The Holy Grail to Lead Nurturing (incl. All Channels You Need to Know)

The Holy Grail to Lead Nurturing (incl. All Channels You Need to Know)

Gary Wellington
|
December 29, 2019

To close more deals, every business must learn to develop close relationships with buyers. However, the lead nurturing process is incredibly complex, and marketers must build and maintain a robust strategy. In this piece, we’ll share the step-by-step process you can follow to get your lead nurturing strategy off the ground.

What Is Lead Nurturing?

Lead nurturing is the process of developing close relationships with leads over time. All over the world, marketing departments achieve this goal by developing a robust strategy that helps them share the appropriate content at each stage of the sales funnel.

By producing the right content at the right time, you can educate and inspire leads to move through the sales funnel. Cutting-edge marketing automation platforms also gives marketers the ability to automate this process at scale and divide their leads into specific segments. In other words, marketers can better focus their content to make the messaging more relevant.

5 lead nurturing Statistics That Prove Its Importance

Wondering whether a lead nurturing strategy is really important? Here are five statistics that show just how important lead nurturing is to any modern business.

1. 80% of new leads never translate into sales.According to Invespcro, 80% of new leads will never translate into sales. But a great lead nurturing strategy can give businesses the power to close more deals and develop strong customer relationships.

2. 48% of businesses believe “long cycle” nurturing is the most effective option.

According to research from Ascend2, 48% of businesses say that a “long cycle” lead- nurturing program is most effective. This statistic underscores the importance of a well-developed lead nurturing strategy.

3. Only 29% of brands nurture existing customers after their first purchases.

In its lead nurturing study, Demand Gen discovered that only 29% of businesses nurture existing customers after their first purchases. A great lead nurturing strategy can help you maximize your returns from each customer.

4. 79% of top-performing companies have used marketing automation for three (or more) years.

Pardot discovered that 79% of the top-performing companies have used marketing automation for three or more years. This statistic is a good indication that lead nurturing is closely linked to success.

5. 51% of marketers say email-list segmentation is the most effective personalization tactic.

Is another study, Ascend2 discovered that 51% of marketers believe list segmentation is the most effective personalization tactic. If your lead nurturing strategy is going to succeed, you need to develop your approach to email.

How to Build Your lead nurturing Strategy

Now that we have a better understanding of why a great lead nurturing strategy is so important, let’s take a look at the four steps you should take to build a successful strategy that gets great results.

1. Define lead stages.

First things first: You’ll need to outline the shape of your inbound marketing and sales funnel. You’ll also need to divide this funnel into larger groups you can target with specific and appropriate lead nurturing strategies.

Here are the most common lead stages you’ll want to incorporate into your own funnel.

Attract

At this stage, your leads have identified a problem and are looking for a solution. They might not know about your business yet, but you’ll attract their attention by using great content that ranks organically.

Top of the Funnel Lead

Once your lead lands on your website, you can consider him or her to be at the top of your funnel. In other words, the lead has demonstrated a general interest and started engaging with your business.

Middle of the Funnel Lead

Once your lead further engages with your business, you can move him or her to the middle of your funnel. At this stage, your lead will have a decent understanding of the solution you offer and the way it will work for them.

Bottom of the Funnel Lead

Now that your lead has developed a larger understanding of your solution, he or she is close to purchasing. So the lead might need a final piece of information before making up his or her mind and taking the plunge.

Customer (or Lost)

Once your customer has reached the bottom of the funnel, there are two ways out: He or she becomes a customer, or you lose them. Lost customers will often be recycled into an earlier stage of the funnel.

2. Pick suitable nurturing content for each stage.

Now that you’ve identified the various lead stages that will compose your lead funnel, it’s time to strategize the content. Here are some examples of the most suitable nurturing content for each stage of the funnel.

Attract

  • Landing pages
  • Blog posts
  • Web content
Salesripe
Blog post on the SalesRipe blog

At this stage of the game, it’s all about attracting your potential leads and pulling them into your lead nurturing funnel. So you’ll want to create high-quality content that organically ranks for popular search terms. These pieces of content will often serve as the first introduction to your business and solution.

Top of the Funnel Lead

  • Blog posts
  • Infographics
  • eBooks
  • Landing pages
ActiveCampaign
ActiveCampaign Landing Page

At this stage, you’ll want to cast a wide net and rely predominantly on blog articles that attract your leads. One great strategy involves incorporating conversion opportunities within blog posts, which take the form of CTAs. These actions can be used as content further down the funnel.

