How to Succesfully Convert with Lead Nurturing Campaigns

lead nurturing blog post header imageGot your bases covered for acquiring leads? It often comes down to not just building an email list, but following up with an efficient nurture campaign.

Even if you’ve collected a great deal of email addresses or contact information from your targeted audience, that doesn’t mean they’re ready to jump in and make a purchase right away. In reality, most of them probably aren’t there yet. That failure to close the deal is what’s causing the disconnect in your ability to take your leads and turn them into revenue.

Consider the following graphic by ParkerWhite, which shows just how few leads are ready to make a purchase, which is only 25%. That leaves a huge 75% (and 50% who are qualified) who aren’t there yet, but could be ready soon, with the right efforts on your part.

how to get your leads to say I do

What’s the solution?

Lead nurturing.

When you develop a lead nurturing campaign, you’re not just trying to get email addresses. Instead, you’re putting your time into building a relationship with potential customers.

The result?

When leads become ready to make a purchase, you’re already at the forefront of their mind, making their buying decision an easy one.

A lead nurture campaign works at any stage of the buying journey—whether you have someone who’s just starting to explore their options, or someone who’s narrowed their choices down to just a few companies. They’re right on the cusp of a purchase, but not quite there yet. They need that little extra push, and where does that come from?

You Guessed It—lead nurturing campaigns.

The following HubSpot graphic of the buyer’s journey sheds a little more light on the how the lead nurturing campaign can work:

buyer's journey infographic

Why Is Setting Up A Lead Nurturing Campaign So Important?

We already touched on this a bit. These campaigns are like a journey that you take with your prospect. The final push that comes from the cultivation of a long-term relationship is what’s going to drive their decision-making.

Consider this:

  • According to MarketingSherpa, 79% of leads never convert into sales. The reason is commonly due to a lack of nurturing those leads.
  • Forrester Research shows companies that are doing well at lead nurturing see 50% more sales-ready leads, at a cost that is 33% lower than competitors.
  • A report by SilverPop/DemandGen shows lead nurturing emails get a 4-10x higher response rate, as compared to the rates of email blasts sent out on their own and independent of a larger campaign.

The following graphic by ClarityQuest demonstrates a few more numbers that will make you rethink how you view lead nurturing:

clarityquest graphic

You probably get the idea by now, but here are some more numbers for you from Business2Community in case you’re still not convinced:

nurtured leads infographic

Ok, have the numbers convinced you of the importance of not just capturing, but building relationships with your leads?

If so, let’s move on and talk a bit more about how to create an effective and durable lead nurturing campaign.

We’ll then highlight some of the best practices for setting up a long-term campaign, with actionable steps you can use to get started as you go from simply sourcing qualified leads to building them up along their buying journey until they’re finally ready to make purchases and become loyal customers.

What Is Lead Nurturing?

We’ve already covered some of the basics on this, but here are some additional details can help build a solid foundation for building successful lead nurture campaigns.

When you’re nurturing your leads, you’re turning them into actual revenue-creating sales opportunities. With these campaigns, you not only drive leads toward a buying decision, but also encourage them to make a commitment in a shorter period.

When you nurture your leads, you’re giving content and information to them on a regular basis, which keeps your brand and identity at the front of their minds, and building loyalty — even before they’ve made their first purchase.

Along with creating a relationship and making yourself more familiar to your leads, you’re building on their initial interest by giving them all the relevant information they might need to drive them toward a future purchase.

Many campaigns don’t just aim to move prospects along and transform them into buyers, but are also excellent opportunities to gather insight and data that can help you develop your future marketing tactics and strategies. You’re gaining the opportunity to see why a prospect is or isn’t ready to make a purchase, which can be valuable to carrying out stronger and more productive future marketing campaigns.

We’ve often seen marketers get a little confused along the way, particularly as they’re deciphering the difference between simple email marketing and more specific lead nurturing.

The following infographic by MarketStar does an amazing job of outlining how the two approaches are unique from one another, and highlights some essential features of a lead nurturing campaign.

marketstar infographic

While highly scalable and customizable, a typical lead nurture campaign will amount to about five emails sent over a period of 60 days, just to give you an example, although in some cases there might be quite a few more emails that become part of the campaign. Ultimately it’s going to depend on your goals, your customers and where they are in the buying journey.

