Wednesday July 6, 2016
One of the biggest marketing challenges brands face today is lead engagement. This is especially true of brands that sell high-consideration goods and services through dealer or retail channels, as they have little to no direct control over the sales force selling their products or services. However, what brands in this space can do to influence purchase behavior is implement a lead nurturing strategy.
Lead nurturing strategies have proven to keep brands top of mind while helping “pre-sell” prospects on specific products or services, making it difficult for sales associates to sell a competitor’s product. But just like any marketing plan, a lead nurturing program requires an outline of goals, objectives, strategies and tactics to be successful. So, we’ve compiled a list of 10-steps to help you start or re-develop your lead nurturing strategy:
STEP 1: IDENTIFY GOALS
The first step is to determine your goal, which your entire lead nurturing campaign will follow: audience, content, and success metrics. Are you trying to engage cold leads to make them aware of your brand? Do you want to increase the scores of your leads? Before you set the goal of your lead nurturing campaign, identify what actions make a lead sales-ready. For example, if somebody downloads a piece of content, they could just be doing research and the time might not be right to speak with someone in your sales channel. Therefore, you should nurture the lead until they further qualify into a sales-ready state. If the same person comes back and schedules a test drive or demo, then that’s a much better indication that they are ready to buy.
STEP 2: CHOOSE THE RIGHT PLATFORM
Marketing automation solutions, like Aimbase®, allow you to place all your leads into lead nurturing tracks. You can then ensure that your marketing efforts periodically “touch” your leads via automated, timed, and customized messages such as email or direct mail. By automating the lead nurturing process, you are not only further qualifying your leads, but also allowing the sales and marketing personnel to focus more intently on the leads who are ready to make a buying decision.
STEP 3: REVIEW EXISTING LEAD DATA
Prospect tracking and intelligence are the most useful when trying to determine where your lead currently sits in the buying cycle. It’s best to get a complete understanding of your leads’ past experience or actions, such as what got them into the program in the first place. A practice called “progressive profiling” can have you asking prospects for additional information, which can help you build a rich, actionable database. For example, you can initially provide the prospect with high-level content with no registration requirement. Then, you invite them to a VIP event in exchange for information that you don’t already have.
STEP 4: DEVELOP STRATEGY AND COMMUNICATIONS DESIGN
You can develop your strategy and communications efforts by first categorizing your offers and identifying how you can personalize your content to align with your goals. Then, you can develop the specifics of your campaign, like customized email messages, to define how you will reach all of your goals.
First, you should have a clear idea of what types of content you will need to produce. Second, be sure to review your landing pages and identify specific calls-to-action along with the landing page URL. Lastly, define the buyer persona for each piece of content, like end-user or influencer.
Developing a communications plan that lays out the specifics of your message, like an email campaign, can give you a clear understanding of timing, subject line, call-to-action, type of content, and goals of the email. We suggest using a spreadsheet when cataloging this information.
STEP 5: DEVELOP CONTENT
As you may have figured out by now, content is a key piece of lead nurturing. Just because someone fills out a form on your website, doesn’t mean you should jump straight into sending them emails about requesting quotes or demos. You should nurture leads through the entire buying process first to make them sales-ready. If you have a large collection of content, consider using those assets to communicate with your leads, especially if there’s a high chance that the leads you’re currently nurturing will find value in them, too.
Ready to see the rest? Download the Ultimate Guide to Lead Nurturing to get all 10 steps and even more lead nurturing strategies.