Your online marketing strategy must support each element of the business development process, including when prospects are in the “investigation phase”.
The best way to increase close rates and shorten sales cycles is to educate prospects while they are researching their options. In so doing, they will look upon you favourably when they are ready to buy.
Therefore, organizations must provide prospects with insightful and authoritative content at precisely the right moment in the buying process.
Tippit CEO Scott Albro remarks that the shift in how to engage prospects “changes the role of marketing.” Instead of simply “generating the lead and moving on,” today’s marketers must “synchronize their marketing throughout the buying process, providing potential buyers with high quality content that is contextually relevant.”
From an online marketing perspective, a key lead nurturing tool is email. When used effectively, targeted emails can enhance relationships with prospects by providing timely and valuable content.
To optimize effectiveness, emails should be personalized and tailored to specific prospect preferences, interests, or requirements. The more personalized the communication, the more it will engage.
Effective lead nurturing requires thoughtful, strategic planning and execution. But it’s well worth it.
The Case for Lead Nurturing
- 50% of leads are qualified but not yet ready to buy; Gleanster Research
- 80% of prospects deemed “bad leads” by sales teams go on to buy within 24 months; SiriusDecisions
- 85% of tech buyers said they need to encounter at least three pieces of content before engaging with a solution provider; Knowledge Storm/Marketing Sherpa
- Companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads at 33% lower cost per lead; Forrester Research
Lead nurturing is all about sharing expertise. Prospects don’t want to make a bad choice – they don’t want to suffer from buyer’s remorse – so they are in need of decision-facilitating information. Their many questions and concerns must be adequately addressed.
Decision-facilitating information isn’t about your business, but about the factors that must be considered in order to make the best possible choice. Prospects want information about HOW to make an informed decision.
Educating prospects is a critical element within an online marketing strategy. The first job is to generate qualified, inbound leads, but you must be willing and able to provide decision-facilitating information once a lead is generated.
This approach allows your business to deepen its relationship and credibility with the prospect, as long as the lead nurturing is done with honesty and integrity, and is based on providing information that the prospect deems valuable.
A key element of any online marketing strategy is the ability to impart expertise to prospects as they move through the decision-making process. Online technologies that enable a permission-based dialogue, such as marketing automation systems, should therefore be an integral part of your online marketing infrastructure.
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