In the article I wrote two months ago (“Generating Business Online: How to Attract a Targeted Audience”), I focused on how to get the right traffic to your website — traffic that can actually turn into business. In last month’s article (“Generating Business Online: Turning Website Visitors Into Leads”), I focused on how to convert visitors to your website into qualified leads that your sales team can pursue with confidence. This article will discuss the third step: how to use email as your primary tool for lead nurturing.
What Is Lead Nurturing?
Lead nurturing is simply nurturing leads through the buying process. Sometimes it’s done via phone calls and in-person meetings, sometimes it’s done via email, sometimes it’s done via tradeshows and cross-country meetings, and sometimes it’s done with a combination of all of the above. For us, the email route is extremely effective considering most companies’ budgets (or lack thereof), the amount of time required, and the resources we have available to dedicate to new business.
As I detailed in a short blog post about industrial marketing several months back, almost 80 percent of marketing leads never convert into buyers, and lack of lead nurturing is a common culprit in this poor performance. Additionally, according to DemandGen Report, nurtured leads produce a 20 percent increase in sales opportunities compared to those that aren’t nurtured. Through a mixture of automated email campaigns, targeted email marketing, and website content that’s relevant for the audience, we can make sure leads are presented with the right information at the right stage of their buying process and thus nurtured effectively.
How Email Is Commonly Used Today
Whether we like it or not, we all find ourselves spending a lot of time in our email inbox. And I mean a lot of time. Sure, many of us have come up with methods to batch email, checking only two, three, or four times a day, but let’s be honest, that’s still way more often than we check our home mailbox. Some use their email inbox as a project management tool (which is not recommended by the way), some use it to handle simple to-dos, and some use it to deal with nearly every single bit of communication they partake in. No matter how you use email, if you’re reading this post, I can almost guarantee one thing: you use it often and you spend a lot of time in it.
Email has become a central hub of communication, reserved for business interactions, trusted information, and the things that matter most in your life. If something doesn’t fall into any of the above categories, the “Unsubscribe” button is only a convenient click away (or at least it’s supposed to be). So it’s important to make sure that if you use email for nurturing, you use it right. If you do, I think you’ll be very happy with the results.
Email Lead Nurturing
In recent years, there has been a sea change in email marketing. Company-wide e-newsletters have been supplemented (sometimes even replaced) with more targeted email campaigns — campaigns that give a user information that he or she is actually seeking. It’s important to remember this as you work on your next email campaign. Software now exists that allows you to send automated, personalized emails to individuals based not only on demographic information but also on the actions they’ve taken on your website.
For instance, if a visitor downloads a premium content piece that you have on your site, he or she should receive a personalized, automated email the next day thanking him for the download, followed by an email promoting another resource the following week, and an email with links to three or four related blog posts a week after that…and so forth. With automated lead-nurturing activated, you can spend your time on the most promising opportunities offline.
Once you have leads, then what?
Leads are great, especially when you have a lot of them. But they aren’t much use when they’re simply kept in one big heap of email addresses. It’s important to segment the leads you’re generating into lists (based upon who they are) for more effective lead nurturing and marketing. This is a step that’s often overlooked. For example, if you’re an industrial or commercial supplier that targets five separate markets, you can’t speak to the five segments the same way. You must speak to each group individually, communicating to them the information they are seeking and are thirsting to know.
At Gorilla 76, we use software that lets us assign points to leads based on both demographic information (e.g., location, company size, and industry) and actions taken on our site (e.g., number of visits, views of pricing or case study pages, and downloads of white papers). This information influences how we cater our marketing approach to individual leads and is at the core of our lead nurturing.
Now…Get to Nurturing!
You know lead nurturing is important and you know the basics of what it requires. So what are you waiting for? Get after it.
The sales team will thank you. The marketing folks will revere you. Your boss might just give you that corner office you’ve had your eye on. And if you have any more questions, keep an eye on our blog.
About the Author
Jon Franko is a partner at Gorilla 76, a marketing firm that helps business to business (B2B) industrial companies generate website traffic, qualified business leads, and paying customers using their website and other online media. For more information, contact: Gorilla 76, (314) 332-1020, www.gorilla76.com