Before embarking on a lead nurturing campaign, there are a number of steps you should take to ensure your campaign is well-strategized and executed. You need to understand your target audiences, what appeals to them, what their pain points are, and what offers you have to address each of those. If you try to launch a campaign without properly preparing, you can bet you’ll feel unorganized, reactive rather than proactive, and doomed to fail. Lead nurturing should be all about getting the right message to the right person at the right time, and that requires a lot of good planning.
Below are four projects you ought to complete before you can launch a proper lead nurturing campaign.
You need to have a clear understanding of who your buyers are. At first blush you might think this is overly obvious—of course you know who your buyers are! But you’d be surprised just how much more clear the picture becomes when you actually put some time into this exercise. I won’t lie to you; it’s time consuming. But the result is so powerful it’s important to take the time, regardless of how long. There are several sources of information you can tap to help shape these personas, including customer service staff, sales personnel and customers themselves through a survey or interviews.
The meat of your lead nurturing campaign is the quality content you offer leads at each stage of the funnel. Before dedicating resources to creating content, do an assessment of what you already have. Keep track of everything, too, from brochures to webinars to whitepapers. It’s quite possible you already have a great deal of content that can be recycled or repurposed. Maybe a product brochure would make a good middle-of-the-funnel download or blog post. There’s room for creativity here.
Once you’ve figured out what content you currently have and how you might use or repurpose it, the next step is to map it to each buyer persona for each stage of the sales funnel. The chart below provides a very simple example.
Brands frequently find themselves with a fair amount of middle-of-the-funnel content, like case studies or webinars, and bottom-of-the-funnel offers such as product demonstrations. As you plug your existing content into these slots, it will be obvious where the holes are that need to be filled. Often times, it’s that top-of-the-funnel content that should aim to educate and/or entertain new leads. Remember that your job is to deliver relevant content or offers to leads at each step of the sales funnel. What would they want to consume when they are just learning about solutions to their pain points, or when they want to learn more about you specifically, or when they are ready to make a purchase? Ultimately, your content should help each lead make a purchase decision.
Once you’ve completed your content map, you’ll notice potential lead nurturing campaigns jump right off the page. You’ll want to begin to prioritize and schedule these. The first campaign you choose to launch could be based on a couple of different things. If you want to start lead nurturing right away, maybe you simply start with the one you have the most content for. For example, if I have a top, middle and bottom-of-the-funnel piece for Buyer Persona #2 and am satisfied that I have enough content to properly nurture them toward a purchasing decision, I might elect to launch that campaign first. On the other hand, maybe you have a strategic reason to start with a different buyer persona, even if it means you wait to launch until you have enough content.
Stay tuned in the coming weeks. As I work through this process with clients, I intend to write a blog post that takes a deeper dive into each of the above four steps.
Fellow inbound marketers, what steps do you take to plan your lead nurturing campaigns? We'd love to hear your ideas. Leave a comment below!
With a decade of marketing experience, Meghan Sullivan is a Senior Consultant at Kuno Creative and is passionate about developing and executing inbound marketing strategies for her clients. When she’s not doing that, she’s probably curled up on the couchwith her dog and iPad, or exploring Cleveland’s incredible food scene. Connect with Meghan on Twitter or LinkedIn.