4 Effective Lead Nurturing Strategies

In order to dominate your marketplace and secure new clientel to your brand you must adopt a killer marketing plan. There are so many ways to develop an outstanding marketing strategy, however there are two main approaches that are most often employed.

1. Creating an influential, attention grabbing concept that can be risky, expensive and have major consequences, but leads to instant and sometimes viral effects.

2. Recurrent, low risk actions over long periods of time that demonstrate commitment, dedication and builds relationships with the brand/company slowly.

Number 2 is called lead nurturing and is the textbook strategy to weed out or transform your cold leads into leads who might actually purchase your product/service. Nurturing your leads can often lead to a more efficient marketing strategy, as not only is lead nurturing more cost effective than loud and viral campaigns, but they also help to establish the brand.

Studies have found that only 10 percent of leads will buy on the first time contact with your brand! This is such a small amount and means that 90 percent of your leads may not resound with your campaign. Depending on your business model and pre-existing marketing plan, there may be a time and place for a viral campaign, however there is always room for an effective lead nurturing strategy. It has often been said that marketers who spend time nurturing their leads and building that customer-brand relationship see a 20 percent increase in sales opportunities!

Leads that are nurtured are also 50 percent more likely to buy something and 33 percent of these sales are generated at a lower customer acquisition cost than average. Nurturing your leads also makes your customers to feel valued/wanted, valued customers can goon to be lifetime customers, which can increase the reputation and permanency of your brand. Despite statistics and anecdotal evidence supporting the use of lead nurturing, only 36 percent of marketers are believed to practice it effectively. This is often the case as marketers get too focused on immediate results and lose sight of the bigger picture.

The question is, why not nurture your leads? Lead Nurturing is a critical part of any inbound marketing campaign and can help you to understand when your lead is ready to purchase and the right approach to present them with. This is the secret when it comes to why we want to nurture leads. In today’s civilisation when people want to feel in command of the content they devour as we as educated about the purchases they make, lead nurturing can help to create this.

The Lead Nurturing process involves:
- Informing your leads
- Educating your leads
- Involving your leads
- Validating your leads
- Converting your leads
- Keeping your customers up to date with your brand

Lead nurturing is only one portion of your inbound marketing strategy, but most would argue that it is the most important. Having a hard lead nurturing campaign can help you fight off your competitors and keep your customers extremely loyal. There are some steps you should take before implementing a lead nurturing strategy These steps include:

- Having a strong understanding of your demographic/your target audience
- Knowing the overall purpose for your brand and the intention for each campaign
- Having tracking tools in place to monitor lead involvement, such as Google analytics
- Involving your entire sales and marketing team so everyone is on the same page
- Having quality leads to nurture

What is a Nurture Track I hear you asking? Nurture tracks are your businesses plan of how you are going to utilise your leads and transform them to into paying customers.  For instance, your brand may have a series of emails lined up which are automatically sent out in intervals.  These emails will then help your brand to know how your leads are replying, where improvements need to be made and how to educate your leads in a way to convert them to paying customers.  It is important to note that this is not about being too salesy or pushy with the process but rather leading your prospects down a path that makes them think that they want to buy your product on their own terms.

Customers who don’t feel pressured into purchasing a more likely to trust your brand and feel satisfied with the overall customer service. It is most common that your brand will have to create several nurture tracks in order to be effective. These tracks will likely include:

Welcome Track
Emphases on educating your predictions about what your brand offers, also focuses on acquiring leads.

Low Intensity Track
As buyers pass down the welcoming track, you can realise that they are not yet ready to buy or that the selling sequence needs to be slowed. You can then switch to the less clear low-intensity line, and simply more of a "reminder" that you are there.

Education Track
You may realise that certain prospects show interest in certain topics or information, you may choose to move them to an education track that helps to offer more thorough information about your products/services. This helps to give them confidence to move further down the sales funnel.

Reminder Line
Chances of running down the welcome line sometimes become inactive at the end. When that is the case, you may need to push them into the reminder track to help them refresh their minds and keep them interested with what your brand provides.

Accelerated Track
If prospects show interest in moving down the welcome track very quickly and obviously, you might want to move them to an accelerated track that gives them all the final information they need to make a purchase

After Sale Track
This track is for customers who have made a sale. It is important to keep communicating with them and asking them for feedback, questions and if they are interested in upgrades or further services.

