Building Your Marketing Funnel, Part 2: Nurturing Your Leads

digital marketing funnel

In part one of our Building Your Marketing Funnel series, we explained how raising brand awareness boosts interest in your company and offerings. Now that your ideal customers know about your business and are becoming leads, it’s time to cultivate the relationship, build trust, and, ultimately, turn them into clients. In the marketing world, we refer to this process as lead nurturing.

Now, let’s take a look at what digital marketing tactics can help you boost your sales or client list.

RELATED: Building Your Marketing Funnel, Part 1: Creating Brand Awareness

How Does Lead Nurturing Work?

Before we talk about “lead nurturing,” you need to understand how marketers define a “lead.” Leads are opportunities: potential clients, customers, and sales that you’ve identified. They have moved far enough down the marketing funnel that they understand their need for your services and have requested additional information.

Lead nurturing occurs when you engage with potential customers through targeted content, turning their interest into a sale.

Now that you know that they’re a potential client, it’s your job to cultivate the opportunity. We call this process lead nurturing, and it is a process of increasing interest, consideration, trust, and intent among potential customers—and turning them into satisfied clients.

Lead nurturing works by:

  • Identifying the needs and interests of prospective customers
  • Delivering targeted, customized content that addresses frequently asked questions or concerns to help leads progress through the buyer’s journey
  • Ensuring timely follow-up communication that keeps the prospect engaged and interested

This may sound like a daunting task. However, with a comprehensive strategy and effective email automation, you can easily incorporate lead nurturing into  your marketing plan.

Nurture Your Leads With 4 Effective Tactics

1. Automated and Triggered Emails

Create personalized emails to anticipate the user’s next steps, bringing them closer to a sale.

Email marketing is one of the most popular lead nurturing tactics and is highly effective when properly done. Research shows that the most effective lead-nurturing emails are triggered emails, which have 68% higher open rates and 241% higher click rates than cold messages.

Triggered emails are automated messages sent in response to a specific user action, such as downloading a resource, filling out a form on your website, clicking a link in another email, or even calling your office. These emails are personalized and anticipate the user’s next steps based on the triggering action, nurturing their interest, and bringing them closer to a sale.

Personalized emails that include the recipient’s name or other information such as their occupation can generate up to six times more revenue.

For instance, when someone downloads an ebook from your website, they should trigger a series of emails sent over a period of time, called a drip campaign. The first email should confirm and thank them for their download. Then, they might get an “if you liked this ebook, subscribe to our newsletter!” email. The campaign would wrap up with a more direct request to contact you with any questions.

If your emails have the right content, are sent at the right time, to the right people, they should nurture your leads.

RELATED: Engagement Can Improve Email Marketing Performance — Here’s How

2. Digital Newsletter Campaigns

Develop engaging digital newsletters to target a focused, convertible audience.

One of the easiest ways to engage potential customers and establish trust and industry authority is by publishing a monthly digital newsletter. Anyone who signs up for your newsletter is already a possible lead, so each newsletter could be bringing them closer to becoming a client.

Using digital newsletters for lead nurturing comes down to two points, the quality of your distribution list, and the quality of your newsletter content. When done right, monthly newsletters can deliver useful and informative content to interested followers, sustaining their interest in your company and eventually convincing them to convert.

At one of my previous jobs, we had a newsletter distribution list of over 5,000 email addresses. We spent about a week’s cumulative time each month, creating great content for both the newsletter email and the full newsletter. But the open rate was dismal. Why? Because most of the people on the list weren’t genuinely interested in the newsletter or the company and just never bothered to unsubscribe.

Many of LaFleur’s clients have had a similar experience in the past, and we often face a lot of skepticism about newsletters. For one such client, we cut their distribution list by two-thirds and created more targeted and personalized content for the remaining recipients. The result? Almost twice as many email clicks, an increased rate of email opens, fewer unsubscribes, and fewer spam complaints.

