Nurturing leads has never been simple for B2B companies – in fact, it often tops the charts when marketing and sales teams are asked about their greatest challenges.
The digital landscape has only made this task more complicated and difficult, as there are now more opportunities than ever to either interact positively with a customer or drop the ball and lose the sale.
Since this is such a hot topic, there are countless opinions out there on the best ways to nurture leads; there are “hidden strategies” and “secret tips: that are guaranteed to boost your team’s results. The truth is that every single B2B organization’s audience is different – some audiences may react well to one method while others see little results.
However, there are several tactics that are not just rumored to be effective (across the board to various extents) but have the data to back them up. Curious what they are and how your marketing team can use them in their lead nurturing strategies? Let’s dive in.
- Personalize your content for leads based on their intent and the stage of the funnel they’re currently in.
- Email marketing is still the best channel to reach your leads at the right times.
- B2B content needs to be completely data-driven for business decision-makers to take it seriously.
1. Personalizing Based on Intent
It is no secret that personalization is incredibly influential on consumer behavior. According to research from Epsilon, 80% of consumers said that they were more likely to buy from a business that offered personalized experiences.
This survey also found that the preferred forms of customization included specific discounts and offers, personalized product recommendations, and personalized customer service assistance.
One of the best ways for B2B marketing teams to use personalization effectively for lead nurturing is customizing content dynamically based on customer intent. This will take some research and analysis first, in order to create a data-driven buyer’s journey map to guide your content.
It is also important to personalize the structure or “visual hierarchy” of your page so that visitors’ eyes match the flow of content on the page. Once you get this right, you can use “website heatmaps” to track user interactions with various elements of your pages and find out exactly how these elements influence their behavior in conjunction with your copy and content.
Once you start piecing together the typical journey that your customers are following from initial interaction with your brand to the purchase decision, you can start to personalize the content you show your leads and prospects, based on data from intent shown by existing customers.
For example, say that a lead lands on one of your blog posts by clicking a link from another website’s blog. You know that they are part of your targeted audience and are likely interested in learning more about a specific topic in your niche, so you might highlight content that matches the category/topic of the blog they came in from, point them to more posts related to that topic, and customize the relevant parts (edit copy) of the landing page when they click through an in-line CTA from one of the posts they read.
On the other hand, if a customer browses through product descriptions and clicks on some case studies, you can see that they are likely further down the buyer’s journey. It would be best to send out a personalized email message to encourage this lead to connect with a sales representative.
2. Triggered Emails and Drip Campaigns
Email marketing has been and always will be one of the best ways to turn a lead into a customer, particularly in the B2B realm. Most (if not all) marketing teams customize their email marketing in some form or another. But in order to really ensure that it has an impact on lead nurturing, you need to perfect your use of automated drip campaigns to show relevant content that truly influences customers.
Using trigger-based emails allows you to reach customers with the exact content they need at the perfect time. According to a report from Email Monday, 81% of organizations that implemented automated marketing saw an increase in qualified leads, 71% reported better lead management, and 40% increased their revenue.
Again, a data-driven customer journey map for your specific audience lies at the center of a successful campaign. You will need to understand which actions should trigger an automated response, such as a welcome email when a customer downloads content, or a reminder notification when someone sets up a phone call with a sales rep. By using these automated messages, you can ensure that no leads fall through the cracks and tweak your communications with each one of them.
3. Letting Content Do the Talking
B2B buyers are often far more informed than B2C customers. Furthermore, they are typically looking to make a business investment rather than just a simple purchase, so they are going to be far more critical (and expect proof) of your business’s claims and promises.
According to Demand Gen’s Content Preferences report, the majority of customers will consume up to five pieces of content before reaching out to a salesperson. Most buyers consume content like third party reports, whitepapers, and webinars – they don’t just want simple blog pieces. Therefore, it is imperative that your business’s content is based on facts, not just opinions.
When it comes to B2B content, the proof is in the pudding, so be sure that all your content is backed up by research, and provides them with a reason to learn more about your company. You’d do good to elaborate and add your insights on reports and studies published by a third-party for truly unbiased messaging.
4. Intelligent Retargeting
Just because a lead falls off after an initial interaction does not mean that all is lost. In fact, data collected by Invesp CRO reports that customers who view retargeted ads are three times more likely to revisit your website and have a 70% higher chance of converting than first-time customers.
Again, your strategies here need to be based on data for truly intelligent retargeting. Not every customer will respond to generic retargeted ads. Invesp’s study also found that 46% of customers actually ignore retargeted ads most of the time. Personalization will come into play here to ensure that your efforts are more effective and enticing to your audience in order to re-engage them.
One of the most effective ways to retarget leads is by using buyer personas to personalize these ads based on their interest and behaviors. Once a user interacts with a website, their information can be recorded and analyzed to see which buyer persona they match up with best. If they leave the website without taking a desired action or micro-conversion, then they can be retargeted with ads that match up to their preferences and interests.
Convince and Convert
The real secret to successful lead nurturing is giving your audience what they want, when they want it. Ask yourself:
- Do we really understand our audience’s intent based on their actions and behavior?
- How can we provide personalized experiences and use them to connect with leads on a one-on-one basis?
- Where and when do the majority of our leads fall off and how can we re-engage with them?
- Is our content helping or hurting our lead generation?
B2B marketers need to take a long, hard look at their current nurturing strategies and pinpoint the areas where they’re lacking. The key is to identify your best prospects, understand what makes them tick, and create opportunities for conversion through effective messaging.
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