N Is for Nurture: How Lead Nurturing Makes All the Difference
When inbound marketers talk about “nurturing,” we mean lead nurturing, or the process of engaging your audience with relevant information at each stage of the buyer’s journey.
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Lead nurturing is arguably the most important piece of the inbound marketing methodology because it links the top of the sales funnel to the bottom of the sales funnel. You could potentially be bringing in new leads by the thousands, but without nurturing, those leads are unlikely to become actual customers and the point becomes moot.
The purpose of lead nurturing is to encourage leads to become customers, without saying, “Hey you, buy our stuff.” The best way to do this is by captivating the appropriate audiences with relevant, targeted content that is both informative and persuasive.
Despite the rumblings of email being ineffective, it’s still one of the primary channels for nurturing your leads, but it is by no means the only channel you should be using. Part of lead nurturing is just having the appropriate content available for each stage of the buyer’s journey. Whether your leads find it themselves or are directed to it through email workflows, they’re still being nurtured. Lead nurturing can be done through:
- Social media outreach
- Dynamic website content (interactive content like videos, polls, and surveys)
- Blog posts
- Downloadable assets
- Even direct sales outreach (if, and only if, the lead is qualified enough)
Lead nurturing requires the marketer to be proactive, but not annoying. Again, informative content really helps here. If your content answers questions and addresses concerns, you can move your prospect through the buyer’s journey just by genuinely helping them out.
Keep in mind that as the lead moves through the buyer’s journey, personalization makes a huge difference. Personalized emails and smart content help a lead to feel recognized, increasing the likelihood of them becoming a paying customer.
Why is lead nurturing important for marketers?
According to HubSpot’s 2017 marketing statistics, 67% of B2B marketers say they see at least a 10% increase in sales opportunities through lead nurturing, with 15% seeing opportunities increase by 30% or more. On average, nurtured leads produce a 20% increase in sales opportunities versus non-nurtured leads.
The choice to nurture your leads is the kind of decision that could make or break the growth of your customer base.
Since that’s a pretty tangible benefit, here’s a slightly more abstract one: Lead nurturing can also be a big part of building brand loyalty. From the moment a lead discovers your brand, every interaction makes an impact on their overall impression of it. During lead nurturing you’re essentially convincing the lead to become a loyal customer before they’ve even made a purchase. The right messages, delivered at the right time, to the right audience (that’s the big one right there) have a huge impact on the way your audience views your brand.
If you skimmed this post…
…go back and read it. It’s that important.
OK, fine, you should at least know that lead nurturing plays a critical role in inbound marketing. Why? Because without nurturing your leads, you’re not living up to your potential as an inbound marketer. Engaging your prospects from the first moment they interact with your company and supplying them with pertinent information is integral to growing your customer base. If you ask us, not nurturing your leads isn’t even an option.
Want to learn more awesome inbound marketing terms? Check out our Inbound Marketing Definitions page.