You have a lead nurturing strategy in place, but is it driving real value? If your nurturing strategies are not designed to drive maximum conversion, you may be wasting your time and effort. If, on the other hand, you are not doing any type of lead nurturing at all, you are certainly missing out on an opportunity to drive more sales.
According to a study done by Forrester, businesses that nurture leads can see an average increase of 20% in sales opportunities compared to non-nurtured leads.
This same study also showed that companies with a strong approach to nurtured leads also see an increase of 50% more sales, at cost that is 33% lower than non-nurtured leads. Despite the obvious benefits however, a study by MarketingSherpa shows that just 36% of businesses actively nurture their leads.
What exactly does this mean for businesses wanting to improve their lead generation results? And, more importantly, which lead nurturing practices will provide the most significant value?
Fast-Track Your Lead Nurturing Results With These Strategies
If you have been wondering why your lead funnel keeps failing, it may be due to a lack of lead nurturing. Or, it may be due to not following the strategies that add the most value. There is no doubt that investing in marketing automation tools makes the nurturing process far more effective.
If you are automating broken processes however, you will end up wasting time and resources very quickly. Nurturing plays a pivotal role in lead management. Wasting your efforts on lead strategies that have no real value will make it far harder to see results.
Instead, it is always good to focus on the strategies that have been proven time and time again to offer genuine value that gets you closer to conversion.
Some of the most important strategies that will certainly offer real value to your lead nurturing efforts include the following:
As effective as email marketing may be, it should not be the only channel you are focusing on to drive results. Nurturing campaigns in the past focused entirely on email campaigns that sent out generic, non-personalised emails to potential prospects. This approach has a number of issues however.
The State of B2B Lead Nurturing Survey done by Oracle show that four out of five respondents had email open rates that seldom went beyond 20%. An omnichannel approach that integrates email with mobile marketing and other channels will allow you to reach far more people, in a far more meaningful way.
Today's nurturing practices go far beyond email. With the help of marketing automation tools, businesses have the potential to create powerful omnichannel campaigns that use a wide range of channels and tactics for both customer acquisition and retention. Strategies such as post-purchase marketing automation further help to create an inclusive strategy that is geared at increasing engagement and conversion.
In order for omnichannel messaging to be truly successful however, businesses need to have full understanding of each channel and how all channels work together to create a cohesive message. Each channel has its own unique benefits, and what works for one customer will not always work for another.
Marketing automation offers the most effective way to manage all channels seamlessly and centrally in a way that provides the best possible customer experience.
Your customers are all at different stages of their journey.
The message that you send to a brand new or prospective customer should be very different to the message you send a customer you are upselling or re-targeting. Despite the obvious benefits of market segmentation, many businesses still send the same messages to every single customer. In order to truly reach and nurture any given lead at any stage of its life cycle, you need to start with segmented lists that are carefully plotted according to relevant criteria.
Whether you segment by demographics, geography, behaviour, engagement or spend, segmenting should form part of every nurturing strategy.
Segmenting your lists according to specific qualities allows you to deliver information that is highly targeted. As a result, your nurturing messages have a far greater chance of being opened, read and clicked. Some of the things that you could also consider for your segments include their stage of buying journey, their purchase behaviour, their engagement, and even their preferred channels. From there, you can go one step further and create personas for your primary segments.
HubSpot Product Marketing Manager, Jeffrey Russo, speaks about how they create personas according to their key audience segments and stage in the lead cycle. HubSpot identified three main personas: big business, mid sized business and small business. These personas were combined with their current stage in the purchase cycle. For instance, the messages sent to a small business persona would be very different to the message sent to a medium or large business persona.
- Lead Scoring
A 2013 Lead Generation Marketing Effectiveness Study showed that 68% of businesses believe that lead scoring is the most effective way to increase revenue from nurturing. Despite the massive benefits, MarketingSherpa did a more recent study showing that only 21% of B2B businesses use lead scoring.
Working hand in hand with segmentation, lead scoring allows you to rate potential leads according to the real value that they provide for your business. For example, you would rank warm leads that have engaged with messages and shown an interest in your offer above cool leads that have not opened any emails or visited your website in a while.
This is a common feature in most marketing automation software, and works by assigning a numerical value to leads based on behaviour, engagement, browsing, purchase, or even ROI. Leads that have the highest score can then be given priority, ensuring that you do not waste time and money on leads that do not have a good chance of converting.
What about the timing of your messages? Harvard Business Review had some interesting results from a study they conducted. After speaking to over two thousand US companies, this study noted that the average first time response time to leads was 42 hours, with just 37% of companies responding in an hour, 16% responding within one to 24 hours, 24% responding in over 24 hours and 23% not responding at all.
In another Harvard Business Review study, over a million leads were studied after being received by a number of B2C and B2B companies. Those that contacting leads within an hour were almost seven times more likely to qualify that lead compare to those that responded even an hour later. Leads had 60 times more chance of being qualified for companies that waited 24 hours or longer meanwhile.
Needless to say, timing is everything in lead generation. When nurturing leads, you have a far better chance of conversion if leads are contacted quickly. The longer leads are left, the less likely they are to convert. This is where marketing automation comes in to save the day. Having a lead funnel that reaches out to leads quickly is the best way to ensure that you get full value from your efforts. If you wait too long, you will essentially be wasting all of the effort you have done to segment your lists, create personas, create personalised messages and expand your channels.
Personalised email campaigns are without a doubt a vital tool to increase engagement and conversion. For lead nurturing, personalisation is especially useful. An Experian Email Marketing Study states that personalised emails can see a revenue increase of up to six times higher than non-personalised emails.
There are many reasons for this, not least the fact that people typically respond better to content that is relevant. Emails can be personalised by name, area, purchase habits, interests, engagement or many other criteria. Just be sure that you have your details correct – automating a broken personalised email can be disastrous in more ways than one!
Looking for more insight into how to nurture leads more effectively? Contact the Grapevine team today to learn more about our powerful marketing automation tools that allow for optimal lead nurturing impact for your campaigns.