If you’ve launched an inbound campaign and started getting leads, it’s a great start. But converting those leads into paying customers is more complex and requires some additional TLC or nurturing.
50% of leads that you get are not ready to make a purchase. They need to be nurtured with appropriate content to ensure they understand the value of your solution before sales teams contact them.
From the first interaction to the point of purchase, building relationships with buyers at every stage of the sales funnel helps drive a continuous supply of leads into the sales pipeline, resulting in more closed deals.
As per the DemandGen report, businesses with a good lead nurturing strategy experience a 20% increase in sales opportunities on average.
Challenges of B2B businesses with a long sales cycle
Lead nurturing may sound like an easy process, but B2B companies usually have longer sales cycles that last for 3-18 months; as a result, keeping leads interested and moving them smoothly through the sales funnel is quite challenging.
Long sales cycles often result in lost leads and a lot of wasted effort. That’s where automated lead nurturing becomes important.
Email Marketing Automation: The answer to long sales cycle challenges
Email marketing automation, also known as email drip campaigns, automatically sends out a set of marketing emails when a contact sets off a trigger, such as joining a list, clicking a link, etc. This enables your sales team to get a continuous supply of leads that are ready to close.
The benefits? Drip campaigns allow you to connect with contacts in a timely and relevant manner and usually result in high engagement, click-through, and open rates.
Although these campaigns are designed to run automatically, a set-it-and-forget-it approach will not get you the desired results.
Below are some of the most potent lead nurturing strategies using email marketing automation?
Automated email campaigns streamline your email marketing efforts, but there are some very important things to keep in mind.
1. Don’t take content for granted
Email automation generates more leads and makes customer engagement and retention a breeze, but if your content isn’t valuable, no matter how well-timed your email, the recipient won’t act upon it. Therefore, modify your content based on relevancy to your audience. Relevant content provides targeted messaging and helps build trust. As per Marketo, consumers have greater trust for messages that provide useful information without selling them something.
Also, do not overwhelm your users with general information they can find everywhere else. Instead, focus on specific topics infused with a light sales pitch to pique their interest. You can include – demos, comparisons of products/services, tutorials, and testimonials presented in an interesting manner.
Besides, you should focus on these key areas:
• Include a clear Call-To-Action in your emails.
• Do not go overboard with emails.
• Keep the messages short, concise, and interesting.
• Think in advance about different versions of your automation programs.
2. Use different automation workflows
Drip campaigns can be set up in your email marketing software for several reasons, such as – rewarding your customers, educating users, and so much more.
The best marketing automation workflows to build B2B relationships include:
• Welcome email sequences are used to introduce new subscribers to your brand. An email subscriber is the most engaged with you immediately after they join your email list. So benefit from this “golden opportunity” by sending them an enticing welcome email.
• Deliver lead magnet with targeted content: Lead magnet can be anything your audience finds valuable enough to exchange their contact details for. Lead magnets strategies can be implemented for higher lead generation. The incentive should be delivered to the subscriber when they submit their contact information. That’s why automated email systems serve as the best delivery mechanism for lead magnets.
• Increase engagement with your product or service: First, if a customer has already purchased a product or service, segment them according to what they purchased and set up an automated email to trigger to increase engagement.
• Re-engage inactive subscribers: Create a segment of subscribers who haven’t opened a message from you in a while, and attempt to re-engage them with a targeted email campaign. This re-engagement email from Macrostax attempts to re-engage an inactive customer with an enticing offer.
3. Use Email Autoresponders
To hold the interest of your customers, it’s important to reply to your contacts as soon as possible. Hence, it helps to include autoresponders in the most important forms on your website. It has two benefits:
• Your customers will know you have read their email.
• When you acknowledge your customers’ emails on time, it will make them feel respected and appreciated.
4. Test consistently
Email automation does an amazing job speeding up email creation, personalization, and analysis. But, just because you’ve created a strategy around email automation doesn’t mean you just press the send. Sending emails without testing leaves you prone to mistakes. This is why Quality Assurance testing is important.
Quality Assurance Testing:
• Prevents errors and broken emails.
• Protects your brand reputation.
• Ensure seamless subscriber experience.
• Saves time and effort.
Email testing goes hand-in-hand with email automation. Test a segment of your recipient list to ensure everything is working fine. You can even automate the testing process to save time.
5. Start small and improve gradually
If you start automating large portions of your email, it may give your recipients “email fatigue.” So, start small and gradually add automated emails for your users. This will help your users adjust to the new email frequency while also saving you from the stress of creating multiple paths at once.
The lead nurturing journey is the process of continually making small adjustments to your marketing strategy to obtain growth in user engagement. It’s a work in progress where there is always some room for improvement. So, brainstorm new ideas, experiment, test, and analyze. There are always new insights to gain about your customers every day, using which you can hone your campaign to improve your results and see better outcomes.
Author Bio: Diana Morris
Diana Morris is a Marketing Professional with over eight years of experience. She is interested in blogging and helps small businesses with innovative ideas that keep pulling in newness and creativity. Currently, she heads the marketing team at BizInfor, a b2b database solution firm providing various services like data cleansing, data appending, lead generation email lists, etc.