextual factors, such as contacts interacting more with conversion-oriented pages on your website than not.
Lastly, implement “burn pixels” within your website’s code to eliminate contacts whom became qualified-leads (or customers) so your retargeting efforts don’t continue affecting them. After all, the last thing a company should do is annoy a BoFu lead who’s ready to purchase.
And, as with all things related to digital marketing, conduct A/B testing for retargeting campaigns, too, to determine what’s working and what isn’t.
Though you may have seen them used interchangeably they differ in focus and strategy. Retargeting primarily focuses on web-based ads; whereas, remarketing revolves around re-engagement email campaigns for list subscribers. The two tend to primarily target different stages of the funnel. Retargeting generally tends to target ToFu audiences, and remarketing targets BoFu audiences. Deciding on which to use depends on analyzing your buyer’s intent — whether your audience is willing to purchase now or possibly later.
That said, the two strategies still complement each other if used side-by-side.
One key channel to focus on for nurturing leads is that of social media, where you can remain in regular, if not semi-constant, contact with prospective customers. While this strategy is most often accomplished via email, social media also provides a superb, non-obtrusive alternative. In fact, from 2016 - 2019, an average of 26% of Facebook and Twitter users made a purchase as a result of receiving marketing messages over these channels.
It’s important to have realistic expectations when using social media for lead nurturing since marketing over Facebook, Instagram or Twitter won’t necessarily be entire nurturing campaigns in and of themselves. Social media might not even drive a ton of sales at first, with click-through rates often notoriously unreliable or low. But on today’s internet, where change happens at a sometimes-dizzying rate, social media can quickly begin to make a difference and nurture leads toward the bottom of the sale funnel.
Perhaps the best thing social media can do, similar to a well-executed company website, is humanize your business. Customers have a direct connection to your company via your social media portals. Your company can show you care about anyone who engages with you. You can quickly respond to customer service issues and take corrective actions. And you can build relationships, nurturing possible new customers toward sales and helping upsell existing ones.
Customers today demand transparency from businesses, and this includes on social media. Whether you're an enterprise company or a small local business, your prospects expect to be able to connect with actual people online. One way to meet this need is by encouraging your employees to be active on social media and share your lead nurturing content to amplify your reach. Posting through employee accounts also capitalizes on the social media algorithms’ reference for posts from people over companies.
To put a face to your company and make it as easy as possible to buy the moment they are ready, we suggest making it easy for leads to connect with sales people via social media, especially if they are in the later stages of your funnel.
Leads sometimes have feedback or questions about a recent offer you sent them, and many will turn to social channels to get their answer. And like the demand for transparency, today’s customers also expect to be able to contact your company directly through social media. If a lead's inquiry goes unanswered it will diminish their trust in your company. Furthermore, this signals to the rest of your audience that you aren’t paying attention, or worse, that you don’t care about your customers which can permanently damage your company's online reputation.
To avoid this calamity, you should closely monitor your Facebook account, Twitter mentions, LinkedIn comments, etc. to ensure that your leads are getting the attention they deserve. There are a number of social monitoring tools that can help monitor and respond to social media comments and inquiries. Providing prompt, helpful and personable responses can establish greater trust with your leads, and move them closer to sales-readiness.
Now leads interacting directly with your social accounts aren’t the only opportunities for lead nurturing. Leads are also using social media to perform their research when looking for a solution like yours. By setting up social monitoring of branded terms, you can find opportunities to reach out sales-ready leads. For example, we at Campaign Creators set up monitoring for terms like "marketing agency" and “seo services.” When someone is talking about those subjects we can enter the conversation by offering helpful information or suggestions. Or, if you want to take the conversation a step further, introduce a salesperson directly to the prospect to discuss possible solution options - known as social selling.
While we typically think about form fills as the main trigger for initiating a lead nurturing workflow, integrated marketing automation allows you to trigger a nurturing workflow when a lead connects or interacts with your company via social media as well. This integrated approach ensures leads engaging with you on channels outside of your website are not being left behind.
