Are you looking to improve your lead nurturing and increase conversions?
Developing an effective lead nurturing strategy can help you build meaningful relationships with prospects, provide value, and ultimately convert more leads into customers.
An effective lead nurturing strategy can produce dramatic results.
According to a study by Forrester Research, companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads at 33% lower cost.
Clearly, investing in a structured lead nurturing process can pay off significantly by boosting your conversions.
In this post, I will explain what lead nurturing is, its importance, and walk you through the key steps involved in creating a lead nurturing strategy that converts.
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What is Lead Nurturing?
Lead nurturing is the process of building relationships with potential customers who have shown interest in your business, but are not yet ready to make a purchase.
After generating leads for your business, you need to maintain ongoing communication to move leads through the sales funnel until they are sales-ready.
The goal of lead nurturing is to turn cold leads into warm leads by providing them with valuable information about your company, products or services. This helps build trust and affinity for your brand over time.
There are plenty of different ways to nurture leads such as email campaigns, social media marketing, content marketing, PPC advertising, and more. The idea is to keep providing educational content that answers their questions.
This helps to stay on top of your prospects’ minds until they are ready to buy from you.
Nurtured leads have higher conversion rates than non-nurtured leads. This is because when you consistently develop relationships through relevant, helpful information, it helps you to demonstrate that you really care about your customers.
This, in turn, makes your prospects more inclined to eventually do business with you.
Why Do You Need an Effective Lead Nurturing Strategy?
Implementing a solid lead nurturing strategy is critical for converting more of your marketing leads into sales.
Let’s see the key reasons why you actually need an effective lead nurturing strategy.
1. Develops Relationships
Lead nurturing is all about developing relationships with potential customers who have shown some initial interest in your business.
You want to build trust with these leads over time by providing them value through helpful information and content.
This nurturing process leads to stronger relationships between your business and leads. And when these leads are finally ready to make a purchase, they will be more likely to think of your business first because of the trust already established through effective nurturing.
2. Improves Lead Quality
An effective lead nurturing strategy helps you better determine which leads are serious prospects and which ones are not as interested.
As you nurture leads, their engagement and response to your content provide important clues about where they are in the buyer’s journey.
For example, leads that are frequently opening and clicking on your emails or downloading content show active interest and engagement. These hot leads are more sales-ready. On the other hand, leads that are not opening or responding to any of your nurturing efforts are signaling lower interest.
This data helps you clearly understand where leads are at in their buyer’s journey. You can then focus your sales team’s time and resources on following up with qualified, sales-ready leads who are already well down the funnel.
3. Shortens Sales Cycle
Leads that have been properly nurtured before entering the sales cycle require much less time and effort to convert into customers.
This is because these warm leads are already educated about your business and prepared to have a sales conversation. Not only that but these leads also have already been guided further through the sales funnel before even talking to a sales rep.
This means, when nurtured leads do enter the active sales cycle, the sales team does not have to start from scratch in terms of building awareness or interest. The leads are already pre-qualified and sales-ready.
Thanks to this, the sales process can move faster to presenting solutions, negotiating, and closing the deal.
4. Increases ROI
Putting time and resources into nurturing your leads provides a much higher return on investment (ROI) compared to pursuing cold leads.
Even though lead nurturing requires consistency and effort, the payoff is worth it.
For example, leads that enter your sales funnel without any nurturing are essentially cold prospects. That means your sales team has to start from zero in terms of building awareness and relationships. This takes a lot of costly effort with no guarantee of success.
On the other hand, leads that have been strategically nurtured over time with valuable content are more primed for sales conversations. Because of this, your sales team can focus on presenting solutions rather than doing cold pitches.
As a result, nurtured leads have a much higher closing ratio because they are further along in the buying journey. Not only that but the additional revenue generated from closed nurtured leads exceeds the costs invested into the nurturing process.
How to Create a Lead Nurturing Strategy: Step-by-Step Process
Now that you know what lead nurturing means and its benefits, it’s time to get down to the business.
Below, I have shared a simple, 6-step process to create an effective lead nurturing strategy from scratch.
Step 1 – Identify Your Target Audience
The first step in developing an effective lead nurturing strategy is to clearly identify who your target audience and ideal customers are.
You can start by defining the demographics of your best-fit audience such as age, gender, location, job title, industry, company size, etc.
