If you look at statistics and analyses around why good, qualified leads don’t end up converting, one of the most common causes cited is a lack of lead nurturing. In fact, HubSpot theorises that 79% of possible conversions fail because this isn’t happening.
In essence, lead nurturing is about developing relationships at every single stage of your sales funnel (from answering comments on your Facebook adverts to answering emails right before someone makes a purchase); it’s a marketing strategy built around listening to leads and responding to what they ask for, rather than trying to anticipate their questions and needs.
Some quick-fire stats that illustrate just how effective and necessary this approach is:
- 50% of the people who have gone through your sales funnel (qualified leads) will not be ready to buy right away, and will need some further attention and information to get them to convert.
- Personalized emails improve click-through rates by 14%, and conversion rates by 10%.
- Lead nurturing content has a slightly higher unsubscribe rate than generic content; it very effectively weeds out people who are unlikely to convert.
- Nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads.
For smaller businesses who don’t have the resources or desire to hire sales teams, trying to nurture every single lead from go to whoa can be a quick road to burnout (having burned out myself, I give it a minus three million out of ten and really don’t recommend it). Thankfully, there are some tools you can use to amalgamate and automate this process; and podcasting is one of them.
Marketing and sales expert Kern Lewis has boiled everything he’s learned about lead nurturing down to seven essentials. These are:
- Be systematic
- Track everthing
- Respond quickly to each received lead
- Stay in constant touch
- Offer value during the process
- Ask for the business
- Learn from your mistakes
Between split testing, a good email client (preferably with the ability to tag leads by activity) and a podcast, it’s possible to cover all of these points without spreading yourself too thin. You can incorporate this content into a general podcast for your business, or create a short, evergreen one just for people working their way through a specific sales funnel (splitting it off by creating a new post category on your website, or within your file host).
The primary way podcasting can contribute to the lead nurturing process is by amalgamating multiple conversations into one (offering value/responding to your leads promptly and effectively). If people feel able and willing to request more information or ask you questions (all else failing, ask your friends what they would want to know), you’ll find that themes and patterns start to emerge. You can then create episodes around that content, which essentially enable you to have a phone call with hundreds or even thousands of potential leads, at a cost of only an hour or two of your time. Once these are recorded you can email the link to the appropriate leads, and integrate the content into your email series for the next round – who, chances are, will have the same questions.
The other thing podcasting is really excellent for is point four: staying in constant contact. In fact, I’d argue that ultimately it may be more effective than chasing someone up for a phone call; they can listen to what you have to say in their own time, without having to put on pants or pour their wine into some kind of socially acceptable receptacle (…if I ever start a band, I think I’m going to call it Socially Acceptable Receptacle). If you’re uploading an episode every week that offers them value and an insight into who you are and what you’re all about, that’s a latent and very effective way of establishing trust, and a relationship with your brand (two essentials if you want people to hand over their hard earned dollars). If you’re on their phone, in their ears and on their mind and they’re happy to have you there, that’s a very effective form of latent lead nurturing.
Finally: you don’t have to wait until a sale has closed to ask someone to refer you to their friends. A podcast is highly share-able, and gives people an easy point of reference if they want to ask their friends to check you out or see what they think.
If you’d like to learn more about podcasting as a marketing tool, Karly will be covering this in an upcoming webinar – whether you’re an established podcaster or you found this post by Googling “podcasting for beginners”, there will be a whole heap of really valuable content that she’ll work through with you. To register, head over to this page.