Generating good quality leads is at the heart of any successful content marketing strategy. But getting prospects to subscribe to your mailing list or download a piece of premium content is only half the battle. The real trick is turning those leads into buyers.
Studies show that more than 70% of prospects are not ready to buy when they first give you their contact details. So to win their business, you need to work smart.
An effective B2B lead nurturing strategy will help you drip feed your prospects relevant, focused content at key stages of their buying cycle. You’ll be able to reach people with the right message at the right time and nudge them towards that all-important sale.
How to build B2B lead nurturing stages into a content marketing strategy
It helps to think about your B2B lead nurturing strategy in four distinct stages — engagement, education, closing sales, and retaining clients. Here we’ll look at each stage in turn and discover how they can help you turn leads into long-term paying clients.
#1 Keep Them Engaged
Once a prospective client has signaled their interest, it’s your job to keep them engaged and move them closer to a sale. At this stage, prospects are still putting the feelers out, familiarising themselves with your business, your brand and your core values.
Helpful, low-commitment content will help to pique their interest and keep your brand top of mind. Here are a couple of examples;
- Newsletters – This is an excellent opportunity to build trust and get your prospects excited about your offering. Keep your emails fun and lighthearted, try to tailor them to your prospects’ specific interests and include plenty of Call-To-Actions (CTAs).
- Infographics and blog articles – Educational resources, such as blog articles and infographics are a great way to engage and inform potential customers and showcase your expertise. This type of content is key to establishing the identity and personality of your brand.
#2 Educate Your Prospects
By now, your prospective clients will have familiarised themselves with your offering and, at least in part, bought into your brand. But this is no time to get complacent. While your prospects may have shown some initial interest, they still need a reason to continue their sales journey and commit to making a purchase.
Targeted, informational content, such as e-books and case studies will help to move your prospects closer to sale. Here’s more examples of content that can be effective at this point in the sales cycle:
- Product pages – Long-form content, outlining the benefits of your products and services is highly effective at this stage. Product pages and buying guides can help you position yourself as an industry leader, set you apart from your competitors and demonstrate how you can make your prospects’ lives easier.
- Client testimonials – Often underrated and underused, client testimonials are a great way to move B2B leads through the sales cycle. A positive review can help to banish any lingering doubts and give prospects the final push they need to make a purchase.
#3 Close The Deal
By this time, your leads will be highly committed to your brand, your offering or your content. Now, it’s time to close the deal.
At this stage, your content needs to be even more direct. It should emphasise your expertise, aim to dispel any final objections and spur your prospects into action. Things like product updates and branded search queries can help you clinch that all-important sale. Here’s a couple more examples of content that may prove decisive in this B2B lead nurturing stage:
- Discounts – By now you should have a fair idea of your prospects’ specific requirements. Use that knowledge to put together a personalised discounted offer. You can create a greater sense of urgency by making your offer time sensitive; but make sure you don’t erode your brand equity in the process.
- Custom Proposals – Custom proposals are a tried and tested way to close a sale. Not only do they provide all the relevant information your client needs to make a commitment, they also demonstrate your company’s professionalism and reinforce your brand identity.
#4 Retain Your Clients
Once you’ve made the sale, it’s easy to rest on your laurels. But retention is just as important as closing. The objective of any good marketing strategy is to foster repeat business. So don’t neglect your clients once they’ve made a purchase.
Relevant, targeted content will help you build lasting customer relationships and brand advocacy. Here are some ways you can engage your existing clients to help keep their business:
- Follow-up emails – Keep your brand top of mind with bi-weekly, monthly or quarterly emails. Share best practices and industry news, provide links to support articles and upsell new products and services.
- Webinar training – Webinars are a great way to retain customers and build trust. You can host live training sessions to help your clients improve key skills and achieve industry certifications, or simply address their concerns with a quick Q&A.
Optimise your content marketing strategy with these key B2B lead nurturing stages
As we’ve seen, building clearly defined lead nurturing stages into your content marketing strategy can yield impressive results. In a crowded marketplace, it’s important to stand out; by engaging people with the right content at the right time, you can keep your brand top of mind, establish yourself as an industry leader and build lasting relationships with your B2B clients.