Lead nurturing has been the everlasting challenge for both B2B and B2C entities. HubSpot’s State of Marketing report has even deemed this to be the most difficult aspect in marketing. According to a 2018 report, 61% of business leaders agreed that it was their most challenging part of the job.
It is also interesting to note that the process of identifying, prospecting, and converting these leads has not gotten much easier – even though technology has improved drastically. HubSpot’s same report found that nurturing leads into paying customers is actually more difficult than it was in the past.
At face value, this seems rather absurd. After all, marketers have access to more intelligent technology than ever before.
So, this begs the question: Why is lead nurturing so difficult?
Now, there could be a plethora of reasons outside of the marketing team’s control that make it tough, such as a dip in demand or issues with the product itself. However, chances are pretty high that your team is guilty of common lead nurturing mistakes that are hurting results.
In order to ensure that your business is a high-performing lead generator, see if your marketing or sales team is guilty of any of these sales-killing mistakes.
1. Focusing on the Wrong Keywords
Obviously, keyword research for PPC is a huge part of attracting online leads. But most marketers simply focus on keywords that top the charts in terms of search volume, while ignoring the ones at the bottom of the chart. While there are certainly some general keywords that you will be targeting, higher ranking keywords have high competition.
So, it is important to focus on the keywords and phrases with lower numbers that are still relevant to your business. Tools like Ahrefs and Google Keyword Planner can help you spot these.
For example, say that your SaaS company offers cloud-based invoicing systems for small-to-medium-size businesses. “Invoicing software” is going to be pretty expensive/hard to rank for since there is a lot of competition.
But, you could try to rank for other related searches – especially long-tail phrases like questions related to invoicing software services.
These lower traffic keywords tend to be more focused and have clearer intent. So, you can attract more relevant searches from leads that are looking for specific content.
Keyword intent is also more important than ever, especially after Google’s BERT update. The purpose of this update was to improve the search engine’s natural language algorithm by understanding the nuances of a query’s phrase rather than individual words.
For instance, say that a customer types in “best waterproof Apple products.” The previous algorithm would take each word individually “best + waterproof + Apple + products” and see which results contained these words. Therefore, it may pull up results for Apple product accessories that are waterproof, like phone cases. However, this searcher’s intent is to find which products from Apple are already waterproof. The BERT update would take the phrase as a whole and provide results that are more relevant to this query.
Marketers need to keep this in mind when conducting SEO/PPC research and choosing which keywords to target. This can really help you to drive in more relevant traffic so that your conversion ratio improves.
2. Ignoring the Sales Funnel in Content Creation
The ideation process for content marketing is not just about finding a new topic that hasn’t been covered before – or that seems interesting to your writing team. It needs to be far more strategic than that. But, most content marketers create content based on topics that interest them or that are related to top ranking keywords.
This is a big mistake. It will be quite hard for your content to gain any visibility in the SERPs unless you are addressing specific topics and issues that are relevant to your audience – and that they are actively searching for.
Creating content haphazardly could mean that you are failing to take customers on a journey through the sales funnel. Instead, consider the incentives of customers at each point and create content to answer their questions or provide information that helps them make informed decisions to go on to the next phase.
A good starting point to help with the process is looking at FAQ’s that are submitted to your sales and customer service team. Look for overarching patterns, like:
- What do customers want to know about the product?
- What are the most common aversions people have that stop them from converting?
- What are the excuses they give?
- What issues do they need to be resolved through our services or product?
- Which details seem to confuse them the most?
You may want to switch up your content forms depending on which phase of the buyer’s journey that you target. According to Demand Gen’s survey report, content preferences for B2B buyer’s differs depending on how far along they are in the process of decision making.
Early-stage customers are more interested in content that provides general information, like infographics, podcasts, or industry publications. Those in the middle stages want hard evidence, like analyst reports, case studies, or content from industry leaders. And finally, customers in the last phase of the buyer’s journey want to see things like reviews and assessments.
3. Non-Personalized Follow-Ups
Personalization is so important these days and businesses have the resources to make each customer’s experience unique. Following up needs to be personalized based on the customer’s interactions, interests, product views, and unique incentives.
In fact, using personalized follow-up methods may be the only way to get your customers to pay any attention. Fifty-two percent of people will not open an email from a brand if it is not personalized. Furthermore, seventy-nine percent of customers said that they would only engage with offers that reflected past interactions.
Rather than setting up a generalized follow-up procedure, it is better to create a more personalized approach by incorporating details for each lead. And don’t worry – this can be easily automated.
The key is knowing which specific personalized elements matter the most to customers and including them in your follow-up content. Product recommendations are a big one here – but don’t just show a customer the options they have already viewed. Instead, provide information on related items or additional features that are related to their interests or needs.
For example, this follow-up email from Salesforce included some blog post recommendations that might interest the reader after they downloaded a report reports. This is simplistic personalization – but it is still highly effective.
4. Ignoring Engagement Opportunities
Sometimes, B2B marketers tend to gloss over the importance of social media and assume that it more geared towards B2C. However, social media is influential on buyers in both categories. In fact, 75% of B2B buyers said that they used social media to discover and research brands and make purchasing decisions.
One of the biggest reasons why social media can be useful for B2B lead nurturing is because it gives your company the opportunity to reach out one-on-one with engaged prospects. Social media and review sites are both places that abound in opportunities for engagement that could nurture leads.
It is important that your marketing team uses social listening software to monitor any brand mentions and seize those engagement opportunities as quickly as possible – like IBM did on their Twitter feed here.
Responding publicly to questions or concerns not only helps you to connect with specific customers – it can improve your brand’s reputation with other potential leads. After all, 97% of consumers said they look to see whether a business responds to customer comments.
Seeing this type of engagement shows your audience that you care about its customers and will actively step in to help or answer questions.
Nurturing leads into buying customers is a process. It takes time and patience – and strategy.
Sadly, many organizations are holding themselves back by making these simple but costly mistakes. By keeping your customer’s interests, motivations, and needs first, you can see vast improvements in your lead nurturing results.
Joanna Besley is a Content Marketing Writer for E2M Solutions Inc., whose primary writing focus is on marketing topics and SEO. Outside of work, she enjoys exploring the San Diego area hikes, traveling outside of the country, and trying out new vegan restaurants.