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The Dos and Don’ts of Lead Nurturing

LBrubaker headshotWritten by Lauren Brubaker, Demand Generation Manager, NetProspex

 

Take a second and think about your lead conversion rate. Could you name it right now? Hopefully you can. Conversion rates from inquiry to MQL — and MQL to opportunity — are two crucial stats that demand gen marketers should always have at the ready. Why? Because they tell you how your lead nurturing programs are performing, and lead nurturing is a demand gen marketer’s bread and butter.

Lead nurturing is all about understanding the nuances of your buyers and building relationships with them through every stage of the buying cycle. When done correctly, this practice can boost conversion rates and decrease the cost of customer acquisition. When done incorrectly — well, let’s not go there.  To make sure you stay on track, check out this list of the top dos and don’ts of lead nurturing:

Do Map Your Content To Your Buying Cycle: Each new piece of content created by your marketing team should clearly belong in a specific section of the buying cycle. This may seem obvious, but so many marketers don’t take the time to do it. If you’re in the group of procrastinators, start by creating a master list of all of your content and all of the different stages of your buyer’s journey. Go down the list of content one at a time and decide which stage the content best serves. Then go back and look at your nurturing programs to make sure the content follows a logical order. While you’re at it, make sure your lead scoring models reflect proper point levels for each piece of content.  

Don’t Overwhelm Your Leads: When it comes to lead nurturing, there’s a fine line between being helpful and acting desperate — and no one wants to seem desperate. Your nurtures should provide gentle nudges, not frantic shoves through the marketing/sales funnel. Have a solid outreach plan in place to outline exactly how often you should contact a lead and with what types of content for messages, emails and follow-ups are appropriate. If you don’t have a plan in place, start with all the content you mapped to the first stage of the buying cycle and define the next path you want a lead to take.

Do Make It Worth Your Audience's While: A key to successful nurturing is to deliver valuable content that your audience wants. Overt sales material may not hold your audience’s attention. Keep it efficient, keep it human and create an impression. Some men say that if they can get a girl to laugh, they can get her to go on a date. Content follows the same idea. If your content is both enjoyable and sharp, you’ve got a better chance of holding their attention, and those conversion rates we talked about may start to go up.

Don’t Ignore Their Behavior: Just as we talked about not overwhelming your prospects when they enter your buying cycle, it’s important to mention that marketing automation allows us to give eager beavers what they want. If someone is downloading your content like crazy, let them! Don’t restrict their connection with your brand simply because they need to fit a generic lead nurture program.

Do Test, Track, And Test Some More: As we all know, lead nurturing can get tricky as specific segments respond differently to certain tactics.Good marketers test, but great marketers are constantly testing. Your CMO will thank you for it and you’ll waste less time producing content that doesn’t convert. If you don’t know where to start, test something simple like subject-line length or button color. Once you get your feet wet, you’ll feel more comfortable taking on sophisticated experiments.

Don’t Forget About Your Sales Team: We can pass leads to sales all day long, but if your sales team isn’t with the program, all of this work is a waste. Consistency is key when communicating with your sales team. This cannot be stressed enough. Make sure the sales team always knows what your official lead flow process is, what types of leads are coming in the door, and what the end goal is. Accomplish that, your lead nurturing programs will put up solid numbers.

 

Lauren Brubaker is Demand Generation Manager for NetProspex.  Brubaker is a high-performance marketing professional with extensive experience in using marketing automation platforms, developing behavior-based campaigns, persona-based marketing, and Sirius Decision waterfall methodology. She has a successful track record of creating demand generation campaigns and implementing email marketing best practices.