When asked about their single highest priority, the majority of CMOs in B2B organizations cited lead generation, according to the 2016 Marketing Automation Survey Summary Report from Ascend2. Lead nurturing came in a close second with more than 57 percent of marketers calling it their top priority. It’s no wonder: Lead nurture programs not only produce more sales, but increase the value of every transaction. That’s only the direct benefits, too, and when you factor in how important referrals are in B2B industries, lead nurture strategies are rightly a central concern.
While a marketing automation system streamlines lead nurture activity, it also helps to know where to start with such programs. Here are some of the most effective ways to implement your lead nurture campaigns and why they work so well.
The moment your leads walk through your virtual door, your marketing automation system should greet them with a welcome program. Customer onboarding flows that make new leads fee well taken care of from the instant they register for your newsletter or sign up for email notifications sets the tone for your future interactions with them. Give them information about what they can expect after sharing their data, give them a quick tour of what you offer, and make them feel at home.
Once leads have traveled a little farther down the sales pipeline, reminder programs can be helpful to them and to you. Giving them a gentle nudge to act on an email they didn’t click through the first time can net you additional interest. Adding a rider to your first call to action, such as a discount for acting quickly, can sometimes encourage them to take that next step. Reminder programs also include notifications of filled but unbought shopping carts or downloads that were never completed.
Leads come to you because they have a problem and are after a solution. Nurture stream content such as self-assessments, troubleshooting checklists, tips, and how-tos helps freshly acquainted leads become more familiar with what they need to know to make buying decisions. These nurture programs are useful throughout a lead’s journey because your marketing automation system can customize them for entry-level prospects, mid-funnel leads on fact-finding missions, and nearly sales-ready leads who need in-depth information to finalize their choice.
After you’ve successfully converted a lead into a customer, what’s next? Post-purchase programs are a smart use of your marketing automation system. Ask recent buyers to give feedback, share a review or photo, or provide a rating on the product and your service. By generating more earned media attention, post-purchase nurture activities offer indirect benefits through referrals as well as giving happy customers a chance to share their satisfaction.
A lack of response from your leads doesn’t always mean a lack of interest, and a good win-back program can recapture a significant percentage of leads you may have thought were lost. Automation is ideal for these programs because of its set-and-forget capability; you don’t need to monitor leads personally to stay in contact with them. Your system will automatically send out a “We miss you” message after a set time. Another win-back possibility: Give leads who showed interest and then dropped off a chance to find what they’re looking for with alternative product suggestions.
Marketing automation technology excels at lead gen, but it’s just as good at launching and managing customer loyalty programs. You never have to win back the leads who stay active in the first place, so investing time and energy into creating loyalty nurture programs makes sense. Whether you offer discounted upgrades, additional services, free access to gated content, or other priority services, loyalty programs make customers feel cherished.
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