Why Is Lead Nurturing So Important?
Inbound lead nurturing strategy is probably one of the most underrated aspects of marketing. Immediately asking your leads to purchase without nurturing them is like proposing on the first date.
If you’re asking someone to buy, you’re putting the very bottom of the funnel sales content in front of them without first building a relationship—you’ll blow the sale because they’re not ready to buy at that point. You’re missing an opportunity to build trust and guide your reader to whatever future they’re seeking—towards their success.
This is especially important in healthcare—a very complex market in which reaching the right B2B channels and stakeholders takes endurance.
Nurturing your leads and providing them with educational content before engaging in a sales conversation will win their trust. It will help them understand the next steps they need to take and ultimately will lead them to their best solution—which ideally will be you and your company.
What’s the Purpose of Lead Generation?
The purpose of lead generation should be to gain new customers, not just leads. When generating leads, you want to make sales. Just having an inflated number of leads is nothing to brag about. It’s important that your leads are qualified before they move to sales. That’s why they need to be nurtured.
Here’s an example to explain what lead nurturing is not.
If a user downloads your top of funnel infographic and a sales rep immediately calls them, they’ll be turned off. They won’t find that call helpful because you’re just kind of jumping on them. No one is going to be interested in that. It’s too sales-y—too much, too fast.
Here’s an example of what proper lead nurturing should look like.
You create a guide for patient engagement telling readers: “This is how you engage patients.” Someone downloads that content offer, guide, or ebook. Then to nurture them, you engage them with further content. Often that’s through lead nurturing emails, but we’ll talk about other ways to nurture them later on.
Prioritize quality rather than targeting a certain number of leads during a certain period. Nurturing leads can help you improve the quality of your leads before you send them to sales, when they’re considered an SQL or sales qualified lead. By the time they talk to sales for that first time, they’re educated enough to know what they need. And it takes less persuasion from your sales team because the prospect actually understands the value of what you’re selling.
How Can Marketers Ensure That Their Lead Generation Efforts Aren’t Going to Waste?
We see this happen a lot. People generate leads—then they just sit in their CRM for months. It’s really frustrating because they’ve spent a lot of money on ads to acquire those leads, but don’t follow up with content that encourages more engagement.
When you do this, it’s like giving a gift, then just ending the relationship. So you gave them your content offer or whatever that value offer was that got them to give you their email address and contact information, you give them that gift, and then you just ghost them. They don’t know how to engage with you. They may never see you anywhere online again. They just found your one ebook, they think it’s awesome, but then you just leave them hanging. If this is the approach that you’re taking you’re missing out on a lot of opportunities.
As I mentioned earlier, before you try to have your sales team jump on a call with a lead, you have to build trust. You have to build a relationship. You have to provide them with lots of value before you can make your ask. To make sure your marketing efforts and your lead generation efforts aren’t going to waste, once you’ve spent money on ads to get people in the door, you’ve got to nurture them. You’ve got to move them down the funnel with personalized content that encourages them to trust you and take the next step. A good nurture campaign shows a person the path forward.
How Does Lead Nurturing Produce High-Quality Leads?
We’ve touched on how to nurture leads to make sure that your marketing efforts don’t go to waste. But let’s cover how lead generation helps produce high-quality leads. Many marketers just want more leads because they think that the more leads they get, the more sales they will make—but that isn’t necessarily true. Many leads aren’t ready to purchase right away.
Since nurturing leads helps marketers provide leads with relevant information that answers any and all questions they might have—if you’re doing things correctly—you must have your funnel set up. Over time, your lead nurturing strategy is going to help indicate to customers that you’re the absolute best possible solution for them. Your product is the end-all, be-all because they’ve seen your content across many different platforms and they’ve started to go to you for the answers. They trust you—and ultimately they’re going to become a customer through your marketing efforts.
Tips for Successful Lead Generation
I’ve talked about the theory of nurturing leads and what it means, but to make this really practical for you, I want to give you some tips about how to successfully nurture leads.
You have to prove your value to consumers in a way that’s honest and transparent because ultimately you want your customers to trust you. It’s important to segment your audience. You need to figure out where each person is in your funnel. So if they opted into the middle of the funnel offer, you’re going to put them into a sequence that nurtures them accordingly. Same with the top of the funnel and bottom of the funnel. Segmenting your leads this way helps ensure that they aren’t getting answers to questions that they’re not asking.
You need to think about what types of content work at every single stage. If you’re at the top of the funnel, your lead knows they have a problem, but they may not know that there’s a solution available or what their options are. This is where guides and advice are effective.
