In today’s digital world, personalization has become a priority for nearly all businesses.
People now expect a level of relevance that goes beyond just general interests when they interact with a brand.
Whether as professionals or consumers, almost all of us have been a part of a company’s personalized lead nurturing strategy at some point or another.
For example, maybe you subscribed to a blog and were sent a welcome email containing recent topics specific to your industry. Or, perhaps you spent some time researching a certain product, and shortly after, you were hit with a retargeting ad for a free trial.
These are all examples of companies trying to get more and more personal with their lead nurturing.
What Is Lead Nurturing?
Lead nurturing is the process of developing your company's relationships with a targeted group of buyers through every step of the buying journey.
The goal is to educate the buyer, build their awareness and build trust, making you the most likely choice when they are ready to make a purchase decision.
Maybe you have heard the common saying, “deliver the right message to the right person at the right time.” Lead nurturing is all about guiding your prospects toward the decision to buy through targeted content, multiple touches, timely follow-ups and personalization.
All of your lead nurturing efforts strategically combined is your lead nurturing strategy.
Today’s buyers want personalized experiences, and there is a ton of research out there to support that.
A study by Accenture states that 75% of consumers are more likely to buy from a company that recognizes them by name, recommends options based on past purchases or knows their purchase history. And, nearly three-fourths (74%) of online consumers get frustrated with websites when content (e.g., offers, ads, promotions) appears that has nothing to do with their interests (HubSpot).
Lead nurturing is all about building the relationship between you and your buyers. You develop this relationship by providing helpful information that can help them overcome the obstacles they face in their personal or professional life. Your messaging needs to be as engaging as possible to keep your prospects converting into customers.
Remember, it’s all about them, not you. If building stronger relationships with your buyers is important to your company, now is the time to consider adding personalization to your lead nurturing strategy.
How to Personalize
Personalizing your lead nurturing goes far beyond just adding their first name in emails. You have to keep your prospects engaged while at the same time, gently push them through the buyer’s journey and towards a conversion.
Especially in longer buying cycles, this is easier said than done. Luckily, it is never too late to get started. Here are four ways to begin adding personalization to your lead nurturing strategy.
1. Have a Solid Understanding of Your Ideal Buyer(s)
Having a thorough understanding of your buyers’ characteristics and buying behavior is an essential part of creating a personalized lead nurturing strategy. Know who your customers are, including their specific characteristics, preferences and pain points and communicate that data across your sales, marketing and customer service teams.
Buyer personas are fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers. Creating buyer personas can help your teams collectively understand and humanize your target buyers. If you have not created buyer personas, learn how to get started here.
The information you acquire from your buyer personas will help you produce content that your audience actually cares about, helping to improve your interactions and conversion rates.
2. Have Strong Data Sources
Having a strong database in place, such as a CRM or marketing automation to collect information related to the actions and behaviors of your audience, is an essential element to your lead nurturing strategy. Track your prospects’ behavior by identifying important online actions such as searches, visits and clicks. The ability to collect and track data allows you to gain insight on how you can communicate with them and continue to nurture them before, during and after they purchase.
Design your database to fit your strategy. Create as many custom fields for your contact records as necessary. Segment your contacts and create target lists based on who they are, their interests and what stage they are in the buying journey. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your lists and customize them specific to what is important to your business.
Additionally, be honest with your website visitors on how you are going to use their data. Accenture states that 83% of consumers are willing to share their data to enable a personalized experience as long as businesses are transparent about how they are going to use it and that customers have control over it. Make sure your website is secure and you are following pertinent data protection requirements.
3. Create Engaging Content
Content marketing is a vital part of your personalized lead nurturing strategy. According to a study by Demand Gen Report, a 20% increase in sales opportunities are produced through leads who are nurtured with tailored content.
In order to effectively utilize content marketing for lead nurturing, you have to focus less on what’s important to you and more on what’s important to your personas.
Create strategic landing pages, blog posts and resources that speak to their pain points, and always make sure that content has a clear call-to-action (CTA) that allows them to access even more relevant content.
As you continue to nurture your audience with additional information and content pieces, you’ll also want to continually provide outlets for prospects to engage with you and express interest in speaking with a sales representative or taking the next step towards becoming a customer. This can include outlets to “Request a Quote” or “Discuss My Project” throughout email communication or directly on your website.
4. Utilize Marketing Automation
Without marketing automation, implementing a personalized lead nurturing strategy can be nearly impossible. Most nurturing programs require too much time and variation to rely on manual implementation. Marketing automation software, such as HubSpot, allows marketers to consolidate all the data in order to produce meaningful, personalized content that will help move prospects through the buying journey.
Here are just a few ways marketing automation can amplify your personalized lead nurturing campaigns:
- Get real-time data on your prospects: This includes pages viewed, time spent on your site, location, content downloaded, etc.
- Implement smart CTAs: These automatically update depending on the viewer’s stage of the buyer’s journey. For example, if a prospect is viewing it, it may say, “Request a Quote.” If a customer is viewing it, it may say, “Log Into the Customer Portal.”
- Utilize automated targeted emails: If you offer numerous products or services, you can set up an automated workflow within HubSpot that sends targeted emails to customers cross-selling or upselling them. For example, if you are a shipping company that works primarily with retail stores, you can send a series of automated emails to your contacts at top retail companies encouraging them to utilize your services for their product shipments.
One important thing to keep in mind as you begin to create your strategy is that personalization takes time. It is not a one-and-done tactic. A truly personalized lead nurturing strategy must start with the very first interaction a buyer has with a brand and continue all the way through the buying journey—even post-purchase.