Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Creating Great Content for Your Lead Nurturing Program

Lead Nurturing is all about building relationships with prospects, even those who are not yet ready to buy. Studies have shown that businesses with well established, successful lead nurturing programs generate 50% more sales ready leads at 33% lower cost and nurtured leads that eventually close a sale, make purchases 47% larger than other leads.

You need to create content that captivates their interest, answers their questions, educates them, takes away their fears and builds their confidence. If you are a B2B marketer developing a lead nurturing program for the first time, this could be a daunting task. Well, take a deep breath. Help is on the way. We've put together an easy 5 step program that will help you develop valuable content to effectively nurture your leads.

Step 1: Get to know your prospects

To be able to create relevant content for your prospects, you need to understand them. Use online forms, behavioral tracking tools, analytics and inference tools, surveys etc, to help collect information about your prospects such as:

  • Demographics
  • How influential they are in the buying decision/level of seniority?
  • What is driving them to explore your product?
  • What will they want to know before they buy from you?
  • Do they have any concerns or pain points?
  • Typical buying cycle
  • Preferred mode of communication
  • Interests
  • Goals

Collect and update information about your prospects throughout the lead nurturing process as their needs or situation could change.

Step 2: Develop buyer personas

Based on the information you collect about your prospects, you will see certain patterns emerge that allow you to segment them into persona groups. Simply put, buyer personas are groups of customers with similar personalities, motivators, pain points, wants, goals and habits. Once you develop personas, validate them and then draft a detailed narrative for each persona which you should update on a regular basis. Every time you get a new lead, segment your prospects to match the buyer personas.

Step 3: Define buying stages and content needs

You next need to define the buying stages a prospect passes through. This will help you customize your content to meet the varied information needs they have at each stage. Though the buying stages can vary from business to business there are traditionally three broad stages:

Awareness: Prospect becomes aware of your business and products.

Content formats needed:  Website content & educational landing pages, corporate blog,  infographics , booth material such as brochures and banners for industry events and trade fairs, advertising copy, social media – tweets, posts and updates.

Interest: Prospect has identified a business need. He identifies possible solutions. Though he is aware of your product, he is not sure if yours can best meet his need.

Content formats needed: Whitepapers/ checklists/ best practices, email copy for nurture campaigns, newsletters, webinars, datasheets

Evaluation and Selection: Prospect evaluates possible solutions and selects the one that best meets his needs.

Step 4: Define nurture paths and map content

Content mapping entails planning what content is most appropriate for a lead given their persona and the buying stages they are at or the path they are on. Develop a content workflow map that outlines in detail what content will be delivered to each buyer persona at every buying stage.

Depending on your prospect’s response to the first call to action, map out all the different possible scenarios that could then happen. For example: Your prospect visits your website and responds to a call to action to download a free book. How will you follow up? What content are you next going to send and when? On the other hand what if the prospect does not download the eBook? What content can you send him that will possibly get her back on the nurture path you have defined as the fastest or most profitable? Similarly for every onward action that your prospect does or does not take have a corresponding set of actions that you will take.

Step 5: Develop a content plan

You are now ready to create the content you have outlined in your content map. Develop a content plan that outlines:

  • How ideas will be developed?
  • Who is responsible for content creation and compilation, editing and distribution?
  • How will results be measured and by whom?

Also create a content calendar with clear timelines. Have a content manager who coordinates and is accountable for all lead nurturing content needs.

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