Nurturing has become part of our marketing vocabulary. While it is becoming overused many people either misunderstand what it really means or have a hard time translating “nurturing” into a marketing activity. Here are 5 things to consider when crafting a nurturing program.
1. Why nurture? Make sure your organization understands what lead nurturing is and why marketing needs to do it. “Companies do not buy, people do”, thus branding, PR, and tradeshows that are highly sought after channels are not responsible alone for the qualified leads sales people are looking for. Since “people” are the ones who buy and make decisions, it is the “relationship” you build through marketing communications after acquiring a lead that counts.
2. Who to nurture? Leads, qualified leads, opportunities, partners or customers? Each group can and should be nurtured but many companies think they only have to nurture leads and even from those only nurture new leads. In order to recover the thousands of dollars spent on leads it is recommended to create various nurture campaigns based on segments. Not all leads are the same, thus they should not all communicate the same message. If segmentation is not yet developed then a couple of exercises such as examining closed won opportunities from the previous year for the basic similarities could be a good starting point.
3. What to communicate? Whatever the offer is (webinars, case studies, ebooks, podcasts, etc.) it needs to have one thing in common, can’t describe how it does what it does, its components, what electrical gizmo makes it a jewel for the company, or what technical part got an award. While your company cares about these things, leads couldn’t care less. What they want to know is what benefits does it offer to them as an individual, what benefits does it offer to their industry problems, and how it would solve their particular issue. Thus, the content needs to emphasize business needs and the benefits. “Solutions” can be mentioned as the answer to their problem, and what leads are interested in but with little technical description.
4. Clean Database! Why? Because a dirty database’s open and click rates most likely will be below the industry standard. Most companies do not realize that when they implement a nurturing program they are sending prospect communications to clients, partners, competitors, their own employees, and other unintended entities. Removing these records and duplicates can increase the open and click rates easily.
5. Implementing Lead Scoring. Most companies who are utilizing a marketing automation system are using a scoring mechanism to evaluate leads. Certain explicit and implicit info are more important than others as they show more interest or are more valuable based on historical information. Review all possible attributes and actions a lead can make and discuss their value with the sales department. In the past most marketers set a threshold score and anything above that score was assigned as a qualified lead to the sales department. Today, marketers are finding that even the best scoring models will not always produce qualified leads. As such, organizations began to assign leads based on certain actions taken by the lead and use the score as a prioritization tool for sales.
While there are many other things to consider, the above stated 5 points will give you a head start in crafting a nurture program.