Lost Lead Track
When you lose a lead to a rival, some advertisers will delete this lead from their list and totally abandon it, but sending them updates about your goods and services will be a safer way, so you're still on their radar. You can win them back by staying linked,particularly if they're unsatisfied with the competitor or impressed by your brands approach.

Your business model and marketing strategy will determine the types of tracks that are best suitable for your brand, they will need to be tested and perfected with feedback from your real leads. Once you have some tracks in place you need some strategies to help fill them with. There are so many lead nurturing strategies available to marketers these days with the growing presence of social media however, we have sourced some of the best tactics for your brand. Here are 4 of the Best Lead Nurturing Strategies:

Targeted Content
Targeted content is the best way to create a relationship with your leads. Studies have found that when targeted content was implemented as a lead nurturing strategy, it increased sales opportunities by more than 19%.  When you offer content that is valuable and entertaining to readers, they start to resonate with your brand. It may not happen overnight, but over time if your leads enjoy your content they will keep coming back for more. But how do you go about safeguarding this?

Forrester Research Group uncovered that 33 percent of B2B marketers find it problematic to deliver targeted content and really struggle to know who the right people are for their brand along with the right time to share the content! In order to determine this for your own brand, you must have an understanding of your demographic and the times of day that they are most active on your page or on social media. It is different for everyone so therefore there is no one size fits all.  When you truly understand everything about your audience through various analytical software,reviews, social media responses and anecdotal evidence, you will be charged with the knowledge of what content to produce for them.

Let me further explain with an example if you sell water bottles you may discover that your male customers may better respond to your products through Facebook, but in contrast your female demographic may respond better through Pinterest. Once you understand this It will make content creation that much easier. Even though this may take time to generate, when you start to learn how your audience responds,you can begin automating the process.

Multi-Channel Lead Nurturing
Email is the most overused lead nurturing strategy, however many assert that email is still the best, essentially, it is different for everybody.  Sending out emails allows a brand to fulfill many lead nurturing goals. Emails help remind leads of your brands presence, they help to educate your leads on what you offer and most importantly they can also be individually tailored. Emails can help instrumentally when it comes to lead nurturing strategies however, often marketers don’t reach out enough and therefore forget about other resources that may be available. Emails can also create mixed results, which can be both a positive and negative. Four out of five marketers state that their email open rates don’t exceed 20 percent, that is not that high. If you just focus on emails, a huge portion of your leads are not being nurtured. In the lead nurturing process, it is critical that your brand installs a multi-channel approach which means that you work on nurturing leads across a wide variety of platforms.

Multiple Points of Contact
The average lead needs to have at least 10 points of contact according to a variety of studies.Having 10 points will more easily facilitate a sale between a potential customer and your brand. Not withstanding this statistic, at least 49 percent of marketers only offer 5 points of contact to leads along the sales funnel process. By doing so, many marketers lose valuable leads to competitors, this can be detrimental to your companies bottom line. 10 points of contact might seem like a lot, however if you are sending your leads through your sales funnel over the period of a year you will want as many possible points of contact.  Some suggestions to achieve this include having a solid social media presence, sharing reviews and testimonies, offering e-books, e-courses, free templates, valuable blog content and webinars.

Lead Scoring
Nearly 68 percent of successful marketers believe that lead scoring is the most effective tactic for increasing revenue when it comes to lead nurturing tactics! According to Hubspot, Lead Scoring is: “A methodology used to rank prospects against a scale that represents the perceived value each lead represents to the organisation. Lead scoring can be implemented in most marketing automation platforms by assigning numeric values to certain website browsing behaviours, conversion events or even social media interactions.

The resulting score is used to determine which leads should be followed by with directly by a sales rep or which leads need to be nurtured further down the funnel.” Lead Scoring can save marketers a lot of time and money, both valuable resources if you are running your own brand. Furthermore, it also helps you to also better understand the effectiveness of your campaigns and how their audience is responding. Even though lead scoring is a highly effective tactic, research has found that less than 21 percent of B2B marketers use it in their lead nurturing strategy, don’t be the 80% who don’t use it.  Not all of your leads are equal and when you can tailor a program that is specifically suited for your leads, that is when you will really see a boost in results. Overall, lead nurturing is one of the best ways to ensure customers to your brand over a long period of time.

Ash Bryant

Ash Bryant is the Founder & Director of Vivid Visuals. He is responsible for managing the kick ass team at Vivid Visuals and ensuring clients are getting the best results possible.