Now that the average American spends 10 hours and 39 minutes a day with a screen in front of them, marketing has developed a new branch to continue to reach leads: digital marketing. This behemoth sub-category is projected to account for $113.18 billion in services by 2020. As various electronic devices like smartphones become more and more inextricably integrated into our daily lives, this discipline will only become more relevant. The time to master it is now, and we have the lead nurturing strategies to help you do it.
Where Technology and Marketing Meet
Digital marketing is a term that describes any marketing materials and techniques that involve a digital device. This means it can encompass anything from social media posts and blogging to email marketing and pay-per-click advertising. Even radio ads and text messaging are sometimes counted as digital marketing efforts, though most people are referring primarily to online strategies when they use the term.
In comparison to traditional marketing, digital marketing is cheaper, faster, and more direct. Because it's inherently all virtual, it boasts far lower production and distribution expenses. It also usually circumvents any potential middlemen and can be sent out to consumers as soon as the marketer deems it ready. Lastly, as opposed to something like a leaflet or newspaper advertisement which is distributed to a wide range of people with the help of intermediary services, digital marketing usually goes directly from the marketer into the hands of consumers, creating a far more intimate link between the two. These unique qualities make it much better suited to lead nurturing than traditional marketing ever was.
Guiding Digital Marketing Leads Toward a Purchase
Digital marketing varies greatly from project to project, but a few key guidelines generally hold true. If lead nurturing is your primary goal in this domain, you should:
Diversify Your Channels
As mentioned above, digital marketing encompasses a wide range of potential marketing channels. Each has their strengths and their weaknesses in terms of lead nurturing. A smart marketer doesn't pin all their prospects on just one of them, but instead tries to strike a balance between a few of their options. Almost all brands will need a website, and most will want to use email marketing as well. Past that, a marketer has quite a bit more creative freedom. You could put up a company YouTube channel, start a weekly webcomic, advertise on podcasts, create a simple web game... the possibilities are endless.
You don't have to put equal amounts of resources and effort into each of these options. Every brand is a little bit different in terms of style and lead preferences, and some mediums will naturally be a better fit than others. They also vary quite a bit in terms of ROI, so marketers who have to make the most of every dollar of investment will have to focus primarily on the mediums with higher average returns.
Having a full complement of digital marketing materials will serve you well, even in scenarios with seemingly limited growth potential. ShipServ, a company that produces software solutions for about 150 clients in the shipping industry, serves a very small, niche market that you might not expect to be easily influenced by things like social media. In 2008, they decided they needed to reinvigorate their sales and turned to digital marketing to do it. They not only delved into the realm of regular social media posts, but also started a company blog, set up a new optimized website, and created a set of content including detailed whitepapers for industry insiders, among other things. This multi-faceted digital marketing push increased landing page views by 150%, decreased campaign management costs by 80%, and brought 400% more leads to the point of being ready to buy. It's hard to argue with those numbers!
Back when marketing was much less high-tech, it was hard to gather information about what leads wanted and how a campaign was performing. You could really only review your performance once each campaign was over and hope to improve on it next time, making each marketing push a bit of a shot in the dark.
Digital marketing is highly computerized, making it much easier to collect real-time feedback on how well you're doing. Always use tools that will help you collect and analyze the data your leads are constantly generating. With this accumulated knowledge, you'll be able to tweak the direction of your marketing as you go. If you're missing the mark, you'll know it almost right away. You can then make the appropriate interventions as quickly as possible without losing out on the potential revenue that you could be getting. You can keep tinkering with things and see what effect each action has almost immediately, and you can try out different tools to help you out as well.
What information should you be looking for when you do this? It's a little different for each medium. For blogs and videos, you can track the number of unique views the page has had within a given time frame, as well as how long the average visitor stayed on the page before going off to do something else. Downloadable content will of course have download numbers attached to it as well. For email marketing, you'll want to track stats like click-through percentages, open rates, and perhaps most importantly, delivery rates. If you're doing your lead nurturing right, you should see healthy numbers that noticeably increase as your efforts take effect and eventually meet or exceed industry averages (for example, the average landing page conversion rate across all industries is about 2.35% - similar data exists for other channels). Always keep on eye on trends in your data over time and you'll be able to stay one step ahead of any changes in lead behavior.
Use Different Platforms
The online world is an extremely vast place, and not everyone exploring it will be looking in the same places. If you want to appeal to every one of your leads, you'll need to cast a wide net. You should be releasing some kind of content on many different platforms in order to maximize your reach; you can do a lot of this with content syndication, or running the same content (perhaps with slight modifications) in a few different places. Blog posts can be published on your own blog or placed as guest posts on other relevant blogs in the industry. Articles can be circulated through news outlets or sites like Medium or the Huffington Post. Perhaps most importantly, there is an absolutely staggering number of different social media sites where you could maintain a company account, each with its own unique rules, culture and focus.
You won't be able to sustain a presence on every single one of these platforms, but you're missing out if you stick to just one or two. To produce the best results, your approach here should synergize with your data strategy. Make sure you're collecting the right information on your leads so you know the online hangouts they frequent most often. With this knowledge, you'll be able to choose your platforms more strategically and make sure your content reaches the people who are most likely to buy from your brand.
Some choices are obvious - for example, content produced for a worker-owned cooperative will probably do better on liberal-leaning sites than conservative ones - but you should never assume you know everything about how your leads behave and what they want unless you have the data to back it up. For instance, Facebook is a social media mainstay and will still reach a solid number of leads, but its demographics skew older than some marketers might expect. Younger people are more likely to be found on Instagram - 32% of all American Internet users have an Instagram account, and 59% of those users are between ages 18 and 29. Things like this are critical nuggets of information for lead nurturing purposes.
One of the big draws of digital marketing is the real-time nature of it all. Unlike traditional marketing, you're not just sending materials out into the ether and hoping they accomplish what they're supposed to. You know exactly where all your content is going to end up; that means you can monitor it and interact with the leads who find it. This kind of direct access was impossible until relatively recently, and it's incredibly valuable for lead nurturing in particular.
If someone comments on your blog with a question, answer it for them. If someone sends you a message to tell you how happy they are with your product, let them know you appreciate that. If you see a negative review on your social media page, look into it. If someone approaches your brand with a special request, consider fulfilling it. These things take a little extra time, but you can't beat the personal touch they bring. Not only will you be giving your leads more reasons to feel good about your brand, but you may also score some additional leads and sales from the gesture; 71% of people who have a positive personal experience with a brand online are then willing to recommend that brand to their friends and family.
Marketing to the Modern Lead
Digital marketing is an absolutely massive field with a ton of variation, especially in regard to lead nurturing. That makes it all the more important for you to understand what you're doing and why it works. If you can do these four things, you'll be able to maximize your sales to leads across almost all channels.
Remember though, there's always more to learn - we'll be back next time with even more marketing expert. Your privacy is important.