You already know the key to a successful lead-nurture campaign: Reach prospects with the right messages at the right times. But what sounds simple isn’t: Not all prospects are the same, so the right messages and right times are different for different buyers.
Lead nurturing begins with solving a specific problem, and in most cases, that problem is “How do I move prospects more quickly through the buyer journey?” There are other problems lead nurturing can solve, of course, but when we talk about doing lead nurture, we’re talking about presenting content to captured leads based on factors like what they’ve already consumed or the channel in which they were captured.
In this chapter, we’ll explore how to use buyer personas and other segmentation that you’re already doing to make your lead-nurture programs more effective.
Use your buyer personas to create intelligent lead nurture
For clients who are just beginning to create truly dynamic, responsive lead-nurturing programs using their marketing automation platform, we recommend writing nurture emails so that the content guides prospects along the learning journey toward solving their specific problem.
Remember: When someone is just beginning the buying journey, they don’t care about your product. They are looking for a solution to their problem. This is the conversation you need to lead. Not “my product is great,” but “my product can help you solve your problem.”
Start with just one or two buyer personas. B2B technology companies usually create personas for a business buyer and a technology buyer. These different buyers approach the process of solving a problem uniquely. To capture and keep their attention, you must understand what motivates each individual role
in the purchasing process and how they interact with the other people involved in the decision. Determine how they move through the decision-making process, from identifying a problem to making a decision.
Then create a buying journey that lays out the process for each persona into four stages of the buying cycle:
Awareness of a problem (early-stage)
Research to fully understand the problem (mid-stage)
Consideration of which solution is best for their situation (mid-stage)
Evaluation of partners for best fit (late-stage)
Let Content lead the way
At each point in the cycle, your content needs to educate and inform prospects about their challenges and how to solve them. Think about the nature of their problem and why it exists. How can they start fixing it? Your goal is to anticipate the questions that prospects have with content that answers their questions.
A buyer persona content map is a way to categorize all the content available on your website by persona and buying stage. This map can then be used to pick and choose the content you'll link to from your nurture program to lead a prospect along the buying journey, and to inform scoring programs that calculate where a buyer is in the journey
To create a content map, list your buyer personas down the left-hand side and your buying stages across the top, and then enter the questions you anticipate your prospects will ask at each stage. Showcase your carefully crafted content with emails that reflect the same attention to detail. Ask yourself:
Does the subject line grab attention?
Is the email easy to read?
Does it get to the point quickly and elegantly?
Will it help prospects answer a frequently asked question or address a knowledge gap?
If done right, your lead-nurture strategy will lead the way: Prospects get the information they need while you facilitate the sales cycle from awareness through research, consideration, and (hopefully) evaluation toward a decision to purchase your solution.
Choose-your-own Road maps
Once you have version 1.0 up and running, expand your nurture streams to match your segmentation. When a prospect shows interest in a specific product, geography, or other segment, you can set up a lead-nurture track that provides a more specific path for that buying journey.
Think of this as a choose-your-own-adventure road map. As prospects select the emails to open and act on, the areas of your website to visit, and which offers to accept, you’ll learn more about what they are looking for. You can then tailor your lead-nurture program to their road map.
The direction you take from here depends critically on making sure you are capturing the right data—more on that in the chapter on data hygiene