No Lead Left Behind: Lead Nurturing & Optimizing the Consumer’s Journey
As consumers continue to take more and more control over their purchasing journeys, brands must invest the necessary time and resources to nurture the leads they generate and create rewarding brand experiences at every touchpoint. This lead nurturing process must be agile in order to meet consumers on their preferred channels and platforms, which can and do change regularly. Brands must constantly evaluate when, where and how they engage their audience in order to consistently create conversions.
Typically visualized as a funnel, the customer journey (and the process of driving individuals from one level to the next) is referred to as lead nurturing. Brands often overlook this process, but it can provide significant return on investment when paired with a comprehensive brand strategy that includes a plan to generate leads and to guide those leads all the way from awareness to active brand advocacy.
Nurturing Leads: From Awareness to Conversion to Advocacy
You can think of the lead nurturing process as a long-form story your brand will tell its audience, with distinct “chapters” depending on where the individual falls within the sales funnel. Many brands put strategic and financial capital into generating leads, then fail to follow through with a compelling narrative. Effective lead nurturing includes taking the time to analyze and evaluate how best to engage consumers with the right message and the right call to action via the right channel.
The difference between building awareness and generating leads can be thorny, but understanding this distinction is critical. Too often brands develop strategies that prioritize quantity over quality, and “awareness” (impressions) is treated as its own metric of success rather than as the critical first step in the lead nurturing process.
As the consumer moves from awareness to consideration to purchase, brands must build upon the story they are telling, making necessary adjustments to content to reflect where, when and how their audience will read it. Personalization is also key, as unique segments of your audience may respond in drastically different ways. Websites, email marketing and landing pages are common tools used to reinforce a brand’s unique selling proposition and to deliver that information to each of these distinct audiences.
Steps to Build a Successful Lead Nurturing Strategy
Collect and leverage data to identify your target audience and develop a comprehensive content marketing strategy
Understand what platforms and channels your audience prefers
Deploy personalized messaging that speaks to each unique segment of your audience
Reinforce unique selling points with relevant content tailored to websites, email marketing and landing pages
Create a frictionless purchase experience
Deliver promised benefits
Encourage and reward brand loyalty
If the process is successful, the story will culminate in a conversion—a purchase. It’s imperative that brands not fumble the ball on the one-yard line here. This means creating a frictionless purchasing experience to ensure that shopping and payment processes work flawlessly and do not cause frustration or cart abandonment. To deliver on the promised experience, brands must also ensure that the product meets or exceeds consumer expectations.
This creates a satisfying ending to the story for the consumer, though the lead nurturing process doesn’t stop at purchase. There is one more level—loyalty. A successful lead nurturing strategy turns a one-time customer into a passionate advocate for the brand and its products. Brands can reward this loyalty through incentive programs and engage its most dedicated audience when testing and launching new products.
Lead nurturing initiatives allow brands to unite strategy and data to create unique brand experiences and tell a compelling story. It helps turn potential consumers into loyal advocates by offering personalized solutions tailored to unique segments of your audience. Lastly, it optimizes the consumer journey, and has the potential to grow both the reach and revenue of your brand.