A few years back, who would have thought of buying the groceries for a house in just a few clicks or booking a travel ticket in few minutes without going through the trouble of standing in a queue in pricking hot sun. Cheers to the advanced technology and the vast spread of smartphones and digital media, today, life is in the fist of the consumer. Today, businesses cannot market any product as per their wish. In this customer-centric environment, consumers are enabled with technology in their hand and can nurture themselves with the right facts in few seconds. The buyer in the present scenario might be interested in your product, but whether he or she will be a lead to your business, depends on how you nurture your buyer.
Lead nurturing is the most dominant marketing strategy applied by most business organisations, irrespective of whether they are already established or just sprouting up. Time and again, market studies have proved that a well-orchestrated lead nurturing programs possess an unprecedented potential to gain an effective return on investment (ROI) with minimal resources. Most often marketers and sales personnel’s, get muddled between lead generation and lead nurturing, and treat both as the same, which is erroneous. In simple terms, lead generation is the process of the getting the first attention of the audience and attracting them towards the product or service. At this stage, the consumer might show interest in your product, but would not be convinced enough to make the purchasing decision. This process is usually done through online or offline surveys.
Lead nurturing is the second part of this customer attraction equation. The process of engaging with the business leads or consumers who have shown interest and empowering them with the information at the right time is termed as the lead nurturing. Lead nurturing is a method to influence the consumers to make the purchase decision and create a consumer base for the business. Whether it is B2B or B2C, a well-crafted lead nurturing strategy is the fertile seeds for the business to flourish.
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Lead nurturing is not just about sending out personalised messages to the target audience. Lead nurturing is a business tactic which effectively bridges the gap between the marketing and sales team. An ingenious nurturing approach is a continuous engaging process of targeting different segments of the audience and sharing relevant data at each stage of the customer’s journey of buying cycle. This could be a slow, long and time-consuming process. But businesses need to patiently and consistently nurture their leads to build a high calibre loyal customers and clients, reaping the maximum benefits.
With the progress of a variety of marketing channels and communication systems, companies have a plethora of platforms to engage with their target audience, nurture them and influence their buying decision. You might have hundreds of business leads, but only a few who get nurtured and nourished turn to be loyal customers of your brand. The potential buyers might not become a customer overnight. If nurtured precisely, these potential buyers could be happy customers of the future of the business.
The valuable target audience of the business can be nurtured in a systematic and personalised fashion through a seamless lead nurturing strategy. I’ve mentioned some of the commonly tried, tested and evaluated lead nurturing strategies which anyone could apply to augment their audience base.
Here are 8 lead nurturing practices to convert them into happy customers:
#1 A Profound Understanding of the Target Audience
No marketing initiative is successful without the understanding of the audience. A profound understanding of the altering audience behaviour is the productive formative steps to a successful lead nurturing campaign. Do an in-depth research on the pain points of the consumers, what is important for them and what is not important for them, what sources of information do they like to check out, the various factors which typically influences their buying decision, etc. Build the marketing content based on the inferences of this research. A predefined target persona could be the first area to get the information to nurture an ideal customer.
#2 Testing Variety of Content
Every customer appreciates different types of content in different scenarios depending on their understanding of the content type and the time they have on hand to invest to engage. Some customers love to read e-books, some prefer to listen to podcasts or love to watch videos. Few who don’t have much time, prefer infographics or short blogs which are less time consuming yet productive in nature. Do not stick with just one type of content. Depending on the tastes of the audience, keep evolving and testing a variety of content to nurture the consumer as per their demand at each stage of the customer’s journey.
#3 Conversion Trail Integration
To run a successful lead nurturing campaign, business organisations must have a strong and right conversion path integration. The different parts of the lead nurturing must be integrated accurately and blended perfectly with the other pieces of sales and marketing. The website landing pages, the social media campaigns and CTA buttons, blog posts, email marketing, video ads, etc., must be tied together with an exclusive goal of the lead nurturing campaign. Focus on the content which leads to higher conversion rates through the analytics and integrate them with the nurturing campaign.
#4 Timely Engagement with the Audience
Offering the appropriate content at the right time during the buyer’s journey for a purchasing cycle is one of the most important best practices widely applied by the firms. When the buyer is in the awareness stage, it is important that the marketers nurture them with introductory information about the product and how the product would ease their problems. If the buyer is in decision stage, showcase the different offers and discounts related to the product or service and the details of the smooth checkout process. You can also offer a free-trial for them to get a hands-on experience with the product or service. Give a handmade touch to the entire buyer’s journey by sending personalised messages and emails throughout the process.
#5 Multi-Channel Lead Fostering
Your customer might not always see the email that you have sent or the social media post you have updated in your social media account. Sending out automated generic emails to the consumers isn’t enough. As a marketer, you need to connect with the audience in multiple channels and platforms in multiple ways. A thoughtful and robust lead nurturing strategy must focus on multiple platforms at the same time. A lead nurturing strategy must be a combination of email marketing automation, paid marketing, re-engagement, dynamic website infrastructure, direct sales outreach, social media engagement, etc., with appropriate content best suited for that platform.
#6 Judicious Efforts to Follow-Up with the Audience
Most business leads fail to go through the sales process because of the lack of timely and effective follow-ups. As marketers, a lead nurturing strategy must focus on judicious efforts to follow-up with the potential customers. A best practice to translate the inbound lead into a competent sales opportunity. The timelier the follow-ups, better the chances of conversion rates of the business leads.
#7 Lead Scoring & Apt Key Performance Indicator (KPI) for Measurement
Lead scoring tells us about the suitable content distributed and the engagement with the customers, which is directly proportional to the number of conversions of the business leads. Lead scoring is a simple procedure to rank the forecasts against a scale of perceived value for each lead. A brilliant approach to increase the revenue for the efforts taken.
Tracking the lead nurturing campaigns with the right KPI fitting the goal of the campaigns is the essential part of the lead nurturing process. Some of the commonly used KPI or metrics of measurement of the nurturing campaigns are the lead velocity and conversion rates at each stage of the customer’s journey. These metrics would give the insight into the areas of higher focus and areas which could be ignored while strategizing the lead nurturing campaigns in future.
#8 Re-engagement & Remarketing with an Old Inactive Customer
An old customer, who was interested in the past could become a potential audience for the business. The lead nurturing campaigns must also consider these segments of the audience and re-engage with them in a fresh and brand-new content. Engaging with the old customers or inactive leads can do wonders and bring surprises to the growth of the business. Share the same product with new methods and in a new platform in which your old lead is actively engaging today.
Lead nurturing is a lot of prolonged efforts taken from different parts of the business segments. The most challenging part of the lead nurturing metamorphosis is knowing the state of the audience and their requirements at each stage and feeding the right content for their knowledge nourishment.
Just like how a mother nourishes the baby with valuable nutrients during and after the pregnancy, a consumer needs to be nourished and nurtured with valuable information at the right time through lead nurturing programs to become a valuable business lead for the organisation.
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