As a digital marketer, you know that every lead represents a potential sale. But MarketingSherpa reports that “79% of marketing leads never convert” because most businesses don’t have a lead nurturing strategy.
When you think about that in terms of lost sales, that is a crazy amount of money to leave on the table.
If you don’t want to lose all of those leads, you need to “wow” potential customers with consistent engagement, worthwhile content and an overall stellar experience.
Basically, you need to nurture your leads in order to close the deal.
Lead nurturing moves potential customers through the sales process while developing a relationship with them via targeted and personalized content. This strategy helps build trust and appeals directly to the individual needs of your leads in order to expand the success of your business.
The more leads that make it through the entire process and become customers, the better. However, the more leads you have, the greater your workload because you need to maintain consistent, meaningful contact with them.
That is where automation comes into play. It helps optimize your marketing tasks and reduces the amount of time required to build that relationship.
Here, we will examine the stages of the sales process and share some tips on how to automate your nurturing during each phase, so you save time and your leads stay focused.
Let’s get started!
The Sales Process
In order to begin nurturing leads you need to understand the sales process. It includes several phases most commonly referred to as the sales funnel. There are a few different sales models out there, but the basic gist is always the same: before an online user makes the decision to buy, they go through several stages including awareness, interest and evaluation.
Lead nurturing is applicable to all of these stages, as you can either gain or lose a customer in each one. This is why establishing a good relationship is vital, as it helps maximize the number of leads that make it through to the next stage.
The main goal with lead nurturing is to maximize your impact throughout all of the stages in hopes that each lead will eventually become a customer. But, as the sales funnel tightens from the Awareness phase towards the Purchase phase, the number of leads decreases.
Naturally, not everyone that learns about your product or service will be interested in purchasing, but the more customers, the merrier – at least for you.
So let’s delve into each of the stages, where you’ll learn automation tips that will help you nurture those leads more effectively.
Stage 1. Awareness
With the awareness stage, the main focus is attracting leads and building an audience. To do so, you really need to getting your brand out there and make a great first impression.
You want to grab the attention of your leads with an eye-catching image, captivating video or some other well-thought out, niche specific content. The content should highlight your brand and share the product or service you wish to promote.
How do you automate this stage?
Well, you could run a Facebook Lead Ad Campaign that targets your ideal audience. Be sure you have an automation tool like LeadsTunnel setup to cut down on the time it takes to get your new leads to the next stage.
You should also read up on how to Improve Your Facebook Ads With These 5 Tips and run some A/B tests before going all-in. That way you can run with the version that you know will make the best impression on your leads.
Stage 2. Interest
Once a lead has transitioned from the awareness stage, they may start to show interest in what you have to offer. They are aware of your brand, product or service and are actively looking for the best solution to suit their needs.
Anyone in this stage has likely engaged with your content on some level. Perhaps they clicked through on your Lead Ad and opted-in to your list, which is exactly what you were aiming for. This helps confirm they are a viable lead, and that you should continue developing the relationship with them.
Genuine customer relationships are built naturally, which means it likely happens slower than you may want. Even though you might be tempted to expose potential clients to more aggressive marketing tactics and push them through the sales funnel quickly, it is very important to grow the relationship gradually.
Not only does this reduce the likelihood of lost leads, it also strengthens the relationships themselves and boosts loyalty.
How do you automate this stage?
Make sure you have an email marketing platform that is optimized for automation.
Then, send a Welcome series to greet and engage new subscribers.
Next, install a push notification tool on your website or blog so you can stay in touch with your new leads.
Finally, set up an automated workflow with your email marketing platform to segments follow ups based on each subscriber’s interaction (opens and clicks) with the emails. Direct leads to some really compelling content on your website or blog within these message. This is a great way to build the relationship, engage your subscribers and share valuable content.
Stage 3. Evaluation
During the evaluation phase, leads weigh their options, debate the costs and maybe even examine competitors before making a final decision.
Leads in this stage are generally well informed and know what you are offering. They often just need a push in the right direction.
Your campaign needs to be designed specifically for your target audience. When crafting content for leads in the evaluation stage make sure to add a personal touch and acknowledge their needs rather than just showing off the features you offer. Explore different tactics such as sharing testimonials or adding a personal story or an anecdote. Social proof helps alleviate buyer hesitation and sharing personal details helps leads relate – both of which could make a huge difference when it comes to who they buy from.
How do you automate this stage?
Segment your list further and target the most engaged subscribers.
Next, craft a series of emails that drive conversions, embed your countdown timer and queue up the messages.
Finally, use your push notification tool to alert leads about promotional pricing or special bonuses that may be available for your product or service.
Stage 4. Purchase
This stage is super simple: the lead becomes a customer by purchasing your product or service. That’s it!
Lead Nurturing Automation
When implementing lead nurturing automation, be sure to do so with a personal touch.
Remember: people get bombarded with hundreds of promotions every day. From business emails to social media posts, ads, etc. Make sure yours don’t get lost in the mix.
Share memorable content that will stand out in a sea of endless messages. Choose quality over quantity, and build a reputation that is respectable and therefore makes you stand out amongst the competition.
Although marketing automation plays an important role when it comes to email communication and social media, always make sure that your messages are relevant and worthwhile to your audience.
Craft content that will benefit them, while framing your brand, product or service in a good light. The way your potential customers feel ultimately drives their decision to purchase (or not). Maintain your focus on building long-lasting relationships and nurture the leads in a way that will make them want to buy from you, rather than your competitors.
Based on your own experience, which tasks are the easiest to automate and why? Is automation a part of your lead nurturing business strategy?
Let us know in the comments below, and as always, please like and share if you enjoyed the article!
A New England native who moved to San Diego to spend winters on the beach, she spends her free time soaking up all the sun Southern California has to offer!
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Also published on Medium.