Lead nurturing is key to converting leads to customers, as 96% of visitors who come to your website aren’t ready to buy (yet). This means that getting visitors to your website is only the start the process, and you are missing out on a wealth of customers if you don’t have a solid strategy in place to nurture leads through the buyer journey to sale.
Where does Marketing Automation come in?
Marketing automation is simply a type of software that can be used to automate marketing activities. Many marketing departments automate repetitive tasks such as email marketing, social media posting, and even ad campaigns. With the technology built into marketing automation systems, businesses can also provide a more personalised experience for their customers. As it helps businesses segment their leads and send out relevant content to these leads, Marketing Automation is particularly effective for lead nurturing campaigns.
The following are some of the ways that Marketing Automation can be applied to accelerate your lead nurturing campaign.
1. Effective List Segmentation
It’s easier to send relevant content to your leads if they are segmented properly. This can be complicated to do manually; however, an automation tool can do it with ease. Marketing Automation tools can segment your business’ leads based on a number of factors, such as:
- Demographics: age, gender, location, country etc
- Events: when a lead performs a particular action
- Behaviour online: how a lead interacts with your website or app
- The stage of the Buyer Journey that a lead is at
Once leads are segmented in the way that makes most sense for your business, you can start sending content that is more relevant to the target audience. By doing this, your list receives communications that are highly relevant to them, which is moves through the buying funnel towards purchase.
2. Drip Email Marketing
Email marketing is one of the main channels used by marketers for nurturing leads as it gives marketers a direct way to communicate with their target audience. In addition, 72% of people prefer to receive promotional content through email. There are various different types of emails that marketers will use in their campaigns and email automations, such as:
- Welcome email: When someone subscribes to the list
- Thank you email: When a lead purchases, gives feedback, or does another action that is valuable to the business
- Onboarding emails: particularly used in B2B marketing, where products and services are complex. This helps to educate new leads or clients.
- Regular newsletters
- Exclusive offers and discounts on products / services
- Cart abandonment emails
- Other re-engagement emails
All of the above can be set up as part of an automated drip email campaign. This type of campaign triggers emails to be sent out based on a lead’s behaviour and actions. For example, when they sign up to your email list, they receive the Welcome Email. They will then start to proceed through your automation, receiving information based on their interactions going forward. If they click on a certain email link or visit a certain page on your site that indicated interest in a particular product or service that your business offers, you may segment them further so that you can send content that is even more targeted to their specific interests. This is an effective way to move them through the buying journey, faster.
3. Set Up Lead Scoring
Lead scoring helps companies to identify where a particular prospect is in the buying journey. It is an individual score that is assigned to each lead depending on their behaviour and level of engagement with a business online. In order to implement lead scoring, every action a lead may take in relation to interacting with your business is assigned a score. For example, you may assign a new lead 5 points when they subscribe to your emails. If they then click on an email link to go to your landing page, they receive another 5 points. If they fill out a form on the landing page, they will receive 10 points, or if they spend more than 5 minutes on your site, 5 points.
The higher the score, the more engaged the lead is, and the more likely they are to convert. This can inform the most appropriate content to send them, depending on their stage of buyer readiness. Many B2B businesses will identify a particular score at which point a lead will be passed on to the sales team for closing.
4. Creating the Right Content
Content is necessary for every marketing campaign. With Marketing Automation, you can target the right person with the right content, based on where they are it on their buyer journey. This content can then be communicated using your company’s digital channels.
- Awareness Stage: In the Awareness stage, leads are new to your business and may not be sure whether your products or services are relevant to them. They are certainly not ready to buy. These customers need educational content that will give them more information about the industry, the benefits of your products or services, and how your company can solve their problems. Content such as analyst reports, research reports, eBooks and whitepapers are all effective in this stage.
- Consideration Stage: In the Consideration stage, your leads are further down the buying funnel. They are now aware of the problem that they have and the solutions that are available to them, and they are considering their best option. In this stage, sending them more information about the value your business can add to them is key. This can be done through expert guidelines, webcasts, podcasts, videos and whitepapers based on comparison.
- Decision Stage: At this point, your leads are aware of their issue, informed on the possible solutions, and have decided on the strategy they are going to take. To encourage them towards the final conversion, and to choose you over your competitors, you should create content such as product comparisons, case studies, trial downloads and product feature demos.
When sent at the right time to the right audience using marketing automation, these content marketing techniques are likely to nurture leads through the buying funnel to sale.
The process of lead nurturing may sound complicated, but marketing automation makes it much easier; and it’s well worth the effort.