You might also want to create and share other content (e.g., eBooks and infographics) at this stage. With the right distribution and promotion strategy, these forms of content are often widely shared, so they can really entice your leads.

Middle of the Funnel Lead

  • Case studies
  • White papers
  • Landing pages
SalesForce
Salesforce White Paper

Now that your lead has moved further along the funnel by interacting with your initial content, you’ll want to offer some more detailed, sophisticated content. So capitalize on his or her initial interest and offer something really great.

For instance, you might want to offer in-depth case studies, as well as industry-leading white papers. These pieces of long-form content can help position your business as an authority on a given subject and secure the confidence of your leads.

Bottom of the Funnel Lead

  • Initial phone contact
  • Product demos
  • Personalized reports
Wrike
Wrike product demo

Once your lead has demonstrated a strong interest in your content and advanced to this stage, it’s time to start introducing your own solution more strongly.

For instance, you might want to create personalized reports that highlight the way your solution could be used by your lead. You could also try initiating contact via a product demo or phone call.

Customer or Lost

  • Promotional emails
  • Relevant news
  • Usage alerts

Once you convert a lead to a customer, it’s important to keep nurturing your relationship with them. For instance, you should be sure to share regular news and product updates, as well as more sophisticated content (e.g., usage limit alerts).

But if you lose a customer, you’ll want to delicately handle the situation. So you might decide to keep sending occasional company updates or recycling the lead to the top of the funnel.

3. Choose your nurturing channels for each stage.

You’ll inevitably want to use different communication channels, depending on the type of content you’re going to share and the audience you have in mind. Here are some of the key nurturing channels available to you.

  • Email
  • Retargeting ads
      • Facebook
      • LinkedIn
      • Twitter
      • Google Remarketing
      • AdRoll
      • Pinterest
      • Quora
      • Outbrain
  • Social media messages
      • LinkedIn
      • Facebook
      • WhatsApp
  • Telephone calls
      • SMS
      • Dynamic website content
      • Dynamic push notification

 

Now that you have a better idea of the channels you can incorporate into your lead- nurturing strategy, here are the times when you might want to use them.

Attract

During this preliminary stage of the funnel, you’ll want to attract your leads with great content. In order to learn more, you could create dynamic website content that draws the lead in further and inspires them.

Top of the Funnel Lead

At this stage, you’ll want to try and collect email addresses, in order to engage in email marketing. For instance, you could regularly dispatch a newsletter during this stage, and you could even consider some retargeting ads.

Middle of the Funnel Lead

Now that you’ve generated a basic relationship with your leads, you’ll want to diversify the communication channels you use. For instance, you could reach out using social media, or you might consider adjusting your website content according to the lead.

Bottom of the Funnel Lead

With your leads engaged, you’ll want to capitalize on your relationship. At this stage, you might want to suggest direct phone contact. You should also consider making the most of retargeting campaigns, in order to inspire your leads to take action.

Customer or Lost

After you’ve converted a lead into a paying customer, you might want to keep them in the loop by using push notifications and other more intimate communication channels. You might also want to recycle lost leads back into the beginning of your funnel.

4. Set up your lead scoring and segmentation for each stage.

If your lead nurturing strategy is going to be successful, you must learn how to monitor the activity of your leads and know exactly when you should move them from one stage to the next.

A number of tools out there can help you, as far as lead scoring and segmentation. If you need a comprehensive introduction to lead scoring, be sure to read the only guide to lead scoring you need to read.

Here’s a look at times when you might want to attribute points and move a lead from one stage to the next.

Attract

To begin, you’ll want to try and collect the contact information of your fresh leads. You’ll need to try and collect a piece of information. Then you can build a profile for your lead and start attributing scores to their actions.

Top of the Funnel Lead

At this stage, you’ll need to cast a wide net and try having your leads interact with more sophisticated pieces of content. For instance, many marketing departments decide to award a score to leads that interact with a blog post.

Perhaps a lead has demonstrated a satisfactory level of interest in your content, and he or she hits the score threshold you’ve put in place. If so, it’s time to move this lead to the next stage of the funnel.

Middle of the Funnel Lead

Now that your leads have been caught in your net, it’s time to try and pull that net up to the surface. You’ll accomplish this goal by delivering high-quality and targeted content to those leads at the right time—by using the right channel.

