Lead nurturing is an essential ingredient of inbound marketing. It is the key to nurturing the relationship with your customers and to successfully converting them and retaining them to the brand.
Getting a user to leave you their data and become a lead is a very important first step. However, from there to the final conversion, you will still have to travel a long way. A good lead nurturing strategy helps optimize and automate this pathway, ensuring that your contacts receive the messages they need at the right time.
What is lead nurturing?
Lead nurturing literally means « feeding contacts ». It’s the process of preparing and coaching prospects throughout the buying cycle, from the first contact with your brand until they become loyal customers.
In order to advance potential customers on this path, they are offered a series of content, actions and interactions. This content ranges from general articles to personalized incentives based on their interests. In short, we take care of the relationship with the customer to put him in contact with relevant offers at all times.
Lead nurturing has a long history in marketing. From the moment a company can collect information directly from users and create a database, it can do lead nurturing. Some traditional methods were phone calls, postal mail, or sending magazines and catalogs to your home. There were also many ways to make contacts and qualify them.
However, it is in recent years that digital marketing has allowed a great development of lead nurturing. You now have the ability to collect information directly from users and create a more scalable digital database, with thousands or even millions of people. The consequence is that manual work can no longer be done contact by contact. Now, marketing automation tools and technologies are used.
The advantages of lead nurturing
Below are the main benefits that lead nurturing brings to companies:
- Improves the ROI of marketing campaigns by achieving more conversions at a lower cost;
- It makes the most of the data you have about users because it converts « raw » information into actionable action;
- By automating the process, lead nurturing saves resources, both in time and energy. By not having to do a lot of manual tracking tasks, the team is freer to focus on higher-value activities, such as creativity and strategy;
- It reduces the risk of rejection and abandonment, because instead of sending mass messages, you contact the right users with the right messages at the right time;
- It allows you to clearly see the entire go-to-market process and optimize workflows to know what’s happening at any given moment.
- It allows a very high level of segmentation and customization, with the consequent increase in efficiency.
Requirements for a lead nurturing strategy
To successfully implement a lead nurturing strategy, you need several elements: a good online presence, effective ways to communicate with customers, and a system to qualify the leads obtained.
The methodology of inbound marketing is based on attracting customers to the brand. Therefore, when they search for you, it is essential that they find a developed online presence and things like:
- An optimized website with a pleasant user experience. These are two fundamental factors that define the success of a website. The first and most important thing is that people can easily navigate the page and find quality information. The second is that the site is optimized to appear when users search for it.
- Presence in social networks. For brands that directly target consumers, it is generally advisable to be present on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. B2B brands should focus especially on their LinkedIn page and take advantage of all the interaction opportunities it offers: company pages, personal profiles, groups, articles…
Effective communication with customers
Being present on the web and social networks is essential to attract users and generate leads. However, it is important that brand channels are not designed unidirectionally, but that you actively communicate with the audience through these channels:
- Email campaigns. Email marketing remains a mainstay of lead nurturing campaigns. Indeed, it allows you to get in direct and personal contact with prospects. The key is to offer them relevant information without hidden motives other than establishing a relationship, for example by sending them interesting content.
- Quality content. Content strategy is another of the basics of inbound marketing. It serves to bring value to users and nurture the relationship at every step of the process.
- Valuable sales material. If you’re striving to create quality content from the early stages of the process, there’s no point in neglecting brochures and catalogs, so make sure they stand out for their quality.
A lead qualification system
One of the fundamental principles of lead nurturing is that not all leads are the same. So you don’t have to treat them the same. Normally, you should score leads through a lead qualification system, in which different elements will be taken into account to assign a score to the lead:
- The level of knowledge and interaction with the brand, determined from the actions it has carried out. For example, if you visited a page, left a comment on social media, or clicked on ads.
- How well does the user fit your ideal customer profile? You need to clearly define the personal buyer of the brand. This will help you know what kind of users to focus on.
- The point in the buying cycle where they are. The interests of a user who has just discovered the brand will be very different from those of another user who is almost ready to buy, which is why we must clearly identify and segment prospects based on this criterion.
Lead Nurturing is a fundamental element of the Inbound Marketing strategy. Through this process, the productivity of the sales team is increased by establishing communication only with the users closest to the purchase.
In addition, it also increases the productivity of the marketing team by creating a process that makes user segments work automatically.
And of course, it influences an increase in sales by investing the sales team’s time in prospects who already know the company, the benefits of its products or services.