How to Get Started With Effective B2B Lead Nurturing

Business-to-business (B2B) marketers have a lot of responsibilities. This ranges from promoting the brand, business, products, and services to generating, qualifying, and nurturing leads.

Unfortunately, less than half of marketers prioritize lead nurturing, according to HubSpot, an oversight that can have a massive impact on the efficacy of your greater marketing efforts and ability to realize a return on investment.

At the heart of it, B2B lead nurturing is the way you communicate with and provide value to your prospects throughout their experience with your brand.

By effectively engaging and continuing the conversation with prospects, you’ll dramatically increase your chances of making a meaningful connection, moving them down the funnel, and, with any luck, converting them into customers.

Types of Lead Nurturing

3 Types of B2B lead nurturing campaigns

There are three main types of lead nurturing campaigns that drive growth: engagement campaigns, education campaigns, and active funnel campaigns.

Engagement campaigns

Engagement campaigns

Engagement campaigns engage leads for your business by offering credible, straightforward content that retains interest in your company. Examples include welcome campaigns, newsletters, white papers, and webinars.

Education Campaigns

Education campaigns

Education campaigns share the benefits of your product or service and offer unique insights into how what you offer will help potential clients be more successful. This could include communicating specific product information or comparing your product or service against a competitor’s and highlighting why yours is better.

Active Funnel Campaigns

Active Funnel campaigns

Active funnel campaigns focus on leads that are already on the buyer’s journey, particularly those that are closest to becoming paying customers. With these campaigns, marketing and sales typically move forward in a coordinated way. For example, you may send personalized communications to encourage prospects to engage in a conversation with sales.

Campaigns

How to create an effective B2B lead nurturing campaign

There are five common areas to think through as you create an effective B2B lead nurturing campaign. Here’s how to get started with B2B lead nurturing, no matter which type of campaign you are developing.

1. Consider audience demographics

Take time, before you begin developing the messaging, to build a detailed understanding of your audience demographic. Here are some tasks toward that end.

Understand your audience

Effective B2B lead nurturing requires aligning with and understanding your audience, yet this is a step that many marketers skip, instead bombarding prospects with generic messaging that is ineffective. Toeing into personalization with rudimentary information—a prospect’s first name, job title, business name, and so on—is not sufficient. It takes more than what you might put into a generic thank-you message to make a genuine connection.

Establishing and facilitating authentic conversations is the goal, but it’s rarely an easy task, which is why it’s crucial to get on your audience’s level, speak their language, and discuss what’s most meaningful to them—and, yes, use their first name, if you have it.

Create comprehensive buyer personas

It’s important to develop—and actually use—comprehensive buyer personas. ITSMA found that 90% of companies that use buyer personas have a clear understanding of who their buyers are and what they want. ITSMA also notes that 82% of companies are able to make and improve a focused value proposition by using personas.

Consider everything that makes their position unique, such as how they digest information, their place in the business hierarchy, their responsibilities, schedule, and so on.

For example, if you were marketing a product or service to a baker, you wouldn’t send a feature-heavy email in the early afternoon. If you did, chances are they will miss it because you’ve sent it at a time they are leaving for the day, or they’ll be too exhausted to read it because they’ve been on the clock since three in the morning. They’ll also likely assume you don’t understand their business.

Instead, time your send to reach them shortly after they’ve clocked in and are checking their work email. Keep your email short, and possibly even include a quick explainer video or podcast they can listen to while multitasking. You’ll be communicating with them on a more meaningful level, one that tells them you really do understand their problems and position—something all lead nurturing should accomplish.

Segment your prospects

No matter where your prospects end up in the buyer’s journey, they should be segmented so your messaging directly speaks to their specific needs, rather than to a generic audience. While you don’t need to create a segment for every single pain point within every single persona, it’s important to ensure you’re sending the right messaging to the right recipients.

Once you’ve identified these key components for each of your buyer personas and developed knowledge about the buyer’s journey, you are ready to start outlining your approach.

2. Assemble your assets

According to Marketo, 93% of B2B companies say content marketing generates more leads than traditional marketing strategies. That’s because leading with quality content that gives value to prospects is a proven method of attracting and converting traffic, as well as engaging the leads already in your funnel.

To get the most from your assets, create a catalog of your content. Categorize each piece based on each persona’s stage in the buyer’s journey and the pain points each addresses.

For instance, explainer videos are great for those in the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey, case studies for those in the consideration stage, and trials or demos for those in the decision stage. Once you decide which audience you intend to address, you’ll have a clear picture of the type of content you can include to add more value.

3. Outline and draft your outreach

Once you have everything organized, it’s time to start laying the groundwork for your B2B lead nurturing campaigns.

Initial outreach for those just entering the funnel should generally be composed of three to five emails and focus on making a contextual introduction, speaking to the prospect’s pain points, providing buyer’s journey stage-appropriate content, and using language the prospect can identify with.

For those further down the funnel, your messaging should treat them with a level of familiarity and include content aimed at generating more engagement and commitment.

Regardless of what kind of lead nurturing you’re doing, make sure you’re always cordial, respectful of your prospects’ time, level of interest, and degree of knowledge. Be sure to provide consistent value with both the messaging and content you include.

Streamline

4. Streamline processes

To maximize efficiency, emails shouldn’t be created and sent as one-offs. They should be properly sequenced (and ideally automated in a marketing automation platform). In terms of timing, spaced out enough to not be obnoxious, but short enough to not be ignored or forgotten. The exact cadence varies based on your business goals and buyer needs.

Emails should also be developed in coordination with other workflows that will help make the entire process seamless from the prospect’s perspective. For example, once a prospect responds, there should be a documented process in place for follow-up messaging and/or calls and meetings with the sales team.

5. Review, analyze, and adapt

After sending out your messaging, it’s time to start exploring what’s effective, what’s not, and then make changes accordingly. Use your email analytics to identify areas to optimize. Consider A/B testing different elements of your messaging and content, creating dashboards, and routinely reviewing data to maximize your approach.

Invest in lead nurturing to attract the prospects you want

You’ll be well on your way to attract and retain the customers you want by considering these five components to a solid program that works. With enough time, effort, and consideration, you should land on an effective B2B lead nurturing strategy that makes you happy and your efforts successful.

This article was submitted by and expresses the views and opinions of the independent freelancer listed as the author. They do not constitute the views or opinions of Upwork, and Upwork does not explicitly sponsor or endorse any of the views, opinions, tools or services mentioned in this article, all of which are provided as potential options according to the view of the author. Each reader and company should take the time needed to adequately analyze and determine the tools or services that would best fit their specific needs and situations.
This article was submitted by and expresses the views and opinions of the author. They do not constitute the views or opinions of Upwork, and Upwork does not explicitly sponsor or endorse any of the views, opinions, tools or services mentioned in this article, all of which are provided as potential options according to the view of the author. Each reader and company should take the time needed to adequately analyze and determine the tools or services that would best fit their specific needs and situations.
Article Author
Author
Julie E.
Expert Vetted
Marketing Strategy, Inbound, Sales Enablement & HubSpot
Milwaukee, United States
Marketing Strategy
Management Consulting

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