A lead nurture campaign, probably better known as lead nurturing, is a type of marketing strategy that focuses on nurturing a relationship between the company’s brand and consumer. As companies adopt inbound marketing as a means to generating more new leads, the significance of having an effective lead nurture campaign strategy becomes paramount. Implementing an effective lead nurturing strategy can have a massive impact on the outcome of your inbound marketing strategy and overall ROI.
The premise behind a lead nurture campaign is that nowadays the consumer discovers about the brand and options available by himself. The consumers are no longer hard sold like they were in the old days when internet was not dominating the marketing world as a channel of communication.
These days, consumers usually research all the options available and evaluates them before connecting with the company.
Focus & Principle of Lead Nurture Campaign
A lead nurture campaign focuses on building a relationship with an existing lead. Once a web visitor engages with your content they are then taken through a lead nurture campaign which should be audience-specific and in some cases user-specific. A visitor after converting into a lead on the website, is placed in the inbound marketing funnel. In this funnel, the marketers place the lead into a lead nurturing campaign and send them e-mails, push-notifications or sms. This campaign prompts the users to take the next step & move down the funnel that will lead to the sales conversion eventually.
One of the key differentiating principles of a lead nurture campaign is that instead of selling, you’re conversing. The website visitor is already engaging with your brand so it’s a tactic that is less abrasive, more personal, and less in your face high pressure sales. The lead nurture campaign focuses on staying relevant to the prospect consumer by offering them information they can use which ultimately is there to simply guide them to a sale. It’s easiest to think of this as a maze marketers lure the consumer down with very specific actions.
An example of this would be a consumer visits a marketing agency website and browses the SEO (search engine optimization) section. The lead generates an alert and a few days later an email with an invite to a webinar on the topic of SEO is sent to them. The lead then receives the email, opens and is presented with this offer. Once the lead clicks on the offer, which takes them to a landing page on the marketing agency’s website where they’re offered the webinar on SEO.
There’s no real CTA (Call to Action) here, nor is there any sense of urgency. This is an engaged dialogue between consumer and brand, where the brand is saying: let us see if we’re a match for what you are seeking. This is where the ‘nurturing’ comes from, because we are guiding the lead along the pathway to conversion without the lead explicitly knowing what’s happening.
Launching a lead nurture campaign
When I start a lead nurture campaign, I’m always starting with lead scoring. Lead scoring is a tactic everyone uses in order to gauge where a prospect is within the sales funnel and the way in which they’re engaging with the company’s product or service. The lead score data is then used to determine the best communication method to establish between company and lead.
When a company has a solid flow in their lead generation activities, then the lead scores results in segmented leads, where strategies will be used within the segmented groups.
Pretty much every established organization has a product or service lead scoring strategy that’s suitable to their needs, but generally there are 3 criteria that all use.
1. Identifying the right type of lead
First, we need to figure out where the lead is within your target audience, which relates to the lead demographic. Additionally, we then need to figure out whether or not the lead has the ability to make a purchase and if the product/service is actually of use to them. This is more of an art than a science as there’s no real definitive way of knowing up front.
2. Gauging the level of interest
Fist we need to be able to tell the difference between a lead that arrived on your landing page and subsequently bounced, versus a lead that interacts and is engaged. Up to around 90% of leads will never buy a product or service. This means more often than not something piqued their interest but ultimately they are not a suitable fit for that particular product/service. The leads level of interest directly affects the timing and tactics used in the lead nurture campaign. This is the most important step in lead scoring.
3. Are they there just for content?
Sometimes you could have quality content a site visitor is browsing leisurely and has no intention of engaging further. If the visitor isn’t engaging in anything such as watching webinars, subscribing to email lists, signing up for free resource guides, etc, yet are still clicking through all of the sites videos and articles then those leads will have a lower value than those who are. Even a site visitor that doesn’t spend as much time on site yet engages further in what is being provided will take front stage over a site visitor that spends all their time searching through the blog post content.
Time to start the communication
Once we finish the lead scoring process, we now begin communicating with the lead. Here, it is generally agreed that content remains to be king. From infographics, high quality articles, videos, webinars, the target audience is looking for answers to a problem their trying to solve. Once the lead is identified and segmented to the appropriate grouping, we can now use our automated email drips to round out the buying cycle.
Automated email drips
For over a decade, automated email marketing has been the cornerstone for online marketers and is one that can have a massive impact on ROI, when done properly. Once we’ve scored the lead, we will then send out automated emails which are tailored towards the leads engagement style with the brand. The automated email drips are designed to present relevant content that aligns with their experience. Like we saw with the marketing agency example above, it could be a link to a landing page, video tutorials, infographics, basically anything that persuades the lead to buy.
This initial automated email drips typically offers something of value, also known as a hook, rather than a hard sales pitch. This is why having an inventory of content in place before lead scoring is a great idea. Once you begin establishing the answers your leads are looking for then you are able to present them with what feels like ‘personalized’ content. Automated email drips are really the first time the brand attempts to nurture their lead down the crafted sales funnel, hopefully leading to a conversion event.
Apply email scoring
Email scoring isn’t really a term used in digital marketing but for sake of explanation it makes sense. After our automated emails are sent, instead of scoring the leads, we are analyzing the emails to determine their efficacy. A/B split testing works extremely well within each segmented audience, content metrics are excellent tools, and timing evaluation is critical for success. Here’s a pro tip, finding the perfect length for the ‘conversation’ we will have with our lead is the bread and butter of a winning lead nurture campaign.
From this data, we will then optimize a campaign in order to discover the ‘natural progression’ of which the lead nurturing should be. From my experience, I’ve found that the natural progression of a lead going through the sales cycle will directly correlate to the target audiences lead score. Doesn’t always work and certainly styles and tactics are going to change along with the natural rhythm of the market, so don’t fall into a lazy loop of believing you can do just 1 thing and it always works. Do that with anything in life and you’ll be sorely disappointed.
Lead Nurture Campaigns work when constructed properly
Lead nurture campaigns can be a winning strategy in converting leads into paying customers. It’s a strategy that allows a company or brand to take advantage of their own unique voice and perspective, creatively looping this conversation rather than just desperately trying to force a sale. It’s a natural way of basically letting the lead “self discover” your brand or product. Since there’s time to allow this natural progression, it means there’s more opportunity for optimization, which further increases the overall success of the marketing campaign.
Over the course of time our lead scoring will begin segment for better granularity, and from this we are able to find new best methods with lead nurturing, then our automated email drips can work autonomously in order to open these dialogues with the lead.
Lead nurture campaigns helps you to be present on the channels where your consumers are present, thereby engaging them and increasing the chance that they will start a relationship with your business and be lifelong consumers of your product or service. Nurturing leads towards a purchasing decision takes time and is not done in a month or even half a year. It requires dedication, cooperation and lots of hard work within the company in order to be effective.