A final way to use social for lead nurturing is to promote, even celebrate, current or past clients or customers. When you praise your customers, spotlight your best clients or help spread news on their behalf, it positions you as a caring supplier and provides your audience with the assurance that you see customers as more than a dollar-sign.
You have probably noticed when you land on many websites these days, a chat box pops up asking if there’s anything they can help you with. But why are we seeing the increased adoption of this tactic? Because their implementation has been shown to boost conversion rates, increase customer and website user satisfaction and lower sales and customer service labor costs.
Now these chats can be manned by real people, other times by bots, or a combination of both. So let’s get into your options for using chatbots and messenger apps for lead nurturing and the factors you need to consider.
Don’t merely look into to having an army of robots serve as a stopgap for deficient customer service. Chatbots themselves can offer you several other benefits, which include:
So, more than likely you’ve heard of using direct mail to generate leads. It’s long been popular before digital marketing took off. It isn’t that difficult after all. All it takes is spending tens of thousands of dollars (If not more) to blanket geographic areas with an on-page advertisement.
Pejoratively, these kinds of ads are known as junk mail and might seem somewhat inefficient given how they are indiscriminately delivered. That said, direct mail advertising continues to exist even in an increasingly digital world. Why? Because it gets results. In 2017 alone, direct mail advertisers based in the United States generated more than $10 billion in revenue.
The capabilities of using direct mail for lead nurturing are also growing increasingly sophisticated, using more precise means than ever to reach audiences.
Think of a grocery store. In the past, direct mail advertising for a grocery store might have consisted merely of a few pages of coupons for popular items in hopes that the store casts as broad a net as possible to drive sales.
Now, you can take an almost inverse approach. By capturing and aggregating data and using software to analyze it, you gain an acute idea of what products or product clusters might appeal to certain people, primarily based on past purchases. With the help of on-demand printing, you can send more personalized direct mail to audiences advertising the products they are most likely to buy.
What about using direct mail to reach contacts who haven’t made a purchase? The key, as with many things related to digital marketing, is encouraging the marketing channel to be personalized to your prospective audience’s needs. Doing so, you must recognize where audiences are in their buyer’s journey and then send them appropriate messages.
In practice, this has many variables. Consider a common thread, though, that direct mailing should leverage some kind of lead interest via data gathered. If you want to be good at direct mailing, responsively engage only after a contact signals their intent. For example, say a person visits your company’s website and fills out a contact form, you can follow up not only via digital channels but also to send them marketing collateral in the mail. In a world of crowded email inboxes, snail mail, ironically, offers your company a way to stand out.
So much of life is now conducted via smartphones and other mobile devices. Accordingly, it’s no surprise that savvy marketers are increasingly using mobile and short messaging service (SMS) technology in their lead nurturing efforts.
Get started using mobile or SMS marketing after a contact provides you their cell number. It’s critical this be a voluntary action, so not to violate spam laws. That said, it isn’t difficult to encourage contacts to opt-in to this marketing channel. If you’ve got a point-of-sale system, you can automatically ask consumers to enter their phone number into the system. Or, simply ask them if it’s okay to contact them with future offers via SMS. A surprisingly high number of people will give the okay to this kind of contact.
Once you have a person’s SMS contact information, make sure when you contact them, you’re offering an asset of value. After all, every interaction with your audience, whether it occurs in-person, over the phone or via text, is about building the relationship. In addition, you will want to ensure messages are short for the sake of SMS limits (~140 characters) and consumer attention spans.
No one likes a spammer. Thus, never attempt to send an avalanche of text messages to contacts or else you’ll quickly learn the hard way and perhaps even find the contact blocked your number. In addition, avoid sending images or excessively large files via text. While telecommunication companies have gotten a little more generous with data limits, data remains a somewhat precious monthly commodity for the average customer.
Regarding that, large files should only be sent via text to contacts who specifically request them. Even then, you might want to offer an alternative means to send this information. Taking this step can open up additional channels for audience engagement.
