Lead nurturing is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. I often hear lead nurturing talked about as an email campaign designed to turn prospects into buyers through the use of compelling content over the course of their buying process. And, they're correct. That's exactly what lead nurturing should accomplish.
This said, lead nurturing comes in more than one flavor. And, yes, it all starts with your buyers. The type of lead nurturing program you develop should be based on the "why."
Why are you nurturing a specific group of prospects?
The answers could be many, such as:
- They attended a webinar about problem X that our product solves.
- They downloaded a white paper on a new trend our solution addresses.
- They downloaded a trial version and we need them to opt to buy during that period.
- They're in a specific industry.
- They match a demographic that mirrors our ideal customers.
- They were interested once but have been dormant for a period of time.
- They're following us on Twitter.
- They used search term X to find our website.
Some people would say that nurturing is based on a marketer's goal such as building brand awareness or your company's reputation for thought leadership. I say those are integral parts of lead nurturing but that neither is valid as a standalone goal. The end-goal should always be focused on new customer acquisition or existing customer lifecycle extension, upsell or cross-sell.
In other words, we don't just want cursory attention, we want intentional attention.
For example, I subscribe to a number of newsletters. Not because I ever intend to buy anything from the company but because I value their content. It gives me ideas I can use for my own selfish purposes. I'm not their buyer and I won't ever be their buyer. I am, however, aware of them and consider them thought leaders on their topic.
That's not what marketers want from a lead nurturing program. It won't move the needle they're responsible for.
Once you've defined the "why" for a nurturing program, you have direction for how to construct it. The "why" will dictate your starting point. If your "why" doesn't include source then that information can also be helpful for identifying the appropriate starting point.
Here are a few examples:
A trial user doesn't need to be educated about the problem. They are a late stage buyer and need to quickly understand how to use the product to meet an objective. You have a limited period of time to influence their purchase decision. Think tutorials, tip sheets and directed use examples that will demonstrate quick wins.
A webinar attendee has told you what they're interested in by indicating they're willing to spend an hour with the subject matter. Based on what was covered in the webinar, what stage of buying do you think they're in and what information makes a logical extension. Note that all webinar registrations are not created equally. Those who didn't attend, or those who signed on and then left after 15 minutes are in a different place than those who stayed for the duration.
A lead working within a specific role or industry will find information that's personalized to match will be of higher relevance than general information without a specific application to their circumstances.
I hope you can see that lead nurturing is not just a cookie cutter program to put on your marketing checklist. Rather it is a construct dependent upon context in order to deliver the relevance needed to build engagement and motivate progression across the stages of buying. One size does not fit all.