Old marketing aphorism
He who confuses drip marketing for lead nurturing will see no results from either.
Use drip marketing to nurture leads. But use lead nurturing to push those leads all the way through the buyer’s journey to its successful (for you) conclusion.
While both campaigns benefit by automating and maintaining sustained engagement with prospects with direct email and social media -- Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. drip marketing engages a prospect and lead nurturing takes it from there by understanding the behavior of the prospect, their associated needs and other interests, all in service of developing a better, more qualified sales opportunity.
By understanding the basic difference between these two you will improve your marketing programs, and your bottom line will swell. Organizations drive prospects and renewals by nurturing prospects in all stages of the lead life cycle. What’s important is a continuous process of education and engagement at every stage of a buyer's journey, be it event communications, free trials, employee communication programs, etc.
Drip campaigns begin when people engage in common activities like signing up for an account or simply visiting your site. The people become a self-defined group and the drip campaign enables you to stay in touch. These campaigns typically consist of batches or triggers that change the nature of communication depending on the engagement or lead response. Every email originates from an archive of pre-written emails that are blasted using an automated process that allows for personalization of the name of the lead, the name of the organization, and much more.
Drip marketing is an effective way to push leads in a sales-ready direction. You educate the prospects about the product, build interest, and once ready, automatically move them to sales. Drip marketing is simpler and less customizable than a lead nurturing program but with continuous engagement it helps to keep your organization visible.
Lead nurturing is about consistent communication with buyers throughout the lead life cycle, addressing key issues right from when interaction with the lead begins to when the lead is ready to purchase. Customers won’t appear overnight. It requires strategic marketing over time for potential customers to educate themselves and begin to build trust with the company. Lead nurturing successfully delivers valuable enough content that your leads remain engaged. Done right, lead nurturing develops strong brand and solution preferences in your prospects long before they’re actively engaged in the buying process.
The successful lead nurturing program must be:
- Able to maintain contact with the prospect
- Use appropriate content
- Target and Segment
- Survey progress throughout the buying cycle
To reduce the unsubscribe rate, keep all your communications simple and engaging. All of the content marketing rules for designing and sending effective emails apply to drip marketing and lead nurture. Begin with basic lead nurturing, going through the content on your website and blog to break it down into pieces that leads can easily and quickly consume. You need to map the content according to where your prospects land in the lead life cycle. A lead in the early-stages will have content requirements totally different than a lead in the late-stages. Your content has to be informative. It has to educate. And, to generate meaningful customer engagement, it has to be targeted. .
Lead nurturing is a powerful way to automatically stay engaged with future buyers. Use targeting and segmentation to leverage prospects and ensure that communications remain relevant. By successfully implementing the nurturing process you gain valuable insights into buyer preferences and gain knowledge of the buyer’s timing and path. None of this is possible, of course, if your lead nurturing program delivers content of insufficient value or interest to your prospects.