“Digital leads are worthless.” “I can’t even call them! How am I supposed to get them in for an appointment?” “Digital leads don’t want to talk to me.”
When your job is to generate and nurture digital leads, those phrases are not ones you want to hear. Unfortunately, we hear them more often than any of us would like. It’s the result of the team having a great program for digital lead generation, but nothing in place to nurture those leads – digitally. The good news is that with a bit of education and the proper tools in place, we know that digital leads can be valuable prospects.
When someone is conducting online research, perhaps filling out a squeeze page to receive a white paper, they feel that THEY are in control. They want to do research on their time, and they don’t want to be rushed. They want to check out the website and look at your competitors. Digital leads DON’T want to take your phone call. They don’t want to come to an event. Yet.
Obviously, sales and marketing teams want to get every prospect to visit to visit their community. It’s an important step to getting a deposit. But their time isn’t well spent following up with new digital leads. These leads need to be nurtured before they even reach the sales team’s desk.
In order to have a successful digital lead generation, you must look beyond generating the lead and instead look at how you’ll nurture the lead. These leads should be marked in your CRM as an MQL – a marketing qualified lead. The sales team knows there’s no current action that needs to be taken. The digital lead shouldn’t become an SQL – a sales qualified lead – until they’ve provided a phone number, signed up for an event, or done one of a handful of other buying indicators.
How do you bridge the gap between MQL and SQL?
The key is looking at your digital efforts as more than just lead generation. Equally important is lead nurturing. Once you have a digital lead, you need to keep your community top of mind – without trying to call them or, frankly, take too much of your sales team’s time. How do you do that? Creating an ongoing, consistent content marketing strategy. You need to ensure your social media sites are updated with relevant, interesting posts regularly. Your website should have a dedicated blog section with fresh posts more than once per month. You should be on top of email marketing, using both automated email series and regularly scheduled enewsletters to keep your community top of mind.
Then, as you put all of these content marketing efforts into place, you need to have quality reporting in place so when the digital lead becomes an SQL, the sales counselor already has an idea of what topics speak to the lead – are they interested in one bedrooms or two? Do they click on financial content or lifestyle content? With the information you can glean from a digital lead’s behavior, the sales team can customize their approach to be more effective in getting the lead to take the next step.
Creating a compelling, ongoing content marketing strategy can seem like a lot of work without the instant gratification of immediate results. However, over time, we’ve seen that this well-rounded approach to content marketing programs can contribute to prospects moving in 16 months sooner than prospects who didn’t receive digital content marketing. The additional revenue generated by those 16 months means the content marketing efforts had a 314% ROI. Learn more about the case study here.
Check out this short video for more information about how your digital components need to work together to be the most effective.