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Jan 25, 2021 Mike Midgley

How to Create a Short Term and Long Term Inbound Lead Nurturing Strategy

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How to Create a Short Term and Long Term Lead Nurturing Strategy

Generating leads isn’t a quick endeavour. As all successful entrepreneurs know, it takes effort, knowledge, skill, highly tailored resources, and, perhaps most importantly, time, to draw potential clients into the marketing funnel. 

Research suggests that an average of seven distinct touchpoints are needed to create a sales-qualified lead:

  1. Inform: Introduce the brand to the potential lead
  2. Educate: Introduce solutions to the potential lead
  3. Differentiate: Highlight ways in which the brand is different from competitors
  4. Respond: Answer enquiries from the lead
  5. Remind: Touch base to boost awareness and visibility 
  6. Exchange: Collect identifiable data from the lead
  7. Confirm: Solidify the relationship

Notice that we describe the final touchpoint - confirm - as solidifying the relationship, not solidifying a purchase. 

Why? Because buyer journeys are no longer linear or predictable. 

While a potential lead may transition from a marketing-qualified lead to a sales-qualified lead with these seven touchpoints, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re ready to seal the deal. 

And in these sorts of cases, discovering that you have nothing else to offer - no more ways to support the lead - means our efforts are wasted.

Developing the Relationship With More Value

After you’ve spent time and resources bringing those leads in, it’s frustrating to see that investment go to waste with a lack of action or follow through. 

As an entrepreneur, you’re loath to see your resources being wasted and you definitely can’t afford to see 9 in 10 potential customers converted by competitors simply because you haven’t followed up. 

You aren’t alone in this; lead nurturing is an often overlooked aspect of the conversion strategy, but it’s an aspect that is key in gaining a competitive advantage. 

It is a crucial part of making your lead generation system successful and generating the marketing return on investment you expect to see from your inbound marketing campaign.

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The Importance of Lead Nurturing

Lead nurturing is an extension of lead generation; it offers a similar level of support to those ready to take the next step, but who don’t choose to purchase on the spot. 

It’s a way of caring for and maintaining the relationships that you’ve worked hard to build, and continuing to support your leads until they feel they’re in a position to buy. 

However, as we’ve previously discussed, lead generation is not rapid. 

It also requires a lot of your resources, too. Naturally, you won’t want to invest quite the same level of time and resources into keeping your prospects as you invested in gaining them. 

And the good news is that you don’t have to. Instead, you can work to create an effective yet paired down lead nurturing strategy that forms part of the inbound marketing methodology for service businesses wanting to scale.

Content is King

When it comes to creating a lead nurturing strategy, you have two options. 

The first is a short term lead nurturing strategy carried out over the course of around one month, and the second is a long term lead nurturing system implemented across the remainder of the year. 

But no matter which you choose (and, in many cases, it can be beneficial to utilise both short term and long term lead nurturing techniques in succession, there is one factor that is essential to remember: content is king. 

Both strategies are about using content alongside the inbound methodology to attract, engage, and delight leads until they’re ready to convert. 

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Five Stage of Short Term Nurture

A short term nurturing (STN) strategy on average and based on the buyer’s journey involves five touch points over 30 days, utilising multi-channel lead nurturing techniques in line with the right stage of the client journey.

When incorporating the inbound methodology, your STN strategy could look like this:

  • Stage: Attract
    TouchPoint: Fear

When leads transition from MQL status to being an SQL, but fails to take the next step, they need to be once again attracted back to the brand. This through fear-based touchpoints. Personalised emails / SMS messages or offline media which show that the recipient is valued and can be used to encourage leads to consider the consequences of not following through with a purchase.

As an example, a firm that designs travel-sized security devices could share recent news about holiday scams. This touchpoint is about giving leads a reason to become more invested in how you can make their lives easier. 

  • Stage: Engage
    TouchPoint: Gain

The second touchpoint is an opportunity to remind prospective clients about why they got drawn into the marketing funnel in the first place and using targeted content in the form of newsletters, blog posts and articles is a great way to communicate.

To double down on engagement efforts by giving leads something to keep them motivated; by showing them that they have something to gain from taking the next step towards conversion. 

  • Stage: Engage
    TouchPoint: Logic

A second opportunity at the ‘engage’ stage of the methodology is to use logic to make it easier for prospective clients to justify the positive feelings that they’ve developed following the ‘gain’ touchpoint.

Informative and educational content can be used at this stage, providing tangible facts and figures that go above and beyond opinion. Use this stage as a way to instil confidence in your interested audiences. 

  • Stage: Delight
    TouchPoint: Social proof

When moving onto the delight stage of the inbound marketing methodology, social proof touchpoint further extends the feelings of confidence gained with the previous contact.

By showing evidence of success and leveraging the power that previous clients hold - through methods such as case studies and reviews - leads are provided with peace of mind that the needs of those in similar situations, with similar problems, have been met. 

  • Stage: Delight
    TouchPoint: Offer

The last of the five touchpoints is ‘offer’; closing the deal. Achieve this through promotions or deals that not only delight the prospect but also become the deciding factor when a lead is about ready to hit the button.

At this stage, urgency-based content can be beneficial; content such as limited time offers, first-come-first-served deals, or strategic calls to action incorporating urgent language work excellently.

Five Stages of Long Term Nurture

A long term nurturing strategy (LTN) uses the same five touchpoints, the same content techniques - as above.

Plus it’s a great way to add in a sixth touchpoint with a final survey email.  If they don’t take the offer, they may take the survey, and you may learn vital information to serve prospects better in future from their feedback.

However, these touch points are used over a more extended period - often 12 months - and can be used following the STN strategy to maintain the relationship with the prospect for an extended amount of time.

In many cases, the touch points are story-based and tied into calendar events or well-known circumstances such as seasons, festivals, and promotions to ensure the strategy is timely and relevant. 

Download Your Copy Of Bound To Grow: The High Growth Companies To Scaling Revenues Using Inbound Marketing

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Invest the effort, it’s Worth it

Although it can be frustrating to pour your valuable time and resources into lead generation only to find that your MQLs still aren’t sure about signing on as a client, all is not lost.

Your efforts don’t have to be wasted, and by allocating the necessary resources to lead nurturing, it is possible to derive even greater value from your initial lead generation efforts.

According to Gartner, a good lead nurturing strategy can save firms 33% while generating 50% sales-qualified leads

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Published by Mike Midgley January 25, 2021
Mike Midgley