There’s something called the "conversion equation," and you need three parts to complete it — targeted traffic, a great landing page, and a stellar lead nurturing strategy.
Lead nurturing exists because not every landing page conversion is ready to buy. Your typical early-stage lead is weighing whether your product is worth purchasing, asking themselves things like…
You need to earn the trust of these skeptics until they’re ready to make their first purchase. In short, you need to build — nurture — the relationship.
But how do you get started? How do you join the 71% of B2B marketers who can’t live without lead nurturing?
In this post, you’ll learn three different approaches to nurture landing page conversions. All three require a different amount of content, use a particular type of marketing software, and lead to varied results. Let’s jump in.
Pros: Quickest approach to complete and only requires content for the email series.
Cons: Doesn’t use behavior, so the messages are less targeted. Leads who aren’t ready to buy may still get offers.
If you’re new to lead nurturing, start with a timed email series that ends with an offer. This strategy also goes by other names like “drip campaigns” and “email autoresponders.” It starts after a person converts on a landing page form.
Let’s walk through an example to show how it works.
Pretend you’re a blogger selling the “How to Rock Your Freelance Business” video course. Instead of sending an offer to buy the course right after a person signs up on your landing page, build trust before going for the sale. You set up a timed email series that sends one lesson per day of your best freelance tips. After the seventh lesson, subscribers get the more direct, hard sell — and buy!
Creativeclass.io is a great real-life example of this in action:
The landing page includes a compelling headline with a call-to-action to register for free. Visitors who sign up get the lessons straight to their inbox. For the buyer who’s just researching, the seven-part series is a perfect way to nudge them toward their first sale. This is especially important because according to VentureBeat, buyers can be 90% of the way through the buying process before contacting a salesperson.
Establishing yourself as an expert and building rapport with useful content increases the chances of a person buying. Not every lead will convert. But, more will convert than if you sent the offer in the first email.
Pros: Better targeting based on behavior, has a higher chance of conversion, and it’s automated!
Cons: Requires more content creation. More time and energy costs to set up the automation. Some leads who aren’t ready to buy may still get offers.
The first lead nurturing approach is based on timing, but this method is based on timing and engagement (e.g. the reader clicked on a timed email). You need marketing automation software to implement this strategy — which requires investment — but the benefits vastly outweigh the costs:
Imagine you’re a Chicago-based real estate firm. About 300 contacts just joined your database because of your recently optimized landing pages. This is great news, but you need to identify the hot leads ready to buy a home right now. Your lead nurturing campaign kicks off and sends a timed email series with content like:
This is where the engagement element kicks in. When a reader clicks one of the timed emails, they are sent another email a day later with this offer: “Looking for a home? Schedule a free consultation with an expert realtor.” If a reader never clicks on the initial timed email, this offer is never sent.
Lead nurturing emails are like a thermometer for the reader’s interest level. If a prospect never opens one of the emails, it’s a signal they aren’t interested in what you have to say. But if they do engage with your content, there is a higher chance the reader will want to request a demo, sign up for a trial, or talk with sales.
Check out this great lead nurturing email example from Shopify:
The email includes a headline, image, short summary, and a call-to-action to read the full blog post. Oh, and there’s the subtle “Start your free trial” call-to-action in the top right-hand corner. This is lead nurturing in action — staying top of mind with a customer by sending helpful content until they’re ready to take the next step.
Pros: Identifies the most engaged leads, has the highest chance of conversion, and it’s automated!
Cons: Requires a large amount of content creation. Increased time and energy costs to set up the automation (could take months).
This third approach to lead nurturing combines time, engagement, and an added stage of automated emails showing customer proof points. The additional stage acts as a filter, so only your most engaged leads receive a direct offer to purchase, speak to sales, or sign up for a free trial.
Here’s the strategy in action.
Let’s say you’re a web design company. Your guest post on a big-name blog just netted you 500 new leads through your targeted landing page. You send a time-based email series with helpful content like “How Rockin’ Design Can Grow Your Business.” Readers who click the email are sent an hour-long webinar with a case study of how a recent client grew their business with good design. Finally, prospects who watch the webinar are sent an offer for a free 30-minute consultation.
This approach requires:
We used this strategy at Autopilot to deliver 100,958 nurture emails in a one-month period earlier this year, which generated 7% of our leads. (The other 93% coming from new organic and paid sources.) Without nurturing, they would’ve fallen off the map and lost forever.
Here’s a visual to show the three-tier system. Think of it as a lead nurturing content funnel:
This strategy is particularly useful if you have more leads converting on your landing pages than you can manage. Leads that reach the second and third layer of content (but don’t click) are moved back to the top layer to continue being nurtured. Each stage squeezes out unqualified leads, and you’re left with only those who are most likely to buy.
The key moving forward is to adopt lead nurturing as part of your ongoing email marketing strategy. Whether you’re starting from scratch or are a seasoned lead nurturing guru, your nurturing schedule should be as long as it takes for your leads to become customers. Apply the approaches in this article, and you’ll be on your way toward nurturing landing page conversions to their next sale.
Lead nurturing journeys are only as successful as the landing page they’re connected with. To get started, create your professional landing page in minutes with Instapage, optimize it based on these 35 best practices, and start nurturing your leads today.
Brian Sun runs the blog at Autopilot, easy and visual marketing software for automating the customer journey.