With the growth of Big Data, technology, social media, mobile and connectedness, organic lead nurturing has never been a more powerful marketing tool. It truly allows marketers to deliver the right content to the right person on the right channel at the right time in order to optimize profitable consumer behavior.
The first step to setting up a multi-channel lead nurturing program is to map content assets based on the stages of a sales funnel. The below are the five steps required to properly build a content map in order to deploy strategic lead nurturing.
This should be relatively easy, but the level of time commitment will vary based on the amount of content there is to sift through. Content can include both online and offline assets and can range from ebooks, downloadable guides, infographics, coupons, FAQs and videos to executive summaries, brochures, demos and product spec sheets.
This stage can be complicated or simple depending on the level of sophistication a marketer’s organization has established for buyer personas. On the simple side, content can be organized by topic, product or service. Organizing content by consumption platform (mobile, social, web, offline, etc.) is an option, too, and, if done correctly, can reap great rewards. It’s also possible to organize the content by all of the items mentioned above at the same time.
Ideally, marketers should access past analytics in order to determine what content, current and past, customers consumed during each stage of their buying cycle. However, most organizations don’t have access to such a rich, analytical treasure trove.
Without access, the classification should be sculpted using barriers to consumption. The greater the barrier, the number of barriers overcome, and the type of barriers overcome determines the likelihood of a content consumer being a qualified prospect or sales-ready lead.
Marketers who don’t have a predefined sales funnel can use the top of the funnel (TOFU), middle of the funnel (MOFU) and bottom of the funnel (BOFU) model.
The process of classifying content by the sales funnel stage will undoubtedly identify where content is absent. It’s important to connect every stage of the sales funnel for every attribute decided upon in Step 2 above. Holes will make the lead nurturing process ineffective or less effective than it otherwise could be, so filling them with new prudent content is appropriate.
Here’s where all of the hard work comes together. Develop a content workflow map for every attribute or combination of attributes identified in Step 2 (persona, topic, product, etc.). Then divide the map into the parts of the sales funnel used in Step 3.
The example above shows email as the lead nurturing channel, but social media, SMS (text messaging), dynamic on-page content delivery, direct mail and robo-calls can be used, too. Ultimately, the goal is to use the content, regardless of channel, in order to nurture the prospect further down the funnel.
After the five steps above are complete, setting up lead nurturing strategically is much simpler. It’s just a matter of writing the appropriate message (email, text, tweet, etc.) around the content identified above on the different delivery channels chosen for the campaign.
However, don’t forget to carefully monitor and adjust the campaign over time, because, ultimately, an organization’s customers define the sales funnel, not the marketing department. This will ensure marketing is optimally delivering the right content on the right channel to the right person at the right time in order to ensure profitable consumer action.