Effective lead nurturing using inbound strategies is about delivering the right information to the right people at the right time through the right channels. This article starts with a brief description of inbound marketing, moves on to discuss the importance of lead nurturing, and then explains how the four Ts of inbound content—topic, timing, type and technology—can help you become a lead nurturing rock star.
What is inbound marketing?
Do you have an ad blocker extension on your browser? Do you pre-record your shows so you don’t have to watch commercials? How do you really feel about pop-ups and banner ads? Yeah, we thought so.
Today, interruption-style advertising and unsolicited communication isn’t popular. People want to do their research on their timeline using their preferred platforms. Inbound marketing is the answer to this demand for just-in-time delivery of information. An inbound team takes a buyer-focused approach to marketing, producing relevant, helpful, educational, problem-solving content that is optimized for search and available on appropriate channels for every stage in the buyer’s journey.
What is lead nurturing and why is it important?
Lead nurturing is the act of providing additional helpful resources to a prospect as a way of furthering their journey towards purchase.
Lead nurturing is important because not every prospect—even one that is likely to purchase from you—is ready to whip out the credit card or sign the purchase order. In fact, Gleanster Research, found that half of leads are qualified but not yet ready to buy. It makes sense. Just because you gave your name and email address to download a white paper or ebook doesn’t mean you want an email or phone call from sales.
The investment in lead nurturing pays off. Businesses that have successful lead nurturing programs have 50 per cent more sales-ready leads and spend 33 per cent less money to get them than other businesses, according to Forrester Research.
Of course, you can’t nurture leads that you don’t have. To learn more about all aspects of lead generation, check out Lead Generation 101, our go-to guide on the topic.
Lead nurturing and the 4 Ts of inbound content
We like to talk about the 4 Ts of content when we’re determining the best way to nurture leads. Each ‘T’ is a quick reminder that, when it comes to lead nurturing with inbound strategies, content requires context to effectively furthering a relationship with a lead. What, when, where and how all matter. So, without further ado, here are the four Ts of inbound content.
People are looking for different information at different stages of their journey. For someone in the pre-awareness stage, your topics should inspire curiosity and plant seeds. An awareness topic will be educational, because your lead will be researching their problem. Consideration-stage content should be solution-oriented, but not mention your company’s name in an obvious way. When it comes to decision-making stage leads, however, toot your own horn.
You want to gently coax your leads deeper into a relationship with you, not jerk them from curiosity right to commitment. Provide a next step, but make sure it’s a natural evolution. For example, if they completed out a pre-awareness quiz, the next step would be content on an awareness topic—unless, of course, they take some action that indicates they’re willing to skip a step or two. Also consider how frequently you want to communicate with your leads. If you have complex and overlapping workflows, make sure your leads aren’t seeing duplicate content or receiving overlapping emails.
In many ways, this is the least important content consideration for lead nurturing. That’s because many types of content can be used at any stage of the buyer’s journey—what matters is the topic. An online training company could write a blog post for an awareness-stage lead (“11 ways to lose a student’s attention in a virtual classroom”) or a decision-making-stage lead (“Watch our training platform go head-to-head with the competition”). That being said, some types of content naturally work better for certain buying stages. Podcasts are great for leads in the pre-awareness and awareness stages of their journey to purchase. Free trials, product demos and freemium subscriptions are decision-making content.
Having the content available to your leads is important, but in order to deliver it reliably across different platforms at any kind of scale, you need technology. Technology is what allows you to retarget with ads, personalize a website experience based on the lead’s behaviour, segment your contact lists to give them more of what they’re interested in, automate emails, score your leads and more.
We hope the four Ts serve your team well when it comes to quickly recalling the important aspects of lead nurturing with inbound content. Topic, timing, type and technology are each important considerations if your goal is to provide truly helpful content that will strengthen your relationship with your leads.