In our previous post we took a look at the 1, 2, 3 of lead nurturing. Follow the path laid out here and you’ll see leads heading down through your funnel and converting into customers.
But be warned!
Along this path there are some inviting cul de sacs that could prevent this sales flow. And in this post we are going to name and shame them.
These are the golden ducks rather than the golden rules – the lead nurturing mistakes you should avoid at all costs.
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Lead nurturing: The customer journey rarely just happens
Here’s the thing:
Prospects do not turn into qualified leads spontaneously. And leads do not just wake up one day and say, ‘Hey, I’m going to become a customer.’
Just as you would not accept a massage from a masseur with cold hands, so you must warm up your leads if you are going to establish any form of professional relationship.
To get some warmth flowing you need to create a bespoke journey that you can take together.
This is what lead nurturing is.
Sounds simple enough?
Sure, it does: but elephant traps litter the path ahead of you.
Let’s make sure you don’t fall into any of these.
Lead nurturing mistake #1: Not doing your homework
Failing to research or fully understand your customers and their journey is like trying to build a house on a swamp: no matter how well you build your content around those touchpoints it will not be long before everything starts to collapse.
Get researching and avoid guesswork like the plague.
Survey customers to find out how they found out about you and what they like about you.
Use tools like Facebook’s Audience Insights to try and get a rounded view of your customers.
Follow the conversations of relevant groups on LinkedIn or see what questions are asked about relevant topics on Quora.
Find forums or blogs that can help you gain insight – or read reviews and comments posted about pertinent books on Amazon or Goodreads.
Use visits to trade shows to build a sense of the main concerns and goals of your customers.
Lead nurturing mistake #2: Not making sure your landing pages are landing optimum leads
Without leads to nurture no strategy is going to succeed.
That’s why it’s essential you regularly and methodically review the success of your initial lead capture landing pages and sign-up incentives.
Let’s be 100% clear: we are not just talking volume of leads here but also quality. Your landing page and incentive needs to attract a consistent volume of leads but these leads also need to be demonstrably from your target market and in positions to make decisions on purchasing or influence these.
At the simplest level you can test headline messages, calls to action, email capture mechanic, imagery and design.
Getting more complex you can start designing pages that tie-in with specific pieces of content to create a seamless sign-up process.
Review where offers to sign-up are made on your own website and in your ‘owned’ social media spaces before you consider applying your tactics on paid media.
Make sure you can attribute the source of sign-ups so you can review where your best leads are coming from.
The easiest mistake is to assume all is optimised already, but the most dangerous mistake is to assume optimisation is a finite process.
Lead nurturing mistake #3: Not maxing out on email
Email is an essential part of your lead nurturing. Sleep on it at your peril.
Let’s imagine Ms. P. Rospect.
She has clicked on your LinkedIn ad and loves what she sees on your landing page. She signs up to access the information you promise and loves this too.
A week passes.
Still exploring her options, she arrives at a competitor site and leaves her email address to access a checklist. The next day a series of informative emails arrive offering further info.
On the back of one she requests a call from your competitor. And by this point you have receded from a first love to a forgotten fling.
Email is a critical tool in guiding lead nurturing steps through a customer journey. But, again, it all comes down to your research.
You need to understand quickly what type of lead you have and where their interests lie. And then you need the content and automatic sequences of emails to help each lead along their journey.
Lead nurturing mistake #4: Not understanding when to make the handover
Lead nurturing is a collaboration between your sales team and marketing team.
The ultimate aim of any nurturing program is to move from marketing to sales once a lead has been qualified.
You can think of it as a relay race – and how many times have you seen a fluffed handover ruin the chances of the athletes’ success?
In simple terms, if the handover is made too late the lead may well have made a purchasing decision elsewhere. But, if the handover is made too soon, the sales team are swamped by leads that are going nowhere and missing out on closing those that have arrived exactly where you want them.
The handover relies on agreed customer profiles/journeys and mutually agreed ways to measure exactly what a qualified lead should look like.
Exactly as with the landing pages that first captured leads, the definition of what is and is not a qualified lead should not be static. It should be constantly reviewed and tweaked to ensure optimum performance across the teams.
Lead nurturing without epic fails
Let’s keep this simple.
Know your customers
Tailor their journey
Understand exactly what sales-ready looks like
Constantly analyse, test and optimise every single step of the process
And, finally, remember that it’s far easier to say than it ever is to do.