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How to Start Lead Nurturing Today at Your Organization

By Eric Dudley

55% of B2B marketing organizations have taken the plunge and adopted marketing automation technology, and it’s easy to see why. The technology’s robust lead nurturing capabilities make it an attractive sell to marketers. However, many companies struggle to take advantage of 100% of their marketing automation investment.

If you implemented marketing automation technology six or more months ago and are still only using the technology for batch email sends, you’re not alone.

Here are a few steps you can take now to jump-start lead nurturing and get more out of your marketing automation investment.

Start Small and Work Your Way Up to Lead Nurturing Success

Marketing automation technology offers endless possibilities for marketers, but sometimes the best place to start is with the basics. Try building out your first lead nurturing campaign for one audience segment before defining a big picture strategy. To create your first lead nurturing campaign, you will first need to follow the below steps:

1. Define the purpose of your lead nurturing campaign

Will it be to nurture leads who have downloaded a whitepaper on your website? Or do you want to stay top of mind with prospects who aren’t quite ready to buy? What are you hoping to achieve through this campaign? By defining the objectives upfront, it will be easier to determine how to structure the campaign and measure the success of your lead nurturing efforts.

2. Determine your target audience and personas

Who will you be communicating to in this campaign? What is their role in their organization, and what are their concerns and pain points? Taking the time to develop the personas of the leads in your nurture campaign will help ensure you communicate the right message, at the right time.

3. Identify how to segment your nurture streams

You can segment nurture streams by buyer stage, persona, organization size, topic of interest… the list goes on and on. You will need to define the unique needs of your organization and your campaign to determine what set up approach will work best for you. You will also need to ensure that your database contains the necessary data by which you will need to segment. For example, if you want to segment by organization size, you must first make sure that you have this data in your marketing database for each company.

Marketo has a helpful Lead Nurture Matrix worksheet that can help you think through the best way to structure your nurture streams and track your campaign’s goals and objectives.

4. Create your content

In order for your nurture campaign to be successful, you need to provide your leads with relevant, engaging content. Your content strategy may vary a bit depending on how you’ve segmented your nurture streams, but make sure you:

  • Speak to your persona’s pain points;
  • Keep the body content short and sweet; and
  • Include a clear, succinct call-to-action in each email.

Your strategy should be to create content that will help drive the overall objectives and goals of your lead nurturing campaign.

5. Map out your transition rules

Transition rules allow you to move your leads from one nurture stream in your campaign to another based on their activity. Say for example, that you have three nurture streams set up in your campaign: awareness, consideration, and purchase. A lead that’s currently in the awareness stream was recently marked as an opportunity by sales. You can set up a transition rule to move that lead from the awareness stream to the purchase stream once they’ve been marked as an opportunity.

Transition rules are an extremely important component of lead nurturing campaigns because they help ensure that your leads are getting content that’s relevant to where they are in the buyer journey.

6. Set your campaign cadence

Remember, you are nurturing leads now, not mass emailing them, so it’s important to be mindful of your email frequency. You don’t want your leads to feel like you are infiltrating their mailbox, you want them to engage. Set a reasonable cadence based on the goals and objectives of your campaign. What’s a reasonable cadence? For a B2B nurture email program, try to limit your frequency to no more than one email per week.

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