The middle of the funnel is where they know they have the problem. They’re already considering their options. So this is where you need to get more granular in your inbound lead nurturing strategy. You can start talking about what your company offers, but you don’t want to be selling here. You just want to be like, “Hey, these are some features that you need,” or “This is how you evaluate a partner.” Your content should be helping them evaluate next steps and best options.
The bottom of the funnel is where you can start selling. Offer even more case studies and testimonials. You can do that a little bit in the middle of the funnel as well. And then if you’re nurturing them correctly, you’re guiding them to each piece of content along the funnel.
Here’s a quick summary of what content in your funnel should look like. At the top of the funnel, that first email should be like, “Here are some tips for you.” And then as you’re trying to move them to the middle of the funnel, you’re saying, “Okay, here’s a guide that’s going to help you evaluate a potential option.” And then once they’ve downloaded that option, you nurture them again with more emails or more content, starting to persuade them to purchase, persuade them that your offering is their best option.
Following these rules will help ensure that you’re serving your leads relevant content.
Don’t Use ONLY Email
Don’t use solely lead nurturing emails. I’m not going to say that email is dead—it’s definitely not. But open rates do tend to be pretty low these days. So some alternatives to email are retargeting ads. And if you’ve read any of my previous posts, you know I’m a big fan of retargeting ads. Advertise on social media and supply users with dynamic content on your actual website, and nurture with blog content. Every piece of your content that you’ve created aids in moving leads down the funnel.
Create a Variety of Content
I went over some options for different types of content to create at different stages earlier but let’s expand a bit more.
Think about all the types of content you could put out there. You could do videos, podcasts, blog posts, emails, white papers, eBooks, quizzes, or interactive content. There’s an endless amount of options. And if you dig around the internet a little bit, you’ll see what other marketers are doing. There are some really cool ideas out there. So start thinking about what types of content you could be creating and how you can put that funnel together.
Don’t Spam Leads
Another tip to successfully nurture leads is to avoid spamming your leads. So don’t immediately call them unless they’ve opted in and downloaded a bottom of the funnel offer. So if a lead downloads your infographic or ebook, you should refrain from immediately calling them. Now, at some point, a sales rep should be reaching out to them. And if you send them to a landing page, for a very bottom of the funnel offer—at that point, yeah, sales should hop on the phone with them. But like I just mentioned, don’t be spamming their inbox. You don’t want your leads to be annoyed with your organization. Send them lead nurturing emails to keep yourself top of mind, but not an email every hour. Don’t make them feel like you’re stalking them—nurture them subtly. You want to make them feel loved, but not so loved that it’s suffocating.
Really you have to put yourself in the shoes of your customer. Often marketers fall in love with their own products. And they’re like, “Why wouldn’t anybody want this? And why wouldn’t they want to hop on the phone?” You really need to put yourself in the customer’s shoes and wonder, if you had no knowledge about your product or service, how would you feel about your marketing and sales tactics.
How to Ensure You Provide Leads With Relevant Content
One of the most important things you need to do with inbound lead nurturing ensures that you’re providing them with content relevant to their needs and this starts with knowing your buyer persona. You should know who your buyer personas are, what they need from you, what their pain points are, and how to provide them value. Once you’ve done that work and laid that foundation, you can start to decide what types of content they need.
The other thing you want to do is look at what triggers them to go out and look for a solution similar to yours. What questions are they asking? What are they thinking that makes them go to Google and try to find something or go ask their friend for an option or go try to find an advisor to get a solution. So what is triggering them?
After creating buyer personas, we recommend that people outline what their triggers are at every stage of the funnel. So if you have a patient engagement platform of some sort and you’re putting out content about patient engagement, a top of the funnel trigger could be, how do I make sure my patients take their medicine? Or how do I make sure my patients remember to do their self-testing at home? You want to figure out what that customer at the top of the funnel is thinking when they understand they have a problem, but they don’t yet understand that there’s a solution available.
Then you do the same thing for the other two stages of the funnel. And as you’re getting further down the funnel towards the bottom, they will be asking more company-specific questions. So what company is the best solution for me? What option is the best solution for me? And that’s where again, you can start getting more and more sales-y. You can start making more of those hard asks and those hard sells. You can start talking more about the features and benefits of your product. Once you understand your buyer persona’s triggers, you can create content they would search for. This would be content like ebooks and ad campaigns around those triggers.
And finally, the other thing that you should do is repurpose content. You can take an ebook and turn it into an SEO optimized blog post to grab search traffic, or you can turn it into a content offer and drive paid ads to it to get more leads. You can take a video and turn it into an ebook.
You can also turn a podcast into a blog post, which is what you’re reading right now.
Start Nurturing Your Leads Into SQLs!
Now that you know what it takes to create the correct content for each of your buyer personas in each stage of the funnel, try out some of the tactics you’ve learned and start producing more qualified leads.