Reaching prospects when they’re ready to engage at the bottom of the funnel is the golden grail of marketing campaigns. However, we often don’t get so lucky to have these perfect prospects enter our funnel ready to make a purchase.
It’s often a difficult balance of assessing if a prospect is ready to hand over to sales - if we push too hard when they’re not ready for a decision, this can negatively impact their relationship with our brand and lose the lead.
Prospects we engage in the middle of the funnel tend to be in the research and case-building stage of their software selection process. As such, they’re at their most open-minded and undecided, perfect for your nurturing campaigns.
What content should be in our nurturing campaigns?
Nurturing campaigns should be content-led, in that they should focus on delivering value to the prospect that is directly relevant to their interests.
When a prospect travels through our funnel we pass our leads through the process of becoming an enhanced marketing qualified lead (MQL+) where our team independently researches and validates that opportunity.
During this stage, we gather more information about our prospects to help us build a larger picture of their business needs using information such as industry and location to target our nurturing campaigns.
For example, for a lead that has already downloaded content about gathering requirements for ERP, we tailor our nurturing campaign content to be focused on the selection process. By paying attention to these intent signals, we see more responsiveness from the prospect.
How intent signals inform our nurturing
Leads don’t stumble upon our content - they are in the research phase for a project, and tend to be highly intent-driven. The content they engage with shows insight into things like which stage they have reached in their selection project, which stage of research they are in, and if they're ready to purchase any software.
For example, when a lead downloads resources focused on software implementation, we take this to mean the lead has shown some level of intent and may be looking to implement a new software within the next year or so.
In this way, we can use these intent signals to optimize our campaigns and better support the prospect in their software selection project.
The advantages of nurturing a middle-of-funnel prospect
For most companies, a huge amount of their marketing budget is spent on top-of-the-funnel activity. This can be surprising when you consider that 80% of new leads are discarded by the sales department.
On the other hand, middle-of-the-funnel leads tend to be more engaged and open to ideas and inspiration. They’re researching the market and looking for relevant, useful information.
We find that a well-planned nurturing campaign is a good way to communicate with these middle-of-funnel prospects and provide them with the information they need to make a decision.
Companies that effectively nurture prospects have 50% more sales-ready leads at a 33% lower cost. And when leads are nurtured in the middle-of-the-funnel stage they spend, on average, 47% more than non-nurtured leads.
Nurturing campaigns allow us the opportunity to develop a prospect’s trust in our brand through a mix of educational and persuasive content. With the help of intent signals and other relevant data, we can tailor campaigns to each prospect.
By providing high-quality content to prospects as they research and explore their options, we build trust and brand recognition. And segmenting prospects based on the content they’ve already interacted with allows us to provide them with even more relevant content specific to their needs.
Over time, our nurturing campaign will bring them to the point where they are comfortable and ready to talk to our sales team.