Whether you're in B2B, B2C, C2C, or any other business model, you know how challenging it can be to get your leads to convert. Even after all the effort you've put into generating leads in the first place, you still need to engage your audience and lead them further into the buyer's journey.
The most effective, time-tested way to achieve this is through lead nurturing. Lead nurturing is the process of creating and strengthening relationships with buyers at every stage of the sales funnel. It is a vital strategy for brands that aim to build a strong connection with their customers while gaining the attention of new audiences as well.
A staggering 67% of companies use lead generation as the sole metric to determine content success. But as generating leads gets more and more competitive, boosting customer engagement has become a top priority. The right marketing tools and techniques like lead nurturing can help you achieve just this—in a way that works best for your business, customers, and leads.
What is Lead Nurturing?
Lead nurturing is the process of purposefully engaging your target audience, all the way through every stage of the buyer's journey. It is all about developing and reinforcing relationships with customers to create brand awareness and set yourself apart from the competition.
A good lead nurturing strategy strives to educate current and potential consumers on what your brand is about. By keeping in touch with the audience over a longer period of time, you make sure that your brand is favored in every purchasing decision they make. And you can cultivate and amplify this valuable connection directly through their inbox! Consistent, targeted emails are without a doubt the best way to drive traffic, attract new leads, and secure conversions.
To properly nurture leads, you must start by understanding the pain points of the customer. Pain points are specific problems faced by current or prospective customers in the marketing place. Pain points include any problems that a customer may face along their journey. When you understand the needs and wants of your audience at every stage of the sales funnel, you can tailor your marketing efforts for them. This allows you to lead them further on the path to purchase without sounding redundant or swarming them with tons of irrelevant information. All your content and communications should aim to provide customers with what they need to learn in order to make a buying decision.
Learning the pain points and habits of your target audience also helps you build trust quicker. You can utilize your insights to create quality content that grabs the customer's attention. If a prospective lead is looking to solve an issue and they find an answer on your blog, they'll want to sign up to receive more from you! This is why it's so important to have a CTA on every blog or advertising piece that you put out.
When lead nurturing is paired with an automated system, you can have it so that emails are triggered by specific customer behaviors. Whether you want to send personalized emails or follow up with leads in a timely manner, the lead nurturing software streamlines the process and plans out the next actions they will or will not take. Now you can lead your customers down a unique, customized trail that is perfectly designed to educate and delight them.
Pro tip* have a well-constructed Buyer Persona before you invest a bunch of time and energy into marketing. Without goals, you won't be as effective.
Benefits of lead nurturing
80% of leads never translate into sales, but companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads at a 33% lower cost. This eye-opening statistic paints a clear picture of how important it is to maintain relationships with your customers. Lead nurturing directly increases the readiness to buy and maintains a connection till the purchase is made.
The consumer is smart—they rely on testimonials, word of mouth, and past examples when they are researching a company. But at the end of the day, no one is going to want to buy from a business that has only reached out to them with a single cheesy sales pitch. This is why you need to back all of your great reviews and experience with a personalized path for each customer that travels through your sales process. With automated email systems and dedicated lead nurturing platforms like HubSpot, securing conversions can be easier than ever.
B2B lead nurturing strategies
The three main components of a lead nurturing strategy are:
- Contact management
- The Buyer's Journey
Let's take a closer look at each of these elements and see how you can leverage them to further qualify your leads.
1. Contact Management
To organize all your data efficiently and keep track of every single lead, you need a strong customer relationship manager (CRM). A CRM stores your lead's information keeps track of emails that they have opened and logs all past contact your company has had with them. Think of it as an online Rolodex with the capability to help you decide whether the contact is a qualified or unqualified lead. With so much riding on the right CRM tools and insights, it's incredibly important to choose the best CRM for your business. We use HubSpot because they have great customer service, and the platform is incredibly easy to use.
Segmentation is the process of sorting your contacts by their similarities. This helps you decide what communications to send to each person or group, rather than lumping them all together. If you do not segment your audience into distinct groups, you risk sending irrelevant information that they simply won't care about.
An example of this would be if you worked for a pet toy company and you lumped both the dog owners and cat owners together. These two pets have very different needs and the owners of cats don't need to see emails for dog toys. No matter what business you're in, you want to make sure that the customer experience is as personalized as possible. And the act of segmenting your contacts is where you start to build trust with your audience.
There are four types of segmentation you can choose for your audience:
- Buyers' Journey Segmentation - Organize your audience by what stage in the buying stage they are in Awareness, Consideration, and Decision.
- Demographic segmentation - Splitting up your audience based on age, sex, occupation, education level, or income
- Behavioral segmentation - Dividing your audience based on behaviors like usage rate, benefits sought, loyalty, and online shopping habits
- Geographic segmentation - Splitting up your market based on their country, state, county or zip code
- Psychographic segmentation - Segmenting your audience based on interests, personality traits, beliefs, values, and lifestyles
You can pick the segmentation type that makes sense for your business and its goals. Make sure you create the groups and store the data with appropriate titles or tags. This allows you to easily access specific groups and learn which customers are best for you.
3. The Buyer's Journey
The main goal when crafting a complete buyer's journey is to attract audiences, engage them, close deals, and delight your customers. Then you can plan ahead to use different types of content and sales strategies at each of these stages. By segmenting the buyer's journey this way, you are able to address personal pain points and offer solutions at precisely the right time.
The classic inbound approach is all about engaging and guiding your customers down a clearly-defined sales funnel. But the typical funnel doesn't always represent how things work in real life. Customers may not start at the top of the funnel or move at the same pace. This is why we put a spin on it to create the "Campfire" model, which is the buyer's journey 2.0. You want to keep the customer engaged at every single level in the process, and that's why we focus on delighting consumers in the middle of our flywheel. With the right mix of targeted videos, blogs, social posts, and more, you'll keep current and potential customers coming back to you.
Want to see some great examples of lead nurturing emails? Here's an article that HubSpot did on 19 lead nurturing emails.
The Bottom Line
While a solid lead generation campaign is good for your business, it's not enough to bring the sales and results you want. This is where a lead nurturing process can make all the difference. Some of the most remarkable effects of a strong lead nurturing strategy include:
- Increased conversion rates
- Increased number of opportunities entering your sales pipeline
- Generating warmer, sales-ready leads
- Improved segmentation of prospects
- Better response to campaigns
- Lower cost of qualified leads
- Gaining higher acceptance of leads from sales
- Delivering a personalized customer experience
Lead nurturing is all about meeting your audience where they are in their journey. This sets your business apart from the competition and provides buyers with just the right information about your products and services they need—when they need them. Want to see some great examples of lead nurturing emails? Here's an article that HubSpot did on 19 lead nurturing emails.