Generating leads is one of the most important parts of inbound marketing. However, after leads have entered your sales funnel, what do you do with them?
Getting leads does not mean you will closed sales. You have to do the hard work of nurturing the leads to push them down the sales funnel and help them make a purchasing decision. To do this effectively, you have to understand the leads, know the solutions they are looking for, the types of content that resonate well with them, their real and perceived barriers to buying, and how urgent they need to buy.
Segmentation will help you to better understand your leads. After this, you can tailor your interactions with them to drive them further down the sales funnel.
Segmenting Your Leads
All leads are not the same. Your leads will have unique needs and are at various stages of the buying process. Therefore, you need to effectively nurture and to help them move down the funnel towards buying.
Nurturing involves providing relevant content like tailored emails, smart calls-to-action, tailored content, and retargeting. The secret to effectively nurturing your leads is to segment them.
Segmentation simply means dividing your contacts down into various lists. Like a jumble of Lego bricks, they need to be sorted into like colours. For example, you can segment the contacts by their geographic location, size of business, roles, interests, budget, and so on.
This segmentation information may not be readily available the first time a contact joins your list. However, over time, you can determine the segment that a contact belongs to through your interaction with them on different channels like your blog, webinars, social media accounts, email, and so on.
Let’s look further into lead segmentation.
The first time a lead joins your database, you may only have a simple idea of what they are interested in. For example, you can assume that a lead that downloads an eBook about social media is getting started or wants to learn more about marketing on social media.
With this general information, you can follow up with the lead to make them reveal more information. Here are some of the ways you can get leads to reveal their problems and interests:
1) Provide related information
In our example, our leads that download an eBook about social media may also be interested in related eBooks such as those about marketing on Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest. By downloading these related eBooks, we can be sure that the leads are interested in social media marketing.
You can also send prospects emails on content you post on your blog that is related to social media marketing. The click-through rates in the emails will help you know if the prospect is interested in that particular information.
2) Check engagement with your brand
Monitor the various inbound marketing avenues you are using and determine which leads are engaging with you. What types of engagement are they exhibiting? Are the leads commenting on other social media marketing content you have on your blog? Do they attend social media webinars you organize? Are they asking you questions via email or Twitter?
Actions done with respect to a particular type of content you produce will help you gauge the interest of your leads.
3) Ask for more information
When leads engage with you, for example by downloading the social media eBook or commenting on your blog, follow up on them up to find out if they have further questions. You want to concentrate your energy on leads that have engaged with you on more than one occasion, whether it is on a single channel or different channels.
You can also carry out surveys on particular segment lists to get more information about them. Surveys are a good way of getting in-depth information you may not have asked for in the initial lead generation.
4) Track and measure
In inbound marketing, any marketing activity taken should be backed by data. While testing has its place, optimization activities should be based on concrete data. For example, if you find that a majority of the contacts in your list are becoming less engaged, there could be two possible reasons for this:
a) Your content is not resonating well with them. To remedy this, experiment with different types of content.
b) The leads are not interested in your offer. To remedy this, you may have to evaluate your segmentation criteria.
According to a report by Hubspot, highly targeted contacts increase email click-through rates by 61%.
The Importance of Segmentation
Segmenting leads enables you to send them the right information at the ideal time. This is information that your leads can relate to, will educate them, and make them want to take the action you desire.
For example, if a lead downloads a whitepaper on how your software works and later visits the pricing page, this may mean they are about to reach the decision to purchase. With this information, you can send automated nurturing emails to continue the conversation and move them closer to buying.
The actions that leads take during the nurturing process can help you determine when to provide push incentives, such as a trial, discount, and so on, to close a sale.
Lead segmentation makes it easier for businesses to make more sales by giving them a better understanding of their prospects needs, and where they are in their journey to making a purchasing decision.