At this point, your goal is to have the lead reach out directly to you or more deeply interact with the content you provide. At this stage, many marketing departments will use interactive content like quizzes and small tools.

Bottom of the Funnel Lead

Now that your lead has demonstrated an affinity for your content and a deeper knowledge of your business, you’ll want to consider initiating contact with those leads. For instance, it might be the right time to deliver a demo or initial sales call.

Some marketing departments will cater their next steps to firmographic information about the lead and the score he or she has acquired.

Customer or Lost

You’ll need to develop two distinct paths, depending on whether you close the deal or lose your lead. If you lose the lead after an initial sales call, you might want to recycle him or her back into the lead funnel. But if you close the deal and convert the lead into a customer, you’ll want to develop a nurturing program that will upsell new services and cement your relationship.

5+ lead nurturing email samples you can use for inspiration

When you craft a lead nurturing email, it’s critical for you to make the right choices. By making a slight tweak to your subject line, design, or copy, you can hugely impact the conversion rates you achieve.

Here are five excellent lead nurturing email samples you can use for inspiration.

1. Clean testimonial email from Eight Sleep

Clean testimonial email from Eight Sleep

This clean testimonial email from Eight Sleep looks great, and it keeps things simple. If you have a lead toward the bottom of your funnel, you’ll want to start sharing customer reviews and testimonials with them.

This type of email could do a fantastic job. We love that it keeps things very simple and uses snappy copy to share a clear message: Eight Sleep is great. This email is also attractive design, and it’s easy to skim through.

Its single CTA also gives the lead a clear indication of the next step. This type of testimonial email could really inspire a warm lead to become a customer.

2. Sign up response from Booz Allen

Sign up response from Booz Allen

If you offer lots of great content, you’ll want to give your readers the option to sign up for notifications and updates. If they complete this form, you’ll also want to send them a great confirmation email that pushes things forward.

We love this sign-up response email from Booz Allen. It does a fantastic job of making direct contact with the reader, and it lets them know there’s a lot of content out there. This email also invites the lead to customize his or her preferences, which can make segmentation much easier and help Booz Allen deliver relevant content.

This email is a great example of ways to capitalize on lead interactions and take things to the next level.

3. Sale email – Tattly

Sale email - Tattly

Depending on your product or service, you might want to dispatch the latest offers and sales to your potential leads. But there’s a good chance your leads already receive a number of these emails. So to stand out from the crowd, you’ll need to pull out all the stops.

This sale notification email from Tattly has an attractive design that’s sure to capture the attention of its recipients. The designers clearly put a lot of effort into putting the email together, which your leads will be sure to notice when they open the email. 

You’ll also notice that the email is sparse on copy. The Tattly team clearly chose to keep things streamlined and fresh. That way, the recipient can make a quick choice, rather than being bogged down by copy or complex messaging.

4. Insider newsletter – Oura

Insider newsletter - Oura

If you create great content, you’ll want to share it with your leads as widely and effectively as possible. So you should create an informative newsletter you can regularly send out. 

This insider newsletter from Oura is a great example of an effective newsletter. The design is clean, and the messaging is on-point. These features help entice new readers and really help them feel like they have a direct relationship with the brand.

The content also appears to be informative and high-quality, which will undoubtedly entice leads and encourage them to engage with the brand. We like the way the additional blog content is included at the bottom—with relevant CTAs strategically placed throughout the email.

5. Conversational update – DPDK

If you create great content, you’ll want to share it with your leads as widely and effectively as possible. So you should create an informative newsletter you can regularly send out. This insider newsletter from Oura is a great example of an effective newsletter. The design is clean, and the messaging is on-point. These features help entice new readers and really help them feel like they have a direct relationship with the brand. The content also appears to be informative and high-quality, which will undoubtedly entice leads and encourage them to engage with the brand. We like the way the additional blog content is included at the bottom—with relevant CTAs strategically placed throughoConversational update - DPDK

The emails you send to your leads should drive your relationship forward and create a stronger sense of connection. You can achieve this goal by using authentic design choices and personable copy.

This conversational update email from DPDK offers a fantastic example of using the conversational copy to build a relationship. The email conveys a pleasant, personable tone throughout, and it really reads like you’re receiving an email from a friend.

And the design echoes that feeling. The imagery includes photos of the team, and the illustrations present the same tone.

5 lead nurturing Best Practices

Before we take a look at some of the best lead nurturing software, here are five best practices to level-up your results.

