Lead Nurturing Guide Part 6: Mastering Basic Lead Nurture Segmentation
In the sixth installment of our lead nurturing guide, we’ll examine basic lead nurture segmentation, its importance, as well as its various dimensions. Taken from the latest edition of Marketo’s The Definitive Guide to Lead Nurturing (@Marketo), previous installments in the series can be found here.
Why Should Marketers Segment their Leads?
Segmenting one’s leads is the act of dividing leads into definable and actionable parts. Lead segmentation is essential to successful lead nurturing, and could mean the difference between converting leads into customers or losing them altogether. “The more you segment, the more relevant your lead nurture programs will be. If you are not relevant, your audience simply won’t pay attention,” noted the report.
Marketo defines being relevant as “sending the right content, to the right person, at the right time.” Leads and buyers are used to highly personalized and targeted content, and expect marketers to know them and use gathered information to create customized experiences. Regardless of where leads are in the sales funnel, lead nurturing content should always be relevant and targeted to lead’s specific needs and interests.
While proper lead nurture segmentation can lead to greater engagement, it also requires greater effort from the marketer. The company CMO, for example, will require different lead nurturing content than that of a rank-and-file employee.
Lead Nurture Segmentation Requires Two Dimensions
Marketo recommends using two dimensions of segmentation for basic lead nurturing programs, or “buying stage crossed with another measurement variable that is important to your business.” Marketo recommends two because “it creates a happy balance: one is not enough, and each dimension beyond two creates an exponentially more complex framework. Think of it as segments and sub-segments,” noted the report.
While it is best to nurture leads based on their buying stage, it’s also essential to split up and personalize your lead nurture tracks. Figure 1 contains an example of two main dimensions: buying stages and buying profiles.
Let’s move on and examine the two dimensions—buying stages and buying profiles.
Dimension One: Buying Stage
As previously stated, lead nurturing depends on the lead’s stage in the buyer’s journey. Leads generally can be divided into three main stages: early stage, mid stage, and late stage. Early stage leads will require top-of-the funnel (TOFU) content, mid stage leads will require middle-of-the-funnel (MOFU) content, and late stage leads will require bottom-of-the-funnel (BOFU) content. [See Figure 2]
Early stage: top-of-the funnel (TOFU) content
Leads in the TOFU stage are at the very beginning of your sales and marketing cycle. TOFU leads are aware of your product or service, but are usually not ready to buy; hence, such leads will require more educational materials to help them understand the value of your products or services.
Remember: you’re not trying to sell them anything at this point, as your sales pitch might turn them off and cause them to leave the funnel altogether.
Examples of TOFU content offers include: eBooks, blog posts, research data, curated lists, and infographics.
Mid stage: middle-of-the-funnel (MOFU) content
Leads arrive at the MOFU stage once they display buying behavior or engage with your content. While displaying greater potential than TOFU leads, your content offers for MOFU leads should still be educational, albeit focused more on your products or services.
Example of MOFU content offers include: buying guides, ROI calculators, RFP templates, and analyst reports.
Late stage: bottom-of-the-funnel (BOFU) content
BOFU leads are those who are almost ready to become customers. Hence, your content offers should be very specific to your products or services, as this would support BOFU leads as they transition into paying customers.
Examples of BOFU content offers include: demos, pricing, third-party reviews, and customer case studies.
Dimension Two: Buying Profiles and Personas
As mentioned earlier, there are innumerable benefits to adding a second dimension to your lead nurturing, as it will improve relevance. A great place to start when you consider buyer profiles is the “buying committee,” which is the group of individuals that are involved in the purchasing decision.
According to MarketingSherpa (@MarketingSherpa), the buying committee can be as small as six to eight individuals in small companies, and as high as twenty-one individuals in larger companies.
Although you don’t always need to nurture everyone in the buying committee, you should choose a few profiles to nurture. “Your personas will also vary based on the different audiences you serve, perhaps broken down by product line, company size, industry, or geography. The key is to understand your different audiences and ensure you have content for them.”
Stay tuned to the final installment in our series where we’ll cover advanced lead nurture segmentation.
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