Why doesn’t your website convert as much as you want it to? You’ve spent resources on creating a nice website following the latest trends, but your conversion rate is low. What’s missing?
That’s right, you need a lead nurturing strategy. Struggling with a low conversion rate is not unusual nowadays. The reason is that the buyer’s journey is quite complex. According to a study by Ascend2, 53% of businesses admit their leads are harder to convert.
The reason for that is people don’t just type products into search engines, and use the first website or click on the first ad they see, and buy the product.
Did you know that 96% of website visitors that come to your website are not ready to buy? What does this data tell you? Most of the people who are visiting your website are actually doing their own research on how to solve a particular problem.
Although, they might leave their email address or subscribe to your newsletter in order to receive valuable content. This would be the first step of the buyer’s journey.
It’s at this point that it’d also be a good idea to emphasize that your products are worth purchasing.
Who Are Your Buyers?
The first point of each marketing plan is to define your buyer personas or target audience. If you don’t know who you are targeting, there is no way to convince them to buy from you.
In this article, we are not going to dwell on how to create buyer personas, as we have a full guide covering this topic. Instead, we are going to cover a few things worth mentioning.
What do you need to know about your customers?
- Demographics: age, gender, location
- Professional and educational background, plus current role
- Hobbies and interests
- Goals and challenges
- Pain points that you need to solve
- Channels: where your leads are and how you can deliver the right content or ads
Gathering all this information you will have a better idea of how you can nurture leads and turn them into your clients.
Are You Familiar With the Buyer’s Journey Stages?
Before we continue with lead nurturing ideas for each stage of the customer’s journey, let’s outline briefly the three stages.
There are different terms describing the buying process such as “customer journey”, “buyer journey” or “sales funnel”. No matter which one you prefer, the point is always the same – to create messages and content to attract leads, so you can guide them through the funnel or the journey and make them your clients.
The three main stages are:
- The awareness stage is where the customers discover they have a certain need or problem. First, they start researching. They probably don’t even know your brand exists. Thankfully, you can show them educational content that answers their needs. How do you do that? By optimizing your content with relevant keywords that address their pain points. This way they can discover your brand. This phase is also known as a top of the funnel, meaning the sales funnel.
- During the consideration stage, they have most likely decided on a solution and might be familiar with your brand and your offers. They’ve probably interacted with your website in some way – possibly downloading a free guide or leaving their email address for future newsletters. However, they may still need time before they can be converted and become your customers. In terms of the sales funnel, this phrase is also known as the middle of the funnel.
- The decision stage is the phase where the prospect has decided on a solution and has chosen one offer or brand. This is the stage where the prospects become your clients and they buy from you. The stage is also recognized as the bottom of the funnel.
Let’s now move on to 15 practical ideas for lead nurturing that you can try out to convert visitors to your website, for each stage of the buyer’s journey:
Awareness Stage – Attract With Content
As we have mentioned, during the awareness stage customers start researching solutions to a specific problem. Here your lead nurturing strategy should focus on providing the right content to consumers.
You can’t move quickly through the decision stage and start overwhelming the leads with special offers. If you do that, you will come off as too salesy. Moreover, you risk making them search for a solution elsewhere.
And the data supports this strategy and proves that aligning content with a prospect’s stage in the buyer’s journey can boost conversion rates by 72%.
So how to nurture your leads during the awareness stage?1. Blog Posts
Having a blog is almost obligatory nowadays. It benefits how you rank and also provides useful information to your website visitors.
In fact, B2B marketers who have blogs get 67% more leads than those who don’t.
What type of content can you publish in order to nurture your leads?
EXPERT ROUNDUP BLOG POSTS
There are sourcing database platforms such as HARO where bloggers or journalists can connect with relevant expert sources. After you register and follow the platform’s guidelines you can submit a query on the topic you want to write about.
After that, the answers you receive from different specialists or influencers, you can gather and post in your blog.
The benefit of this type of article is that you build trust among your website visitors. People believe specialists since they’re authorities in their field.
This is an example of a round-up published on our blog on how to grow eCommerce sales according to experts.
As people often need a visualization to have a clear idea of a certain topic, an infographic can perfectly illustrate this. You can create a blog post using infographics, that you can also use on social media.
Research shows that people who can follow directions using text and illustrations do 323% better than people following directions without illustrations.
Data by the Content marketing institute shows that the usage of infographics by B2B marketers has constantly been increasing in the last four years, and it’s now at 65%.
Infographics work, so don’t miss out on including them in your strategy.
Check this example of a blog post comparing a single site vs multiple websites.
TUTORIALS & GUIDES
Tutorials, guides or “How to” articles attract leads because they provide useful and educational content.
According to research by HubSpot listicles are the most popular blog post format among business blogs. You can gather statistics, industry data, a list of influencers in your field, useful apps and see if they garner interest.2. Videos
According to statistics published by Forbes 87% of online marketers are currently using video content in their digital marketing strategies.
Another important statistic from the same study shows that 90% of customers say video helps them make buying decisions, and 64% of customers confirm that seeing a video makes them more likely to buy.
As we’ve mentioned earlier, people like visually presented information. Videos are definitely interesting and will educate your guests.3. Podcasts
Podcasts are valuable content and their audience grows every year, according to Edison research. The big advantage is that people can listen to them on the go – while heading to work, going for a walk, jogging, etc.4. Free Resources
Providing free resources and downloadable content is the perfect way to make your guests interact with your brand, and at the same time, receive useful information in their email boxes.
This way you can form a database with emails and send out your newsletters with personalized offers.
