What is Lead Nurturing? Definition and Meaning
Lead nurturing can be defined as. A process of communication and relationship development with the acquired lead through initiatives of Lead Generation: aims to accompany the contact along the funnel and the sales pipeline, communicating all useful information to proceed along the sales pipeline or simply, as we shall see, with the goal of staying in the mind of the potential customer or inactive customer waiting for them to be ready to convert.
With Lead Nurturing, you communicate with your prospects across multiple touchpoints, providing them with the information they need to move to the next stage of their Buyer's Journey, often in an automated and personalized way.
But is it really necessary to implement a lead nurturing strategy? When, how, with what benefits and tools? Let's start by answering the first question.
Why and when is it necessary to do lead nurturing?
Your customers don't always reach your site ready to convert immediately, so you must have a method to take them from where they are in their journey and help them move forward.
A recent study by MarketingSherpa found that. 79% of leads never convert to sales and targeting users with content relevant to their location along the purchase process yields 72% more conversion rates.
This is confirmed not only by analyses of many purchasing processes but also by statistics:
- according to Forrester Research, companies that excel in lead nurturing generate 50% more sales at a lower cost of 33%;
- according to Marketo, on average, 50% of leads in any system are not yet ready to make a purchase, far from being SQL (Sales Qualified Leads);
Despite this, however, a study by MarketingSherpa shows that only 36% of marketers actively engage in lead nurturing with their leads.
This last figure makes it clear that working on a lead nurturing strategy can result in an advantage over the competition and simultaneously reduce the cost of acquiring new customers.
Goals and benefits of lead nurturing
To summarize, implementing lead nurturing initiatives can serve to:
- qualify the lead faster: Marketo found that lead nurturing led prospects to qualify up to 20% faster, especially in cases where leads took more than a month to qualify;
- reduce CPL: again according to Marketo, Lead Nurturing could lead to a 33% cost reduction in generating those leads.
In particular, through lead nurturing you could have:
- 50% more sales-qualified leads. (Marketo)
- 4-10 times the email response rate. (Active Marketing)
- 45% plus ROI. (MarketingSherpa)
- 47% of larger purchases from "nurtured" leads. (The Annuitas Group)
How many steps does a lead nurturing campaign take?
As much as the answer depends on the complexity of communicating the product or service and how far the lead is from converting into a customer, let's try to help with 2 statistics:
- While the customer journey for each product and service can be quite different, research has suggested that on average, prospects need 10 touchpoints from the time they learn about your company to the time they convert to customers.
- A report by Demand Gen revealed that 49% of marketers include fewer than five touchpoints in their lead nurturing campaigns.
Based on at least these two reports, we can say that it may take 5 to 10 touchpoints to convert a lead into a customer.
Okay, once we understand why, when you need to implement lead nurturing initiatives, it's time to figure out how to do it.
How to Do Lead Nurturing
Drip Campaign with Email Marketing Automation
The most common way to do lead nurturing is. via an email sequence (drip campaigns), that is, a scenario of email marketing automation, triggered after the visitor to the site, or the Landing Page left their data typically in exchange for information content, called Lead Magnet.
This strategy is consistent with the purpose of lead nurturing: since the lead is not yet ready to convert into a customer, it must be attracted first with informative content and then "educated" with an email sequence.
Immediately thereafter, an automated sequence starts, which in turn starts with a welcome email, the welcome mail: welcome emails have very high open and click-through rates.
How to structure this sequence? Here are 2 possible strategies, based on 2 case studies I followed.
What to communicate in lead nurturing? 2 Case Study Examples.
#1 Follow the sales funnel
Let's think about it: if the lead needs to be "fed" information to qualify for the sale, it means that it is at a stage that is certainly not advanced in the funnel: it is no coincidence that the typical application of lead nurturing strategies via email sequences is with lead acquisition in TOFU (top of the funnel) strategies such as Lead Magnet downloads and videos, webinars.
But that's not all: in a case study I followed, in the windows and doors sector, email succession made it possible to accompany the lead along the various stages of the sales funnel, automating the work done by the salesperson. In this context, lead scoring was also implemented to better qualify the lead along the path.
#2 Stay in the potential customer's head.
In another case, the sequence of e-mails after a webinar was necessary to stay in the potential client's head while waiting for him to make an appointment.
The importance of lead scoring and personalization
Within the sequence, depending on whether or not certain steps are reached, leads can be assigned scores: lead scoring then allows for prioritization of which leads are hot enough to be passed on to the sales department.
Similarly, personalizing communication with the lead is crucial: you can do this with simple custom variables and by sending the right message at the right time, segmenting the communication: in this regard I refer you to 2 articles on web personalization and segmentation in email marketing.
Not only Email Marketing Automation: to "nurture" the lead along their customer journey you can also reach them through other channels, for example with Personalized Retargeting Audiences with Facebook Ads,, remarketing with the Customer Match by Google Ads and the Matched Audiences of LinkedIn Ads.