Generating leads on your website is no joke.
After researching your audience and developing content that matches their needs, you also need relentless marketing to get people to your website — be it through social media marketing, guest posting, display advertising, or search engine optimization.
If you’ve had remarkable results with any of these strategies, you’ll know how exhilarating it feels to finally see users coming back for more or signing up to your mailing list. While you definitely deserve a pat on the back and some time off, you shouldn’t relax just yet.
The real challenge has only begun.
What is Lead Nurturing?
In case you didn’t know, most of your traffic will not convert into paying customers on their first visit.
That’s why you needed a lead generation strategy in the first place. Rather than forcing leads to commit to a sale, you aim instead to get them hooked on your content — preferably by subscribing to your mailing list where they can be kept within striking distance.
This is where lead nurturing steps in, which involves educating them about your products, building their confidence in your brand, and hitting them at the right time with an offer that could ultimately lead to a sale.
In this post, we’ll share with you the top strategies for engineering a successful lead nurturing campaign.
Curious what these are? Then let’s jump right into it.
1. Understanding Your Leads
Before anything else, remember that the success of a lead nurturing campaign relies on how much you understand your leads.
Where are they from? What made them interested in your brand?
Most importantly, where do they belong in your sales funnel?
If you can accurately answer these questions, you should be more than capable of designing a great lead nurturing strategy. If not, then you’ve got a lot of work ahead of you.
Mapping Your Sales Funnel
To get a grip on who your leads are, you need to create a sales funnel that segments them based on their level of familiarity with your brand.
This is normally comprised of 5 stages:
- Awareness Stage
A lead always starts with the realization that there is a problem that needs to be fixed. At this point, they’re probably not yet aware of who you are or even if your brand exists, which is why strategies that raise awareness will be your bread and butter.
- Interest Stage
When a visitor arrives at your website for the very first time, they’re in the interest stage of your sales funnel. This is where you need to double down on blog posts, webinars, and other forms of informative content that will capture their attention — hopefully enough to prompt a subscription to your mailing list.
- Consideration Stage
The consideration stage is where a lead may already be subscribed but is still reluctant to make a purchase. You should expect them to look at alternatives from other brands as well, so be sure your value propositions and selling points are enough for you to stand out.
- Purchase Stage
As the name suggests, the purchase stage is where leads are finally ready to shell out cash. To make sure you’re on the other end of the transaction, you need a compelling call to action (CTA) and a simplified checkout process.
- Repurchase Stage
Some businesses are content with the purchase stage as the bottom of their sales funnel. Unfortunately, this mindset causes them to miss out on the repurchase stage where they can work on building brand loyalty and generating repeat sales.
Put simply, a sales funnel should serve as your guide when planning a content strategy for your nurturing activities. It allows you to determine the right type of content and channel to use when communicating with a particular lead segment.
Of course, other audience demographics, such as their age, location, and profession, are also factored in when creating a suitable content strategy. The sales funnel only happens to cast much wider nets, which makes it easier to classify and communicate with your leads more effectively.
What’s important is that you’re in touch with your leads’ expectations, which leads us to the next step:
2. Crafting a Welcome Email
Speaking of expectations, the best way to initiate your newly-converted leads is to wrap up their subscription in a welcome email. Not only will it make them feel more welcome in your mailing list, but it’s also a good opportunity to set them off in the right direction by providing links to useful resources.
It’s the least you can do for users who are willing to risk their contact information just to give your brand a fair chance.
Below is an example of a well-executed welcome email from G2 Crowd — a software and services review platform:
Luckily, creating a welcome email is generally considered as one of the easiest nurturing strategies you can implement. All you need is a couple of minutes, a small dose of motivation, and an email marketing platform with basic automation features.
ConvertKit is one of the known email marketing tools that fit the bill perfectly. It lets you schedule automated emails whenever new leads use a specific form to subscribe, which is incredibly helpful if you use different landing pages for different audience segments.
When writing the actual welcome email, here are a handful of tips you need to remember:
Highlight the Benefits of Your Mailing List
The number one rule in designing a welcome email — or any other marketing email for that matter — is to outline your value propositions in a straightforward manner. For this, you can use a bulleted list, an infographic, or just a single paragraph
To encourage new leads to take action as soon as they receive your welcome email, don’t just provide them with quick links to your pages. Try to embed them in short but impactful CTAs instead.
Communicate with a Conversational Tone
When welcoming new leads to your mailing list, it’s important to establish yourself as a relatable and approachable brand. That said, forego the use of complicated words in favor of simple, conversational language.
