Lead nurturing is critical to drive sales opportunities from your website.
A lack of effective lead nurturing is often the cause of website leads never becoming customers. Even if you have a significant amount of top of funnel (TOFU) leads, you can't just abandon them and hope they become customers.
You must nurture them through the buyer's journey.
Successful lead nurturing doesn’t have to be complicated. We’ve compiled a list of the best lead nurturing practices for 2018. This article provides enough actionable tips to develop more beneficial relationships with your leads through every stage of the buyer’s journey.
10 Lead Nurturing Best Practices
#1. Send Data Enrichment Emails
Data enrichment emails survey customers, and ask them to provide more information about themselves. Kind of like a “hey, we want to stop sending you irrelevant messages, can you give me some information?” play.
These emails help keep your contact records up to date, and also give you additional context about the people on your list. But, they benefit the contacts, too.
By getting this information, you can send messaging and content that fits where they are in the buying process, so your emails will be useful.
#2. Segment Your Contacts
By segmenting your contacts, you can improve your open rates by about 15%.
Because you’re targeting people based on their behavior, what they’ve indicated interest in, etc.
We all get those emails that are too salesy or too ambitious, and we all know they go right to the trash.
Segmenting your contact lists effectively helps you to send content your contacts actually want to read.
The risk of not segmenting your list, or sending a blast to the same list too frequently, is exhausting your leads.
Sending repetitive, overly promotional, or unhelpful emails is a great way to send your unsubscribe rate through the roof.
#3. Refresh Your Processes
Up to 50% of leads will not purchase when they first engage with your company. It’s probably not a good call to immediately give that lead to your sales team. However, within 18 months, 75% of those leads will be ready to buy.
Can your team figure out who those leads are?
If the answer is no, make sure you’re up to date with the definitions of what an MQL or SQL is to your company. Then, revisit your lead scoring strategy.
Every team will have their own definitions, processes, and formulas. Keep the behavior and identifying data that informs these processes up to date.
If stabilizing the way your team qualifies and scores leads, is difficult or impossible for you, it may be time to invest in a better lead nurturing platform, like HubSpot (We love HubSpot).
#4. Regularly Audit Your List
Aside from processes, a staggering 74% of companies don’t even understand the specific qualification of their leads (visitor, lead, MQL, SQL, or unqualified).
Use your definitions of MQL and SQLs, as well as any analytics, and buyer personas, to audit and update the status of the leads you have right now.
While this shouldn’t be done too frequently, it’s helpful for the entire team to know your contact database isn’t full of bad leads and erroneous data.
#5. Nurture Leads Consistently
Companies that actively nurture leads gain about 50% more sales and spend about a third less to acquire leads compared to companies who don’t.
By adapting ongoing lead nurturing strategies for various segments, such as placing them in nurture tracks based on behavior or interest, your team can move more opportunities and MQLs down the funnel faster.
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More buy-ready leads will make your sales team ecstatic.
#6. Create More Lead Capturing Opportunities
Aside from just landing pages and highly valuable content assets, think through additional chances to snag potential lead info.
Networking events are a great way to generate leads.
Go beyond email and gated content, and experiment with various tactics, such as running Facebook contests, or utilizing Twitter cards.
Going back to your buyer personas, and evaluating where your leads congregate, could be a great indicator of where you could try to run paid social lead capturing campaigns.
Give new tactics a fair run and a decent budget and see what happens.
#7. Send Genuine, Quick Follow-Ups
Whenever a lead provides their contact information, regardless of whether it’s for a free trial or a content offer, follow-up with that lead. Preferably, by email. And, do it quickly.
The messages should be straightforward, and clear about any logical next steps associated with their action. When the lead takes an action that requires a call from sales, that call needs to happen in five minutes or less. In fact, leads are 21 times more likely to become qualified when contacted within a few minutes following conversion.
#8. Use Personalized Content and Messaging
Don’t be basic. When you send an email to a lead, make sure it’s personalized. Use personalization tokens in emails, for example, to call out specifics about that individual, such as their name, industry, or company.
No one wants to feel like another number in your system. This is a really simple way to make a lead feel like you know them.
#9. Please Don’t Gate Everything
When seeking more opportunities for lead capture, try not to gate everything.
By choosing to gate highly valuable content, such as a detailed annual report, you may get fewer leads. However, those leads may be more prepared to buy, a better fit, or further in the buyer’s journey.
Using semi-gated content, which allows the lead to preview the content, is a great way to get more leads.
#10. Use Progressive Profiling
Progressive profiling is one of HubSpot’s best features.
The technology lets you set up form questions that filter out what is already known about a contact.
For instance, for a top of funnel offer, we may only ask for name, email, and phone number. When the contact fills out a form for an additional offer, we already know their phone number. So, HubSpot replaces phone number with a different question queued up by priority.
Contacts provide progressively more information over time, rather than bouncing over super-long forms the first go around.
HubSpot is actually one of a few great lead nurturing softwares that has advanced profiling tools for small, medium, and large business. We use it, and swear by it, so we recommend considering it if you’re looking to ramp up your lead nurturing efforts.
Stay Effective and Creative With Lead Nurturing
Whether or not your lead nurturing is successful is based on your engagement with your leads. By finding effective and creative ways to be one on one, you can help build rapport with potential customers. Lead nurturing can be as simple as providing leads with the education and support that they need, when they need it the most.
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