Lead Nurturing and Lead Scoring in Digital Marketing
Lead nurturing is the process of building a relationship with a prospective buyer at various parts of his decision-making journey. At different levels of the sales funnel, you are providing them with information that addresses their need at that level. This builds trust over a period of time so that when they are ready to buy, you are on the top of their mind.
Statistics show that about 80 percent of new leads fail to convert to sales (Source: MarketingSherpa) and that the nurtured leads spend 47% more on their purchases than the non-nurtured leads. (Source: The Annuitas Group). So your focus needs to move from targeting conversion right off the bat, to nurturing leads over time.
Effective lead nurturing moves the prospective buyer from the initial contact, through a sales development process, to finally converting to a buying customer. Both sales and marketing efforts are employed to nurture this growth in revenue.
Types of lead nurturing
There is no one strategy that is applicable to all situations. However, there are some common types of lead nurturing programs.
- Engagement programs engage the leads by publishing good quality, relevant content and keep them interested in what your business has to offer.
- Education programs provide insights to the leads on how your products and services will help them be more productive and effective in the work that they do.
- Active funnel programs target the leads that have entered the buyer’s journey. Marketing and sales teams work together to convert these leads into customers.
There are different types of campaigns you could employ under each of these nurturing programs. Create an effective lead nurturing campaign to increase your growth.
How to create effective lead nurturing campaigns
- Describe buyer personas: You have to know who you are trying to reach through your marketing efforts. It may take time to get it right, but it improves the focus of your campaigns leading to better results.
- Profile the visitors: There are a number of tools that give you a lot of information about the people visiting your website and engaging with the content. Use that information to focus in on the messages you send to them.
- Create relevant content: After getting to know your audience from the above two steps, you must be able to come up with content ideas relevant to their needs. Personalize the content and keep it simple.
- Decide the program to execute: There are some questions you could consider while deciding the program. Which lead nurturing campaign is in line with your objectives? What resources would be required to execute them? Are all the systems in place to support the launch and execution?
- Establish goals: Define what the success of your campaign is. Otherwise, you will not know how to gauge your efforts. Example goals could be X% conversion rate or X% click-through rate.
- Test, measure, analyze and adjust:
- Employ A/B tests at different points in the journey to see what works well and what does not. Experiment with your headlines, images, landing pages, emails, etc.
Developing leads in the buyer-centric marketplace requires you to build a strong relationship with the potential customers by paying attention to their needs at every stage of their journey. You can employ a lead scoring strategy to complement your lead nurturing process.
Lead scoring is the process of assigning points or scores to every lead you generate for your business. There are multiple attributes you can base your score on, like engagement on your website or any information they submit to you. A lead scoring strategy is the backbone of lead nurturing. The marketing and the sales team need to work together to figure out where each lead fits into the sales funnel. Lead scores indicate where they are in the buyer’s journey, and who you need to prioritize. They receive communications that are relevant to where they are in their journey.
Lead scoring dimensions
Evaluate these four dimensions of lead scoring while developing your strategy:
- Lead Fit: Lead fit indicates the extent to which a potential lead matches your buyer persona. With this basic data, you can tell if the lead is worth pursuing or not. This data includes: Demographics – the buyer’s location, gender, company, age, job title, etc. – Firmographics – the company’s size, location, revenue, etc. – Budget – Can the leads afford to buy what you offer? Need – Are you answering their need? Time – What is their timeline? This information can be obtained from analytics tools, forms submitted, email subscriptions, etc.
- Lead Interest: Once a lead fits your brand, you want to track their behavior online. You can assign points to various factors depending on what is important to your brand. How much time are they spending on your site? Are they engaging on social media?
- Lead Behavior: Continue to monitor their behaviors closely. Latent behaviors like inactivity, visiting pages, viewing early stage content, etc get fewer points, while the active behaviors like visiting pricing pages, watching demos, viewing late stage content get more points as they are closer to becoming a paying customer.
- Buying stages and timing: Within the brand’s sales model, you want to determine where the buyer is. Behaviors corresponding to different parts of the sales process are given points based on how close they are to a conversion. You may want to give more points to activities like visiting pricing plans, adding to cart, and watching product demos.
Once you have a lead scoring model in place, you can enter the rules in your marketing automation platform. When a potential buyer ‘s behavior hit any of the rules, points will start accumulating.
You will have to revise and fine-tune your approach based on the data you come across. For, example, If the leads have accumulated sales-ready scores, but they are not actually buying, you would have to raise your sales-ready score or reduce the number of points you are associating with certain behaviors.
Your sales and marketing teams must work together to develop and improve the lead scoring and lead nurturing processes. With scores in place, build relevant content to reach every persona you have defined in a small range of points. You can use marketing automation for effective lead nurturing, while you grow your brand.