You’ve got a lead … now what.
This is the third part of my three-part series on B2B digital marketing best practices.
More than ever, it is important to be able to generate B2B leads digitally. As I write this post, the world is shutting down. Social distancing is now a thing, and conferences and trade shows are cancelling everywhere. If you sell person to person, just try getting an appointment to meet with your prospect in their office. It’s not going to happen.
But you can’t just stop marketing and selling. The next six months will be challenging for sure, but not being able to generate leads and nurture prospects digitally will put you out of business.
We are at a strategic inflection point. The tools available today to generate better leads and fill a sales pipeline are amazing. We can do things today that were just impossible 12 months ago.
Digital Marketing Best Practices Part 3 – lead nurturing
To generate more clients digitally, we must develop know, like and trust through consistent, valuable, education. What I refer to as lead nurturing. It is easy to get a lead online, even for expensive long sales cycle B2B products. What’s hard is turning that lead into a prospect. Getting them to take the important step of speaking to a sales representative.
Today, prospects demand control over the sales process. That means they want to be in control of when and how they consume relevant information and when they reach out to speak directly with a company.
Education is the lubricant of the buyer’s journey
There are 3 Keys to effective digital education.
Be relevant. Just like in the real world, your content must be relevant to the problem a prospect is trying to solve. If you sell farm equipment but your showroom is full of lawn mowers and leaf blowers, any farmer that walks in to learn more about how you can help them will walk right back out. They want to talk about seeds, cultivators, and irrigation and you are displaying landscaping equipment.
The same thing is true with your business. If you sell POS systems to restaurants, when a prospect comes to your website (your digital store) they want to learn about how you can solve their problem. How you can help them make more money, have more free time, etc.
Finally, relevance must be in sync with what brought them to the page. If it was an advertisement of any kind, then the fact that they clicked means they are interested in the content in the advertisement. When they get to your page, do they learn more about what brought them to the page.
Be Interactive. Just like in the real world, your conversations with prospects must be interactive. No one wants to be lectured to all the time. Ask questions, offer surveys, provide calculators. All these things become ways to share what you know while having a dialogue.
For example, I have a program that will tell you the value of the business you are not competing for. Try it now and see.
Be timely. It’s your birthday. When do you want someone to say Happy Birthday to you? On your birthday, or two months later? The content you provide needs to change, be updated, be timely. As you will see below, to maintain top of mind awareness means keeping your messages front and center. If you say the same thing over and over again, it loses its effectiveness.
How to know what your prospects’ need to know
Identity Resolution with segmentation tells you exactly what your prospect wants to know. You will know who they are and what they are consuming on your website. Lots of tools besides just Identity Resolution can help here. Heat maps show what users are interested in. Google Analytics show you general navigation paths. On and on. The tools are there to see who your visitors are and what they do. This needs to feed your content creation strategy. Give your users, prospects, web visitors what they want. Keep it fresh, make it relevant.
What are the sequence of conclusions your prospect must accept before buying from you? If I meet you at a bar and say “hi, my name is Roel, will you marry me?” you are not going to say yes. You don’t even know who I am. Perhaps you are already married? No, we must start all relationships with an introduction and a process of determining if we are right for each other. If there is a reason to continue investing time and energy into the relationship.
With your prospects, there are conclusions they must come to on their own before they want to buy from you. They must recognize they have a problem. That that problem is important enough to solve, that there is a solution that will give them what they want. That the cost of solving the problem is less than just suffering through?
Then, they must come to the realization that you can help them solve their problem. That you know what you are talking about and that you have a plan to help them. That the plan is reasonable and should work.
Another way to think about this sequence of conclusions is as a buyer’s journey.
Lead nurturing means giving them answers to all these questions. Doing it over time, in a way that they control. Then when they conclude that the problem needs to be addressed now; your solution is the one that comes to them. And, they pick up the phone and call you (or fill out a form on your page, etc.)
Make it easy. Lead nurturing means educating your prospects. It’s not a test or a scavenger hunt. Don’t hide your content behind opt-in walls. As we said, your users don’t want to have to get into your sales funnel until they are ready. Giving up your email, phone number, etc means that is what they think is coming. So they won’t and then they don’t get to read your great content. Both you and the prospect lose.
Use identity resolution instead. Since we can identify most of your website visitors and give you that information to use forever, you don’t need to hide behind an opt-in. Don’t settle for 2% opt in when identity resolution can tell you who 40% to 80% of your visitors are.
Minimize unnecessary clicks.
The more you ask a user to click, the more likely they are to leave. Unless you are spending huge amounts of money on user experience consultants, keep it simple. Put the information people need on the page you attract that traffic to, and don’t make them click through lots of content to get the answers they want. That’s why I try to write these long blogs. You can get the answers to your primary question – how do I do lead nurturing more effectively – all in one place.
Build trust online the same way you build trust offline
Trust is developed over time. By doing what you say you will do. When you say you will do it. Think about lead nurturing as a series of conversations and shared experiences. Not as advertising campaigns.
Ask questions and practice active listening. You can absolutely do this online. To build trust you must do so. If you have several training videos covering multiple topics, don’t just list them in chronological order. Ask your user what topic they want to learn about and then take them to a page where the videos that address that topic are located.
Be special. More than anything, as you build trust you need to be answering the question; why you? What makes you special? What can I get when I buy from you that I can’t get from your competition?
Maintain Top of Mind Awareness
You probably saw 5,000 advertisements yesterday. Can you name one? 99% of the people I ask this say no. How are you going to remain relevant to your prospects if you can’t even remember any ads you saw just yesterday. The only way to remain relevant is to keep your message front and center.
With identity resolution and inexpensive display advertisements, I can maintain top of mind branding for under $1.50 per 1,000 advertisements. If I have 5,000 people who come to my website every month (which I do), then I can give each of them a unique message every day and do it all for about $200 per month.
Given how much you spend to get that first click, to get a stranger to your website the first time, the ability to keep them engaged and thinking about you for just pennies is a no brainer.
The biggest mistake marketing and sales people consistently make is underestimating how long it takes to build know, like and trust. I say it takes at least 7 touches for a lead to have a basic level of awareness about who you are. The good news is 90% of sales people give up after the 3rd touch. If you have a lead nurturing program that has 10 touches or more, I guarantee you will be the only one still marketing to the prospect. Then, when they are ready to buy, who are they going to call? You!
Be where they are. Just because you find someone on Facebook, doesn’t mean you should only converse with them on Facebook. You need to be where they are. Everywhere. The importance of a multi-channel approach can’t be understated. Be in front of them on Facebook, when they are surfing the web, shopping on Amazon, watching videos on YouTube.
Let’s talk – double your sales ready leads in 90 days
Special offer – Complimentary Digital Marketing Strategic Review. I usually charge $3,000 to perform a full digital marketing strategic review. Given how important I feel having an effective digital lead generation plan is to your success, and because I’m stuck at home because of this Corona Virus, for a limited time I will do this for free.
During the strategic review, we will
- Evaluate your current digital lead generation platform
- Identify your requirements 12 to 24 months from now
- Present step by step plan to get from where you are today to where you want to be.