What is Lead Nurturing Done Well?

Do you want to understand how lead nurturing fits with inbound marketing? Do you need it?

Here, we explain what lead nurturing is, and how it works when executed correctly.

Fishing for Inbound Leads

Imagine you are fishing. Some of the fish you catch will be big enough to eat; but most are too small and you have to throw them back. This is exactly what happens in most companies with inbound marketing; 80% of leads aren’t hot and end up being ignored by the sales team.

Wouldn’t it be more efficient to keep the fish and feed them until they are big enough to eat? This is the equivalent of lead nurturing. The goal is to ‘feed’ prospects until they are ready to buy.

Inbound Isn’t Enough

Simply having a great inbound marketing strategy is not enough. Without effective lead nurturing, you will only ‘catch’ 20% of the deals you could be getting!

With a bit of time and effort, you will squeeze a lot more value of the leads you worked so hard to get. The 3 key factors in effective lead nurturing are:

Quality Fish Food

What happens when you feed your fish food they don’t like? They won’t eat it, and pretty soon they die.

In lead nurturing, this is the equivalent of providing poor quality content to your prospects. They will either ignore it or unsubscribe from your communications. Either way, you will lose their business.

Poor quality content includes:

  • Blatant advertising
  • Poorly produced or written content
  • Boring content that doesn’t resonate with prospects

The Right Food at the Right Time

Fish eat different food at different stages of their growth. When they are small, they might prefer bread crumbs vs. worms when they are bigger. Each species of fish has a different diet and if you don’t feed them the right food at the right time, they’ll starve and die.

In lead nurturing, it is important to understand the type of lead you are dealing with (targeting) and what buying stage they are at (timing). This allows you to choose the right content to send to leads.

Examples of poorly timed content are:

  • Sending a white paper (late stage content) to prospects who have just discovered your company
  • Sending a blog article about industry trends (early stage content) to prospects who are comparing you to competitors

Examples of poorly targeted content are:

  • Sending a C-level strategic paper to a low-level operations person
  • Sending a technical feature guide to a CIO

Measuring Stick

How do you know when your fish are old enough to progress from eating bread crumbs to eating worms? How do you determine when your fish are big enough to eat? Measuring is the only accurate way.

In lead nurturing, leads are scored as a way to measure what buying stage they are at. A lead score tells you when a prospect is ready to progress to the next type of content or ready to hand off to sales.

Scoring can be simple or complex, but essentially it boils down to grading a lead’s fit (demographics) and behaviour (buying signs).

Example of good fit:

  • A lead’s job title, company size and budget match the ideal prospect

Example of good behaviour:

  • A lead has downloaded 3 white papers and visited the pricing page twice

Hopefully, you should now be able to understand why lead nurturing is so critical to getting the most ROI out of your inbound marketing. Remember, without it, you are ‘throwing back’ 80% of the deals you could be getting.

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