Somewhat similar to drip campaigns or drip marketing, you’re touching leads with information that’s relevant, and the structure is based on specific time intervals. The structure can also be centered around particular actions taken by prospects during lead generation, or you can set up other parameters that work for your goals.

The following graphic by Boston Turner Group shows a general flow concept for a lead nurture campaign. Although the process is adjustable and customizable, the flow chart gives you a good idea of what these campaigns look like in a visual sense.

lead nurturing infographic

There will be a call-to-action, and often a reference to whatever it was that spurred the initial lead generation (i.e. taking a Lead Quiz on Facebook). In a general sense, the touch-point contact will conclude with a call-to-action that’s designed to either result in a conversion or have the lead engage with the next piece of content.

Creating a Long-Term Nurture Campaign

This all sounds pretty great right? The advantages are tremendous, but for it to work, you have to set it up the right way.

The following are the primary steps to keep in mind as you’re creating your campaign:

Lead Scoring

Lead scoring refers to identifying not just how but also when you should reach out to each of your buyers.

Your goals for communication should be relevance and timeliness, and this comes from your lead scoring strategy.

Some essential tips for lead scoring include:

  • Look at the basic data such as demographics, or purchasing ability.
  • Is the lead interested in what you have to offer? Is the lead spending time on your site or your social media pages? What about downloading your content?
  • Is any engagement happening on your blog or other pieces of existing content?
  • Look at where the lead is in the potential buying journey.

Below is an image from Velocify and Leads360 that outlines the lead scoring process, and shows you how to assign a value to individual characteristics or actions that can help you more effectively determine how to target leads during a nurture campaign.

lead scoring process

Here’s another graph from B2C that shows you an example of how point assignment system works when scoring leads:

lead scoring example chart

After lead scoring, you can move on to the more general concepts of defining your audience and segmenting them. You can create ideal customer personas and then move to the setup of automated, but highly personalized campaigns.

Determine Delivery Goals

A good lead nurture campaign is one that spaces emails and communication out in just the right way.

You don’t want to bombard leads. Otherwise, you’re going to have them hitting unsubscribe instead of buying. At the same time, you don’t want to space emails out so far apart that your leads are forgetting you during the process.

It’s about finding that balance that keeps you fresh in the minds of your leads, without making them feel like they have to run and hide from your emails.

A general guideline is to contact leads once every five days or so, although we mentioned a scenario earlier that would have you just sending out five emails in a period of 60 days. You should test out which timing works best for you and space out your contact schedule based on your results.

Ultimately, how often you send emails should really be based on your goals.

Create Value

No one likes a sales pitch. But most people, however, do enjoy being given something — particularly if it’s something they find valuable.

Rather than jumpstarting your lead nurture campaign with a sales pitch, think about launching with an offer.

This is where good content comes into the equation.

Your leads have already expressed some interest in what you have to offer, so build on that. Do you have a killer ebook you can give them? Maybe you could invite them to a complimentary webinar?

Whatever it is, content is really going to be the centerpiece of your nurturing. This is relevant to not only how you’re educating leads, but it’s also how you’re aligning yourself as an authority in your industry and creating a brand for yourself.

Think about how often potential buyers search the internet for answers to their questions.

Now think about what you can offer them if you’re able to answer those questions directly in their inboxes.

Position yourself as a unique go-to source for information as leads move through their buyer’s journey.

A few things to remember:

  • Having a good opt-in process is going to start your campaign off with a sense of trust.
  • The more you can segment your audience, the better prepared you’ll be to send them the right content.
  • Use your emails as a link between yourself, your customers, your website, and your social media pages.

Set Goals and Be Prepared to Measure Them

When you’re creating a lead nurture campaign, each and every outreach should be aligned with specific objectives.

That’s the only way to really move your leads closer to making purchases. You should also have metrics in place that will allow you to measure how well you’ve succeeded in terms of these goals. Some of these metrics could include:

  • Click-Through Rates
  • Conversion Rates
  • Cost Per Customer
  • Time-to-Customer Conversion

This step of the process is where you can look at your successes, as well as your failures and determine where you can make improvements for next time.

Each and every lead nurture campaign can be used as a building block for future campaigns, and you’ll continue to hone and refine your strategy.

There you have it — a few simple steps to creating an effective lead nurture campaign.

If you’re interested in launching a lead nurture campaign of your own, start today with LeadQuizzes to find the qualified leads who’ll serve as the foundation for the rest of your marketing campaigns.

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