Strategies and Tactics for Effective Lead Nurturing
Sometimes it feels like deciding how and when to contact leads is more an art than a science. As tempting as it is to just push more content through more channels, this approach is neither efficient nor effective. Marketers have indeed more options than ever to communicate with leads, but consumers have a diminishing attention span.
To break through the clutter, you need to exceed buyers’ expectations. Here is how you can start.
Tactics without goals and a strategy are doomed to fail
When companies say they need lead nurturing to get more leads, what they really mean is they need more sales. That is not exactly the same thing.You don’t necessarily need more leads if you can get larger purchases. Click To Tweet
These two different strategies call for different tactics. When you want to focus on getting more customers, you are looking for a broader reach. As a result, your strategy will probably include some very cost-effective tactics such as emails, webinars, or retargeted ads. But when the goal is to get customers to buy more or more often, tactics that offer deeper interactions, such as face-to-face meetings or calls, may be more effective. Ensure that strategy, not tactics, is what’s driving your lead nurturing efforts.
Lead nurturing beyond email marketing
Email remains the king of lead nurturing tactics. Quick and easy to deploy, email enables you to inexpensively personalize communications. And it can be automated based on specific actions, score, date, or other variables. For all these reasons, email marketing is hard to beat.
But email has been a victim of its own success. People simply receive too much. As if trying to rise above the noise was not challenging enough, you also need to comply with anti-spam laws and avoid anti-spam filters. In a world where open rates rarely exceed 20%, email is clearly not enough.Email remains the king of lead nurturing tactics. But it is clearly not enough. Click To Tweet
While email will probably remain one of the key pillars of lead nurturing for some time, you undoubtedly need to engage buyers through a growing variety of channels:
- Online (social media monitoring, videos, dynamic website content, retargeted ads, webinars, etc.)
- Direct mail (letters, postcards, over-sized mail, 3D mailers, etc.)
- Events (conferences, trade shows, seminars, face-to-face meetings, etc.)
- Phone calls
- Mobile marketing automation (geo-targeted text messages, alerts, etc.)
The question is: how do you determine the right multichannel strategy?
Always start with the customer
According to research from Aberdeen Group, it takes on average 10 marketing-driven “touches” to convert a lead from the top of the funnel into a paying customer.
The number of touches differs depending on the length of your buying cycle, but most buyers follow roughly the same pattern, starting at the top of the funnel with the discovery phase, followed by the evaluation phase, and ending with the decision phase.
In the discovery phase, buyers are often trying to decide whether a problem or opportunity merits their attention. People at this stage are generally more receptive to online content, whereas live events are reserved for later stages.
While a CEO and a CIO may follow the same progression path, they do not necessarily use the same channels to consume content. How do you uncover similarities and differences? The answer comes from two invaluable sources of information: buyer personas and data.
Based on research and real conversations with prospects and actual or past clients, buyer personas help you better understand your buyers’ mindset. Ask people to describe their buyer journey, and look for patterns to determine which channels they use and at what stage of the buying journey they use them. Then, validate your findings with data.
Run some tests offering the same content via different channels and analyze the results. People are notoriously biased when they talk about their customer experience, not to mention they may consciously or unconsciously omit important steps. So personas are your compass, but data is your map.
Bringing it all together
If there is one thing marketers can expect in the near future, it’s more data. The integration of mobile technology, social media, big data, analytics, the cloud, and the Internet of Things (IoT) mean that a tsunami of data is getting your way.
This is great news, because the more data you have, the more intelligent your interactions with prospects will be. But it also comes with a challenge: all these data points and channels need to be integrated if you want to offer a cohesive buyer experience across channels.You need to offer a cohesive buyer experience across channels. Click To Tweet
Buyers have indeed become accustomed to marketers anticipating their needs. As a result, they have little tolerance for inconsistent communications. Have you ever been invited to download a white paper you had already downloaded a week earlier? How did that make you feel?
And we’re not just talking about the online customer experience. New technologies are blurring the line between the digital and physical worlds. Smart cameras can now detect when a customer who’s just entered a store is likely to make a purchase and then feed a sales representative key data points about that customer in real-time.
Marketers may feel overwhelmed by the possibilities. But with marketing automation on your side, the situation can be a lot more achievable. Regardless of the tactics you want to use, marketing automation software uses APIs and other integration technologies to personalize communications and offers across channels, enabling you to deliver the integrated experience customers have come to expect.
Leveraging all data points is not an easy task, but remember that the secret to effective lead nurturing is relevancy. It’s not about pushing more content through more channels; it’s about meeting buyers on their terms.The secret to effective lead nurturing is relevancy. Click To Tweet
It’s your turn. What is your approach to pick and choose the most relevant tactics to nurture your leads? Please share your insight in the comments section.
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