What Is Lead Nurturing?

Lead nurturing is the process of developing relationships with potential buyers, and moving them down your sales funnel.

What Is Lead Nurturing?

In other words, lead nurturing helps companies to guide prospective customers towards the decision to buy by answering questions, showing how to overcome obstacles, and positioning the product as the ultimate solution to their main problem.

Your customers don’t always reach your site ready to buy immediately, so you need to have a method for taking them from where they are at in their customer journey and helping them move forward.

With lead nurturing, you’re reaching out to your consumers via different touch points, and providing them with the information they need to move on to the next stage of the Buyer’s Journey.

Why It’s Important?

Before we talk about how to nurture leads, we must understand why lead nurturing is so important for the success of your business.

Lead Nurturing

The numbers don’t lie:

On average, 50% of the leads in any system are not yet ready to make a purchase.

If you simply sell to those who are ready to buy and ignore the rest of your leads, you’re reducing your potential revenue by half, right off the bat.

On top of that, lead nurturing is a great strategy for companies who want to increase their sales without increasing their marketing budget.

Consider this:

According to research from Forrester, companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales at a 33% lower cost.

Okay, one more statistic for the road:

Despite the many advantages of lead nurturing, a study by MarketingSherpa shows that only 36% of marketers actively nurture their sales leads.

Here’s what this means:

By working on your lead nurturing strategy, you can gain a leg up on your competition and grow your business while simultaneously reducing the cost of acquiring new customers.

Sounds good?

Then let’s move on to figuring out how you can identify which leads to nurture.

Which Leads To Nurture?

To make the most out of your lead nurturing efforts, you need to know which leads are worth nurturing to not waste time on those that aren’t likely to convert.

Luckily, if you know what to look for, identifying different types of leads doesn’t have to be a complicated process.

Which Leads To Nurture?

In fact, you can basically sort all of your leads into five main segments. All of your leads will either...

  • Buy immediately without prompting
  • Require some time to consider their options, but will buy subsequently without prompting
  • Will buy without prompting, but can be persuaded to make a larger purchase
  • Require nurturing before they will buy
  • Will not buy regardless of how much you nurture them

Now, in order to have your lead nurturing efforts be productive, you’ll only want to reach out to the third and fourth categories of leads.

The first two categories will make a purchase anyway, so there’s no point in nurturing them.

And the last category won’t make a purchase, so again, don’t waste your time on them.

Now, the question is: how can you identify the third and fourth categories of leads?

Easy. Develop a lead scoring strategy, and use this to rank your leads based on the revenue they’re likely to contribute to your company.

lead scoring strategy

Begin With Lead Scoring?

Lead scoring may seem like a daunting task, but it can be broken down into actionable steps that make the entire process much easier.

First, you need to come up with a lead scoring model that dictates what characteristics or actions result in what sort of scores.

By looking at your current customers, you can get a better understanding of what types of leads you should focus on and then identify their specific demographic and firmographic traits, as well as behaviors on your site, that will help you recognize them.

Once you know the types of leads that you want to attract, you will need to assign a value to all the leads who enter your system based on the model that you develop.

For this step, you will need a way to track your site’s visitors and gain insights about who they are and what actions they perform on your site.

Albacross can help you track who’s visiting your site, as well as their behaviors such as what pages they visit and what actions they perform, which will allow you to make more informed decisions when sorting your leads.

Finally, you can use these scores to grade your leads accordingly and determine whether you follow up based on which type of lead they are.

Now, the question is… how do you come up with a lead scoring model?

What many companies do is use data from their past leads to create a value system.

First, take a look at your existing customers, and see what they have in common.

Are they…

  • Predominantly from a certain industry?
  • Doing at least a certain amount in annual revenue?
  • Companies who have been established for at least X years?

Next, think about the leads who you’ve previously engaged with, but failed to convert. What are some commonalities that these guys have?

Once you’ve done this exercise, you’ll be able to identify the attributes which indicate whether a lead is a good fit.

Based on this, go ahead and weigh your attributes accordingly.

Maybe their industry is a pretty good indicator of whether a lead will eventually convert, but it isn’t as telling as, say, the job title of the lead.

Bearing this in mind, you may choose to assign a lead with an ideal job title +10, but a lead who’s in the ideal industry +5.

Of course, in order for your lead scoring system to be comprehensive, you should also take other factors into consideration as well.

Here are the three overarching areas that you should be looking at:

1. Lead Fit

Lead fit tells you how well a lead matches the brand’s usual buyer persona, which is basically what we talked about earlier.

