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Article

Plug Your Marketing Leaks

Use marketing content to gain higher levels of commitment with each nurturing touch

Marketing is making strides in lead generation, but how kinetic is their nurturing?

Lead nurturing is often thought about as being found with a flag waving when your leads decide to take action about resolving a problem your products or services address. If this is your marketing strategy, you're leaving a lot to chance just hanging around waiting to be found.

Maybe for some of your longer-horizon leads this is fine, but it's not going to help you speed up getting quality opportunities to opt into sales conversations.

You've all seen those funnel diagrams that show spouts of leads leaking out of them at different points during the buying process. In order to stop the leaks and add momentum to your nurturing, you've got to get commitments to action.

The higher a sense of commitment you can create, the farther and faster your leads will move toward becoming sales opportunities. So, how do you create commitment when you likely can't get a lead to talk to you — even at mid-stage in their buying process?

You do it by being clever about how you create and use your content. And you apply your content to a process that asks for incremental increases in commitment with each step. With each and every communication, your content needs to provide increasingly relevant information. Each time your information is closer to the mark, your lead transitions a to a higher level of commitment with you because the perceived value they get from you goes up.

As you help them get smarter and more competent about solving their problems, they come to rely on your expertise and education. They feel confident. Their commitment will go up according to how much you impact the way they think about how best to resolve their highest priorities.

To get that level of commitment, you need to be smart about what you learn about your leads.

  • Ask about preferences
  • Interpret behavior to diagnose interests
  • Look for changes in attention that indicate priority shifts

Then you act on that information intelligently.

  • Provide information that focuses on expressed interests
  • Address urgency, limit their effort and respect their intentions
  • Increase the perceived value of information exchanged at each interaction

The level of attention your leads pay to your content and communications is a great indicator of commitment. By planning your content strategy with a focus to increasing value and relevance with each communication, you'll grow their commitment.

I've seen a trend lately that companies offer something of high value - a white paper or ebook - and, once you opt in, then they send out a bunch of "so what" communications that give less than that first effort. Which quickly reverses your potential buyers' level of commitment to that company as a viable solution.

This is because they wonder what if working with your company is just like that? As soon as your relevance diminishes, you have leaks.

You can keep leaks from happening by focusing on increasing your lead's level of involvement with every interaction. Once you become an anchor for how they think about solving their issues, the next step of choosing to take action with you is easy, and more and more predictable—if you're smart about it.

And you'll have higher velocity nurturing that produces more qualified sales opportunities.

More Stories By Ardath Albee

Ardath Albee, CEO & B2B Marketing Strategist of her firm Marketing Interactions, helps companies with complex sales increase and quantify marketing effectiveness by developing and executing interactive eMarketing strategies driven by compelling content.

Her book, eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale, was published by McGraw-Hill.

Her articles and blog posts have been used for university ezines, published in CRM Today, Selling Power, Rain Today and Enterprise CRM News. Marketing Profs has incorporated her blog posts into a number of their "Get to The Point" newsletters.