In the wake of the pandemic, the customer buying process has evolved. Increased global uncertainty has made many people more conservative in their spending.
Many economies have reopened, but the landscape hasn’t changed. Uncertainty is still rife, especially with the threat of subsequent Covid-19 waves. The result? Dwindling sales due to continued low spending.
So, how should your business respond? By investing more in lead nurturing. The goal? To enhance relationships with potential customers in preparation for the time when they will be ready to buy.
To help your business adapt to the changes, here are some recommendations to enhance your lead nurturing efforts.
Use A Multichannel Approach
How do you ensure that you:
- Maintain and strengthen ongoing interactions between your brand and your leads?
- Continue generating qualified leads?
You do this by listening to your potential customers and responding across various channels.
See, marketing channels have changed. So, your buyers are now using various channels.
For example, while trade events have traditionally played a vital role in lead generation, prospective buyers cannot attend them today. Nor can you host them, at least for some unpredictable length of time.
The solution? Reach your target audience and customers wherever they are through multiple channels, including social media, display advertising, and email marketing. Use these platforms to share customer feedback, what your company is doing, and respond to clients’ comments.
The thing is, even if your prospects are not buying now, you still need to stay on their minds. They need to remember you when normal business activities resume. This engagement also helps promote brand loyalty and fuels your sales pipeline.
Whatever channel you employ, whether social media posting, paid ads, direct mail, direct calling, or blog content, use positive messaging. Focus more on how you can help, educate, and support your audiences during this time of need – even without addressing the pandemic.
Increase the Number of Marketing Touchpoints
Customers require multiple marketing touchpoints from the moment they are aware of your existence to the time they convert. However, with the new dynamics, thanks to the pandemic, many of the previously existing channels are no longer viable.
Besides, you need to consider changes in your prospects’ needs, motivations, and novel work-from-home dynamics to offer relevant solutions and maximize lead generation.
Therefore, you need to:
- Take time to re-evaluate your marketing funnel as well as touchpoints
- Increase the number of touchpoints
- Craft unique, engaging content to encourage your potential customers to buy your products
- Experiment with new fun activities like videos and interactive quizzes
- Use empathetic messaging and offers
Use Direct Mail and Email
The value of direct mail has increased. This is because it provides an effective way of sending potential buyers personalized, interactive, and engaging information.
However, with reduced company resources, email offers a cost-effective way to maintain awareness with prospective customers. Also, it makes it easy to build up your leads’ relationship with your brand, thus allowing you to nurture your leads into buyers.
Though effective, long email marketing campaigns can be a bother. So, ensure your content offers value. Otherwise, your bored potential customers will unsubscribe from your email list.
Below are tips to help you execute winning email campaigns:
- Allow your leads to keep you on top of their minds through retargeting on channels like social media, search engines, and display ads
- Have an enticing call to action such as “sign up for a free ebook” to encourage people to share their contact details
- Don’t send too many emails
Leverage on the Power of Digital Communication
If done right, digital marketing has the power to maintain audience engagement as well as generate leads now and in the future.
With most employees working from home, screen time has increased. The Global Web Index indicates that social media usage has increased among millennials (37%) and Gen X (23%) since the pandemic started.
We can safely say that your target audiences (read captive) are now way more receptive to online activities. This provides a unique opportunity for your marketing team to deploy digital marketing campaigns tailored to deliver quantifiable results.
For successful digital campaigns, your marketing team needs to identify their prospective customers’ buyer personas. Next, they need to map creative and compelling messages that take the leads through their buying journey, steering them towards a buying decision.
Also, ensure that your messaging reflects your customer’s general feeling during this period. As you connect with them, try your best to support them in their decision-making process.
Source: Lifespring Counseling
Use multiple platforms to allow you to reach your audiences at each stage of the funnel. For example, you can use LinkedIn to share thought leadership content. Due to its granular targeting options, this channel can help you generate high-value leads.
You can also enhance your connection with prospective buyers by increasing customer service hours. Consider using a dedicated online chat so that you are never off-line. This will enable your customer service team to respond instantly to customer queries, thus boosting conversion rates.
Finally, use Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to increase brand awareness and build customer relationships.
Realign Sales and Marketing
During an economic crisis, the marketing budget is usually the first to get the axe. However, this shouldn’t be the case. Sales and marketing are now crucial, and every employee should focus on it.
Nevertheless, sales and marketing alignment should not be done conventionally. Salespeople should do more than call leads to sell the company’s products. They should also add value, for instance, by inviting prospects to join a webinar on how to use your company’s products.
Also, an effective lead nurturing strategy requires your sales and marketing teams to be well aligned and working as a team. Have the teams share well-outlined expectations, goals, and responsibilities. Such coordination in lead conversion results in higher retention rates and higher sales, too.
Enable Your Sales Team
Sales reps have not been able to meet their numbers. Still, without undermining the importance of sales, your focus should be more on responding to your customer needs. Though customers are always looking, most aren’t ready to buy yet.
Your goal should thus be focused on creating helpful and educational content to keep your potential customers interested in your offering. Once normalcy resumes, your customer base will remember how your business supported them during the pandemic. And, they will support you in turn by becoming your customers.
Nevertheless, you should provide your sales teams with requisite tools so they can sell effectively. These include marketing automation tools like CRM tools, lead tracking tools, and even sales content.
Take advantage of the digital landscape and automation to generate more leads, e.g., by email marketing or giving more daily presentations – no traffic jams.
Adapt to Changes In The Buying Cycle
The buying process has changed. People are taking more time before making any buying decisions. They are scrutinizing more and require additional information. Therefore, your content should address the kind of questions or concerns that may come up during each step of the buying process.
Remember that this is not the same old customer; their customer journey has evolved into a new normal. Strategies that worked before might sound pushy, and potential customers might be put off. Create relevant content that focuses on their current needs and after the pandemic.
The buying cycle has also increased. This has been brought about by social distancing and the work from home culture. Also, more buyers are getting involved in the buying process. Since leads have diverse needs, target each lead with a specific narrative as per their position or responsibility.
As such, you need to map your content to the prospect’s buying cycle. Your content should drive potential customers towards a closed sale, as they interact with your campaigns. So, ensure that you always send your leads relevant information at the right time.
Since not all leads will convert right away, avoid lead leakage by creating a strategy to re-nurture those that do not close. Create an easy follow-up program with relevant content to allow the sales reps to re-engage with the leads and re-nurture them.
Despite slowed sales cycles and depressed spending, nurturing leads during the pandemic period is vital. This is because It will help improve sales both now and after the pandemic.
Therefore, you need to adapt your messaging to make it consistent, more optimistic, and empathetic. Note also to reduce business spend in areas that are not relevant currently like face to face meetings and travel.
Follow the above guidelines to help you nurture your leads successfully and increase conversions over time.