The Anatomy of the Best Performing Lead Nurturing Strategies
As an Inbound Writer for Lean Labs, Melissa writes about high-converting websites and customer-centric marketing. She's an avid traveler, with trips to Iceland, Ukraine, and Portugal under her belt. She currently resides in Wilmington, North Carolina with her dog, Morrie.
In the 2010 science fiction film Inception, Leonardo DiCaprio plays a professional thief who infiltrates the subconscious to steal information. Lead nurturing isn’t too far from that. Except for, you know, the crime.
To nurture your leads to become customers better, tap into their subconscious.
Consumers are overwhelmed with offers, promotions, ads, and content every day. Being a brand that seems to know what they are thinking and understands their concerns goes a long way to separating from the noise.
The Best Lead Nurturing Strategies
Companies that implement lead nurturing gain 45% more ROI from their leads.
By leveraging the questions, curiosity, fears, and challenges of your ideal customer, you can create a lead nurturing strategy that incentivizes engaging with your brand. When you tap into what they want and need, you can transition them from "I think I’m interested in this product" to "I must have this product."
Have Full-Funnel Lead Nurturing
Full-funnel content is the key to moving your leads through the funnel.
Some tactics that help create full-funnel content strategy include:
- Keyword mapping by stage. Determine when they’ll search for what, and how they will go about defining their problem, at which stage.
- Defining triggers. These can be social media engagements, content downloads, and free trial sign-ups. Figure out what kind of follow-up makes sense for each, and what content can support those interactions.
- Repurposing content. Optimize older pieces of content, and repurpose for various channels. For example, a short video could be created based on a blog post, or an extended version of that blog post could be created.
Repurposing content can be an effective, time-saving way to create great assets, fast. In our Repurposing Toolkit: Why & How to Repurpose Content, we'll provide dozens of real-life examples of how to reuse material.
Use A Multi-Channel Approach
The best full-funnel lead nurturing strategies include interacting with the lead through multiple channels.
- Paid Retargeting. Perfect Audience, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat can be used for retargeting. Using pixel-based or list based retargeting, target a lead based on lifecycle stage, and build custom audiences to get in front of the right person, at the right time.
- Smart Content. Prevents leads from having to re-submit information, or take the same action twice. It recognizes the user based on the data compiled about their behavior, can trigger a CTA that fits their stage, and can even personalize content by industry.
- Segmenting + tailoring email nurturing. Create email lists based on interest and behavior, with content to match their current stage. Highly-targeted content delivers, with the potential to boost open rates by 14+%, according to a MailChimp report.
- Aligned Sales and Marketing Teams. Work with your sales team to clarify when leads will be considered “sales ready”, and what the hand-off between marketing looks like.
Use Effective MarTech
The most effective lead nurturing campaigns require constant maintenance, ideally, with the support of a marketing automation platform. By using HubSpot, for example, you can effectively qualify and focus on the quality your leads, which is one of the most important goals of lead nurturing.
With the help of one of the best lead nurturing softwares, you'll kickstart your lead nurturing without too much of a learning curve. It'll be easy to start using lead nurturing resources tools, such as:
- Lead flows. Short, customizable pop-up forms used to increase blog subscriptions and promote specific content pieces.
- Workflows. Set a starting condition and enrollment triggers to include lead in automated, personalized email workflows.
- Lead Scoring. Establish scoring criteria, have scores automatically calculated, and use negative and positive attributes to track and maintain score based on a lead's ongoing engagement.
- List Segmentation. Create more targeted smart lists, setting criteria that helps organize leads into more curated segments.
- Progressive Profiling. Enables marketers to only request a small portion of information from a lead at first, saving the heavy questions for later on in the engagement.
How We Do It
At each stage of the funnel, determine the one thing that may cause a contact to move to the next stage of the buyer journey. Whatever that one thing is, your lead nurturing should focus on that.
Drive a conversion to that one thing, then start the conversion process for the next stage’s one thing.
The Awareness Stage
At this stage, leads have a problem that has driven them to Google in search of answers. They aren’t looking for a solution to purchase, they are looking for answers.
We start with creating a lot of top of funnel (TOFU) content addressing all their questions. We build TOFU lead magnets to convert these contacts.
Then, each of those leads is entered into an indoctrination series.
In our indoctrination series, we make the big brand promise. This series is highly educational on who the brand is, and what it stands for. We want them to know the problem we will help them solve, and why they should listen to us. In short, we tell our brand story.
After the indoctrination series, everyone who is still a TOFU lead gets an engagement series. This series is 100% dedicated to the one thing that will convert them to a MOFU lead.
Once a contact converts on that MOFU (interest) offer, they get another set of lead nurturing.
The Interest Stage
Once a contact converts and moves to the interest stage, it signals they need a solution similar to what we offer. Not all the TOFU leads are going to be ready (or qualified) to be interested in our service.
We’re not selling our service at this stage, we’re just making the contacts aware that there is a service that can solve their problems or add value to them in some way. It’s not about “buy from us,” it’s more a message of “consider something like us.”
The engagement series we send to contacts in the interest stage are geared toward the one thing that will get them to start considering a solution. Since we’ve been doing great nurturing to this point, we’re usually the front-runner. But, everyone does (and should) shop for the best fit before they plop down the cash or sign the contract.
We’re not trying to differentiate ourselves from competitors at this point, though. We’re trying to align services with their problem, so they gain an interest in the solution, and move on to considering which to purchase.
The Consideration Stage
During the consideration stage, the contact is doing research to see which solution is the best fit. We’ve sold them on the need for the solution, now we need to sell them on the need for our solution.
In this stage, we do our best to draw lines of contrast between us and the competition. In other words, this stage is all about “why us?” If we have a better product, and we can communicate that value, we win the contact into a decision stage.
The Decision Stage
These contacts are pretty much sold on the solution they want. In the best of worlds, that’s us.
In this stage, the nurturing message is not why they should buy. We’ve already won that battle. The question is not if they should choose us or not, we won that battle as well. The main question we want to answer is why buy from us right now?
Getting the contact from a desire to buy, to making the decision to buy, is huge at this stage. In fact, this stage is often heavy on the sales side and personal contact.
The Anatomy Of The Best Lead Nurturing
The anatomy of a high-performance lead nurturing campaign is built around understanding the micro conversions that lead to a buying decision. By using nurturing to knock down those micro-conversion dominos, one at a time, you can build up rapport with potential customers.
Without this cohesive lead nurturing strategy, leads drop off. So for every stage, using content and engagement tactics can keep the lead moving to the next phase of the normal buying process. To remain top of mind, consumers need consistent persuasion, content, and communication to connect with your brand and keep them interested.
If you're struggling to get leads to begin with, check out Conquering the Inbound Marketing Mountain. You'll gain actionable insights about mastering inbound marketing, such as how to detail personas, build a team of inbound marketers, and putting together key components of your editorial calendar.