Content: The Key to Lead Nurturing

We've all heard the phrase, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink." How about "You can lead prospects to your web site, but can you make them buy?"

We all know that the goal of  any Content Marketing strategy is to drive traffic to your site. That increased traffic needs to generate new leads which should ultimately propel converted sales.

How do you ensure that this happens?

One way is to establish a focused Lead Nurturing program.

In a white paper titled "The Importance of Lead Nurturing and Scoring," produced by The Association of Strategic Marketing, Lead Nurturing is defined as "building a relationship with eligible prospects regardless  of their timing with the aim to boost their business when they are prepared."

According to ASM, nurtured leads can increase sales by as much as 20%. Click through rates from Lead Nurturing emails are 8% compared to only 3% from general emails. Despite this increased sales potential, 69% of B2B marketers fail to use a Lead Nurturing system.

A Lead Nurturing program involves several components including Prospect Targeting, Lead Scoring and Ongoing Contact. But not surprisingly at the heart of it all is our familiar friend: content.

Here's why.

1. Content Establishes Credibility

As the ASM report points out, from the buyer's perspective, there is always fear and risk involved with any purchase. "The most important features a B2B vendor must have are trust and credibility," the paper states. "They have to build credibility and reputation by sharing relevant and valuable information."

2. Content Keeps You in Contact

According to ASM, the new generation of buyers tend not to commit to a sale until the last third of the buying process. Therefore, sales and marketing need to be involved throughout the sales process delivering "high quality content and information for prospects that is responsive, timely and relevant."

"The only way that they can maintain ongoing conversation with prospects" is with a comprehensive Content Strategy, the report asserts.

3. Content Helps Drive the Buying Decision

ASM states that 95% of prospects visit a web site for research purposes, but 70% will eventually buy from that company or from a competitor. Not using a content driven Lead Nurturing program is the #1 reason for poor lead conversion. Overall, 79% of marking leads are not converted to sales. However nurtured leads drive 47% more purchases than non-nurtured leads.

The ASM white paper concludes that Lead Nurturing is not about hard selling. Instead, the program involves establishing your credibility in the marketplace, presenting your solution as the most viable and ultimately convincing your prospect that you are the correct choice for them.

As always, the key to accomplishing that is through informative, well crafted and compelling content.

Are you nurturing your leads? Are you drawing traffic but not converting sales?