Let’s get one painfully obvious factoid out of the way: no one likes a hard sell.
Especially the modern buyer. If you’re using your content to try to sell, sell, sell, you need to go back to the drawing board. Fast.
Enter a term that is often-used, but little understood: nurturing content.
What exactly is nurturing content? In simple terms, it’s thoughtful messaging that both educates and builds trust over a period of time.
Effective nurturing can have a remarkable impact on your conversion rates and sales numbers
An Annuitas Group study found that businesses that use marketing automation to nurture prospects experience a 451% increase in qualified leads, and nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads.
And, those leads cost less to get—companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50 percent more sales-ready leads at 33% lower cost (Forrester Research).
To develop effective nurturing content that addresses consumer needs, be sure to ask these questions:
- Where is the lead coming from? What is the source?
- What are they looking for at this point?
- What will they want to learn or do next?
As you develop your content, it’s important to remember that no content sequence should ever truly end—everyone should be fed into some kind of content loop that keeps your business in front of them.
Made a purchase? They should go into a training or upsell loop.
Told sales they aren’t ready to buy? Keep nurturing with periodic updates on new features or special promotions.
Finished a short-term nurturing cycle without engaging enough to move to sales? Put them in a longer-term series with case study content.
The buying cycle is a never-ending circle, so your content should be as well. Just don’t be annoying about it. Make sure you’re thinking strategically about what and how much content leads and customers get.
If you’re an organization with a sales team, the lead scoring tools in your marketing automation system are an invaluable way to keep customers moving along the buying cycle in a way that makes sense to their decision-making process.
Lead scoring allows you to assign point values to different types of actions, to help you better determine which leads are more qualified and likely to make a purchase. Content ties in closely with lead scoring, as criteria often includes actions like opening emails, clicking links and requesting multiple pieces of educational content.
Remember, modern buyers want to advance through the cycle at their own pace, so rushing them into sales just to try and make your quotas is likely to backfire. An intelligent scoring system along with strategically developed content will follow and encourage buyers along their path.
Don’t forget to be social
Consumers are looking for information about you, so make sure you have a presence everywhere they might look. Get on social media and actively engage with people. Don’t just use social as a “well, we should have a presence, so here we are” tactic. That’s not doing you or your potential customers any favors and is more likely to contribute toward a negative perception of your brand.
Consumers look at social channels early in the evaluation stage, so failing at engagement here could mean you’re out of the running before you send a single piece of marketing messaging.
As the consumer buying cycle has changed, so has the way marketers reach them. Both have come full circle: customers demand a consistent, comprehensive customer experience that caters to them; and marketers have embraced technologies and tactics that help them serve the customer at every point along the circle.
Be strategic, thoughtful and customer-centric, and customers will reward you with their dollars.
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