As every small business owner knows, the goal of marketing is business growth. Marketing folks keep the sales pipeline full by generating new leads and creating content that nurtures them through each stage of the customer journey, from awareness and consideration to evaluation/selection.
And that's where lead nurturing comes in.
Although lead generation and lead nurturing are sometimes used interchangeably, I've learned the former usually involves converting your site’s visitors into leads, and the latter is primarily concerned with what happens to those leads once you have them in your contact database.
Lead nurturing helps convert marketing leads into customers. I believe this is worth talking about since, according to Marketing Sherpa, 79% of all marketing leads never convert into sales, and a lack of lead nurturing is the most identifiable reason for this poor performance.
Here are seven lead nurturing campaigns I suggest for fueling small businesses growth.
Automated email campaigns move leads along the customer journey.
Promote content you've created, such as blog posts, getting them closer to a buying decision. This matters because only 25% of your leads are sales-ready and 50% are qualified but not ready to buy from you, according to Gleanster Research.
Keep leads engaged over time with email lead nurturing. Promoting useful content through email builds rapport and goodwill. Reluctant prospects are helped off the fence.
Additionally, lead nurturing emails that educate, inspire and improve can generate an 8% click-through rate. Compare this to regular email marketing, which only generates a 3% click-through rate, according to Hubspot research.
At Flight Media, our lead nurturing email campaigns send content every 3 days. We've found it's a healthy balance of content, without being too overwhelming--often yielding open rates of 30-40%, with click-through-rates of 10-15%.
Certain leads may have interacted with you only through email. The social follow widget provides additional opportunity for them to interact with your brand on social media. Social share buttons integrated into email nurture campaigns give the same opportunity for interaction, providing an easy way to share or refer your content to friends and colleagues.
Social share and follow widgets can also be used on thank you landing pages and emails, providing leads with an opportunity to connect with you on a more personal level.
Recommended: Grow your presence with Twitter Business Hacks (Free)
Retargeting ads are paid display advertising like Google Adwords you can serve to leads or to people who've visited your site.
Capture visitors who haven’t converted after visiting your site with using retargeting for lead generation. Lead nurturing campaigns influence those who have to take the next step in the customer journey.
Use retargeting ads on Facebook, Twitter and/or Google if they're aware of your site and have opted-in to receive blog updates. Drive them back to your site to view a blog post with consideration stage content.
Ebooks move leads along the continuum of the customer journey.
Ebooks can be used for lead generation, but they're a particularly useful lead nurturing tool. Target leads at particular stages of the customer journey for lead nurturing.
Create an awareness-stage ebook designed to move leads to the consideration stage, linking to it in your email. Of course, this works best if you’ve segmented your leads by where they are on the customer journey and the topics they’ve shown interest in.
There's no one-size-fits-all when it comes to lead nurturing. You'll want to test and track the results of each campaign to determine which works best for your target audience. This takes time and patience, but I've discovered the benefits outweigh the cost in a big way.
A strategic autoresponder can set you apart as an industry leader. I remember one of the first autoresponders I ever encountered was over at Copyblogger.
They offered a 20-part series on Internet Marketing, and it was incredibly helpful.
Choose a topic that aligns with your expertise. What do you want to be seen as an expert authority in? You don’t have to do a 20-part series right off the bat. Start with something small, like a series of 5-7 emails.
I found Internet Marketing for Smart People years ago. And it’s still around today, presumably building leads for Copyblogger. If your content is good enough, it too can generate leads for months – if not years – to come.
This is pretty common in the SAAS space, but it’s not limited to them. Generally speaking, onboarding a new client is very hands-on and personal. But, chances are, there are some very redundant tasks that could be automated.
Remember, leads don’t vanish just because you close. I still consider all my clients a “lead” because there’s always more I could offer them – whether a new service, product or access.
Don’t stop nurturing just because you closed one sale. Which leads me to my next campaign...
In my experience, it’s way easier to sell to someone that’s already purchased from you. After all, you’ve already got them to know, like and trust you (which is a huge part of sales).
As your business grows, you’ll likely have new types of content, products and services that would add value to your clients. It’s important that you keep them informed and aware of these aspects of your business.
A strong upsell drip can increase your revenue while requiring little additional effort from your sales team. Best of both worlds!
Which of these types of lead nurturing campaigns have you tried? What has worked or not worked for you? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!