B2B organizations that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more leads that are sales-ready, at 33% lower cost, and nurtured leads make purchases that are 47% larger than purchases made by non-nurtured leads.

Nurturing matters, in other words.

Why Specific Content Matters

The B2B customer lifecycle is constantly changing. Today, we have more marketing channels than ever before, and thus, it can be difficult to determine where your customers are in that cycle. To make matters even more challenging, each channel requires a different type of marketing content. That is, if you hope to nurture your prospects effectively.

While each type of content may be different, the overall goal remains the same. You want to move each prospect through Engagement > Education > The Close > Retention, in that order. The key is to deliver the right message at the right time to move your prospects along accordingly.

B2B Customer Lifecycle And Associated Content

The following are must-have content types to keep in your marketing arsenal if you hope to nurture your leads all the way to the point-of-purchase, and beyond.

Engagement

The key to engaging your audience is to keep your brand top-of-mind, no matter how long it takes. For this objective, it is important to choose content types that can be continued for some time to come.

Blog Posts: These can be written daily, weekly, monthly, or every six weeks, as long as your voice and posting schedule remains consistent.

Videos: These can be uploaded to YouTube and posted on your website with the same frequency that you post blogs. All we have to do is look at cable and Netflix to see how well video captivates an audience.

White Papers: These authoritative documents offer proof that your organization stands heads and shoulders above the competition, and are great for swaying prospects your way.

Webinars: These classes-on-the-web are great for showing that you can walk-the-walk. If you can give prospects knowledge and tips they can use in their businesses; there is no better lead nurturing tool on the planet (except for an in-person seminar).

Infographics: These educational and informative graphics make digesting crucial data a breeze. They can be placed in emails, on social media, and even on your website for a bite-sized lesson in image form.

Email: All of the above pieces of content can be used to gather email addresses, which you can then use to send emails to further connect with prospects in the Engagement stage of the lifecycle. For best results, don’t make sales pitches in your emails. Focus on delivering value instead. Email is also effective at re-engaging with prospects who may have fallen off the radar.

Education

This is essentially where the sales process begins. Your job as a marketer is to educate the prospect on your products or services. These pieces of content will include pain points, possible solutions, and all the ways your company can save the day.

Email: For products and services, 77% of consumers prefer email for permission-based promotional messaging. Email is also effective at differentiating your products and services from the competition. Your emails should be tailored towards the priorities of your prospects and personalized to improve relevance and engagement.

The Close

Now your prospects are nearing the purchase stage of your sales funnel. This is where a timely promotion or discount can seal the deal. Adding additional functions or features to your products and services can also grease the skids to a buy.

Email: 66% of consumers report that they have made a purchase as a result of an email. In addition to deals and specials, consider a limited-time-offer to get your prospects in the buying mood.

Industry Reports: To facilitate the close, reinforce that your company is the ideal choice. If your organization has been mentioned in an industry report or press release, this is the time to pass it on.

Whitepapers: The ramp-up to the close is another fine time to educate your prospects on your company’s history, mission statement, and the ways you prefer to do business.

Retention

The best time to sell is when a deal has already been closed.

Email: A full third of transactions by repeat shoppers begin with a click on an email, according to Salesforce. Don’t just make a sales pitch. Instead, let your prospects know that this is an opportunity they won’t want to pass up as you educate them on your latest offerings.

Email Marketing Must-Haves

It’s clear that email marketing is here to stay, and remains a cornerstone of lead nurturing. In addition to following the email tactics above for each stage of the customer lifecycle, here are some tactics that will make your emails targeted and performing for maximum effect.

Personalization: Personalized emails make up to 6 times more revenue per email than non-personalized emails. Personalizing an email can simply mean including the customer’s name. But tailoring your content towards specific behavior is also a form of personalization. If the customer clicks on a link, you know that topic interests the person. Another follow-up email with that type of content is sure to get seen and clicked on. If customers have been active, or inactive, if they viewed pages on your website or blog, or they downloaded educational content, those are all opportunities to connect on the customer’s’ level, making the person further endeared to your company and offerings.

Marketing Automation and Lead Scoring: 68% of marketers cite lead scoring based on content and engagement as the most effective tactic for building revenue through lead nurturing. With marketing automation and lead scoring, you segment your audience based on whether or not they opened your emails, clicked on your links, viewed pages, and purchased from you. You can then send out targeted content to those individuals, highly-personalized, and all on autopilot. Having the right software is like having an AI marketing partner who does your lead nurturing for you. PC Magazine recently rated the top marketing automation programs of 2017 to supercharge any lead nurturing campaign.

 

Sending out the right type of marketing content is key to closing and retaining customers, but know-how based on statistics will only take you so far. Only your prospects and customers truly know which content types will lead, nurture, close, and retain them; but using the tried-and-true tactics above are an excellent start to learning your audience’s preferences; leading to the ultimate lead nurturing campaign.