Marketers write a lot about lead nurturing. We write about how to do it effectively, what to avoid, five steps to better lead nurturing…but what about what types of content to offer in nurturing campaigns? Before you can answer that, you must understand that part of building a nurturing strategy is understanding what types of content to offer, when to offer it and who should receive it.
The idea behind lead nurturing is that all leads are not created equal. The truth is that just because we have a prospect name, email or even a conversion (they downloaded content or took action on your site) doesn’t mean they want to buy from you. Some leads or prospects are just not ready to buy, and may not be for some time, if at all. It is the job of marketing to help move these prospects further down the sales funnel by delivering engaging and informative content at various times. Why? So that we gain permission to start a dialog, to continue educate them, to show them how we can help them and when the time comes that they need to purchase a solution, we are on their short list…hopefully at the top. Nurturing is about building a relationship.
Timing: Timing is essential for effective lead nurturing. You shouldn’t provide a technical white paper to everyone who came by your booth at a trade show. Why? Maybe they just wanted the pen. Or perhaps they already spent 30 minutes getting a technical demo with a solutions engineer at the event and what they really need is a customer case study (in their vertical) to help them better understand your solution and use cases. It’s not one-size-fits-all with lead nurturing. Yes, you should always send out a follow-up and content offer post-event to keep the keep the lines of communication open. However, you need to understand that although a lead nurturing schedule is essential, don’t mistake a calendar for a strategy. Timing is just a part of nurturing.
Content: The content required for lead nurturing is diverse and there are no set rules. It all depends on your buyer and their needs. If you create a bunch of beautiful infographics or videos because they are thought to be high-value formats, but don’t understand that your buyer doesn’t typically consume content that way…you have wasted a lot of time and money. No matter how great the content is.
Analyze what content is consumed and when (historically) in the buyer’s journey. Look at your most recent customers and map what trigger events prompted action (conversion). Are there patterns of consumption by title, types of content or sources of content (third party or other)? This should guide you in your content creation. Don’t assume a great white paper is appreciated by all. It’s not. However, you can use data or quotes from your white paper to build a compelling eBook or blog post that just might be a great fit for some of your other buyers.
In this data-driven age of marketing, we sometimes forget about the need to connect with people, our buyers and not just “convert” them. What kind of content works best in nurturing programs? It depends on the buyer and where they are in the buyer’s journey. Before you can build a nurturing strategy, define your buyer or buying committee and create content that speaks to them. Figure out how they like to consume content and create what they want and need. That is really the only lead nurturing rule that works for all prospects.
Want to learn how Marketo Makes Their Nurturing Campaigns Sing? Join us for a webinar April 24th – register today.
Erika Goldwater @erikawg
Director of Marketing, ANNUITAS