We all know how important a good lead nurturing program can be as a marketing tactic. It’s critical to remember that nurturing is the gathering of leads not yet ready to buy. The “warmup” period, as I like to refer to it, to nudges customers along the way and helps educate them.
First, let’s quickly talk about why you should nurture, and then I’ll provide some tips based on 20+ years of experience designing these programs.
Different people have different needs at different times. Some are looking for general information, while others seek a specific solution to solve a known issue. Any credible lead nurture program will anticipate the needs of its targets based on who they are and where they are in the buying process.
The point of nurturing is to keep targets engaged by providing relevant content that best fits their current situation. When done correctly, nurturing can build strong brand loyalty and educate your prospects on your products and services. Nurturing programs are not “one and done” – they should be constantly running in the background to drive customers along the buyer’s journey.
Lead Nurture Do’s and Don’ts
I’m sure you’re aware of the myriad challenges regarding nurturing. Consumers are bombarded with hundreds of promotional offers weekly through multiple channels. Developing relevant content and targeting the correct audience can be a roadblock as well. These tips should help get your program off the ground quickly!
- Understand the high-level demographics of your target audience and segment them correctly, taking into consideration that each person sees the education and buying process differently. Remember, nurturing programs can have multiple streams.
- Keep your program simple to start: An average of 3–4 touches (or pieces of content) is great if you are just getting it up and running. Whiteboarding can also be helpful to brainstorm the flow.
- Have a constant stream of conversation pushing the audience toward a next step while educating them about your product or service.
- Test the timing between touches. Generally speaking, in the B2C world, 3–8 days between touches is good. If you’ve got more content, think about sending communications more frequently at the start of the program and slowing down toward the end.
- Use customizations such as field merges and progressive profiling to nurture known customers already in your database . This creates a sense of trust in your communications.
- Monitor and measure your program results and make dynamic alterations as necessary.
- Leverage existing content whenever you can – developing new content can be a major obstacle.
- Use automation to manage the communication flow, as well as a constant stream of newly qualifying contacts.
- Use multiple channels! For example, a form submission or email clickthrough could trigger an SMS follow-up.
- Choose quantity over quality. These programs are targeted – it’s not about how many contacts you can shove through the program, it’s about how many you can move to the next step in the buying process.
- This is a reason many programs fail. Too many pieces of content or too long a flow will have more people opting out than getting educated. If I could only give you one piece of advice, this would be it.
- Try to launch too many at once. There are loads of different types of nurturing you can do, from welcome campaigns to new customer onboarding to customer retention/loyalty. Pick one to get up and running. Once you’ve mastered it, move on to another.
- Let them run forever unattended. As with lead scoring or any other marketing tactic, you’ve got to monitor it and adjust as your business changes.
- Think of the program as “email communication” – instead, think of it as an automated workflow where the content builds in a meaningful way to drive recipient to next stage. There should be a theme and cohesiveness between messages.
- Involve too many internal folks in the program process. Have one person champion the program and own it, getting input from a few others.
- Launch without understanding your buyers and ensuring each piece of content maps to them at the right stage.
Hopefully these tips will get you up and running with a stellar nurturing program for 2019!
Reach out to experts for help – Relationship One has a plethora of seasoned consultants who specialize in helping clients create world-class nurturing streams if you have specific needs in mind.