“Create lead magnets.”
“Grow your email list.”
“Email is the best marketing channel with the highest ROI.”
If you have researched even a bit about marketing on the web, or have availed digital marketing services from an agency or professional that knows what they are doing, there is a good chance that you have read/heard one of the above-mentioned statements.
As advice and as statements, the sentences make a lot of sense. Email marketing truly delivers the highest ROI to marketers. Growing your email list is one of best ways to grow your business quickly.
And creating lead magnets is a great way to grow your email list.
However, did you notice how nobody talks about what to do AFTER you have collected someone’s email?
If you did, you have landed on the right article.
In the following sections, we will talk about what happens (what you should do) after you have collected someone’s email and generated a “lead”.
However, before we can move forward, we must understand the meaning of a few terms that will be used throughout this article. These are:
- MQL: Marketing Qualified Leads are the leads who have shown some interest in your product or service. For the sake of this article, the signal that denotes this interest is the collection of email in the exchange of a content offer or a newsletter signup.
- SQL: A Sales Qualified Lead is someone whose interest in your product or service is high enough that you (or your sales reps) have a realistic chance of converting them into a paying customer. The ‘signal’ the denotes an SQL is usually a booked appointment for a discovery call or a similar action.
- Lead Nurturing: Lead nurturing, as the name suggests, is a series of actions that you use to nurture your MQLs to turn them into SQLs. The objective of lead nurturing is to forge a relationship with your prospects by providing them with value at every stage of the buyer’s journey.
- Buyer’s Journey: The buyer’s journey is the path a prospect takes from becoming aware about the problem (that you are solving), considering possible solutions, and deciding that your product or service is the best solution to their problem.
Now, you may be wondering if lead nurturing is really necessary. After all, an MQL has shown clear interest in what you have on offer. Why not send them a sales email or have one of your talented sales reps give them a call?
Let’s find out in the next section.
Why Is Lead Nurturing Important?
Lead nurturing is important for two reasons:
- The way we purchase has evolved: While a significant percentage of Internet users do make impulse purchases, you cannot expect your entire business to depend on the likeliness of such purchases.
Everyone that doesn’t engage in impulse purchases usually conducts thorough research before purchasing a product. In many cases, we aren’t even aware that we need a product to address a problem in our lives.
This is where lead nurturing becomes relevant. It can be used to make your prospects aware about the problem that you are solving, or to simply answer their questions, lift their apprehensions, and slowly and subtly position your product as the ideal choice for them in their mind.
- The products we sell are more complex than ever: We are in the age of digital products that solve complex problems.
Making your prospects aware about their problems, the effect of said problems in their lives, and how your product effectively solves said problems cannot be done in a single interaction.
That’s why, lead nurturing is used to share information with your prospects that is relevant to where they are in their buyer’s journey.
If you still don’t see how lead nurturing makes sense, consider the following stats:
- Companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads (SQLs) at 33% lower cost.
- Nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads.
- Lead nurturing emails enjoy 4-10X the response rate that standalone email blasts get.
In short, lead nurturing is critical to ensuring success.
With that out of the way, let’s look at a few tips that you can use to maximise the results from your lead nurturing efforts:
Personalize Lead Nurturing
Personalization, while a little difficult and time consuming to implement, has the power to deliver mind-blowing results.
In the case of lead nurturing emails, this is more true than anywhere else and the best part is, personalizing lead nurturing emails is not a time or effort intensive task. In fact, it can be automated!
You can do this by sending emails that are triggered by specific actions that a user takes on your website. This means, you can create custom email sequences for different visitors. For instance, you can send a tailored email sequence to everyone that downloaded an ebook from your website and a completely different email sequence to those who saw your VSL video.
This way, you can personalise the content of these emails by making it relevant to the action that the user has performed on your website.
Pro Tip: This is just one of a plethora of ways in which you can personalize your lead nurturing email campaigns. You can also personalize emails based on the prospects’ last interaction with you on platforms other than your website like an interaction with one of your Facebook posts.
The Money Lies In Following Up
The value of following up is not a secret. Yet, it is quite surprising that most businesses get it wrong.
The key to successfully following up with a prospect is getting the timing right.
One of the best times to follow up with leads? Right after they have performed a conversion action on your website.
This way, you can reach out to them when you know that they are interacting with and thus, thinking about your brand. At the same time, you can also personalize the follow up conversation based on the action that they just took.
While this part is easy to perfect, the difficult part in this process is to get the messaging right. Following up right after a prospect has performed a conversion action on your website is a great strategy whose effectiveness can be easily screwed by using the follow up to throw a pitch at your prospects.
