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Lead Generation

Quit Leaving $ on the Table: Use Growth Marketing to Nurture MQLs to SQLs

Getting leads isn't hard. It's what you do with them once they're in your funnel that counts. Find out how to nurture your leads to turn them into $$$.

6 mins read time
Jeanna Barrett
Jeanna Barrett

Aug 29, 2021

For any brand with a decent content marketing strategy, getting leads is relatively easy. You'll be looking to get prospects to visit your website and give you their contact information when they do. This will be enough to move most prospects (marketing qualified leads) from the top of the funnel (TOFU) to the middle of the funnel (MOFU).

But, MQLs don't buy products or pay for service. They're not going to bring the growth you're looking for, and you don't want them disengaging at MOFU.

So, what buttons can you push to move your leads through to the bottom of the funnel (BOFU), where the real action takes place?

Enter lead nurturing.

Even with a keen interest in a company’s product or service, up to 97 percent of leads need to be nurtured through MOFU to BOFU. Without effective lead nurturing, most of these prospects will be lost.

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Consider the following stats that help to drive home the point.

According to MarketingSherpa, up to 79 percent of MQLs never become sales qualified leads (SQLs) and defective lead nurturing is a common contributing factor.

Additionally, according to Marketo, companies using effective lead nurturing tactics generate 50 percent more SQLs and can save up to 33 percent of their budget. If your brand’s lead nurturing techniques are ineffective — or, worse, if you do not practice lead nurturing at all — you are losing a lot of potential revenue.

Quit leaving dollars on the table!

Here's a quick guide to effective lead nurturing for fast-growing brands like yours. We'll be discussing five steps you can take to ensure that your lead nurturing efforts are effective at converting your MQLs to sales-ready leads.

5 Steps to Effective Lead Nurturing

Several approaches to lead nurturing exist. But, here are five of the most effective tactics you can use to nudge your leads down the sales funnel:

1. Ensure Relevance in Content Marketing

To truly connect with your prospects, you must ensure that the content you share with them is relevant and helpful. The only way to achieve this is by deeply understanding their needs, expectations, and pain points. If you are not clear on any of these, ask!

From putting out a customer survey to setting up a live Q&A session, there are several ways you can gain insights about your potential customers directly from the source.

As you get more information about your target audience, create unique buyer personas by grouping them into various categories based on features such as interests and education level. This allows you to create more targeted pieces of content that are more likely to resonate with them and keep them coming back for more.

2. Personalize Customer Experience

Always keep in view the fact that your leads are not just email addresses or numbers on a dashboard. They are people. And people want to be seen and understood. Personalizing your marketing tactics facilitates this.

As much as 90 percent of consumers reported that they are more likely to buy from companies that give them offers and products personalized to their needs and interests.

While personalization might sound like a lot of work, technology has made it easier than ever. Using tools such as Google Analytics and Kissmetrics, you can track the activity of your leads whenever they visit your website. With information such as the specific pages a lead visits, how long they stay on the page, and what moves they make, you can gain insights about their needs and preferences. With that, you can forecast future behavior and make personalized recommendations that your leads are more likely to respond to.

3. Nurture Leads via Several Channels

Today’s customers can move from their emails to social media to your website and back at lightning speed. For the best results, your lead nurturing efforts should extend across multiple channels. To stay in constant touch with your leads, you need to be present and consistent on various platforms. Importantly, across all these platforms, you must maintain a unified brand message.

Ensuring that all your communications are mobile-friendly is also crucial. At a time when mobile internet access has overtaken PC access, your prospects are more likely to view your content on their phones and tablets as opposed to a PC. As such, making sure your website and emails look good on mobile devices is essential.

4. Fix Sales and Marketing Misalignments

At some point in the sales process, your marketing team has to hand MQLs over to the sales team. This is typically when MLQs are sales-ready. To effectively nurture leads and smoothly push them down the sales funnel, these two teams must be well-aligned, and your marketers must be knowledgeable about creating sales enablement content. Studies show that misalignments between sales and marketing teams cost businesses more than $1 trillion each year.

Again, quit leaving dollars on the table!

These misalignments often stem from a lack of proper definition of MQLs and SQLs. You need to clearly define what an MQL means for your company and at which stage of the customer’s journey they become an SQL that can be handed over to the sales team.

Both teams should be aware of their responsibilities, which should be clearly stated in a sales and marketing service level agreement (SLA). Taking the time to create an SLA helps make each team’s role in nurturing leads into buying customers clear.

5. Keep Proper Records

Growth marketing relies on data-driven analytics. Keeping proper records of what tactics have been employed, when they were implemented and the results they produced is a crucial aspect of lead nurturing. You need to be able to quantify your efforts and objectively measure your results using Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

Some KPIs you can use to evaluate your efforts are unsubscribe rates, email click-through rates, and cost per customer. Both your sales and marketing teams should be involved in choosing the right KPIs for your business. That way, they agree on the KPIs they can work together to keep track of.

By keeping records of how various tactics work, you can find and re-apply successful ones in the future. Also, analyzing recorded data and measuring results could help you identify weak points that need adjustment.

Meet Your Leads at Every Stage of Their Journey

Lead nurturing should be a major component of your company’s marketing strategy. At each stage of your customer’s journey, you need to be present to provide them with useful information and hints at what steps they should take next.

From helping you build strong relationships with potential customers to driving conversion and boosting sales, the benefits of nurturing your leads are tremendous. By following the steps outlined above, you can build a solid lead nurturing strategy that effectively guides your prospects through their journey and convinces them to make a purchase.

As you may have realized by now, lead nurturing is a complex process. With powerful tools like the Hubspot CMS, however, you'll be handed a strong advantage. Your best bet is to work with an agency like First Page Strategy to get the most value out of your leads.

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Jeanna Barrett

Jeanna is the Founder & Chief Remote Officer for First Page Strategy, an award-winning, fully distributed marketing agency. Jeanna has a combined 17 years of inbound marketing experience at venture-backed startups, digital agencies and Fortune 500 companies, with an expertise focus on business and tech. She's been named 'Top 40 Under 40' of brand marketers and 'Best in the West' for financial technology marketing. In 2016, Jeanna left the U.S. to lay roots and build her business in Belize, and in 2021 First Page was named #43 in fastest growing private companies of Inc. 5,00 Regionals: California.

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