Research by Forrester states that marketers witness an average 20% increase in sales opportunities from nurtured vs non-nurtured leads. The research also finds companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales at a 33% lower cost (Source: Forrester, 2014).
What is Lead Nurturing ?
Lead nurturing to put in simple words is building of relationships with those individuals who are not yet ready to buy or use your service, but could be an ideal customer in the future.
Now your goal will be to educate the prospect, build his or her awareness of the product or service of your organisation and further build trust and letting the client choose you when they are ready to buy from you.
Is the lead really interested in your business ?
Once you are sure that the lead is a good fit, don’t be in a hurry to conclude that they are interested in your business.
So how do you find out the lead’s interests? Look at the following analytics to judge further.
Social Media Engagement: Find out if they follow your brand on the social media? Is there constant engagement with your social media profiles? Do they like or share your content with others?
Website Analytics: Do your leads visit your website regularly? How much time are they spending on your website? Are they engaging in the blog and leaving valuable comments? What is the visit rate on valuable pages (pricing page, sales page, etc.)?
Email Analytics: How is the response to your email newsletters? What is the open rate and click-through rate? Are they signing up to receive your valuable content offers a eBook? Do they want to watch a seminar?
Effective Best Practices for Lead Nurturing
1. Educate as per the Buyer's Journey
You need to educate your organic leads as per their state of the buyer’s journey and send the required information they need.
Here’s the way you can educate your leads:
Awareness stage: This is the stage where people are looking for information and solutions for their problem that points back to a product/service need. Send them top-level educational content which will help them to a solution, like blogs, social content, and ebooks.
Consideration stage: At this stage your leads will be looking at you for content showing that you're the experts in your industry. Share them expert guides, webinars, live interactions, and whitepapers You can invite them for a webinar about your product or services or maybe a demo.
Decision stage: Share them success stories, case studies or maybe product reviews.
2. Segment your leads
All organic leads are not the same. Hence they need to be segmented. Start the process by mapping out their behaviour, personality and their behaviour. Segmenting your leads helps you to measure your efforts with a higher accuracy and if exploited, will help you in increased sales for your business.
Irrespective of all the social and mobile technologies available, emails still is the most popular and effective way to convert and nurture leads into customers.
As per eMarketer, 39% of marketers who segmented their email lists experienced higher open rates, 28% experienced lower unsubscribe rates, and 24% experienced greater revenue.
3. Personalize the emails
Each email you send should be tailored as per the interests and behaviour of your leads and prospects. Even your lead nurturing email campaigns should be more personal. Even if you use the marketing automation tool, let it not appear to be an email mass “blast”. Address your mails as if it were from the different departments of your organisation.
4. Don't email leads every day
If you think sending an email every day is a good practice for lead nurturing, think again. It could actually end up your leads unsubscribing if you email them every day. You need to set up an optimal lead nurturing email schedule, which not only keeps your company in the mind of your prospects but provides enough time to digest the information and they are read for more.
Every lead of yours is different and is likely to be a different stage of their buyer’s journey. You need to keep this mind, and then you know that you can effectively nurture all your leads, taking care of their requirements individually.
6. Offer your leads an immediate value
According to InsideSales, ”if you follow up with web leads within 5 minutes, you are 9 times more likely to convert them.” Think what you can provide them for just communicating with you. It could be an important information that they can use, even if they don’t want to do business with you. Any information can be shared if they find it useful, it might be a “how to” guide relating to your products or services or a simple shopping guide which speaks about your benefits.
7. Don’t forget to let sales know about your nurturing campaigns
While nurturing the leads, one of the biggest mistakes marketers make is not communicating the campaign deployment with the rest of their company, especially with the sales reps who talk to the leads. So you need to regularly communicate to the salespeople what content your leads have received and when. Let your lead management and also the nurturing software is integrated with the CRM that your sales team is using. Hence, when an email is sent out to their leads, your sales people will have a record of it and can see what was sent out and when.