If you want to improve your lead nurturing newsletter content, you should:

  • Include more targeted and personalized content
  • Educate rather than advertise
  • Show, don’t tell (try video marketing)
  • Keep it short and direct readers elsewhere for more information

3. Social Media Marketing

Use social media to communicate with potential customers and connect all your lead nurturing efforts

Probably one of the most talked-about digital marketing strategies, social media marketing can reach people at every stage of the digital marketing funnel. It can be both a stand-alone method of nurturing leads and a great tool to support and connect other tactics.

  • Social media monitoring: One of the critical elements of lead nurturing is timely communication. Social networks are ideal places to communicate with both potential and current customers, and the best way to ensure that your communications are timely is to use social media monitoring software. These tools can help you keep track of what people are saying about your business so that you can respond promptly.
  • Direct messaging: You can also use social media for direct communication through messaging and chat functions, allowing potential customers an easy and convenient way to get in touch with questions. 72% percent of U.S. adults are on a social network and wouldn’t even have to go out of their way to get in touch with you.
  • Social multi-channel connectivity: Not only does social media connect you with your potential leads, but it also links your various lead nurturing tactics. Including social links and buttons on your website, your emails, and your newsletter helps lead potential customers from one lead nurturing tactic to another, a double whammy of lead nurturing content.

4. Downloadable Assets and Resources

Offer informative downloadable resources that generate leads and support lead nurturing tactics.

Downloadable resources, such as ebooks, infographics, or even whitepapers,  can help identify and nurture leads. First, downloadable content helps generate leads by collecting the user’s name, email, and sometimes occupation before they can download the resource. This person is clearly interested in your products or services, or they wouldn’t have downloaded your content. Now you know who they are and what they are interested in, and you have an idea of how to start nurturing that lead.

Second, downloadable resources can cultivate leads and encourage them further down your funnel by providing insight and building trust.

Let’s say you’re an outdoor clothing retail store, and someone downloads your ebook, The Right Way to Layer for Active Cold Weather Fun. You’ve collected their name and email and sent them their resource in an email with a “check out our other resources” message and social links. You’ve just generated a lead!

A few days later, you send them another email, “Ready to Enjoy the Outdoors This Winter? Take a look at our new line of lightweight down jackets and download our easy-to-use guide to coat temperature ratings.” If your reader downloads this guide, it will trigger additional, targeted messaging.

If you’re thinking, “Wait, this sounds familiar. It’s a drip campaign,” you’re right! Downloadable assets are ideal for supporting other lead nurturing tactics. You can include them in email campaigns, digital newsletters, social media, and any other strategies you use.

LaFleur: Custom Digital Marketing and Lead Nurturing Services

Lead nurturing helps convert more people from website visitors into customers and brand ambassadors. If you need help developing your lead nurturing strategies and turning interest into intent, give us a call at (888) 222-1512 or fill out our online contact form to get started.

Did you miss part one of Building Your Marketing Funnel? Check out our introduction to the digital marketing funnel and the importance of brand awareness. And stay tuned for the next segment on customer retention, coming next month.

RELATED: Building Your Marketing Funnel, Part 1: Creating Brand Awareness

References

Boyarsky, K. (19 July 2019). 19 lead nurturing email examples you’ll want to steal. Hubspot Blog. Retrieved from https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/lead-nurturing-email-examples

Mawhinney, J. (14 June, 2018). 7 amazingly effective lead nurturing tactics. Hubspot Blog. Retrieved from https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/7-effective-lead-nurturing-tactics

Social media fact sheet. (2019, June 12). Pew Research Center. Retrieved from https://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheet/social-media/

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

Rebecca Barth

Becca is a content strategist with a huge crush on the written word and a diverse skillset that includes web development, design, marketing, and content creation. Outside the office, she enjoys reading, cooking, drinking wine with friends, and exploring the outdoors with her dog, Loki.