Even with the best inbound marketing strategy, only a small percentage of your potential customers will be ready to buy immediately. This means that 90 percent of your new “leads” need to be nurtured to the bottom of the sales funnel.
One study showed a 20 percent increase in sales as a result of inbound marketing strategies that focused on lead nurturing. The same study also found that successful lead nurturing campaigns resulted in 50 percent more sales and reduced the overall costs of the campaign by 33 percent.
In today’s competitive and buyer-driven market, nurturing leads means building robust and solid relationships. It’s not a “trick” to increase sales though. Whilst it will improve sales it’s also good business practice and ensures that your customers get the best possible service. However, many marketers do not take lead nurturing seriously because it’s the time and resource consuming part of an inbound campaign process.
The truth is, the buyer’s journey is far from straightforward and the journey through the sales funnel requires a strategic and deliberate workflow. Sending emails randomly simply won’t get the buyer from awareness to purchase.
This is where marketing automation comes in—automation simply allows you to give the right buyer the right content at the right time. Automation is not just about saving time; it really is about consistently providing your leads with what they want at the optimal time. What better way to build loyalty?
So how do you nurture relationships with your leads to improve conversions?
Setting up a marketing automation workflow allows you to identify your lead’s position in the sales cycle. This way, you are able to regularly update and improve the content you send them. With such a workflow, you can continue to segment your contact list and target each refined group more accurately with the appropriate content as they journey down the sales funnel towards sales.
What’s really great about segmentation is that it lets you track how your leads are reacting to your marketing activities so you can make quick changes to meet their needs based on these reactions.
Did you know that up to 77 percent of buyers prefer different content at each phase of their journey? Automation plays an important role in helping you target buyers with the right content format at each stage of the sales cycle. Supplying leads with the right content format at the right time can make all the difference in terms of their eventual decision to purchase.
Content is at the heart of any lead nurturing campaign yet many marketers who embark on automation often fall short in terms of building a solid content flow.
Developing a consistent content flow requires a firm understanding of your buyer personas to ensure that each piece of content meets the needs of your audience. In the absence of content that specifically addresses your lead’s pain points, even the most robust marketing automation software will not deliver any significant results.
To build relationships with leads using content you need to set up a content calendar and develop content not just for each buyer persona but also for each stage of the buying cycle.
Content flow is especially pivotal to your lead flow—without the right content you will not have the right amount and quality of leads needed for a worthwhile inbound marketing campaign. Automating your content enables the flow of leads down the cycle to be more efficient, therefore making these leads sales-ready.
What are the best practices for effective lead nurturing through marketing automation?
Identify your target– It is not enough to segment your contact list; the success of your automated campaign depends on how well you identify the segment that requires nurturing because not every lead needs to be nurtured. So, in addition to segmenting your contact list, drill down on nurture-worthy leads.
Define the goal– Yes, you want to build a relationship with your leads but what does this really entail? As part of the relationship-building and nurturing process, it is important to have a clear end goal or action you would like your target audience to take whether this is registering for a course or signing up for a free consultation.
Identify their place on the sales cycle– Identifying where your target is on the buyers’ journey helps you to build appropriate content for each stage of the journey. As you develop content, consider your target’s needs to encourage greater engagement with your content.
Finally, be sure to test and measure the success of your marketing automation efforts to identify what is working and the changes that are needed to nurture your leads down the sales funnel.
Automating the lead nurturing process eliminates potential barriers in the sales cycle by providing your audience with relevant and topical content. When done correctly, automation can boost your sales results by allowing you to focus more on sales-ready leads.