It is important to remember that the objective is to nurture them till they are ready for a pitch. If they have just downloaded your content offer, there is a good chance that they are far from ready to purchase from you.
However, a thoughtful follow up, aimed at simply delivering relevant value to your prospect will bring them closer to being ready to purchase from you.
Don’t Depend Solely On Email
By now, I have mentioned the effectiveness of email as a lead nurturing channel multiple times. While emails are truly effective, they are certainly not the sole channel you should use to nurture your emails.
Modern marketers utilise a combination of multiple touchpoints, across different platforms to improve the likeliness of a prospect converting when they are introduced to the sales team as an SQL.
This is possible today because email nurturing can be personalized, automated, and scaled at the same time, and there are other complementary technologies available that offer similar abilities. Some of these are:
- Dynamic Website Content: Just like you can segment prospects in an email list and send them personalized emails, you can use these personalized emails to lead them to personalized content on your website.
- Paid Advertising Retargeting: Platforms like Facebook Ads and Google Ads offer the ability to show tailored ads to visitors that have taken specific actions on your website, much like how email people in your email lists are segmented. This way, you can even offer targeted nurturing content in the form of ads on social media.
- Direct Sales Outreach: As mentioned earlier, combining your conversion events with prompt and relevant sales follow ups can result in shortening of the sales cycle and improved conversions.
The point is, if you really want your leads to truly feel nurtured and remember your brand, you must employ a multi channel nurturing approach.
Post Nurturing Content On Your Website And Make It Rank
When creating content to nurture leads, most of us forget about one type of targeting- by keywords.
We often segment users in our email lists on the basis of their current position in the buyer’s journey and send them relevant content. Or show them retargeted ads, as discussed in the previous point.
However, what many of us forget is that just because our prospects are consuming nurturing content, doesn’t mean they aren’t searching the web for similar content. Moreover, we also forget that other prospects that may not be a part of our list are also searching the web for content that fits under the “nurturing” category.
In other words, if you are not researching keywords that your middle of the funnel prospects may be using to search the web, you are overlooking a possibly significant source of revenue.
When you are planning a blogging strategy, make sure you make room for keywords and topics that relate to the middle and end of the funnel prospects. Remember, not all of your prospects have to start at the top of the funnel in order to convert into paying customers.
Moreover, those prospects that are already a part of your list from the awareness stage will just trust your brand more when they search for a middle of the funnel query and find your content ranking in the SERPs.
Not to forget, you can also segment the prospects that enter your funnel through organic search and personalize their journey to becoming your customer.
With that said, getting your content to rank involves quite a bit of effort. You can begin by running your website and blog pages through a website checker to optimize the on-page elements of your blog and website content.
Then, you can invest in building links to eventually climb the SERPs.
If this sounds like it will take a lot of time to happen, it’s because that is the way SEO works. The process is demanding and slow (probably the worst possible combination). However, once the results (traffic) start pouring in, it will all be worth the effort.
Becoming visible to prospects, converting them into leads, and then nurturing them into becoming sales qualified leads is primarily the job of the marketing arm of your business.
Ensuring real success that actually adds to the bottom line of your business is the job of your sales team.
However, if the marketing arm of your business doesn’t do a good job of targeting the right prospects and properly nurturing them, the sales team will struggle with getting results on their KPIs.
Similarly, if the sales team does not perform its job in a prompt and focused manner, it will nullify a lot of the efforts made by the marketing team.
In other words, this entire process of bringing in new business will only work well when both teams work in perfect tandem.
The best way to ensure such a smooth partnership? By building accountability.
Chart out performance metrics and clear responsibilities for people in both teams. For instance, the marketing team will track and deliver on metrics like number of SQLs, a minimum number of interactions that they have executed with the prospect before qualifying them as an SQL, and other similar metrics that ensure that every SQL is truly primed and ready to be converted into a paying customer.
On the other hand, the sales team must commit to metrics like reaching out to a fresh SQL within a fixed period of time and delivering a fixed rate of conversion and making efforts to improve it.
Lead nurturing has become an important part of not just successful marketing strategies, but of the evolved shopping habits of the modern consumers. It is not optional anymore and most businesses across different industries have realised the same.
This means, if you are just starting out with your lead nurturing efforts, chances are that you will have to face a lot of competition. This in turn means that run-of-the-mill strategies and tips will not work. You will have to innovate your lead nurturing process if you are hoping it will help you stand out from the crowd and get noticed by your potential customers.
Got questions? SUggestions? Did we miss one of your favorite lead nurturing tips? Anything you have to share, drop it in the comment section below and I promise to be prompt with my replies.