The discussion about using content as a lead generation tool has been significant and impactful in recent years. However, a topic that is often under-discussed is the importance of leveraging quality content in your lead nurturing.
Prospects attracted by your quality online content remain interested in useful, relevant information as the selling process continues.
The following some of the best tips for using content in lead nurturing to help turn prospects into satisfied customers.
Establish Thought Leadership
Thought leadership is the notion that your brand and representatives are on the cutting-edge of innovative ideas and activities within a particular industry. As business buyers carry out a deliberate, problem-solving process, their primary interests are often more in the way of identifying contemporary methods for resolving issues.
There are a lot of great tools available for your business reps to demonstrate expertise and thought leadership. Consistent insight-sharing on social media is one example.
However, to achieve real nurturing influence, you have to go beyond simple daily postings. Get engaged in in-depth conversations through such tools as LinkedIn group discussions or Reddit communities.
Other digital media are designed to connect topical experts with people looking for answers to particular questions. Quora, Inbound.org, Medium, beBee are all popular tools whereby company representatives, all the way up to CEOs and other executives, can answer questions posed by interested parties. On some of these forums, you can search for questions on topics related to your industry or business, and share a well-developed and useful answer.
Offer In-Depth Information and Resources
As buyers shift from the initial awareness stage of their journey to the evaluation stage, their desire for more comprehensive information increases. Therefore, your lead-nurturing content should include formats and messages that dig deeper than what you typically deliver at the lead generation stage.
59% of B2B companies say creating relevant content is their biggest obstacle to lead nurturing success – Ascend2 study (Dec 2015)
Original Research Reports – During the evaluation stage, prospects are especially influenced by proof points, including data, stats, and facts that support the need for a remedy and best possible alternatives. While you can share second-hand information, developing and distributing original research reports furthers your objective of establishing thought leadership. It also allows you to share data that is not available elsewhere, which could achieve a greater impact on a prospect’s decision.
Podcasts – Think beyond copy with B2B lead nurturing content. Podcasts and videos allow you to offer more personalised, in-depth and interactive content experiences for intrigued prospects. With HTML5 video technology, some companies are embedding videos in their email marketing campaigns to contacts. Within a podcast, you can offer more thorough insights on the prospect’s problem, share case study success stories, identify possible alternatives for configuring a solution, and emphasise a sense of urgency in taking action.
Slide Decks – A slide deck or slide show is a way of presenting information to prospects with a multi-sensory appeal. You can present content in a concise manner in slides, and then offer narration and other add-on features to enhance the consumption experience. Marketers often convert presentations into slide decks and then upload them to sites like SlideShare.net, or distribute them directly to prospects in the lead nurturing phase.
Transition from Education to Product/Sales Information
The goal of lead nurturing during the prospect evaluation stage is to effectively set up the transition from education to sharing of product information. You can’t rush this process, or you put off a buyer taking his time to learn and gather resources. However, you don’t want to miss an opportunity by never making this transition either.
Along with those previously discussed, the following are some additional content mechanisms that do particularly well at helping marketers and sales reps transition.
Webinars – In a product webinar, you have the chance to map out your content to cover the entire process of moving the prospect from evaluation to decision. Because of the time commitment, a business buyer typically only participates in a product webinar when he realises a significant problem exists, and he’s ready to consider remedies.
In your webinar, spend some type outlining the common types of problems that your solution resolves. Then, discuss your company’s approach to resolution, including any distinct technology or features that you use. Finally, close out the webinar with a more detailed look at your solution and how the prospect should respond to discuss it more.
Case Studies – During lead nurturing, it is common that buyers begin to want proof after they understand the possibility that the right solution exists. Proof relieves risks, helps shift focus away from process, and removes hesitation. Case studies, which outline how your solution has satisfied a customer with a similar need, are among the best B2B proof devices. Buyers want to know that you have helped other companies facing problems like their own.
Demo Videos – Live videos are another important proof device. Videos allow you to address uncertainty from the “evaluating” buyer by illustrating processes or showing how a solution works. In B2B, it is often difficult to tangibly prove product performance. In those cases, testimonials from satisfied clients work well.
Many leads that arrive into your sales funnel are not sales-ready. But that doesn’t mean you should simply ignore them if they don’t close within a stipulated timeframe. Lead nurturing is a powerful way to stay engaged with your future buyers. It’s coordinating the most appropriate content for each process of the buyer’s journey.
A buyer shifting from the lead generation funnel to your lead nurturing funnel is similar to a fish taking the bait and the fisherman trying to reel it in. In both cases, the strategies and actions that work in the transition stage are different from those necessary to create the initial interest.
During lead nurturing, prospects want to see that your company has the credibility and expertise to offer a relevant solution to a problem. Buyers are also in search of more in-depth knowledge so they can make a decision with greater peace of mind. Thus, selecting the right types of content tools for B2B lead nurturing is as important as delivering solid lead generation content.
And remember, this is a buyer-driven market we are in. Get your content, messaging and timings right, and you will be on the road to lead nurturing success.