There are signs that political events are overtaking traditional markets. Brexit is threatening to put established trade agreements in Europe in turmoil. Moreover, President Trump’s mission to ‘Put America First’ is further muddying the waters. Add to this a depression still lingering, and orders are most certainly no longer a guarantee of future business.
The leads we garner or the signs of initial consumer interest are thus more precious than ever. Our competition is in the same pickle, so to speak, and beavering away to take business away from us too. Therefore, we must continuously revisit our lead nurturing strategy to see if there is room for improvement.
HOW TO BE THE WILLIAM TELL OF INBOUND TACTICS
By this, we are not just referring to investing in the latest lead nurturing software, although this does have its moments. We must first understand the lead nurturing process, and the ten top lead generation tactics that are the subject of this blog.
1. Establish a Lead Scoring System
Lead scoring is a process whereby we rank our inbound leads against their potential to bring value in the form of sales. The Lenskold Group says 68% of companies regard this as one of their most powerful lead-nurturing tools. When we do, we may find the Pareto Principle is correct.
If we find 20% of our leads potentially hold 80% of total value, this becomes a lead nurturing strategy impossible to ignore. Many marketing automation platforms have ranking systems with assigned values for social media contact, browsing patterns, and perceived position in the funnel.
2 Develop Targeted Content
Fish try to grab the bait off hooks because they are hoping for a free meal. However, we should use the right sort of bait to be successful. The actual content we use on social media and in our blogs must be shaped to the audience persona we hope to attract. There is a vast difference between what executives are reading, and what teens find interesting. Hence, we should develop different, related content for each of the sectors in our inbound marketing strategy.
For this to work in our favor, it’s also essential we understand their personal goals, and what triggers their arousal of interest.
3. Identify Lead Buying Cycle and Needs
Idea timing makes or breaks a lead nurturing campaign. We can’t sell ice to Eskimos at any time, or snowshoes in California at the height of summer (or ever, really). If we are selling accounting software, our prospects are unlikely to be interested in our lead nurturing content in the run-up to tax filing season.
Thus, many needs are seasonal, although with B2B this is more likely to depend on the business climate than the weather. Before we fire off an email campaign to nurture those early expressions of interest, we must become lead centric first. According to Email Monks, triggered emails have a 152% greater click-through rate because they are timely, personalized, and relevant.
4. Diversify with Multichannel Lead Nurturing
Taking a single media approach with content marketing can be deadly dangerous. Ogilvy Insights extols the virtues of using math marketing to analyze the results of our marketing effort. Moreover, Econsulting reports 96% of B2B marketers think stratification is the most effective way to improve conversion rates.
Targeted, multi-media marketing is a proven way to drive revenue, just as using the right bait is the correct way to land the right fish. There are different ways to deliver a message. But we must use the channels our persona follows to ring the virtual doorbell.
5. Buyer’s Journey and Appropriate Nurturing
An effective marketing strategy takes account of where the lead is on their purchasing mission. While Gleanster claims that lead nurturing can convert over 15% uncertain people to buyers, first prize is to right-time it with greater accuracy. This applies equally to B2B strategy, and B2C strategy.
All buyers, whether corporate, company, or private begin their journey by learning what is available. That’s the awareness stage. After they think about it for a while, they decide whether to purchase. Their post purchase phase, if any, determines whether they will buy from us again.
6. Lead Generation Strategy Timeline
From this, it follows that our marketing ROI will be greater when we follow up timeously. Harvard Business Review informs that the average time taken to respond to B2B leads is 42 hours, and that 23% of companies never follow up on first expressions of interest at all. We do our brand a disservice if we respond to a lead after they have completed researching, or even made their purchasing decision. We can come across as arrogant if we owe our approach to bad timing. This makes managing timelines a key KPI.
7. The Power of Personalized Emails
When we understand individual buyer personas after making a phone call, we can time further follow-ups according to where they are on their buyer’s journey. Experian Email Marketing is convinced that personalizing emails increases their effectiveness up to 600%.
Simply knowing where a lead is on their journey through the sales funnel can get us halfway to a successful conversion.
It is the difference between us contacting a charity when we are ready to make a donation, and a beggar following us through the car park.
While marketing and sales may occupy their own floors in a corporate skyscraper, in a small company these activities may both lie with a single person. The crossover points blur when some managers don’t understand the difference, and leads drift away confused.
CSO Insights reports that aligning them properly yields improvements in lead nurturing metrics. Marketing draws buyers and sellers together. Sales is responsible for completing transactions and managing the post-purchase phase. The customer should hardly notice the transition.
Marketing visionary Peter Drucker wrote ‘what gets measured gets managed’. His new scientific management philosophy spawned more takes on marketing metrics, and more lead nurturing software than we care to count. However, the principles remain the same as Demand Gen reports.
When we generate, and nurture leads scientifically as we have been describing here, we can achieve significantly more success by value of sales for up to 33% lower costs. The key is harnessing targeted marketing, and harvesting leads in the 80% value quadrant. Business has always worked this way, and it is easy to do on the internet once we understand how it works.
10.Leaky Funnels & Re-Nurturing Old Leads
Most pictures we’ve seen feature perfect funnels with not an escape hatch in sight. The truth is all conversion funnels leak, and the majority of leads drift away. Perhaps they purchased elsewhere, or did not buy at all. We can’t rely on Sales to call them back.
It is our job in Marketing to keep buyers and sellers in constant contact. We can do several things to achieve this goal, especially if we have harvested email addresses, and permissions to remain in contact. Moreover, our understanding of individual personas is a powerful tool at our disposal. We call this second phase in the lead nurturing process re-nurturing.
We return to the start of the cycle because we know buyers never stop researching. We satisfy their curiosity with a combination of targeted emails, blogs, and newsletters. We want them to know about us, and remember us next time they begin their purchasing research. Then we can bring the ten top inbound tactics to bear again that are the subject of this blog.