When deciding on lead fit, you should be evaluating your lead’s demographics, their company’s firmographics, as well as their Budget, Authority, Need and Time (BANT).

Let’s break these down:

First up, demographic information includes:

  • Job title
  • Company size
  • Geographical location
  • Years of experience

Next, firmographic information includes:

  • Company’s size
  • Company’s location
  • Company’s annual revenue

Last but not least, there’s your lead’s Budget, Authority, Need, Time (BANT).

Can they afford your product? Do they have the authority to make a purchase, or will they have to get a superior’s buy-in? How urgently do they need your product and service?

Yes, that’s a lot of data that you’ll have to collect in order to score your lead. How do you get all this information?

First, you can get your lead to sign up for your newsletter or download gated content. In your form, add a few fields to elicit the information you need from them.

On top of that, you can also trawl their company’s website, and look at your lead’s LinkedIn page as well.

After you’ve got the data, go ahead and score your leads based on whether they fit into the profile of your typical buyer.

2. Lead Interest

Lead fit aside, lead interest is also an important factor that can help you determine whether a lead is worth pursuing.

In order to identify lead interest, you’ll have to track their online behavior, and assign numerical values to the actions they’re taking.

Lead Interest

As a general rule of thumb, the longer your leads spend on your website (and the more times they revisit), the better.

There are certain caveats, though.

Say a certain lead has visited your website thrice in the last week, but 90% of their time is spent on your Careers page.

It’s fairly obvious that this person is just trying to get a job at your company - they’re not an actual lead. You’d assign them a negative score, and move on.

If you’re trying to figure out how you can track the actions your leads take on your website, there are plenty of tools that will do just that.

With Albacross, for example, you can easily track who’s visiting your website, and where they’re spending their time as well.

Albacross Lead Generation

Here’s how it works:

First, you create a free account, which takes less than 30 seconds. (No credit card required).

Next, you install the Albacross’s tracking script on your site either using HTML, Google Tag Manager, or a WordPress plugin. (If you don’t have much technical expertise, we recommend going with the last option).

Once that’s done, just sit back and wait for Albacross to accumulate data about your visitors.

You’ll start receiving daily, weekly, monthly reports on how your leads are engaging with your website…

…and you can use this information to score your leads, and decide who to get in touch with.

3. Buyer’s Journey

Last but not least, you’ll also want to score your leads based on which stage they are in their Buyer’s Journey.

How do you know what stage your leads are at?

Like how you did in the previous step, look at which pages they’re browsing within your site.

If they’re simply looking at your blog content, then they might still be in the information-gathering stage. You’ll want to assign them a score that’s positive, but not overwhelmingly so.

If they’re looking at your pricing page, though, then this shows they’re thinking about making a purchase. Obviously, this warrants a higher score.

Some leads might also sign up for product demos and webinars, or get in touch with you and request for custom pricing sheets.

These guys are actively gathering more information about your company and product (instead of passively assessing the material that’s already available on your site).

That’s a huge indicator that they’re at the last stage of their Buyer’s Journey, and that they’ll be ready to make a purchase soon.

Bearing this in mind, make sure you score these behaviors generously.

Getting Started With Lead Nurturing

Awesome - you’re now an expert on scoring and filtering your leads. It’s time to move on to the next step: figuring out how to nurture leads and create your lead nurturing campaign.

Getting Started With Lead Nurturing

Create An Email Sequence

Creating an email sequence that delivers results can seem like a daunting task, especially if you don’t have prior experience and don’t know where to get started.

But don’t worry, once we break down the underlying principles and the process behind it, everything will become much clearer.

First off, we must understand how lead nurturing fits into your overall email marketing strategy.

You might already be doing at least some email marketing already - if you have any type of opt-in page where you collect the email addresses of your prospects, you can send them time-based emails that go out at predetermined intervals.

These types of emails are called drip campaigns.

With drip campaigns, you treat every single lead the same way, giving him the same pre-written content that is supposed to educate him and move him down your funnel.

For instance, if someone signs up for your email list, you may send them out an introductory email on the same day, then another email talking about the features of your products on day 3, and another email with a special reduced price offer on day 7.

The campaign schedule can be adjusted based on various factors like performance analysis or gaining new insights about the target audience.

While drip campaigns can be incredibly effective, they have one main disadvantage - your leads are different people at different stages of the buyer journey, so they will probably not respond the same way to the same emails.

That’s where lead nurturing campaigns can be so effective.

Instead of communicating with each prospect as if they are all identical, nurturing campaigns allow you to send emails and communicate with your leads based on their actions.

