If you’re a consumer marketer, you may have heard of “lead nurturing” and simply dismissed it. After all, a “lead” is exclusive to B2B marketing that typically involves long sales cycles and complex deals, right?
But guess what, individual buyers need to be nurtured as much as businesses do. Whether your business is an e-commerce enterprise, a for-profit university, or health insurer, your target audience needs to be engaged through acquisition, retention, loyalty, and ultimately, advocacy.
Customer nurturing involves building effective and long-term relationships with potential customers throughout their self-directed journeys. Creating a customer nurturing strategy that is based on best practices starts with putting goals in place, implementing the best solution, and integrating your nurture programs. Let’s dive into these three areas in more depth:
1. Set the right goals
First things first, ask yourself a range of questions to evaluate your current customer management process, including:
- What does the customer journey look like today, and where are the drop-offs happening?
- How many customer segments are there, and how do you talk to them differently?
- What is your product range and goals for each product?
Addressing these will give you a perspective on how to improve your current workflows and provide a foundation for setting both quantitative and qualitative objectives. Keep in mind that increasing the customer base is not always the primary goal you need to work towards. Improving their journey, brand perception, and ultimately converting them into advocates are also objectives that customer nurturing can help you achieve.
2. Select the right technology
An engagement marketing platform is the backbone of customer nurturing. Engagement marketing means building a solid relationship with your customers as individuals based on what they do, wherever they may be.
To be able to engage your customers in a personalized way at scale, you need a robust engine that is built for marketers, with the customer at the center. There are three main things to keep in mind when picking the right tools for your customer nurturing:
- Does it help you meet your goals and develop long term relationships with customers?
- How far can it scale beyond your current customer base?
- How does it integrate with your current tech stack?
With the number of marketing technology providers today, you have several options to evaluate and make your selections from. Make sure you’re assembling a team made up of both end users and decision makers to get the most balanced input. It is highly recommended to have representation from all stakeholder groups.
3. Integrate nurture into your overall mix
Just like other marketing activities, don’t think of nurture in isolation. By itself, it is effective, but in combination with other programs, it can be an incredibly powerful engine to drive engagement. Consider the following:
- What’s the frequency of your email campaigns, and how does nurture fit into the mix?
- How will you time the nurture program with other marketing programs?
- What kind of rules and logic will you set to ensure all your activities are well orchestrated?
At the end of the day, always put yourself in the customers’ shoes. Would you want a disconnected experience consisting of batch emails hitting your inbox, or a well-coordinated series of touches that take you through a journey based on your interests? One of the top benefits of customer nurturing is automation—you can set up and let programs run based on behavior-based rules, and optimize them on an ongoing basis.
There is a lot to customer nurturing, from segmentation, scoring, and cross-channel implementation, but don’t worry—we’ve got you covered! For a comprehensive overview of customer nurturing for consumer marketers, check out our Definitive Guide to Customer Nurturing.