Lead nurturing is a great way of making sure the people that are visiting your site are genuinely interested in your product. This means that once leads have hit the threshold you set they will be qualified enough to be called by sales. Before you start though there are a few questions you need to ask yourself to make sure you get the most out of this marketing strategy.

Why do you want to start lead nurturing? What are you trying to achieve?

The main reason most businesses want to start lead nurturing is to improve the quality of leads that are being handed over to sales, as said before, to ensure that the people coming to your site are genuinely interested in your product.

Before you start lead nurturing though you need to dig into your customer journey and answer questions like:

  • How do they look for your products/service?
  • How do they evaluate?
  • Where do they go to look for more information?
  • What steps do they take through their discovery journey?
  • What content do they leverage and at what stage through their journey?

The more in depth an answer to these questions you have, the better your nurturing program will be. One of the best ways to get this information is to speak to or survey your current customers, as they will have gone through you sales cycle and will be able to review it with you and give feedback on what they liked and what they didn’t like.

When is the right time to start lead nurturing?

Do you start the nurture process straight away as soon as someone has done something, or once that person reaches a certain threshold? This is one of the most important questions, start too early and you risk the prospect becoming annoyed and switching off, too late and you have missed the opportunity.

What type of nurturing do you want to do?

How often, how many times and with what content do you want people to engage with? Do you want people to engage across multiple channels?

Nurture is all about being timely, relevant and personal. In order to do that though you need to leverage the following:

  • Demographic data: In B2B for example, consider what the person’s role is, the type of company the person works for (are there any specific trends or drivers in that industry that matches your offering/services?), the size of the business and other key data points.
  • Behavioral data: what did they do to enter the nurture program? Have they purchased anything in the past? If so what was it and when? What channel have they used to engage with you?

All these points can be used for personalization ensuring your nurture program is timely and relevant for each prospect. There is however a complexity question in terms of how far you want to push it and whether you have the technology and infrastructure to support execution.

Based on the demographics, behavioral data and lead score, you can define multiple paths of nurture. If one person is in marketing for a manufacturing firm then they are sent down path A, whereas another person is in sales for an IT & Telecoms organisation then they head down nurture path B. This can easily become very complex in execution so it is vital you have the right email nurture tool to support you. You could even consider dynamic content within your emails to simplify your workflow design. Once you have built your workflows in the tool things then happen automatically.

Think about the details of your nurture program for example data capture – or leveraging your nurture to find out more about your prospects. For example, if you already have their data (in your CRM) from a form fill there is no need to request this again during nurture giving you the perfect opportunity to offer un-gated or “free” content which can be used further down the funnel rather than at the beginning, making it easy and frictionless for your prospects to engage. Make sure you capture this engagement using UTMs and use web page scoring to measure engagement. You can consider using simple surveys for example rather than standard emails and review how you want to combine with other platforms/media/channels like social media.

How often do you want to engage every 5 days, every day, every two weeks? You will need to work out the best length of time between each engagement.

What channel do you use and how you can combine them, this information should come from your initial survey with current customers.

What qualifies as a sales ready lead?

This is where you will need some sales and marketing alignment. Discuss with sales what they would deem to be a sales ready lead so that you can get an idea of how much nurturing you need to do. This exercise should go hand in hand with lead scoring. You will however need to regularly monitor the impact your lead nurturing is having on your pipeline. Is it working? Is it too long? Is it too short? Are people dropping off? With your lead scoring and lead nurture, is the sales pipeline drying up or are sales complaining still about low quality? Depending on the answer, you increase or decrease scoring, refine the nurturing program

Refining your lead nurture program

You can now start to look at your process as a whole and make small tweaks to make it even better. You could do some A/B testing. Try some different channels or different content, even something as a different subject line on an email. Remember to only test one part of the workflow at a time or you won’t know which change influenced the outcome. Once you have tested for long enough you can make permanent changes depending on the winning version. Make sure you give yourself enough time to do any A/B testing so you know your sample of testing is significant enough.