A few months ago a big announcement shook up things in the internet world: Microsoft bought LinkedIn for staggering $26.2 billion. Simply one of the largest acquisition in the company's history. A lot of people didn't quite understand the move, but if you think about it does makes sense.
Microsoft has a great set of tools for professionals and companies. And what better way to increase their sales than to use LinkedIn’s user base? With full access to a huge amount of data of the people they want to transform into long-term customers, Microsoft can build a very personalized approach to delight these prospects. In other words, lead nurturing in the most effective way.
Lead nurturing is one of the most critical parts of the marketing strategy, and it seems like Microsoft understands that very well.
In fact, if you look at the available data you will find out that the main barrier between prospects and customers is nurturing: 79% of marketing leads never convert into sales. The common cause? Lack of lead nurturing. That's what says the research from Marketing Sherpa. If you're facing numbers like these you better see it as a wake-up call.
An even worst fact states that more than 50% of B2B companies does not work with lead nurturing. So, if you're already using marketing automation to lead your prospects you might be ahead of the competition.
According to the Annuitas Group, businesses that use marketing automation to nurture prospects experience a 451% increase in qualified leads and nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads.
To reach these attractive statistics, you need to optimize your lead nurturing to increase conversions. And we will show you how.
Bulking up your conversion rates
One of the biggest problems with SaaS companies is that users lose interest after a newsletter subscription, a free trial or their first sign up. So how can you turn your qualified leads into customers? Nurturing! Lead nurturing is the answer to engaging your leads and keep them coming back to know more from you - and making a purchase afterward.
40-60% of users who sign up for a free trial of your software or SaaS application will use it once and never come back
Think of lead nurturing as being an extension of the conversation you started with leads in the lead acquisition stage. Your main focus should be generating more sales opportunities and accelerate leads through the sales pipeline.
Bear in mind that leads don't turn into customers instantly. You have to carefully prepare them, build a strong relationship, understand their needs and then hand them off to the sales team. Your job is to put an effective flow in place to create a personalized journey for each one of your leads.
How well your conversion rates performs depends on how well you understand your prospects needs, and how well you tailor their journey from their very first touch point with your company.
To avoid pitfalls when nurturing your leads, we have selected a few tips to improve your performance and increasing your conversion rates.
Powerful optimization tips
The first tip to optimize your lead nurturing strategy is to give your leads as much value as you'd expect to receive it. But how can you do that? With education: provide educative materials for free, build a trustful relationship and you will increase your chances of engaging your leads and ultimately selling your product.
To be able to build the right type of content for your leads you must know their needs at each step of their relationship with you. You have to master your customer journey. What are the decisions and touch points that every user goes through? Every step of the journey requires different content.
Be consistent in your strategy and follow a schedule. This will help you stay top-of-mind and will "train" your users to perform different sort of actions. Multiple touch points over a specific period of time with actions connected will result in micro-yeses from the users.
If your user receives nurturing emails or in-app messages with links for valuable resources and is requested to do something in return, they are being trained to say yes to you. By doing it over and over again, it may ultimately become a habit. So when the time to say the big YES comes, it will be as simple and natural as any other task they have done.
Also, consider drip campaigns when improving your lead nurturing process. Drip emails have higher open rates and increase your chances of re-engaging your leads and take them to the final stage of the purchase funnel. A report from Forrester Research found that leads who go through a drip marketing funnel may spend 47% more on purchases.
Drip open rates are about 80% higher than single sends
To the infinity and beyond
It’s fairly impossible to run effective lead nurturing campaigns without integrating other marketing strategies. Landing pages, CRM analytics, and email marketing are part of a greater ecosystem that will result in lead conversion.
The king of the hill? Marketing automation. With a tool that enables you to send triggered information based on behavior, you are able to send content when it is most applicable to the user point in the buying cycle.
The campaigns are triggered according to the user actions. By matching a specific condition to a lead nurturing campaign, you create a workflow.
A workflow is a series of pre-written emails that guide the lead through a path chosen for a particular lead nurturing campaign. Depending on the user’s actions, marketing automation takes the lead down a different path on the content map that you've designed. Every action is a fork in the road. The path will change depending on the user’s decisions at different intersections.
Take care on how you plan your automated emails flow as this will help you strengthen your lead-company relationship while pulling your leads through the sales funnel.
However, just setting out drip campaigns and a lead nurturing process at the right schedule, with relevant content and for the right users can no longer be enough. To really win the battle against low conversion rates you need to act in a multiple channel strategy.
Think marketing automation, social media, email marketing, website content, paid media and so on. To make sure that everything runs smoothly you need to have all you marketing, sales and customer success teams fully aligned.
Remember that your main goal is to turn all these leads into loyal customers. With the help of marketing automation, you can control the user journey, starting from lead conversion to a happy customer.