If you watch enough romantic comedies, you’ll start to recognize a pattern. It goes something like this: Boy meets girl. Girl meets boy. Movie follows antics of girl + boy, winding its way through the (oftentimes hairy) narrative. Throughout the movie we see the main characters discover what’s attractive, appealing, or annoying about the other. Eventually, these main characters end up together at the end – well versed in one another’s attributes, nuances, and idiosyncrasies.
If you think about it, the storyline of our main characters’ isn’t that different from the parallel storyline that could be drawn about lead nurturing activity in B2B marketing. When you first meet your lead, chances are they won’t be ready to purchase right away (a Marketo benchmark survey says that half aren’t). But if you spend time establishing a relationship and building trust, the moment your lead is ready to purchase, you’ll be miles ahead of your competition.
As more and more buyers are engaging with brands before they are ready to purchase, an essential function of any marketing department is lead nurturing. That is, moving leads through the sales funnel by leveraging what’s known about their needs and online behavior. Congruently, marketing software company Marketo describes lead nurturing as being “personalized, adaptive, and able to listen and react to buyer behavior in real-time.” Using a true multi-channel approach allows us to accomplish this. In a recent publication, Marketo endorsed the use of this multi-channel strategy:
“A typical buyer moves quickly from email, to social media, to your website and then back to social media, in the blink of an eye. Marketers need to prepare their lead nurturing strategy for multi-channel engagement. Buyers need to see an integrated experience across every single channel.”
Considering the multi-channel digital activity of buyers, building a multi-channel lead nurturing strategy is essential for companies that are looking to create an optimal end-user experience. Here are four tools that will help you deliver a series of targeted messages across multiple touch points and platforms to help move your leads through the buyer’s journey.
Presuming that your B2B leads are derived online, email seems like a natural channel to use to connect with and nurture your leads. And it is. Create opportunities to educate your leads by sending them targeted emails that contain informational content. You’ll have to take it further than that though, or your emails will come across as spammy and annoying. Build trust with your leads by reminding them they’ve met you before – use personalization tokens (contact name, job title, etc.) within your emails. Similarly, don’t just blast the same email to your entire contact database; take the time to segment your leads based on where they stand in the buyer’s journey. A lead nurturing email you send to a lead that has only downloaded a top-level white paper should look vastly different than the email you send to a lead that has downloaded a case study, a product brochure, and a pricing guide. Above all though, make certain that the content you’re sending is valuable, relevant, and of excellent quality.
“No other interaction is more influential in the path to purchase than a phone call.” – Invoca Call Intelligence Survey
Call intelligence company Invoca has strong feelings for the telephone – and for good reason. Their analysis of 32 million phone calls found that phone calls made after parties had first engaged online had an average conversion rate between 30% and 50%. Sure, a rejection by email is less painful, but when the conversion rates are that high, you can’t afford not to pick up the phone. There are some ways to make it easier, though. Start by promoting your phone number. It sounds simple, but for those of us who work largely in the digital world, it can be easy to forget. Display your phone number in your company’s website header and throughout your site’s landing pages and blogs posts. Ensure simplicity for mobile users by making your phone number clickable on your mobile site.
It’s not enough these days to simply post and pray, particularly on social media networks. Social media lead nurturing includes monitoring, listening, and engaging. Give your leads some love. Look for opportunities to favorite, like, or retweet the content of your leads. Monitor LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook for mentions of your company, similar products, or industry and then respond with activated content using both social media and a longer form of correspondence, like email. Finally, don’t discount lead nurturing activities that use paid social media ads. These ads can be particularly successful when you are nurturing leads based on specific attributes such as geographic location or company size.
Dynamic Website Content
Displaying personalized web content for visitors helps to keep leads moving forward in their buyer’s journey. Let’s say you’d gotten a great email response from a lead when you shared your product brochure earlier in the week. Displaying complementary web content, like a pricing guide, to your lead the next time he’s on your website assures alignment between your content and your lead’s proximity to purchasing. You can also use dynamic web content to target various verticals, organizations, or buyer personas.
Multi-channel lead nurturing is really about using all the tools at your disposal to meaningfully connect with your leads in order to build trust and establish credibility as you guide them on their journey to becoming a customer. Building a winning strategy does require attention to detail as there are many moving parts, but at the end of the day, if your messaging is credible and consistent it becomes less about channel and more about content. And ultimately, high-converting lead nurturing campaigns are only as good as the content they’re built around.