According to Marketo, 96 percent of prospects who come to your site are not ready to buy. This is why it’s so important that you nurture your leads like the precious growing relationships they are. Of course, nurturing leads is a smart practice with proven results:
- Companies with lead nurturing programs generate 50% more sales-ready leads at 33% lower cost
- Nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads
- Lead nurturing email campaigns generate 4-10 times more responses than one-off emails
Nurturing leads is both a science and an art. As a science, nurturing leads well requires you to leverage the data your marketing technology is producing to find the customer and campaign insights that are proving successful. As for the art, you should think of lead nurturing like dating; in order to land the ones you want, your brand needs to be interesting, attractive and available, but not too eager or aloof. It’s a delicate balance between head (data) and heart (emotional buying) and one we hope to help you master in today’s blog.
#1 – Map Your Buyer’s Journey
It’s important to know the individual steps in your buyer’s journey because these steps will serve as an outline for each of your well-timed efforts to nurture future leads. Of course, no two buyer journeys are exactly alike, but you can use buyer personas to hone in on the mile-markers that make the most sense for your current conversion goals.
Buyer Personas Are Still Relevant
It’s important to note that a lot has been written about buyer personas being obsolete because Account Based Marketing (ABM) is everything, but that is hogwash. Yes, it’s critical to your success that you personalize content for customers (ABM), but that doesn’t mean you can’t categorize them according to commonalities for your own content budget’s sake. Besides, if you practice list segmentation (and you should), then you already are performing a micro-version of buyer personas.
Talk to Your Customers
Back when your customers were prospects, there was a reason they sought your services and solutions. Find out what those reasons are and DO NOT under any circumstances assume you already know. In fact, whether you take your customers out to lunch and chat about their experience with your company and what ultimately led them to say yes, or you send a brief survey — make sure they do all the talking. This is one of the tricks of the trade that professional focus group leaders recommend. If you send customers a multiple-choice survey, include an opportunity on every question for write-in answers. Countless companies have gleaned million-dollar insights when they allowed customers to tell their side of the story. Below, we’ve written a few questions to help you get started.
Buyer’s Journey Customer Survey Questions
- What issue(s) were you having that made you look for our services/solutions?
- What resources did you find most helpful in getting the information you wanted?
(web, brochure, white papers, videos, etc)
- Was there information you wanted that we didn’t have available when you needed it? If so, what?
- Did you feel like we contacted you too often, too little, or just right?
- Did you share any of our content (blogs, videos, ebooks, etc.) with people at your company?
- Which of our competitors were you also considering?
- What ultimately led you to choose us?
#2 – Create a Content Calendar for Your Nurture Campaigns
Once you have mapped the various journeys your best customers take, you should have some solid ideas on the types of content your most promising prospects will need to complete their journey. You will also note holes in your current content that need filling. Essentially you want to have a variety of content, both short and long-form, that appeal to all types of readers and viewers, from casual observers to serious researchers. One way to create a nurture-focused content calendar that’s relevant is to make a list of the issues your customers mentioned when they sought your services/solutions and then provide helpful thought-leader content that covers those topics.
#3 — Use Multiple Channels to Connect With Customers
Did you know that 80 percent of B2B buyers expect a B2C experience? They expect to be able to view your site on a mobile device, communicate with your company via text (SMS/MMS), and have a fluid and friction-free experience across all channels. To ensure you are ready to meet those demands, start by reviewing your current site on a variety of mobile devices to ensure it loads fast and looks fantastic. Next, review the channels you are already using to send nurture campaigns (email, voice, etc.), and then prioritize the channels you want to try, such as SMS, RSS Feeds, Messaging apps, Chat, etc. When you are ready, add channels one at a time to your current marketing mix. This will give you time to work out any kinks, and allow you to more accurately measure each channel’s impact and ROI.
As you become a multi-channel marketing master, don’t forget the power of channels like direct mail and gift services for cultivating a “personal touch” in your burgeoning B2B relationships. Their tactile nature in our virtual world is one that can cut through the clutter and make a lasting and positive impression.
#4 — Enable Sales and Customer Service to Support Your Efforts
A big part of ensuring your customers have a seamless experience is to ensure everyone at your company is on the same page. Before you launch each of your campaigns, let the people in your sales and customer service departments know what you are sending and when. The last thing you want is to blindside your comrades in customer service and sales by sending prospects a piece that generated calls and questions that they weren’t ready to answer.
#5 — Nurturing Isn’t Just for New Prospects
Did you know that 75 percent of people who divorce cite “lack of commitment” as the reason a relationship ended? As in any relationship, a lack of communication and interest from your business toward your converted customers will ultimately lead to separation. The best way to ensure you keep the love alive between your company and customers is to continue to nurture those relationships with well-timed pieces that add value to their mission and goals. Staying on customer radars is also a great way to get referrals, revive dormant accounts and generate upsells.