Make no mistake, lead generation is crucial. Without it, you don’t have a business.
But, according to Invespcro, 80% of new leads never actually translate into sales. That’s a staggering number of leads that businesses are spending time and money generating with absolutely no return.
To turn that 80% into something a lot more palatable, your business needs to develop a strong lead nurturing strategy, and spend time and energy perfecting it.
Lead nurturing definition
Lead Nurturing is a strategy that helps guide leads who enter the funnel, whether through marketing, sales, or self-discovery, to become customers. Whether lead nurturing through email, social media, retargeting, or even sales intervention, the idea is to deliver a remarkable omnichannel experience that eventually results in customers taking action.
But this begs the question — how should you approach your lead nurturing efforts? Which tactics are actually worth investing your (and your customer's) time in? This article reveals 7 tried and tested practices that our small business customers have used in their lead nurturing campaigns.
7 lead nurturing examples to drive growth
Thankfully, a lot of your lead nurturing work can be automated in a platform like Ortto to ensure the right message is landing in the right inbox at the right time. The real work comes with building out a lead nurturing strategy and playbook that really works.
Follow these strategies to start driving real growth and giving your leads a remarkable customer experience.
1. Enrich your data to deliver personalized experiences
Every touchpoint is another opportunity to learn about your leads and create a more personalized experience. Plus, 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase from a brand that provides personalized experiences.
Unfortunately, marketing personalization often gets reduced to simply throwing in a first name in the email subject line — and in this era of hyper-personalization, this is not enough. With a marketing automation solution like Ortto, you are given ample opportunity to utilize demographic, engagement, CRM, and user behavior events to take your personalization to another level.
Here's the catch — you need to enrich your data in order to deliver such a level of personalization.
If you're a B2B customer with Ortto, you can integrate with a data activation platform like Clearbit to ensure your data is complete and up-to-date. If you're a B2C and not-for-profit company, one of the best ways to flesh out your lead records is to send a data enrichment email as part of your lead nurturing Playbook.
A data enrichment email asks your contacts a question, followed by a list of responses for them to click on. Each link includes a unique UTM parameter to that section; so when a lead clicks on a response, their contact record is updated with what they’ve selected. You end up knowing more about the lead and they have a more tailored experience because you’re now sending them content that’s relevant to their situation.
You can also ask them questions about the type of content they want to receive, the sort of products they’re interested in, the size of their business, what their job title or role is, or even how often they want to receive emails from you.
In the example below, litmus has asked their subscribers to fill out a form that helps them tailor content in the future, plus they’ve incentivized completion with both an eBook and a donation to Women of Email.
2. Get creative with content types
Everyone digests information differently. Some people prefer long-form white papers or ebooks; others learn best from videos and webinars, while others prefer infographics and more skimmable content.
It can be easy to default to a lead nurturing email campaign that's made up almost entirely of offers, discounts, and blog posts, but to capture your audience's full attention, it is worth considering a whole range of content types. Don’t be shy to experiment with gated white papers, videos, infographics, and webinars to broaden the audience who will engage with your content.
3. Create an omnichannel experience
Email is, without a doubt, an essential part of the lead nurturing process. But it’s not everything.
It takes 5 to 7 impressions for people to remember a brand, and seeing a brand in different online environments can go a long way to cutting through the noise.
Taking an omnichannel approach to your lead nurturing strategy will go a long way. Try retargeting your leads on social media or search, using pop-up messages or offers when they visit your website, or going old school by sending out a postcard or some stickers.
And remember, actions often speak louder than words. With a customer data platform like Ortto, you can track the actions your leads are taking on your website or within your product if you’re a SaaS company with a freemium or free trial offering. Each action can set off a reaction — a piece of content or message that helps guide your new lead to the next step in their journey.
4. Welcome your new leads
When a new lead enters your nurture journey, it’s important to welcome (or reacquaint) them into your community. This normally comes in the form of a welcome email after they sign up.