You can try the following types of downloadable content:
- eBooks, guides and whitepapers – Right below is an example guide with actionable management techniques. You can create something similar that is relevant to your business or you can combine a few articles from your blog on a certain topic and create an eBook.
- Reports, statistics and resource lists – Here you can collect industry statistics and data that will come in handy for your audience as shown in the example by Hubspot. This SEO statistics can be extremely useful to marketers and SEO specialists.
- Templates – This is another example by Hubspot. They have a huge number of templates for buyer personas, social media calendars, email content templates, etc. All of which are extremely useful for marketers.
- Checklists – Look at the example checklist for travellers below. Visitors will receive it once they have given their email address. Depending on your business you can create similar content for your future customers.
After you’ve collected your customer’s emails you can start nurturing them through emails and sending them your newsletter with personalized content.
You may include special offers, discounts on selected products or a free trial. Don’t be too aggressive and salesy, as this is still top of the funnel, and your leads need more content and guidelines while moving through the funnel.6. Social Media
To generate leads and attract them to your website you need to be active on social media channels.
Let’s get back to the buyer personas for a moment. As mentioned, it is important to know which social media channels your target audience uses, so you can create posts and interact with them.
If you are targeting people between 24-30, you will possibly find them on Instagram. If you’re selling project management software and you are targeting managers, you should be active on LinkedIn.
Types of Social Media Content
- Sharing blog posts
- Running contests and giveaways
- Ask questions
- Post interesting and useful info
- Use employee branding
- Infographics and carrousels
Consideration Stage – Why Your Company?
During the consideration stage or middle of the funnel, you need to convince leads why they need to choose your brand. At this point in the customer’s journey, people have researched several brands and solutions and they are trying to figure out the best one for them.
This is the phase where you need to show them why they need to choose you over other brands.7. FAQ
Add a frequently asked questions section to your website. This is crucial as customers always have questions. Especially if you are an online shop. This where you can include all the information regarding shipping costs, delivery time, tracking information, etc.8. Webinars
Webinars are great tools for generating B2B leads. This is the perfect way to share your knowledge on a specific topic. Through a webinar, you have an opportunity to create a dialog between your leads and your brand. People can ask questions and receive an answer regarding a problem they are currently experiencing.
It can also generate high-quality leads as people join webinars if they are really interested in a topic.
Even though your leads are moving through the funnel, don’t use the webinar to generate sales. Use it to educate and as a way to speak with them.9. Email Course
Similar to the webinar, this tactic aims to show your knowledge and to help provide a solution to a problem.
Email courses are easier to organize than the webinars because you don’t have to schedule a day and time for it. You only need to choose a topic relevant to your customer’s needs and prepare a series of email lessons where you can share your tips.
A big plus is that these courses are easy to share and can be used to create a buzz around your brand.10. Case Studies
According to Marketing Charts case studies help convert and accelerate leads. They show the way you’ve handled a problem with another client of yours. There is no better way to show your creativity, problem-solving, planning and how you’ve achieved a certain goal.
When you create a case study you should show it to the world. Add it so it is visible on your website and can also be shared across social media channels.11. Testimonials
Testimonials and positive feedback from clients highlight our good image and prove your products and services are worth the money. You should showcase your testimonials on your home page, social media (Facebook reviews), Google reviews, etc.
- Bonus tip – even if you receive a few bad reviews on social media, don’t delete them. Show that you are professional and respond to them. Having only positive reviews can look suspicious. Keeping a few negative ones won’t ruin your image.
Decision Stage – Conversion
Your leads have finally moved through the funnel and they are at the bottom stage ready to convert. They’ve chosen your brand. Now, what you should do to keep nurturing them? This is the phase where you can focus on offers.12. Landing Pages Related to a Promotion
Dedicate a landing page to your current promotion or discount offers with a visible call to action button, so your visitors can click on it.13. Coupons, Discounts, Promo Codes and Sales
People love coupons, discounts or special offers. They work pretty well, especially on new customers who don’t know your brand. Even a small discount on the first order can do wonders.14. Free Trials
It’s an opportunity for your customers to test out your product or services and decide whether they are going to subscribe and pay for them.15. Free Shipping
People love free shipping and this often influences their decisions. According to Invespcro 93% of online shoppers feel encouraged to buy more products if a free shipping option is available.
Also, the value of orders with free shipping averages around 30% more than ones without free shipping.
This data is clear if you can offer free shipping to your clients – don’t think twice about offering it.
How To Apply The Buyer’s Journey To Your Business
Now that you know the different buyer’s journey stages, it’s time to apply them to your business. Below are three key steps to get started.
Define your personas.
If you don’t already have clearly defined buyer personas, it’s time to create them! Develop personas for each solution that you’re offering. Outline their pain points, their goals, their challenges. Clearly show what they experience when they discover a challenge and how they think throughout their buying journey.
Outline questions at each stage.
With each persona, write down a list of questions that they ask at each stage. Use past sales calls, email inquiries, Google search trends, etc. to determine exactly what they’re wondering and how you can help.
Create content for each phase.
Once you have the questions documented, it’s easy to begin creating content that answers those questions. You can take the pillar approach where you have one large piece of content that links out to all of the other pieces on a certain topic. You might also consider using email as a way to share educational content. It depends on those buyer’s personas and what content they are most likely to engage with.
Once you’ve completed these three steps, you’re well on your way to implementing a well-defined approach to your buyer’s journey.
Converting leads into customers is quite a long and complex process. As people often do their research before buying, the process requires nurturing and relevant content all through the conversion.
Try some of the ideas listed here and see which one works better for you and your business. The key is always to experiment, test and adjust.