Lead nurturing is the set of digital marketing techniques that allow you to build relationships with users who are not yet ready to buy, but who may turn out to be ideal customers in the near future.
As you can easily imagine, the primary objective of this activity lies in educating the prospect, building their awareness of a particular brand or product and, most of all, developing a relationship of trust with them. In fact, before any other, this is the fundamental value that underlies every purchase.
Ultimately, lead nurturing undoubtedly has the ultimate aim of generating conversions (and therefore profit for the company) from acquired but not yet loyal contacts, but it should not simply be interpreted as a sales technique. On the contrary, it is rather based on the virtuous conduction of the user along the funnel (which is, in fact, a path) in order to guide him first to the purchase, then to the retention and finally to the referral.
How Lead Nurturing works in practical terms
We have explained that lead nurturing consists of accompanying users through the buying process.
This process is the result of a combination of different operations that must be integrated into a multi-channel strategy, i.e. using different tools and platforms made available by digital marketing. Each step of the path will aim to connect the brand with its potential consumers, stimulating their curiosity and interest and earning their trust through the delivery of interesting, useful and relevant content.
Keeping in mind that every single lead is in a different mindset from all the others at the beginning of the purchase funnel and that, most likely, they are also at a different point of the path, the creation of the communication with the leads will have to be calibrated in a customised way.
Marketers will therefore act upstream by segmenting the audience in order to carry out targeted actions on different targets: in this sense, technologies such as marketing automation or even machine learning will prove to be very useful, especially in the case of very large databases.
Automation, in particular, will allow the programming of a series of actions that would be impossible to manage manually. The most important of these include:
Inbound marketing, with the creation of special TOFU, MOFU, BOFU funnels.
Email marketing, automating the sending of personalised messages at the right time to the right contacts.
social media marketing, programming engaging and specific conversation calendars
Social media advertising, designing and programming advertising campaigns on social networks
Google Ads campaigns, through the delivery of ads on Google tailored to specific audience segments
Content Marketing - understood as the creation of valuable content to be used on different media or tools, with the aim of attracting, seducing, interesting, convincing and retaining users, is at the heart of Lead Nurturing activities.
The Benefits of Lead Nurturing
Structuring a calibrated lead nurturing strategy implies undoubtedly commitment and resources, but it also generates a series of undeniable advantages.
Not only does it allow the company to cultivate the relationship with its potential customers, learning to understand their desires, expectations and criticalities, but it also offers the possibility of increasing brand reputation (i.e. its authoritativeness), understood as the influence that the organisation is able to exert on its public through the proposal of informative and interesting contents, punctual answers and really useful insights.
Lead nurturing also generates an increase in conversion rates because, based on the increase in value inherent in the relationship between the company and the customer, it leads to an increase in customers who tend to become loyal after their first purchase.
If designed correctly, a good lead nurturing programme also makes it possible to plan in advance and at regular intervals the content to be offered, and to define upstream the channels through which it should be delivered according to the different targets to be reached. Planning is an activity that, in itself, saves time and resources for any company.
Finally, in the long term, lead nurturing gives rise to free advertising for the company, because loyal customers will take on the role of ambassadors, acting as the brand's megaphone in their communications with other potential leads.
Some tips for an effective lead nurturing strategy:
At the basis of an effective lead nurturing strategy there is the ability of the marketer to produce contents that act on a double front: on one hand generating interest in the user, on the other hand stimulating his will to communicate with the brand.
Such contents will be the result of the analysis of the leads and of their different levels of involvement with the brand: it goes without saying that a marketing action designed to generate Awareness (i.e. brand knowledge) will be different from one aimed at users already in the Consideration, Conversion or even Post-Purchase phase.
What we offer below are therefore general tips and tricks on how to nurture your contacts with valuable content - without prejudice to the need, on the part of each company, to consult digital marketing specialists to define a correct nurturing plan, calibrated both to the specificities of the company and to those of its audience.
· Study and define your buyer personas: your valuable content will work better if it is aimed at users who are really interested in your product or service (or who could be). Remember that only by studying your potential customers with the utmost care will you be able to build truly interesting and engaging content.
· Use a marketing automation platform: because it will help you identify, segment and target different buyer personas as your lead nurturing strategy is adapted and modified to the real needs of your business and/or its digital marketing plan.
· Use multi-channel techniques: the simple email drip no longer works. On the contrary, a good lead nurturing strategy will consider different tools with which to target different audience segments, at different times and with different short-term objectives. It is therefore necessary to go well beyond simple email nurturing and focus on the many options currently available in the digital environment.
· Be timely in your follow-ups: when this is done in a timely manner, the benefits are obvious. The reason is simple: the lead is 'warm' and is immediately stimulated by contact from the company, increasing the chances of purchase. Unfortunately, many companies tend to overlook this step which, instead, is fundamental for the purposes of conversion, making the results obtained with nurturing null and void with a late follow-up that is, at times, almost a sort of cold call.
· Aim for personalisation: we always say it. In the new digital marketing concept, message personalisation is at the heart of every communication. The more the lead feels treated as a unique individual rather than as a name in a database, the greater the likelihood that they will make a purchase or build brand loyalty by recommending it to others. The added value of today's business is not just in what you offer, but how you offer it.
· Use lead scoring tactics: this is a methodology used to rank leads and prospects on a scale that represents their value as perceived by the business. Lead scoring can be implemented with the aforementioned marketing automation technology by almost any platform on the market, allowing you to assign numerical values to certain user behaviours, conversion events or social network interactions. Depending on the score obtained, it will be possible to proceed with nurturing with specific actions, calibrated specifically on those behaviours.
Would you like to find out more about lead nurturing and integrate it into your digital marketing strategy? Come and talk to us at Xplore Digital.