Does Your Content Nurture Leads? Most Content Doesn’t

by GingerHippo.
  • Companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales ready leads at a 33% lower cost (Marketo).
  • Nurtured leads makes 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads (The Annuitas Group).
  • 79% of marketing leads never convert to sales. Lack of lead nurturing is the common cause for poor performance (MarketingSherpa).
We are all in the business of collecting data, offering solutions, and hoping for sales, right? Most of the content we find in search, uses this exact strategy.

What we have found through years of working in the marketing industry, is most companies use the exact same process for creating content. It looks something like this:

  • Have a meeting to discuss what we assume people should hear about our products and/or services.
  • Be directed to ensure the message is sales oriented, which pushes website visitors to click a call to action (CTA), driving them into a sales funnel.
  • Write the content from a storyteller standpoint, without giving much thought or weight to how search engines will rank the content.
  • Add a few offers to our content, which will cause readers in the awareness phase of the marketing funnel to give us their information. We will then subscribe them into a marketing automation drip campaign, which will cause them to put our brand at the front of their mind, when their timing is right.

Did we miss any? There are a zillion more scenarios similar to this, which fit into the same type of bucket for lead nurturing. What we find most often, is that the company isn’t really nurturing the lead at all, rather they are pushing all of their content onto a marketing lead, and hoping they will choose them, only if they don’t push their emails into junk, or unsubscribe.

So, the real question is, what is lead nurturing? How do we nurture leads in a way that will encourage them to both stay engaged, and want to hear from us regularly?

The future of publishing is about having connections to readers and the knowledge of what those readers want.
SETH GODIN

5 Recommendations For Improving Your Lead Nurturing Efforts

Step 1:

Write content that is relevant to their customer journey. By creating buyer persona’s, companies have a tremendous opportunity to give their readers the right content, on the right platform, when they want to read it.

We generally find companies trying to shortcut the marketing process, pushing visitors from an awareness phase directly into the decision phase of the marketing funnel. Even companies with an extremely short sales cycle, still need to provide content that allows visitors the opportunity to build value in their brand.

An analogy of this methodology would be to show up to a restaurant and be seated, then have the waiter/waitress ask for your order, without ever having given you a menu. It just doesn’t make any sense, but you would be amazed how many companies use this methodology.

Do all of your visitors fit into the same buyer bucket? We would take an educated guess that they don’t, which is why buyer personas and customer journeys are so important for building a quality user experience.

Lead Nurturing Seed Stage

Nurturing Your Leads

Closing Nurtured Leads

Step 2:

Being conversational in communication is one of the biggest keys to successful lead nurturing. We all receive emails from companies which are overly “buy, buy, buy” focused. When we want to just buy something, we usually engage with a direct eCommerce solution.

Engaging with prospects is actually the single easiest aspect of content writing. We merely need to ask our readers a question, which is relevant to why they are reading the content. Let’s give this a college try from GingerHippo’s perspective:

Would you like to explore how to nurture leads more effectively and write more engaging content? -> Insert CTA

“Content is King but engagement is Queen, and the lady rules the house!”
MARI SMITH
Step 3:

Write content that is relevant to their customer journey. By creating buyer persona’s, companies have a tremendous opportunity to give their readers the right content, on the right platform, when they want to read it.

We generally find companies trying to shortcut the marketing process, pushing visitors from an awareness phase directly into the decision phase of the marketing funnel. Even companies with an extremely short sales cycle, still need to provide content which allows visitors the opportunity to build value in their brand.

An analogy of this methodology would be to show up to a restaurant and be seated, then have the waiter/waitress ask for your order, without every having given you a menu. It just doesn’t make any sense, but you would be amazed how many companies use this methodology.

Shortcuts in the nurturing of leads only leads to one result, which is less return on investment (ROI), aka sales. Don’t be the late night infomercial which tells you to buy the product over and over again, hoping the result will be different, on the 11,842nd attempt to get the sale. While this may work in the short term, we know that it just won’t cut mustard long term, from a marketing strategy perspective.

Does Your Content Start A Conversation, Or Drive Visitors Away?

Step 4:

Keeping your content relevant is extremely important for lead nurturing. At GingerHippo, people will hear us use our Pete & Repeat joke, regarding content:

Pete & Repeat went fishing. Pete fell off the boat. Who’s left?

Repeat…

This may sound similar to step 3, but it is a bit different. Imagine we are selling paint. Let’s look at the different opportunities to engage a potential customer through lead nurturing.

“Marketing is telling the world you’re a rock star. Content Marketing is showing the world you are one.”
ROBERT ROSE
  1. Tell them about the paint, which includes key differentiators regarding your paint, versus your competitors.
  2. The next interaction discusses a highlight or two about one of your product differentiators, or warranty, or something setting your company apart from your competitor.
  3. If you have a 3rd opportunity to engage with a prospective customer, they are most likely interested in your paint, but they may not know how to apply it. Giving them interactive content about using your product will cause further interest.
  4. Are they still reading? If they are still consuming your content, you are doing 90% better than most of your competitors. Are you asking to interact with them to answer questions and gauge their interest? You should definitely be.

These are just 4 different ways to engage with a prospect. There are literally hundreds of different methods to nurture leads of this type.

How do most companies sell paint? Simple. Here’s our paint. It’s better than other people’s paint. It’s now on sale. We guess you weren’t interested in our paint, because you didn’t buy it from us.

Step 5:

Be prepared to nurture a lead for an extended period of time. People make decisions on their timelines, based on their needs. A decision can be instantaneous, but some decisions can take up to 4 years. Depending on the financial magnitude of the product or service, putting a timeline on what we feel may be an ample amount of time, may not fit your lead or prospect.

If you had a million dollar decision to make regarding buying your dream vacation home, how long would it take you to make the decision? If you signed up for the Sotheby’s Real Estate subscription, and after 6 months they dropped you from their campaigns, would you use them as your preferred Realtor when you were ready to make your purchase? Probably not.

Creating fresh marketing campaigns, with relevant content, while keeping new and fresh ideas streaming to your leads is the end all be all of content marketing and lead nurturing. GingerHippo has found even larger corporations are generally using around 20% of the tools they have subscribed to. By increasing frequency, intensity, and measuring results, we’ve helped clients experience exponential growth in their lead nurturing.

Creating A Campaign Strategy

The last area we are going to discuss very briefly is campaign strategy. In our efforts, we have found that companies using campaign strategies experience over 1482% greater closing ratio’s from prospects. Through careful calculation and strategic content publishing, real results become realized. What would an additional 1482% in sales look like for your company? Would it be worth the extra time to fill in all of the blanks?

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