At every stage of the buyer’s journey, leads learn more about their pain points and possible solutions. Premium educational content is a valuable tool for you to nurture leads at every stage of their buyer’s journey and your sales process, done so by educating them and positioning your company as a solution provider. To start, make sure your buyer personas are on-point, as that will be critical to the success of this strategy, so you target exactly the right audiences with the right materials.
Here’s a breakdown of how to provide leads with premium educational content at each stage of their buyer’s journey.
By the middle of the sales funnel, a lead is well aware of their pain point and is investigating how to resolve it. In this stage of your sales funnel, reach out to leads with assets like case studies, whitepapers, eBooks, webinars and videos. With these, you can detail why your business is a great fit for them.
Be extra strategic by jointly utilizing lead qualification strategies to identify prospective customers or lack thereof. Those who don’t engage with premium educational content at this stage likely are not the greatest candidate to do business with.
You’ll deliver most premium educational content during a lead’s consideration stage of their buyer’s journey. There is, however, no limit on how much content you should send them. Especially in B2B, sales cycles are often long and complex. You might easily send 5 - 6 assets in that instance.
Though the MoFu stage is considerably important, delivering this same kind of content to leads in the BoFu stage is also beneficial. How? Premium educational content at this stage can provide qualified leads a last needed-nudge towards sales conversion. For example, you could propose they take you up on a free marketing strategy session or a demo of your software.
Although this strategy is applicable to every stage of your sales funnel, especially in the BoFu stage, you should want your premium educational content to be crafted of the highest quality degree. Doing so will ensure better response in interactions and engagement rates from leads.
The go-to way for using email for lead nurturing is by prompting (or nudging) a prospect or lead along in their buyer’s journey, though it must be done properly. To ensure email lead nurturing succeeds, you must send leads nurturing emails responsively and not too frequently. . . No one likes email spam, right?
Next, let’s go over how to deliver lead nurturing emails at every stage of your sales funnel.
Send this email when a visitor becomes a contact or lead after filling out a form on your website so they’ll receive an asset, such as an eBook or guide. The email acts as sort of a “Welcome,” quite literally welcoming your new contact and congratulating them on their new asset.
For example, the email could say: “Here is the free eBook you requested from [Insert your company’s name]. Enjoy!”
In this stage, perhaps the contact isn’t quite ready to buy but they’re interested in what you have to offer. They’re also understanding of their pain points and are actively gathering more information about the solution you (or other companies) offer, in order to decide what’s best for them. Thus, you want to nurture them this time with an email that positions yourself above the competition. Send them a nurturing email that contains a white paper or case study. Of course, keep the asset relevant to the contact’s needs.
Before moving onto the BoFu stage, let’s identify another audience you should want to reach in your MoFu stage -- retargetable audiences. These are audiences who’ve given signals of wanting to buy but no longer interact with your website. Possibly, they’ve abandoned an online shopping cart or didn’t engage with a previously downloaded asset. In either of these cases, you should send them a nurturing email reminding them of their failed purchase or about the importance of the asset.
This is the stage where a customer is most ready to do business and when you should email them with a hard offer. Simple as that. Or, nudge them along with a slightly less immediate offer, like providing them a demo of your software.
For example, send them an email saying: “You’ve read our ebook. Now, get 30 percent off our solution.”
If you want to use lead nurturing emails to the best extent, remember: Gently yet urgently nudge a customer through their buyer’s journey.
Feel like you have new lead nurturing tactics to incorporate into your current lead nurturing strategy? Take your learning to the next level by applying your knowledge in the Lesson 4 Exercise below.
1. Review the different tactics in this lesson and select one that you are not already using for lead nurturing.
2. Answer the following questions:
In Lesson 5, we will cover lead nurturing with email in much more comprehensive detail, such as highlighting best practices and email testing. We’ll even provide you solid templates and examples which you can use for your own email lead nurturing campaigns.