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B2B lead nurturing: What it really means and why you should do it

Seventy-nine percent of marketing leads never convert to sales.1 Lack of B2B lead nurturing is the common cause for this predicament.

You probably think you need more leads…the more the better, right? But are you thinking a lead is only someone ready to purchase now?

You might be interested to learn that 50% of leads are qualified but not yet ready to purchase.2 What about those? Do you simply drop them from consideration?

Believe it or not, you already have plenty of B2B marketing leads. In fact, it is estimated that more than half of the leads in your marketing database are still viable, even if the prospects are not ready to immediately buy. Those leads have value; however, you have to establish a B2B lead nurturing strategy.

B2B lead nurturing is best defined as continued communications with prospects to remain top of mind so that when they are ready to purchase, you are included in their consideration. Sounds easy, right?  But “continued communications” with prospects should be well thought out. You should build an ongoing B2B lead nurturing contact strategy customized to each prospect. There are two major areas to concentrate on when thinking about continued communications for nurturing leads.

Content
The content of your B2B lead nurturing communications should be personalized and should focus on prospects and things that are important to them. When thinking about content, consider rich information about product or service offerings that you would like prospects to review. Listing this type of information on your website will help with SEM/SEO and online search rankings. Making your content clear, concise and compelling is a lead nurturing best practice. It can be product or service education or thought leadership from your company that is specific to a particular market, and it can come in the form of ebooks, insight reports, industry trend updates, etc. The content should also address information related to solutions for issues that particular prospects are facing. If possible, try to include personalization of the content you will be sending to the prospect.    

Communication channels
This is the second area to concentrate on. B2B lead nurturing should include multiple channels to remain diverse and effective.

  • Email
    This is the most utilized channel, and it is often considered the easiest to execute. But an effective B2B email campaign takes strategy, planning, execution and ongoing analysis. It’s not as simple as it sounds. Lead nurturing emails get four to ten times the response rate compared with stand-alone email blasts.2 Personalized emails improve click-through rates by 14% and conversion rates by 10%.2 Take advantage of the B2B lead nurturing process and make your email communications as personalized as possible. Many marketers think they are experts at email only to find out that their success falls short of industry averages across the board.
  • Personalized URLs (PURLs)
    When used to complement direct mail and email contact strategies, PURLs and microsites designed specifically for the prospect or their industry can easily increase response rates by 20% to 30%. They also provide visitors with a more personalized and relevant experience. Making prospects feel appreciated and catered to provides a platform for easier conversion in the future. They are also more likely to respond to communications that are tailored specifically to them and their needs.
  • Social media
    Transforming B2B social media into a lead machine workshop. Reserve space.

    Leveraging social media is another lead nurturing best practice that should be utilized. According to HubSpot, social media lead conversion rates are 13% higher than the average lead conversion. Integrate B2B lead nurturing content into your social activity. Encourage prospects to visit, follow or like your company and product/service information. This will provide yet another avenue for you to engage and remain relevant. Social media can provide insights that can serve as a foundation for ongoing engagement activities. Letting prospects know you are socially active in their industry can pay huge dividends later. Also, monitoring market trends and social topics within their markets can uncover hot topics and issues of importance that you could address in future B2B lead nurturing communications. Be sure to have an active and purposeful presence on social media.

  • Direct mail
    This is also still a very effective yet often underused channel. Even in today’s technology-dominated world, people still like to receive a well-thought-out and personalized piece of mail. According to the DMA, direct mail is predicted to have annual increases of 17%. And response rates are steady. Direct mail can help bridge phases of the lead lifecycle, but in particular it can help transform leads from nurturing to conversion. It can be sent in creative formats, from simple postcards to elaborate dimensional pieces. Leveraging behavior and information engagement (such as visiting a web page or blog article) can deliver a more personalized message within the direct mail read. Creating integration with online vehicles such as social media, email or PURLs provides a lift.

Following lead nurturing best practices enables marketers to continue to educate, inform and build a relationship with prospects that will push them closer towards transactions that are much more qualified and easier to close. If you incorporate a lead nurturing strategy, you can start to work on converting all those viable leads you already have in your marketing database.

  1. Source: MarketingSherpa
  2. Source: HubSpot blog

Topics: B2B

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