With tools like Albacross, you can track user behavior and collect their information, which allows you to send out emails that are relevant to them at the particular moment, guiding the leads through the buying process.

You can use data like the pages that the prospect visited, the number of times they have come back to your site, or how much time they spent on a specific page.

For instance, say you have a lead that signs up for a free trial of your product.

In this scenario, your main goal is getting him to start using the product as quickly as possible, so that you increase the likelihood of them signing up after the trial ends.

By using data such as which pages he visited the most, you can make more educated decisions about which features are the most important to him, and send out timely emails with useful information on the specific features that matter the most to the individual user.

If you are able to provide information that is the most relevant to each lead, you can help the user familiarize themselves with your product and showcase its value in the shortest amount of time possible.

Lead Nurturing Steps

Now that we’ve gone through the basic principles of why lead nurturing through email is so powerful, we must take a look at the specific steps that you need to take to develop a successful campaign.

Let’s explore them below.

1. Set Your Goals

The first step of any lead nurturing campaign is figuring out exactly what you want to achieve.

Do you want your prospects to sign up for a free trial, try out a specific feature of your product, or maybe commit to your product and become a paying customer?

Or perhaps you want to take leads that have just discovered your product and slowly guide them towards the decision to make a purchase?

Once you know the goals that you want to achieve, it will become much easier to come up with specific steps to make that happen.

2. Figure Out the Timeline

After setting your goals, you will need to figure out when you’ll want to reach out to your prospect.

Since successful lead nurturing campaigns depend on sending timely messages based on actions, you should establish triggers that would prompt an email to be sent.

For instance, if someone visits a specific page looking for information, you could send out an email offering personal assistance or useful resources that cover that subject.

You will need to find the right balance of how quickly to reach out after a lead performs an action - while you don’t want to wait too long, coming out too aggressively could evoke a negative reaction as well.

3. Put Together the Content

If you want your lead nurturing campaign to deliver results, you need to provide value in each communication so that you build trust and entice the lead to open your next email.

So, while you may be tempted to insert your product into the conversation as early as possible, that’s not always the best approach.

If the lead is in the early stages of the buyer’s journey, you will need to focus on educational content that brings the leads further down the funnel and gets them primed to be interested in what you have to offer.

For later stage leads that are close to being ready to buy, a more direct and action-based approach may work better, as these prospects are often simply looking for a good enough justification to buy right now.

4. Evaluate and Optimize

Lead nurturing success is all about using the information that you have to optimize every part of the communications with your leads.

That’s why, as you start seeing the first results, it’s important to analyze them and look for areas that could be improved upon.

Look at how leads at different stages respond to your messages and experiment with the timing, the content, and the frequency to see what works best.

Other Strategies To Try In 2021

Most B2B marketers automatically equate lead nurturing to email campaigns.

Hands up… who’s guilty?

Other Strategies To Try In 2021

But here’s the thing:

Simply relying on these drip campaigns isn’t sufficient.

Now, don’t get me wrong - drip campaigns can be extraordinarily powerful, and I’m not telling you to ditch these altogether.

What I’m saying is that you should use other strategies in conjunction with your email campaigns, so that you can increase the overall effectiveness of your lead nurturing.

In this section, we’ll go through a few of these strategies, and teach you how to get started with them.

#1: Nurture Leads With Social Media

Many marketers think that social media strategies are more suited to B2C companies than B2B ones… but we beg to differ.

Nurture Leads With Social Media

Look, we understand that B2B marketers find it tough to create compelling, interesting content for B2B companies.

That said, this isn’t about what’s easy for B2B marketers. It’s about giving what your leads and customers want.

And regardless of whether they’re dealing with a B2B or B2C brand, leads and consumers want to communicate with companies on social media.

In fact, 63% of consumers expect brands to offer customer support over social media, and 31% of customers turn to social media to make pre-sale enquiries.

With numbers like these, you can’t afford to not be on social.

Being Responsive On Social Media

Ah, the classic expectations vs reality.

According to statistics, consumers who make an enquiry on social media expect a response within 0-4 hours.

Being Responsive On Social Media

Buuuuut they only get it after 10 hours.

The bad news?

Being slow to respond (or not responding at all) will hurt your business in a pretty significant way. More specifically, 30% of people will go to a competitor when companies don’t respond via social media.

The good news?

You do get rewarded for being responsive on social media.

get rewarded for being responsive on social media

We’re talking up to a 40% increase in sales revenue, which is huge.

So make sure you’re monitoring your social media channels, and that you’re getting notifications every time a lead leaves a comment, messages you, or Tweets at you.

