A lot of companies I work with treat all leads the same. This slows the sales process and wastes salespeople's time.
When a lead first comes in, regardless of the amount of research the prospect has done on the internet, it's a marketing qualified lead (MQL) and not a sales qualified lead (SQL). I strongly recommend sales and marketing get together to map the customer journey and score leads based on where they are in the journey.
Once you've mapped the customer journey, make sure your run it by a few customers to validate the assumptions you made in the mapping process.
Optimizing lead nurturing is not dissimilar to content marketing to generate leads. Provide information of value and work on answering customers' and prospects' questions to help them through the buying process rather than selling to them.
By providing information of value, you establish the credibility of your firm and your product or service and one that is focused on solving the customer's problem rather than making a sale. Do this consistently and you'll establish trust and people will begin sharing the information of value you provide.
Consider that everything everyone in your firm creates is a form of content that can be reused in content marketing and you need to think about the opportunities to reuse every piece of content 10 times. Great content is the result of everyone in the firm collaborating by providing information of value that marketing and sales can use with customers and prospects.
You will need different content at each step of the journey. Content is either building consistency and continuity or eroding it. Consistency and continuity build trust. Inconsistency and lack of continuity results in confusion and distrust.
Shorter content tends to be more effective at the top of the funnel while longer content is more relevant and appreciated as you proceed down the funnel.
Provide information of value by ensuring what you are sharing is:
- answering a question or clarifying complex issue; and,
- providing insight to the prospect or customer.
Create trustworthy content by:
- Investing in a journalist or writer from outside the firm to remove bias
- Let research and customer insights inform a real business problem
- Gather different points of view
- Include statistics from credible sources
- Be industry specific
- Asking clients and prospects what's driving their interest in your product or service so you know their information needs and wants and providing that information.
- Asking clients and prospects about the problems or pains they want to solve with your product or service.
- Asking clients and prospects what kind of budget they have for your products or services.
- Understand who's responsible for the purchase decision - the individual with the buying authority, as well as the other influencers involved in the process.
- All of this information will serve to inform the next content.
Middle-of-funnel strategies may include:
- Building trust
- Including objective statistics
- Webcast with an industry expert or thought leader
- Provide cutting edge content
- Customize for the audience
- Create titles that lure and engage
Bottom-of-funnel strategies may include:
- Solving a specific problem
- Telling a complete story with quantified results
- Quotes or testimonials
- Quick and easy to read and share with others