Though some marketers focus on reaching as many customers as possible, lead management is best handled with the mantra quality over quantity.
Hubspot’s 2015 State of Inbound Marketing report showed that lead generation is the top priority for B2B marketers.
No surprise there—lead generation is the first step on the path to conversion. But is the number of leads you generate really that important? Or is it how you handle those leads when you get them in the door?
Lead generation may be a necessary first step, but lead nurturing is the real secret to building your inbound marketing customer base.
Customize Your Lead Nurturing
Nurturing leads means introducing prospects to your brand at their own pace. This is the process of engaging specific groups of customers with relevant information for each step of their buyer journey.
This journey typically follows specific phases:
- Awareness, in which your leads acknowledge a problem they must solve. At this point, your inbound marketing likely isn’t even on their radar. Prospects in the “awareness” stage are still trying to wrap their heads around their problem. They want to see simple content that addresses their issues. This may take the form of top 10 lists, how-to videos, or whitepapers. Make it simple and easy to digest.
- Consideration is the next phase, in which prospects begin browsing for help. They understand the scope of their issues and are willing to consider different companies offering solutions. Your business needs to make its case with content that offers concrete value. Content created for this stage should be a little more in-depth. Consider case studies, data sheets, or webinars.
- Decision, in which prospects decide on who to turn to for help. This is where you really need to sweeten the pot and put yourself ahead of your inbound marketing competition. Try offering free trials, discount offers, live demonstrations, or special promotions. Your customers are ready to purchase at this point—don’t fail to deliver so close to the finish line.
This is the basic outline for creating custom content for lead generation and nurturing. However, your lead nurturing strategies don’t stop here. There are several easy ways to increase the punch of your lead nurturing to help reach your other inbound marketing goals.
Stronger Lead Nurturing
Lead nurturing is a process that involves every part of your inbound marketing. Custom content is a good start, but there are plenty of other strategies to consider as well.
- Use CRM Systems – Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems are the brains behind your inbound marketing. This software helps manage your customer information and offers insight into how viable each prospect is. The more you interact with a customer, the more data you’ll be able to feed into your system. This allows you to better understand your customers and how to reach out to them in a meaningful way.
- Get Blogging – Blogging regularly is a great way to achieve multiple inbound marketing goals at once. Keeping a regular blog can:
- Solve problems – Blogging about common industry issues helps demonstrate the real value that your company provides. This is crucial for the early stages of lead generation and nurturing.
- Increase authority – Offering your expert advice helps position yourself as a thought leader in your field. This can be a powerful way to set yourself apart from the inbound marketing competition and help build trust with your prospects. End-stage lead nurturing thrives on this trust.
- Build SEO – Regular blogging improves your SEO impact. Creating a library of content offers more opportunity for backlinks, increases search visibility with a variety of keyword terms, and improves your Google page ranking. Creating SEO value is a necessary strategy for lead generation for your sales pipeline.
Video’s effectiveness among executives, as found by Hubspot.
- Use Video Content – All of us love video. Video has proven itself as an inbound marketing strategy by consistently offering high rates of engagement and content visibility. Data compiled by Virtuets highlights the value of video marketing: enjoyment of video ads increases purchase intent by 97 percent and brand association by 139 percent. It’s what they want to see, too—Hubspot found that given a choice between text and video, 59 percent of senior executives would prefer to watch the video.
Create your inbound marketing content with this in mind. A variety of content (images, videos, podcasts, infographics, etc.) will ignite your lead generation strategies and engage as many prospects as possible.
The Road to Conversions
The road from prospect to conversion is a long one, but lead nurturing is your map for success. Effective lead nurturing campaigns help guide your content creation as well as each customer’s unique journey through your inbound marketing. Guide them each step of the way with custom content that is appropriate for their needs. Combine this with effective blogging, CRM software, and SEO outreach, and you’ll see that higher conversions are well within your reach.