Using Social QR Codes

You now know the importance of responding to leads who are actively engaging with you on social media.

On top of that, you should also be recruiting your other leads, and getting them to join in the conversation as well.

How do you do this? Simple. Display social QR codes on your website or marketing collateral, and encourage your leads to follow you on your social channels.

social QR codes

There’s no hard and fast rule when it comes to where you should feature your QR codes, but if you ask us, your Thank You page is a great option.

Say your lead has just downloaded an ebook, and they’re redirected to your Thank You page.

Now, it’s a waste to literally just say “Thank you for your download!” on this page, and leave it at that. So why not include a secondary Call To Action (CTA), and ask your leads to follow you on social media?

Aside from simply getting your leads to follow you, you can also use a QR code that allows them to connect with you via Facebook Messenger.

If you have a chatbot handy, you can use this bot to nurture your leads and feed them with more useful information about the product/service they’re interested in.

For those who want to use chatbots to utomate your lead nurturing, check out this article.

If you’d rather do things the old-school way, that’s fine as well. Go ahead and talk to your leads and move them down the funnel yourself.

#2: Use Retargeting Ads

The next trick that we’ve got up our sleeve is retargeting ads.

Use Retargeting Ads

You probably already know how these work, but here’s a quick recap:

Retargeting Ads

Now, retargeting ads are a tried-and-tested strategy, and they deliver great results.

Among other things, website visitors who are retargeted with display ads are 70% more likely to convert.

And while these ads are more commonly used by eCommerce stores, there’s no reason why B2B marketers can’t use these to nurture their leads as well.

With that, let’s discuss how you can retarget your leads using AdWords and Facebook Ads.

Remarketing For Search Ads (RLSA) Targeting using AdWords

For marketers already using AdWords, you’ll want to take a look at their Remarketing for Search Ads (RLSA) feature.

Here’s how it works:

First, create a remarketing list on AdWords, and add a remarketing tag to your site so that your visitors are added to this list.

Next, add the remarketing list to your AdWords campaign, and think about how you want to target the folks on this list.

One strategy is to increase your bid by, say, 25% for those on your remarketing lists. Because these people have visited your site before, you know they’re more likely to convert, so this justifies the extra spend.

Alternatively, you can sift out the people on your remarketing list, and edit your ad copy to feature a different offer. Maybe they weren’t keen on your product demo, but you might be able to entice them with a free trial.

Last but not least, some marketers like to bid on keywords that they don’t normally bid on in order to attract the attention of their leads. For example, after getting to know your product, your lead might double back and do a generic search to make sure they’re not missing out on any alternatives.

Now, you might not typically allocate any budget to generic search terms (because these result in lower quality traffic), but again, you know these leads are likely to convert. So go ahead and make an exception.

To learn more about AdWord’s RLSA feature, check out their help page.

Retargeting Using Facebook

AdWords aside, you can also retarget your leads using Facebook ads.

There are several ways in which you can do this:

Retargeting Using Facebook

Like how you’d do with AdWords, you can retarget the people who have previously visited your website.

Alternatively, if you have a list of email subscribers that you’d like to retarget, you can upload this list to do just that.

Is it more effective to use Facebook or Google to retarget your leads?

Well, there’s no clear-cut answer.

The key difference between Facebook and Google is that Facebook ads are embedded within a lead’s news feed (as opposed to Google ads, which appear at the top of search listings).

Your leads who are on Google might simply ignore the ads on top, and scroll down to the organic results. With Facebook, that won’t happen, since ads are scattered randomly within your lead’s newsfeed.

That said, you could also argue the leads who are browsing Facebook are catching up with their friends and family…

…and even if you interrupt them with an ad, they’re not in the frame of mind to go to your website and make a purchase (or convert in any other way).

The bottom line?

We recommend that you test both platforms out, and see which works best with your audience.

Getting The Most Out Of Your Retargeting Ads

How do you optimize your retargeting ads, and increase their effectiveness?

First, don’t just repeat your product benefits off your website. Remember: your lead has already seen those benefits, so you’d just be telling them something they already know.

Instead, switch it up and make sure you’re conveying the value of your product to your lead.

If most of your leads are CEOs, for example, you’ll want to emphasize the ROI that your product will bring, or the costs that it will save. Big-picture stuff.

In order to reduce friction and convince your lead that they’re making the right choice, consider featuring customer testimonials on your retargeting ads as well.

featuring customer testimonials

For best results, feature industry influencers and/or customers from reputable companies in these testimonials. Make sure to include their picture, name, and job title as well.