Show Your Appreciation
In addition to using a conversational tone, don’t forget to show your appreciation for their trust in your brand. A short “thank you” message somewhere in your email will help foster positive feelings and loyalty.
Include an Unsubscribe Link
It might seem counterintuitive to include an element that may cause you to lose leads in your welcome email, but it actually signals that you’re confident about the quality and value of your content. Moreover, it will help you preemptively weed out unqualified leads who are highly unlikely to convert.
3. Supplying Leads with Educational Content
Now that your leads are fully aware of what they signed up for don’t jump the gun by sending them special offers and discounts right away.
Remember, you need to give value before you expect value from your leads.
If you want them to entrust you with their hard-earned cash, you must prove that you’re driven by the desire to be of service. Help them overcome challenges by supplying them with a constant stream of actionable information.
For example, if you cater to a segment of fresh graduates who are struggling with their student loans, you can create a weekly newsletter that discusses money management tips or the best student loan calculators and services.
It’s basic content marketing: identify problems that your target audience experiences and then share solutions to gain their vote of approval.
Brian Dean of Backlinko makes the process of addressing the audience’s pain points almost like child’s play. Instead of writing a thick wall of text to describe his audience’s problems, he often uses questions as examples, making his emails instantly more relatable and interesting.
Naturally, you don’t have to put everything on the newsletter itself. The usual route is to publish the content on your blog and only send the link and a brief description via email.
If you’re having difficulties looking for topics to cover, you can use a number of content research techniques, such as:
- Combing through Q&A sites like Quora and Yahoo Answers for questions that people are asking.
- Using Google Trends to find out what users are searching for online.
- Looking for popular content with tools like BuzzSumo, Feedly, and EpicBeat.
- Borrowing ideas from competitor sites.
4. Sharing Case Studies
If you’re dealing with leads who already recognize your brand but are still unsure on whether they should convert or not, perhaps a case study can provide them with the assurance they need.
In the digital marketing sphere, a case study pertains to a report that explores just how effective a product or service is when solving real-life problems. It must be based on facts, relatable examples, and hard numbers in order to be convincing to your audience.
Furthermore, a case study requires a well-segmented list of leads if you want them to pay attention. After all, it’s difficult to make a long, data-driven piece of content appealing if you’re targeting the wrong crowd.
Now that we got those out of the way, here is a rundown of the steps in creating a case study from scratch:
Perform the Actual Study
Before you write a single letter, be sure you’ve already seen the whole picture. Verify that the outcome will be positive to make sure you’re not going to shoot yourself in the foot.
Structure Your Case Study around a Story
After obtaining all the information you need, the next step is to weave them together into a single, cohesive story. There’s no need to do or use anything fancy for this — just focus on being authentic, accurate, and descriptive about the client or customer being researched.
Prepare Infographics to Make Data More Readable
If your case study involves a lot of numbers, consider creating infographics to convey them much faster while also making them more digestible.
5. Monitor Your Success with KPIs
By now, you should be able to visualize how your lead nurturing campaign will go. However, it’s virtually impossible — even for veteran marketers in the world — to develop a successful lead generation campaign overnight.
What you need to learn is how to monitor and improve your results over time with the help of key performance indicators (KPIs). These are metrics that enable you to gauge the effectiveness of your current lead nurturing strategies, primarily the parts of an email that directly affect the experience of leads:
- Open Rate
First off, the open rate is a direct measure of your lead segmentation and subject line strategy. If you have a low open rate in your lead nurturing campaign, chances are they’re not particularly interested in what your email is about.
- Click-Through Rate
Once leads make it past their inbox and view your email, the next KPI you should watch out for is the click-through rate (CTR.) This describes the likelihood of leads to click on links to your content or homepage.
- Unsubscribe Rate
Are there more leads leaving your mailing list than subscribing? While it’s hard to pinpoint the exact reasons, this should warrant a thorough check of your lead nurturing campaign from square one — from your lead acquisition all the way to your email content strategy.
- Cost Per Customer
Lastly, you can’t afford to ignore the financial aspect of running a lead nurturing campaign. To make sure you can sustain your activities in the long run, calculate your customer acquisition cost (CAC) by dividing the total cost of your campaign by the number of leads you managed to convert within the same timeframe.
Lead nurturing is one of the “do or die” times in an online brand’s journey. You either make your lead generation efforts count or render them useless by not prioritizing to convert prospects.
With the strategies above, you should be able to bridge the gap between your offer and your leads. Just remember that a lead nurturing campaign requires a great deal of time and dedication to pull off — stay focused on KPIs and you’ll eventually get the results you deserve.