What does a best practice always-on lead nurture program look like?
We’ve identified four key elements:
Orchestrate a consistent content experience across all channels so you’re ready to engage wherever and whenever your buyers raise their hand. Pay attention to the destination side of the click: Are you delivering a relevant and compelling content experience that allows engaged buyers to consume more as they self-educate?
No matter where or when you create interest, you can do more with it by thinking in terms of content journeys that are aligned with your buyer’s path to purchase (awareness, education, consideration and purchase) rather than “one-off” content events.
For too long, marketers have relied on proxies for engagement like click-throughs, social shares and form fills, but these have little or no correlation with someone’s actual engagement with the content (admit it: you’ve shared something you barely read!) These proxies are weak signals of a buyer’s interest: They only show someone’s intent to read or watch something – and it’s hard to build an effective nurture program on intent.
To deliver better content experiences, you need better engagement data to measure how buyers are interacting with your content – what they’re reading or watching and for how long. Content engagement data is the missing piece of the buyer’s digital body language. It allows marketers to more accurately gauge a buyer’s level of seriousness and sales readiness, in addition to helping you understand what content assets are really working to educate buyers.
If your prospect’s behavior doesn’t change the way you market to them, then why not. Marketers need to inject behavior-driven login into their nurture programs and develop branching content journeys that empower individuals to self-educate according to their own roles and interests.
Another way of looking at this is to ask yourself whether or not you’re rewarding good behavior. For example, if your content engagement data tells you that your buyer has meaningfully engaged with 3 pieces of content within a Sky Blue experience, then you don’t have to send her nurture emails #2 and #3; you can skip directly to sending email content offer #4. In this case, you’re rewarding your buyer’s good behavior by sending fewer emails, which she will probably really appreciate!
Deliver the right content to the right person at the right time based on what you know about your individual buyers. It’s about creating a relevant, personalized content journey for each and every one of your prospects.
Marketers must carefully tailor the content experience to engage with hard-to-reach and in-demand audiences. If you know that Sara is a CFO and Tom is a Sales Exec, it won’t do to deliver the same sections of content to each of these buyers when their interests and needs are different. Remember, people have a name for irrelevant content that lands in their inbox (it’s called SPAM) and the unsubscribe link is just a click away.
At the end of the day, the goal of an always-on nurturing strategy is to empower buyers to “self-nurture” at their own pace, rather than imposing an unnatural cadence dictated by marketing. It’s about recognizing who is really in control of the buyer’s journey today (Hint: It isn’t you) and delivering your content in a more compelling and customer-centric way.