Finally, use your retargeting ads to distinguish yourself from your competition.

You know your leads have visited your website and checked out your product a few times - but they’ve probably done the same with several of your competitors.

Bearing this in mind, your job isn’t just to talk about why your product is awesome. It’s to talk about why your product trumps your competitors’.

At the end of the day, you want to provide your leads with a frame of reference that makes it easy for them to choose your company over their other options.

One last tip when it comes to retargeting:

Instead of blindly retargeting everyone who’s visited your site, save your ad budget, and only retarget those who have a high purchase intent.

Here’s where your lead scoring comes in handy.

Say you amass a thousand leads per month, and their scores range from -10 to 50. Simply sift out the folks who have higher lead scores (say 30 and above?) and retarget them selectively.

Check out: How to Effectively Use Big Data to Supercharge Your Remarketing Campaigns

Check out the differences between remarketing and retargeting.

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#3: Use Dynamic Website Content

Last but not least, you can also nurture leads by serving them dynamic website content.

What’s dynamic website content?

Use Dynamic Website Content

This refers to elements on your website that change in real-time, based on:

  • Your visitor’s profile data, OR
  • The interactions they’ve had with your company.

One application of dynamic website content is personalized recommendations. Think Netflix, which suggests shows for you to watch based on your viewing history.

personalized recommendations

And those product recommendations that you see on Amazon? Yup, those fall under the category of dynamic website content as well.

How does dynamic content work?

Basically, you come up with different variations of your website to cater to different leads.

If your lead matches certain criteria you set for them, Variant A might get displayed. If not, then Variant B is displayed.

Here are some ways in which B2B marketers can use dynamic website content:

1. Case Studies

Say your company has amassed plenty of case studies and testimonials over the last few years.

Now, you could simply display all these on your website and leave it to your lead to sort through them, but this isn’t productive.

Here’s what you should do instead:

Use dynamic content to highlight and feature the most relevant case studies or testimonials based on your visitor’s industry.

By doing this, you’ll be capitalizing on the social proof that these case studies and testimonials provide you.

This helps you nurture your leads more effectively, and nudge them that bit closer to their purchase decision.

2. CTAs

Say you have a lead who signed up for your newsletter some time back.

After going through your drip campaign, your lead is revisiting your website, and wants to learn more about your product.

Now, do you think it makes sense for them to see that standard “Sign up for our newsletter” CTA on your homepage?

The answer is a resounding nope.

This CTA is now irrelevant, and your lead should be presented with a new CTA that brings them further down the funnel.

3. Pop-ups

Last but not least, there are also pop-ups which display dynamic content based on exit intent and other factors.

pop-ups which display dynamic content

Now, don’t worry - these are not your usual pop-ups that annoy the heck out of your customers, and cause them to churn.

Instead, these are intelligent pop-ups that are timed perfectly to score a conversion.

Let’s look at exit intent pop-ups, for instance.

These are triggered either when a visitor starts moving their cursor towards the top right hand corner of the page (to close the browser), OR after X seconds of inactivity.

With these pop-ups, you can reach out to your leads who are about to leave, and hit them with an irresistible offer.

Maybe it’s an extended 3 month free trial (when your usual trial is only 10 days long).

Maybe it’s a promo code for 10% off all pricing plans.

Either way, these pop-ups give you an opportunity to nurture and close your leads (instead of letting them just bounce off your site).

Exit pop-ups aside, you can also utilize other dynamic pop-ups to reach out to your customers.

If Lead A arrives on your website from a newsletter, and Lead B arrives on your website from a social media post, for example, it makes sense to serve them different pop-ups.

The same goes for Lead A, who has been to your website 10 times prior to this visit, and Lead B, who’s only visited your website once. Different pop-ups are more effective!

Alright, that’s all we have for you on the topic of dynamic website content.

If you want to start using dynamic content on your site, check out Geotargetly.

To serve your visitors dynamic pop-ups, check out this list of pop-up scripts and plugins.

Learn More On The Topic

A Final Word To Lead Nurturing

We hope you enjoyed our guide on how to nurture sales leads, and that you’re leaving with plenty of helpful takeaways.

A Final Word To Lead Nurturing

Now, it’s time to get down to business, and start implementing these strategies.

Remember: A/B testing is a marketer’s best friend. As long as you constantly measure your results and refine your strategies, you’ll be on the right track.

Best of luck!

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Marcus Svensson

Head of Growth

Marcus Svensson is responsible for the Growth of Albacross with previous experience as a founder and background in Mathematics.