When it comes to lead nurturing, many B2B marketers have traditionally focused most of their efforts on email marketing. And while email is the stronger channel for this stratagem, it’s only a small piece of the larger conversion puzzle.
If you want to reach prospects where they spend time online, you’ll have to nurture across multiple channels — not just email. An effective multi-channel prospect nurturing program also encompasses display and social advertising.
With the use of available platforms, you can now develop lead nurture programs that carefully align to your prospects’ user profile and problems / issues, then continue to educate them with relevant messaging and content wherever they travel on the web.
This means that, in addition to reaching the known prospects within your email database, you can keep your brand, messaging, and content offers in front of them through other channels including social media and display ads.
Moving Beyond Email Dependence
While email marketing is a powerful vehicle for nurturing prospects, it has its limitations. Here are just a few impediments for marketers who lean on email marketing alone – a few among several:
- The average email open rate for most B2B marketers does not exceed 20 percent
- As many as 95 percent of the people who visit your website never fill out a web form
With multi-channel lead nurturing, you can dramatically extend the reach of your nurture effort. Content marketing through additional channels like social and display enables you to engage existing prospects earlier in the buying decision process, by helping you reach them beyond the email inbox.
In short, it’s an efficient and scalable way to reach both known and anonymous prospects with timely, targeted messages—no matter where they choose to consume information online.
Step 1: Define your marketing technology needs.
You very likely already have a marketing automation system in place. By synching your display and paid social media with the email nurture programs that you’re running from your marketing automation system, you have the powerful ability to align the same messaging, creative, and offers within these ads that your prospects may have missed in their inbox.
What’s more, in the event that you don’t yet have a marketing automation platform in place, looking to display and social channels gives you a great way to kick-off your nurturing effort against your anonymous audiences visiting your website or blog.
Step 2: Segment your audiences.
In order to develop compelling ad creative that will engage prospects and generate conversions, it’s important to first identify the different audiences you will be targeting.
Segment your prospect audiences according to engagement level (i.e., how often are the visiting the website, and many pages are they viewing), interests (i.e., where are they spending time on your website), and demographic profile (e.g., are they a marketer or IT professional?
Do they work for an SMB or Fortune 500 company? Are they a manager or executive?
Moreover, you will want to segment prospects based on whether they are already captured their information in your marketing automation system (“known” prospect), are whether they haven’t yet converted on your website (“anonymous prospect)”.
Step 3: Develop waves of display and social ads.
Now that you’ve segmented your audience segments, you’ll be able to develop nurture paths that cater to each segment’s unique interests and demographics. Create multiple combinations of display and social ad collateral designed to target each prospect group at each stage of the marketing funnel.
For instance, top-of-funnel prospects across all audience segments will initially receive waves of awareness-raising branding ads, and as they venture further into your funnel, you can engage them with industry- and function-specific ads and content offers based on their segment group.
For known prospects, you can incorporate these nurturing offers with your existing email marketing campaigns.
Step 4: Define your metrics of success.
Rather than simply tracking click-through rates, it’s important to analyze metrics that measure engagement. Track and trend key performance indicators such as actions and conversions, page views and visits per nurtured visitor, and more.
Drill down to analyze performance of specific display and social ad creative and calls to action, and track which content and messaging resonates with different audience segments.
Comparing these statistics to a control group will illustrate the impact your multi-channel lead nurturing strategy is having on keeping prospects engaged with your sales cycle.
Step 5: Launch, test, and repeat.
Once you’ve identified your target audience segments, developed your ads, and defined your metrics, it’s time to launch your program.
As with your email nurturing programs, it’s important to measure your the engagement within each target user group.
Measure your prospects’ response rate to each of your buyer personas, and use A/B testing to optimize ad campaigns with slight variations in ad copy or design, so that you can maximize your ad spend.
Your lead nurturing campaigns are always a work in progress:
Continually tweak your conversion waves to reach the highest engagement rate with each persona.