66% of buyers indicate that “consistent and relevant communication provided by both sales and marketing organizations” is a key influence in choosing a solution provider, according to a Genius.com study. What are the key words here? Consistent and relevant. Drip marketing nails consistency, but often fails at relevancy.
Michael Ward of Net-Results uses a great analogy to explain the difference between automated drip campaigns and real lead nurturing in his article, “Lead Nurturing vs Drip Email Marketing Campaigns.” Michael sets the stage with a guy walking into a bar, spotting his “quarry” and approaching slowly. He uses his best pick-up line and in a dark brown voice says to her/him, “Come here often?” Michael explains that in real life (hopefully) “what’s said next is going to depend on how the person reacts to the question. If our “lascivious lothario” continues to use predetermined cheesy lines at predetermined times with no regard for the other person’s reactions, he is obviously not going to have much luck landing a date. Unfortunately, this is the problem with drip marketing. A drip campaign sends a series of emails in automated intervals of time, with no reaction to what the prospect has already seen from you or how they have already engaged with you. This is where lead nurturing shines.
Lead nurturing is targeted to specific segments of your larger group of prospects. Drip marketing is more general and ongoing. As noted in The Most Common Misconception About Lead Nurturing by Sirius Decisions, there is a common misconception that lead nurturing is simply, “an automated response to a broad set of targets, followed by a series of emails offering potential buyers a wide range of assets.” True lead nurturing is responsive, relevant and timely. An effective lead nurturing campaign responds to buyer behavior as the prospect moves through the buying cycle. It is not advantageous to speak to a prospect who has never engaged with you the same way you would speak to someone who has visited your website several times (and stuck around for a while) and clicked through multiple emails.
What it boils down to is communication for the sake of communicating, or communication for the sake of strategy and targeted messaging. Nurturing prospects build trust and credibility. By nurturing first and providing thought leadership, valuable information, and other resources to prospects throughout their decision-making process, you move them through the buying cycle and address their needs and concerns and respect where they are in the process and don’t sell when they aren’t ready to buy.
So tell us, are you a dripper or a nurturer? Does anyone have examples of great lead nurturing? Please share by leaving a comment below.