These days, most businesses have some sort of lead nurturing strategy in place. However, a very small percentage can honestly label their strategies as “effective” or “high returning.” This is because the average lead nurturing strategy is built on fundamentally incorrect assumptions and beliefs.
If your strategy isn’t as effective or high returning as you’d like it to be, then you may have some extra work to do.
Back to the Basics With Lead Nurturing
If someone were to ask you about lead nurturing, would you have a good definition ready for them? It’s not something you’re forced to discuss much outside of your business, so don’t feel inadequate if you’re at a loss for words.
Marketo says it best when it defines lead nurturing as “the process of developing relationships with buyers at every stage of the sales funnel, and through every step of the buyer’s journey. It focuses marketing and communication efforts on listening to the needs of prospects, and providing the information and answers they need.”
Notice how that definition places an emphasis on meeting the prospects where they are, as opposed to pushing products on them and hoping something sticks. Marketo also notes that only 50 percent of the leads in any system are ready to buy. This means half of all leads are more likely to walk away than they are to convert.
This latter statistic points to a very real need that isn’t being discussed much in the context of lead nurturing strategies: customer centricity.
Four Questions You Must Ask Yourself
In order to develop a customer-centric lead nurturing strategy that allows you to reach all of your prospects–including the 50 percent that isn’t ready to buy–you need to ask yourself a few questions:
1. Are You Being Patient? It’s easy to feel rushed when interacting with prospects. After all, you don’t want to waste your time on someone who will never end up becoming a customer. However, you need to remember that it takes time to nudge a prospect along.
“On average, 10 separate communications are made before a prospective client becomes a customer,” explains Insightly, a provider of CRM solutions for small businesses. “Nurturing your client by addressing concerns, being knowledgeable about all aspects of the brand, answering questions succinctly, and following up on conversations all go a long way to making the transaction successful.”
2. Do You Have the Right Timing? Timing is everything when attempting to capture leads and transform them into customers. One rampant issue is that businesses don’t always reach out at the right time. This is typically rooted in a lack of planning and foresight.
According to Matthew Sweezey, a leading voice in the push for marketing automation, drip emails should be sent every 6 to 45 days. “Six days means that you will not run the risk of emailing someone twice in one week, and 45 days gives you a touch once every month and a half,” he explains. Setting triggers should allow you to deliver emails at the perfect time.
3. Are You Taking a Multi-Channel Approach? Did you know that four out of five marketers report email open rates that don’t exceed 20 percent? That’s a striking statistic when you consider that so many marketers use email as their primary lead nurturing tool. Ultimately it shows that marketers need to move beyond email and adopt multi-channel lead nurturing strategies that reach prospects where they are (which, overwhelmingly, is not an email inbox).
Thanks to the abundance of marketing and sales technologies and resources on the market today, you can easily move beyond email and implement a strategic combination of social media, paid retargeting, content marketing, and more.
4. Are You Supporting Your Sales Pitch? If there’s one thing that the Internet has taught this generation of buyers–both B2B and B2C–it’s that information is never more than a few clicks away. If someone is preparing to purchase something and wants to know more, all they have to do is type a few words into a search engine and they’ll instantly be served hundreds (or thousands) of possible answers. This behavior of the modern buyer begs the question: Are you supporting your sales pitch with the right content?
If you’re going to make claims, discuss benefits, and deliver a sales pitch via email, landing page, social media, etc., you have to assume that prospects are going to seek out more information before coming to a decision. Satisfy this behavior by developing case studies, e-books, blog posts, reports, and webinars.
Reassess Your Lead Nurturing Strategy
There’s nothing easy about lead nurturing, but ensure that you’re making the most of your time by considering the questions that really matter. Start with these four and consider how you can develop a customer-centric approach that prioritizes the tendencies and preferences of your ideal customers.