Lead nurturing: Using workflows to make your customers feel valued

All articles | Marketing
Published Nov 06, 2012 | Written by Jeremy Knight

For many people, the value of Inbound Marketing is that it draws potential customers to your website and uses remarkable content to convert prospects to leads. While this is a big part of the process – and it definitely makes up the majority of activity and time that you will spend on inbound marketing - there is a critical next step. 

Great content converts prospects to leads, but it won’t move them through the sales funnel, and further along the buying process, without a smart and effectively executed lead nurturing campaign – a process called workflows.

The term workflow describes an automated series of emails, or other communications, that allow you to gain more information and understanding of early stage leads before they are handed over to your sales people.  The goal is to make your new leads more sales-ready.

That is the benefit to your business.

The benefit to your target customers is that information, offers and resources appear in their inbox at the right time, when they are in the right stage of the buying process to receive them.  This shows them that you understand their current issues and concerns.

Hubspot’s Inbound Marketing Consultant Chris LoDolce compares the workflow process to dating. You don’t just meet someone and then propose marriage the next day, right? In the same way, it isn’t appropriate to send a person who is simply visiting your website while researching an issue an offer to buy your product. Between 75% and 98% of first time visitors to your website will be researching or just gathering information according to research by Hubspot.  

Workflows allow you to build up the relationship, go on a few dates and realise what a good fit you are, before popping the question! 

Educate and qualify your lead over time, delivering sales ready leads to your sales team

Workflows are triggered when a person visiting your website fills in a form in exchange for an offer. Based on their original interest a series of automated offers are triggered over a period of time, in line with the sales cycle relative to your business.  By providing informative, educational and even entertaining content in the early stages you will build authority and trust with your contact. Then you offer middle of the funnel content designed to profile ways in which your product or service might be the answer to their questions.  By the time your sales people speak to the contact, they will be much closer to a buying decision.

Ensure the communication you send arrives at the right time for that lead

It makes sense that the longer the age of the lead, the less they will respond to your emails. They may have realised that yours isn’t the right solution or they may have decided to postpone the purchase for business reasons.  In his “science of timing research”, Dan Zarrella, Hubspot’s social media scientist, discovered that there is a positive correlation between subscriber recency and click-through rate. So it’s crucial to get your communications to a lead at the right time.  Workflows automatically send your emails according to a schedule you set.  So you don’t have to stay on top of every lead, but you can monitor and improve the schedule of a workflow over time to get better results.

Target your emails so they are relevant to each lead and therefore more effective

We would all rather receive an email that is meaningful and specific to us in some way. It means the person sending it understands what we’re looking for and isn’t wasting our time. Lead nurturing enables you to tie a series of emails to a specific activity or conversion event, and to ensure they are relevant to that audience.

Segment your contacts into groups based on their interests, geographies, job titles, etc.

For your emails to be effective, they need to be pertinent to the people who receive them. But not all of your contacts are the same. Organising your contacts into smaller, more meaningful segments allows you to create email communications that are more likely to be opened, read and acted upon.  You can break them out based on where they live, job title, or sector for example. Some tools can even help you segment based on how active they are when visiting your website.

By segmenting your contact database, you can create lead nurturing campaigns aimed specifically at each group. This makes the campaigns more effective and it makes your target customers feel understood and appreciated.

Discover how to build inbound marketing campaigns that really work and download our free eBook packed with hints and tips to help you at every step along the way.

Image by: kevin dooley

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Published by Jeremy Knight November 6, 2012
Jeremy Knight