Driving demand is crucial to successful business to business (B2B) marketing, but interest doesn’t guarantee conversion. Most B2B prospects visit websites to research, not to buy – in fact, 20% of people requesting information on your product or service won’t purchase anything for at least a year, according to a research from Oktopost. Studies show, however, that undecided and fickle prospects can make up a significant portion of future sales.
Conversion is a process, and not always a straight line. Each unconverted prospect stands at a different point of a decision-making cycle, and needs to be carefully cultivated to the buying point.
Here are 3 ways to nurture leads and drive demand:
Educate and enlighten. Once prospects identify their needs, the information they consider most valuable will vary, and will likely change as each they become more informed. Keep them engaged by tailoring your content to each phase of the buying cycle. For example, new prospects appreciate eBooks, guides and checklists. Meanwhile, closer to conversion, prospects enjoy free trials, demos and coupons. The purpose of this content is to help them to understand more about what they need and to think about how your product or service can meet those needs.
Keep the lines open. Even if your prospect doesn’t convert right away, it’s still a good idea to keep in touch. Triggered email sequences, messages sent automatically in response to a visitor’s actions, are a good way to see what your prospect wants so you can adjust your offerings accordingly. Follow up on each lead with news or special offers – even those leads who walked away. At the very least, this solidifies your company as a persona, and helps keep prospects aware of your product or service. Just be mindful of email etiquette to ensure your messages are read.
Monitor the process. Be sure to watch prospects’ online behavior as well. Social media posts, website visits, and other trends all indicate how their conversion process may be changing over time. Track all your leads in a single database and be sure your records are up-to-date. Based on this data, shape your content to keep it effective and relevant to as many prospects as possible.
Ultimately, nurturing leads is about your relationship with your prospects. Though it takes time and patience, successful nurturing establishes, if not readiness to convert, at least knowledge, trust, and valuable relationships. These relationships with your leads are essential to your marketing strategy and the success of your business.