Inbound Lead Paradox
As we work with business owners and marketing leaders to automate their lead nurturing and conversion systems, I am surprised how often I hear misconceptions about the value of their inbound leads based on their poor conversion rates. That issue is usually caused by multiple factors (slow response rates, poor keyword targeting, a lack of lead nurturing, etc.). We'll focus this post on one of these factors.
I’ve seen research that shows anywhere from 30% to over 90% of prospects that visit our websites are not ready to make a purchase decision. To business owners, this can be a bit discouraging. These are the prospects that incur Google PPC costs, fill out our lead forms, and then tie up our sales teams with their follow-up efforts. So, they better be generating some revenue, right?
When they don't convert, are these leads “bad”?
Our digital marketing agency partners consistently report that their clients complain about their leads being “low quality” or “bad”, because they aren't converting. However, when they dig deeper, they usually find that these clients have lax lead engagement and zero lead nurturing programs in place to maximize conversion rates.
Here are some data points and tips that we see our most successful partners and clients use to optimize their lead conversions.
3 Tips Every Marketer & Business Owner Needs To Know about lead nurturing:
1. Many of your web leads (up to 90% of them) aren’t ready to buy today.
Your prospective clients may be in any phase of the buying cycle when they come to your website. Google released a new marketing concept called the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) several years ago with some great resources to help marketing professionals understand how the consumer buying process has shifted. More info below.
What to take from it:
Eight years ago, 71% of consumers reported using the internet as their primary source of information before making a purchase decision. That number is probably much closer to 100% now.
What does this mean for you? You need to have lead nurturing programs in place, so that when you identify a lead as not ready to convert today, you can continue to engage them without tying up internal resources. This also dramatically increases the likelihood that they will come to you when they're ready to buy.
2. Marketing relevance is key.
We have all received drip marketing emails that are beautifully written, have impressive graphics and award-winning layouts. And we delete them. All of them. I wish I could create an email rule that would autodelete HTML emails with more than one image in them. That’s a red flag of irrelevance to me.
We won’t read these "lead engagement" emails, unless the content is immediately relevant to us.
And yet, so many companies dedicate thousands of dollars each month to create this irrelevant content that does nothing to help nurture their leads through their consideration process or to become qualified leads and eventually opportunities.
To combat this challenge, marketers need to ensure their lead nurturing and customer engagement tactics are relevant in three key ways.
1. Marketing content needs to be relevant to the buyer journey stage of the contact (early consideration, active opportunity, existing client, lost client, lost opportunity, etc.)
2. Marketing content needs to be relevant to the service or product that interests the lead or client
3. Marketing content needs to be relevant to the engagement preferences of the contact (text, email, social, phone, etc.)
3. Relevant marketing content is preceded by proper contact segmentation
For years, marketing teams have discussed segmenting their clients. Recent studies have shown that proper segmentation can increase email open rates by 15%+. The key in successful segmentation efforts is to do so across multiple aspects of the client profile. Open tagging client engagement platforms (like ClientTether) enable you to segment by tags, which creates limitless potential for customer segmentation beyond the usual demographics. Whatever system you use now, you should consider how to segment contacts by product interest, sales cycle, lead source, etc.
Then, rather than creating a broad drip campaign (like everyone else), create an engaging campaign for all of your early consideration leads that came through organic searches and are still weighing their options.
Lead nurturing with this type of approach will yield significantly better results, will truly engage your leads or clients, and will reduce the efforts your team is probably wasting today in “broad appeal” drip marketing.