1. Avoid sending too many emails.

We all know how it feels to grow tired of the constant battle to maintain a clean email inbox. To make regular contact without exasperating your audience, you should strike the right balance, in terms of frequency.

You should always keep this concept in mind and treat your recipients with respect. A large percentage (35.4%) of consumers unsubscribe from email newsletters that arrive too frequently.

2. Put your recipient first.

Whenever you prepare an email, you should take the time to think about how it will be received by your leads. If you consider the nurturing strategy from his or her perspective, you’ll be sure to hit the mark every time.

Multiple team members should read the emails that compose your lead nurturing campaign, in order to make sure they’re as polished and appropriate as possible.

3. Create attention-worthy content.

According to numbers from the Content Marketing Institute, 72% of marketers explain that content marketing increases engagement. That’s a pretty strong majority, so you should be sure to appropriately invest in your content.

You should also take the time to develop a clear approach to your content marketing activities. To craft content, your leads can’t help but click on, work with the best content creators possible. 

4. Experiment with timing.

It’s often very difficult to know when to schedule your email marketing campaigns. If you choose a popular time, your email will quickly get buried in a deluge of scheduled emails. But if you choose the wrong time, it simply won’t be seen.

You should be sure to experiment and pay close attention to your open rate. Over time, adjust your strategy, and try to get your content in front of as many recipients as possible.

5. Produce excellent case studies.

Case studies are very important parts of any lead nurturing strategy. Your leads will want to know what others think about your business and the results you’ve managed to achieve for customers in the past.

Because 60% of B2B buyers search for peer reviews and testimonials, you’ll want to satisfy that craving with excellent case studies of your own.

Useful lead nurturing software to use

Ready to make your lead nurturing strategy a success? You’ll have to use the right tools. Here’s a closer look at some of the best lead nurturing software you can use to enhance your results and hit your targets.

Managing leads

Once you acquire leads, it’s important to effectively manage these leads by using a sophisticated and feature-rich CRM. Here are some of the key options.

Pipedrive

Pipedrive

Pipedrive is a sales CRM that focuses on simplicity. This tool makes it possible for marketing and sales departments to sort their sales in one place and perform lead scoring.

Pipedrive also gives teams the power to track communications across a number of different channels, which can boost visibility and ensure the lead is given a harmonious, consistent journey through the lead funnel.

Salesforce

Salesforce

Salesforce is the world’s largest CRM company, and it helps businesses connect with their customers in a whole new way. This gigantic CRM system has become a prototype that can be used to unite a number of teams in one space.

Salesforce provides businesses with all of the tools they need to deliver personal, timely, and repeatable contact with leads. This platform can also be used to track engagement and behavior that will shape strategies.

ActiveCampaign

ActiveCampaign

ActiveCampaign offers a suite of CRM tools that businesses need to track leads and deliver them personalized experiences. This tool also emphasizes simplicity and usability.

The CRM portion of the platform helps facilitate automation, and it even calculates win probability. This tool can also be configured to accommodate for lead scoring.

Distributing content to leads

To execute your lead nurturing strategy, you’ll need to effectively distribute content. Here are the best tools that can help you get your content in front of your leads.

Mailchimp

Mailchimp

Mailchimp is one of the world’s best-known all-in-one marketing platforms. Recently, it has expanded far beyond email. It now helps marketing departments coordinate effective, ambitious campaigns.

You use this tool to create email and social media campaigns, as well as landing pages and digital ads. If you want to get your content in front of your leads, Mailchimp can be very helpful.

ActiveCampaign

ActiveCampaign

ActiveCampaign is also a marketing automation platform that gives marketing teams the ability to coordinate impactful and effective email marketing. A host of features take the manual tasks and guesswork out of lead nurturing.

For instance, this platform offers predictive sending, based on the score and behavior of leads. Email segmentation is also covered here, and it’s simple to insert dynamic content that will keep things fresh for recipients.

Marketo

Marketo

Marketo is popular software for marketing automation that’s developed and delivered by Adobe. This tool can be used for everything from acquisition to advocacy, and it delivers measurable results along the way.

Marketers and salespeople use this tool to distribute the right content at the right time—by using the most appropriate channel.

Conclusion

We hope you’ve found this closer look at the lead nurturing process to be useful. It’s a delicate science, and it will require constant tweaking. But it’s a strategy that can drive huge growth to your business. If you want to grow faster with targeted sales leads, be sure to try SalesRipe for free today.

 

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