4 Effective Lead Nurturing Tactics (That Aren't Drip Marketing)
Lead nurturing is one of the most important processes in inbound marketing. And like almost any inbound tactic, there are plenty of creative ways to do it.
Unfortunately, far too many inbound marketers think that lead nurturing and drip marketing are interchangeable terms. While they are closely related, this misperception is far from the truth.
Lead Nurturing Vs. Drip Marketing—What’s the Difference?
Drip refers to the process of setting up automated emails that “drip” over time to customized lists of sales leads. For example, a possible drip campaign sequence could look something like this:
- Day Zero: Welcome Email
- Day Three: Introduction to Product or Service
- Day Five: Outline of Product or Service Benefits
- Day Seven: Invitation to Free Webinar
- Day Ten: Discount or Sale Promotion for New Customers
Alternately, drip emails could be triggered by users taking a specific action, such as downloading an e-book or requesting more information on a specific topic.
The idea is to send out a steady stream of content via email to encourage engagement and urge prospects toward conversion.
Lead nurturing, on the other hand, is a more general term that refers to the process of building relationships between your brand and its prospective customers. It involves educating the consumer, building awareness and nudging prospects toward conversion over time.
Drip marketing is an effective and extremely common tactic for lead nurturing, but it’s far from the only one.
Why Is Lead Nurturing Important?
It’s important to make the distinction between drip marketing and lead nurturing more well-defined because the latter is so critical to the inbound marketing process. According to HubSpot:
- 50% of leads are qualified, but aren’t yet ready to buy.
- Without proper lead nurturing, 79% of marketing leads never convert into sales.
- Good lead nurturing can generate 50% more sales-ready leads at 33% lower cost.
- Nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads.
The list goes on. Suffice it to say, lead nurturing is something that’s worth doing—and worth doing well.
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Lead Nurturing Tactics to Try Besides Email Drip Campaigns
Given the importance of lead nurturing to the marketing and sales processes, it’s important to have an array of tactics at one’s disposal when undertaking a lead nurturing campaign. Some prospective customers may not respond as well to email drip marketing as they would to other tactics, after all.
If you’re trying to think outside the inbox for effective lead nurturing tactics, here are some of our favorites.
1. Retarget Marketing
Retarget marketing uses ads targeted at and delivered specifically to users who have already visited your site or engaged with your content.
A common example of retarget marketing to nurture leads is abandoned cart recovery in e-commerce. Users frequently place products in their online shopping carts, then leave or “abandon” them before completing the checkout process. Many online retailers have taken to delivering display or social media ads that encourage these users to return and complete their purchase.
Facebook offers a robust set of tools for retarget marketing—a potential boon for lead nurturing on social media.
2. Social Media Outreach
If your brand is well established in your industry, it’s likely that users are talking about your product or service organically on social media. For example, potential buyers may be asking for advice about deciding between you and one of your competitors.
Monitoring social media channels for brand mentions can allow you to find situations like these as they’re happening—and reach out directly to nurture leads you may not have even known you had.
3. Search Engine Marketing
Search engine marketing tactics like SEO and PPC are more commonly associated with generating leads than nurturing them, but that doesn’t mean search engines are ineffective for lead nurturing.
Targeting keywords—either organically or through paid search—that appeal to prospective customers further along in the sales funnel can be a great way to nurture those leads toward conversion.
Long-tail phrases with terms like “comparison,” “benefits,” “pricing” and others alongside your brand name or product are examples of those to target.
4. Offline Marketing
On the whole, inbound marketing is a digital discipline—but, depending on your buyer personas, sometimes the box you need to think outside of is the computer monitor.
Consider integrating traditional marketing tactics like direct mail and phone calls into your lead nurturing routine. As marketing moves further and further online, old-school tactics like these can work to stand out and separate yourself from the competition. But tread lightly. As we've mentioned, outbound tactics can be expensive and off-putting, and only work well when used very thoughtfully and strategically.
There Are No Magic Bullets
It’s important to remember that none of these nurturing tactics or strategies offers a magic bullet to convert leads into customers.
Every individual will respond to each approach differently. Depending on your business and your customers, you may find that some of these tactics do great while others fall flat. Test different tactics and find the process that works best for you and your customers. It’s an effort that will pay off significantly in the long run.
Writing copy is my passion, but I’m also happy as a clam designing inbound elements and troubleshooting my clients' toughest technical questions. (Google is my BFF!) I have an eye for details, a head for strategy and I truly believe that if you can’t laugh about it, what’s the point?