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Lead Nurturing Doesn't Have to be Scary

Justin’s note: Jason Kort from Marketing Automation Times sent me a note a few months ago about possibly contributing to the Marketing Evangelist blog. I really liked the idea, so a few months later we made it happen and below is his commentary in regards to lead scoring. As with everything on the Marketing Evangelist Blog – the views of the author are their own.

In his article Fear Factor: Stop Avoiding These Three Marketing Automation Features, Justin Gray talked about how many people are intimidated by marketing automation software. I believe part of this fear is generated by a fundamental lack of understanding that can be caused by complicated definitions and best practices. Here is our attempt to clear up one of the most common marketing automation features, lead nurturing.

Why is lead nurturing important?

Staying in front of potential customers is crucial to your sales pipeline and a lead nurturing campaign helps convert more customers that might be lost through the cracks. A lead nurturing campaign is a series of communications sent to new leads after opting into a marketing tactic like a form on your landing page or someone that you met at a trade show. Lead nurturing is not restricted to email marketing and can also involve other marketing tactics like direct mail, telemarketing, and social media.

Understand What Your Customer Wants

Review your customer data or get feedback from your Sales team to understand what the best prospects look like and what they need to make a buying decision. Develop buyer profiles or personas in order to better understand what these customers require at each stage of the sales cycle and then tailor your content to address those issues.

Here are some examples of content that might be appropriate to your customer’s buying cycles.

  • Top of the cycle: “What do I need?” – Information that creates interest like tip sheets, checklists, eBooks, whitepapers, guides, product specs.
  • Middle of the cycle: “Why should I get it from you?” – Content might include webinars, fact sheets, consultations.
  • Bottom of the cycle: “Why should I buy now?” – Consider free samples, free trials, demos, coupons or other promotions.

Create Your Campaign

Remember, the goal of each of your lead nurturing campaign should be to drive your leads further along this buying cycle! A very basic campaign might look something like this:

  • Landing Page: “Download Your Free Guide to Marketing Automation”
  • Email Sent 1 Day After Conversion Event: “Guide to Marketing Automation Download”
  • Email Sent 3 Days After Conversion Event: “Is Your Organization Ready for Marketing Automation”
  • Email Sent 5 Days After Conversion Event: “Can I answer any questions for you?”

Measure and Optimize

Your goal here should be to fix underperforming emails or landing pages. For example, does your campaign have low click-through rates or high unsubscribe rates? Is one landing page converting more leads than another?

If you see a high click-through rate after your first email, but the click-through rate sharply declines for the second you should try adjusting the email copy or changing the email timing. The same goes for unsubscribe rates. You should modify the email’s content or timing frequency when you notice a greater than 5% unsubscribe rate.

Here are some basic adjustments you can make to increase your campaign’s effectiveness:

  • Wording of the subject line
  • Wording of the email
  • The offers or “next steps” you are promoting in the email
  • Timing of the email (too late or early in the lead’s buying cycle)
  • Is the information in the email or offer truly valuable to the lead?

Get Started!

Don’t be scared so jump in and feel the water. Planning and preparation are important in executing a solid marketing automation program but don’t suffer death by paralysis. Try not to boil the ocean and instead focus on some small lead nurturing programs to build your understanding and confidence.

Jason Kort is one of the forces behind Marketing Automation Times, a blog dedicated to providing the latest news and information on the world of marketing automation. Jason is an experienced online marketing professional with a history of developing personalized, relevant and timely communications to help businesses close more sales.

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