Then, you need to understand your target audience’s biggest pain points and goals.
Specifically, you need to ask yourself:
- What challenges are they facing that your product or service can help overcome?
- What outcomes are they looking to achieve?
To find out, look at your existing customer base and see what patterns emerge from those who have purchased from you already.
Remember, keeping your target audience and their pain points top of mind will allow you to create content and messaging that directly speaks to their interests and resonates at each stage of their buyer’s journey.
This gives you more clarity on your target audience and helps you nurture your leads more effectively.
Step 2 – Map Out Your Nurturing Stages
Next, you need to map out the different stages your leads move through on their buyer’s journey.
Typically, a sales funnel includes the following three stages:
For each stage, you need to determine what content and messaging will move leads to the next stage.
For awareness stage leads, you can focus on building brand awareness and education through blogs, guides, and social media.
For leads in the consideration stage, provide content like comparisons, product demos, and testimonials to help them evaluate solutions.
For leads nearing a decision, offer free trials, product walkthroughs, and pricing to push them to close.
Implementing a structured nurturing strategy will allow you to deliver the right content at the right time to convert more leads.
Step 3 – Segment Your Leads
Once you’ve mapped your nurturing stages, segment your leads based on where they are in the journey. To do this effectively, implement lead scoring.
For the uninitiated, lead scoring provides an objective way to identify your most sales-ready leads based on their actions.
It basically involves assigning points to leads based on explicit criteria like demographics, behaviors, etc.
For example, give leads 10 points if they open an email, 50 points if they click a link, and 100 points if they schedule a demo. Additionally, make sure to determine the score thresholds that indicate a lead is a marketing-qualified lead, sales-qualified lead, or ready to purchase.
Then, use these lead scores to categorize your audience and deliver targeted messaging. Most importantly, don’t forget to refine your scoring model over time to improve accuracy.
Step 4 – Develop Relevant Content for Each Stage
Once you’ve segmented your leads by implementing lead scoring, it’s time to develop personalized content tailored for each stage of your sales funnel.
As I mentioned earlier, create top-of-funnel content to build awareness like infographics, blogs, and guides for cold leads.
For warmer leads, provide product demos, case studies, and comparisons to help them evaluate.
Finally, for hot, sales-ready leads, offer free trials, pricing, and implementation plans to get them ready to buy.
Optimizing your content for each nurturing stage ensures you provide value and answer questions at every touchpoint. And the more relevant your content is, the more leads you’ll progress through your funnel.
Step 5 – Automate Your Lead Nurturing Workflow
Nurturing leads manually one by one can become very time-consuming as your list grows. That’s why it’s critical to automate your nurturing process using marketing automation software.
With lead nurturing automation tools, you can set up workflows that will deliver the right messaging to the right leads automatically at just the right time.
For example, if someone looking for Strava-compatible watches suddenly leaves without completing their purchase, you can trigger an automated email sequence explaining the watch benefits, offering limited-time discounts, and more.
Setting up these automated workflows removes the tedious manual tasks from you so you can instead focus on strategy optimization.
Plus, automating lead nurturing also ensures your leads get consistent, timely follow-up at scale across your entire list.
In a nutshell, automation makes lead nurturing efficient because it delivers the relevant follow-ups that your leads need at the optimal moments to move them toward a sale.
Step 6 – Analyze Performance and Optimize
The final step is to closely analyze the performance of your nurturing campaigns and continuously optimize them.
The best way to do this is by paying close attention to metrics like email open rates, content downloads, and sales conversions for each campaign and segment.
Specifically, look at what’s working well by identifying your high-performing nurturing tracks. Also, identify any areas that need improvement.
You can do this by experimenting with different messaging, offers, timing, and channels to see the impact on performance. Leverage A/B testing to test different versions to guide you in optimizing. Refresh older assets that aren’t performing and double down on your top content that resonates.
Remember, the more you refine your nurturing strategy based on data and testing, the better your results will become over time.
Implementing an effective lead nurturing strategy takes work, but pays off in the long run. The key is guiding prospects through a personalized journey that builds trust and provides value at each touchpoint.
With the right game plan, you can turn complete strangers into loyal brand advocates through thoughtful lead nurturing.
Always remember, lead nurturing is like a marathon. You need to get strategic if you want to guide more prospects to the finish line and turn them into your happy & satisfied customers.