5 Classic lead nurturing mistakes revealed

How many of these classic lead nurturing mistakes have you been a casualty of?

February 17, 2015

5 Classic lead nurturing mistakes revealed

When is lead nurturing not very nurturing? Answer: when you make one, or more, of the five classic mistakes outlined in this post. Some are fundamentally strategic, others tactical, but between them they’ll restrict the number of leads you reach, and risk frustrating those you connect with.

The good news is all of these mistakes are within your power to resolve.  Read on for five top tips to help improve the effectiveness of your lead nurture campaigns.

Mistake Number 1: Relying on one channel

Email is a tried and trusted lead nurturing technique, and it can deliver impressive results, but that doesn’t mean you should be relying on email to take care of every task in your lead nurturing strategy. For starters, there’s the standout issue: inboxes are cluttered, competitive places to gain attention, and the moment when prospects are battling through hundreds of unread mails isn’t necessarily the best time to connect with them. A multi-channel approach (think social media, automated ad targeting) gives you more standout by positioning your message in different contexts. It also gives you a lot more reach, since you’re not restricted to your clients & prospects’ inbox.

Mistake Number 2: Shutting the gate too soon

An overuse of data capture forms lies at the heart of one of the most common lead nurturing mistakes: the instinct to gate every bit of content that you put out there. It’s easy to understand why marketers do it: they have to keep driving leads to sales, and often it’s the only metric their success is judged on, but this doesn’t mean it’s right. Recent LinkedIn research found that a stunning 63% of IT decision-makers routinely provide fake information on data capture forms in order to access the content they want without inviting a sales call. Think long and hard about when to gate content and why, bearing in mind the leads you generate will be offset against the prospects you turn off .37% say they’re less likely to consider a vendor if they encounter gated content; 71% say they’ll mentally discount them if all content is gated. If you do make the decision to gate, be sure you demonstrate the credibility and value of your content first and ideally segment your audience, so that it’s only served-up to the people most ready to fill-out your form.

Mistake Number 3: Only targeting office hours

The most successful B2B campaigns take an open-minded approach to the best time of day to reach their chosen target audience. For many audiences, this isn’t within traditional office hours. LinkedIn recently worked on a highly successful B2B thought leadership campaign that expected to generate its best results when targeting C-suites at 5pm – but found that 8pm was actually the sweet spot for this audience. Depending on the function and seniority of the leads you’re nurturing, your own sweet spot might be early in the morning over coffee, immediately after work, or over lunchtime. Be open-minded about when and where you target your leads.

Mistake Number 4: One-size-fits-all content

LinkedIn research consistently proves that buyers have very different content needs at different stages of the consideration journey. You can’t meet those needs if all the content in your lead nurturing is fundamentally the same. Case studies may be extremely useful for a buyer who’s entering the later stages of the funnel; busily building a business case for an investment, or weighing up which vendors to shortlist. They’re highly unlikely to interest somebody thinking at a more strategic level, who may never have heard of your company and therefore isn’t ready to hear about results. Mix in thought-leadership, industry insight, personal-perspective blogs, as well as case studies and ‘Big Rock’ research pieces or eBooks. Try to explore different solutions for identifying when and where to deliver each element.

Mistake Number 5: Failure to co-ordinate

Perhaps the most difficult aspect of lead nurturing is coordinating your messaging holistically across different channels and platforms. You might have a precisely plotted email nurture stream, but if that doesn’t align with brand campaigns, thought leadership and the messages you’re putting out on social media, then you’ll find yourself at the centre of mixed messages. In 2015, the leads you’re nurturing will judge your business on the back of everything they encounter. That means it’s vital to coordinate, applying the same level of planning to all channels where encounters happen.