Lead nurturing is a critical part of a marketer’s job, especially in the B2B space. Forrester suggested that a B2B buyer’s journey could be anywhere from 65-90% complete by the time he or she contacts the vendor to move forward with a sale. This reality of a modern buyer’s behavior has added a layer of complexity to both the strategy and technology we use to guide leads through the sales funnel.
Marketers have approached this challenge primarily through email marketing -- and more recently through marketing automation. However, even with significant advancement in automation technology, the method of delivering nurturing messages (via email) has stayed the same.
While email has proven time and time again to be an effective and important channel for nurturing, there is no denying that reaching leads via email marketing -- no matter how sophisticated an automation system may be -- is hard. Contact databases expire faster than leads come in, inboxes are smarter at filtering marketing-related emails, and consumers are overwhelmed with more email than they can handle. All of this results in lower engagement across the board. This is where multi-channel nurturing comes in.
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Multi-channel lead nurturing as a concept is pretty straightforward: It delivers a series of targeted marketing messages across multiple touch points and platforms to help move leads through their buyer’s journey. While the idea is not complex, it’s getting these pieces in sync and aligned with your buyer’s journey that’s a little more complicated. Check out the SlideShare presentation and its high-level highlights below to learn more about this concept.
Use the Right Tools
A robust multi-channel nurturing program employs a wide range of tools and touch points -- it’s not just about adding retargeting pixels to your nurturing emails or website and calling it a day.
Here are some of the basic tools that a marketer will need for multi-channel nurturing:
- Marketing automation
- Social media monitoring/publishing
- Paid retargeting
- Dynamic website content
- Sales enablement tools
In using all of these tools together, marketers are better able to reach and nurture more leads (remember, not all of your leads are going to open your emails). Additionally, it increases the likelihood of engagement since you’re giving leads more opportunities to interact with you on their terms rather than yours.
Target Content to Your Buyer’s Journey
Leads nurtured with targeted content produce an increase in sales opportunities of more than 20%. That being said, multi-channel lead nurturing is not effective if you are simply blasting the same message to all leads across as many platforms as you possibly can.
In order to do multi-channel nurturing effectively, you must have a good understanding of a) where your leads are in the funnel and b) what content will help move them to the next phase of engagement.
To do this you’ll need to:
- Gain a deep understanding of your target buyer persona.
- Map out their buyer’s journey.
- Be able to track a lead’s lifecycle stage from Visitor > Lead > Marketing Qualified Lead/Sales Qualified Lead > Opportunity > Customer.
- Match your content to your leads’ lifecycle stage accordingly.
These activities are essential to targeting your nurturing content to reach the right lead at the right time with the right message.
Be Inbound About It
Multi-channel nurturing can feel "spammy" or "creepy" if it’s over-done or implemented poorly. You’ll want to put the pieces together in an inbound way, which means making sure your content and messaging is helpful, adding value and hitting at the right time. The idea is to help the lead through their research process, not hit them over the head relentlessly with your campaign.
If you want to get some real world examples of multi-channel nurturing, check out the SlideShare presentation above.
Long story short: Email marketing and marketing automation isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Regardless, marketers need to start thinking about how to engage and nurture leads beyond the inbox to increase lead engagement. Using tools like retargeting, social media, dynamic content, and sales enablement is great way to help leads move through their decision making process and prepare them for better conversations with Sales.