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Lead Nurturing and Marketing Automation: 15 Key Questions Answered (Questions 11, 12)

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Question 11: Are blogging and social media viable lead nurture tools?

In our experience, marketing should address these three levels: the prospect level, or why the prospect shou buy from you rather than any of your competitors; the product level, or why the prospect should buy this product rather than any other product; and the process level, or why the prospect should read this article, click on this link, view this Web page instead of reading other articles, not clicking, or viewing your competitor's Web pages?

Thus, every blog article and every social media posting needs to address one or more of those three questions related to you, your product, and the action you're asking them to take.

Now, given that necessary condition, blogs and social media CAN be used for lead nurturing if your blog and social media content follows prospects' buying process, which essentially follows their thought process.

Blogs and Social Media as Lead Generation Tools

For those prospects who are active online, your blog and social media provide an easy way for them to learn about you. That is, they generate leads for you.

Blogging has proven to be especially proficient for B2B technology companies to gain greater exposure to their target markets.

In the realm of social media for B2B, LinkedIn is the clear winner over Facebook and Twitter. Appropriate use of LinkedIn can also increase your exposure to your target market.

The key to blogging and social media as lead generation tools is to create quality content (3-5 pieces per week) that drives them to your website, where they can be led through the buying process.

Blogs and Social Media as Lead Nurture Tools

Lead nurture addresses the process level. When a prospect lands on a Web page, reads an article, views a video, or in some way accesses a piece of content you've posted online, you need to consider both the specific stage of the buying process that content piece addresses and what it will take to move the prospect to the next step in the process.

That is where most blogging and social media campaigns fall short as lead nurture tools. The tool isn't the problem; it's how the tool is used.

Think: "If this person read this article, what would he or she want to know next... and, why should he or she take that next step?"

By following the thought process of your prospect with every piece of content you create, and by actively taking the lead, your blog can become a powerful lead nurture tool.

Tool You Can Use

Blogging and social media are part of what we often call "content marketing," which is mostly synonymous with "inbound marketing." Essentially, you create content that builds your brand, creates greater awareness of your products, and forms the basis for a trusting relationship.

We created this Content Marketing Assessment to help companies measure their organization's "Content Marketing Maturity," rating your compliance with best-practices across eight different dimensions.

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Question 12: Do all demographics respond well to lead nurturing?

Some questions are easier than others, and this is one of the easy questions.

Yes: all demographics respond well to lead nurturing. What varies is the type and tone of the content you use for nurturing. Here are some general guidelines we've learned over the years.

Older vs. Younger Buyers

  • Younger buyers are more likely to engage in and use new media—Facebook, videos, etc.
  • Older buyers tend to read more and delve more deeply into subjects.
  • Younger buyers (in general) have a shorter attention span.
  • Older buyers tie credibility to expertise and experience, whereas younger buyers look more to data and statistics.
  • Buyers of all ages will buy if they like and trust you, and they won't buy if they don't like or don't trust you.

Technical vs. Non-Technical Buyers

  • All buyers (technical and non-technical) are irrational. Feelings always take precedence over hard facts and data.
  • Non-technical buyers lend more credence to social proof (number of followers, etc.).
  • Technical buyers subconsciously respond to social proof but need more hard facts to power those subconscious feelings.
  • Non-technical buyers respond well to value propositions that address their need to be safe.
  • Technical buyers respond well to value propositions that address their need to be right.

And, all buyers have a need to be liked, appreciated, and valued.

The Key to Successful Lead Nurturing

As we approach the end of this 15-question series, I hope you've learned that the key to successful lead nurturing is having a solid understanding of your buyers/prospects and their buying process.

When you understand your customers—how they buy and the sticking points in their buying process—you can craft unique and powerful value propositions for each product and every step in the buying process for those products.

Tool You Can Use

Bob Bly is one of the world's top technical B2B copywriters. Michael Masterson is perhaps the highest paid direct marketing copywriters in the world, and he founded the international American Writers and Artists organization. They teamed up to write this short piece on finding your prospect's "Core Buying Emotion." Bob learned early that even technical buyers buy for emotional reasons. This little report can help you to find your buyer's core emotions.

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Sid Smith is lead copywriter and marketing automation specialist for Albertson Performance Group. Sid has written on topics ranging from flex circuits to motherhood, but gets a real kick out of putting together the puzzle pieces of complex marketing automation strategies. Reach him via

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  • by John McTigue Thu Feb 21, 2013 via web

    Great post Sid. We are also big advocates of adding blogs and social media to the lead nurturing mix. Adding more channels not only drives more conversions but also allows you to diversify and personalize the message for different target personas or demographics, as you point out. Not everyone responds the same way to email, and some are more likely to respond to blogs or social media updates, depending on age and background. Personalization is a key factor as well, both in content and delivery. Interesting that we're heading rapidly towards 1-to-1 marketing like the good old days (before mass marketing and the Internet).

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