It’s good practice to have this message come from someone in a senior role if you work in a B2B company (for example, a CMO) or from yourself if you’re the sole director of your small business. If you're a B2C or ecomm, make sure to add a little personality to your communication to bring your brand to life. Your welcome email should serve as a way for you to quickly engage a new lead, set an expectation of what’s to come, and is a chance for you and your new lead to get to know each other.
Welcome emails are key to increasing open rates and clicks — and they can also help with reducing unsubscribes throughout the lead nurturing journey. You want to make sure your leads will actually click on your email the next time they receive one from you!
Check out the examples of welcome emails below.
5. Don’t give up too soon
Don’t get frustrated by seemingly slow results.
Just because a lead doesn’t make a purchase — or even open all your emails during the first few months — it doesn’t mean they’re a lost cause. It can help to consider the last time you made a purchase from a new brand or committed to a new platform for your business. It just takes time! Sometimes you run into a busy period in your life, and ignore anything but the essentials in your inbox. Sometimes other priorities pop up and you file all those emails and messages away for a rainy day.
So long as the content that the business has shared is actually useful and they’re not spamming you with endless messages, you will keep the brand in the back of your mind until you’re ready. And then one day, seemingly out of the blue, you’ll become a customer.
That said, it is important to groom your email list continually to ensure you aren’t hurting your deliverability rates or sender reputation. By sending emails to subscribers who have opted out, flagged your emails as spam, or bounced multiple times, you’re not only damaging your chances for a future relationship with the customer, you’re also putting your email deliverability at risk.
And if you’ve been emailing, retargeting, calling, SMSing, pop-uping for months with no response, it may be worthwhile sending a check in to ask if the individual wants to stay subscribed. You can set this up in your lead nurturing Playbook by creating an email to be automatically sent if a lead has not opened an email for a period of time (e.g. 3 months). This email will give your subscriber some options — stay subscribed, opt-out, or reduce the frequency of your emails. Check out some of the examples of re-opt in emails below.
6. Measure success
You’ve heard this many times before but it’s true: numbers are important. After all, your hard work wouldn’t be worth it if it didn’t produce results for your small business. And monitoring these numbers will help you tweak, test, and iterate to create a high-performing lead nurturing journey for your potential customers.
Every lead nurturing journey will have a different goal, depending on your business model or sales and marketing funnel. As a general rule, however, each journey you create should be driving engagement. In other words, it’s important to track levels of engagement throughout the entire lead nurturing journey.
Keeping a close eye on journey engagement will help you identify quick wins and opportunities that are likely to lead to success. It’ll also pinpoint areas for improvement.
7. Make it a team effort
You want to make sure all your hard work doesn’t fall short. If you have a business model that relies on a salesperson to close deals, it’s absolutely vital to get buy-in from your team. After all, it’s not a successful lead nurturing journey until the lead is successfully passed onto sales via a CRM and your team is ready to pick up where the nurturing left off.
Your goal here is to have a seamless transition between the nurturing stage and the sales closing stage. It’s important to think through what this looks like and what information your team needs to know; for example, messages the lead has received, content they’ve engaged with, or whether they’ve actually filled out the ‘Any further comments?’ field on your contact form.
If you’re an Ortto customer, you can set up notifications on Slack or email to ensure your sales team is notified when important leads take important actions. Plus, with all of your customer, transactional, and behavioral data combined in one platform, your sales team will be able to quickly and simply gather all of the contextual information they need to close that deal, and fast.
The final word
There is no doubt that lead nurturing is a bit challenging. All small business owners should know about lead nurturing and integration. You can use the highlighted tips to curate a reliable and strong lead nurturing strategy that will drive more engagement to your website and increase sales.
One of the advantages of self-serve SaaS with a free trial is the increase in leads. While many of these free trial users will lapse and become inactive, there are ways to regain control.
“We were looking for a solution that was really easy to use, didn’t require a tech team, and would have a robust integration with Salesforce so we could trigger sales communications in a smarter way. Nobody else out there has what Ortto has.”