In the world of marketing, lead nurturing has long been a must, especially for B2B marketers with a long sales cycle. By definition, lead nurturing is a drawn-out and complicated process. It requires you to interact with leads repeatedly, across many touchpoints, in order to continually demonstrate value and keep your brand before the eyes of leads for a long period of time.
The results of a recent survey of marketers reflect the complexity of lead marketing, with 59% of B2B marketers saying their lead nurturing efforts aren’t succeeding, and 79% agreeing that it is somewhat or very challenging to get responses from lead nurture programs. Despite the fact that 66% report that they see a measurable difference in the results of nurtured versus non-nurtured leads, fewer than one-third of marketers develop content specifically for lead nurture programs.
One highly effective but often overlooked asset to include in lead nurture programs is an online course. If it’s not yet part of your lead nurture strategy, now is the time to consider it.
Why use online courses for lead nurturing?
Online courses check every box for lead nurturing. Sharing wisdom and information across multiple sessions generates trust in your business, establishing you as an authority figure. The higher perceived value of a course, as opposed to a blog post or stand-alone webinar, differentiates your company from the competition.
Additionally, the multi-part nature of an online course helps you to weed out weak leads that disqualify themselves by abandoning it before the end. Tracking at which point they drop out delivers information on these weak leads, giving you new insights into whom you should contact again for future marketing campaigns.
An online course adds to the number of touchpoints and channels you can cover through your lead nurture program. Marketer Neil Patel points out that online courses effortlessly help you reach the number of touches needed to convert a lead. Most lead nurture content is developed for the earlier stages of the funnel, but an online course is an ideal example of late-stage content that also works well as a lead magnet.
Finally, recent research from Forrester revealed that 77% of B2B buyers want sellers to “help me learn something new.” An online course responds to that desire perfectly.
That said, online courses still need to be carried out in the right way in order to succeed.
Plan the campaign carefully
You need to plan each course carefully for success, and seek assistance from the right tools along the way. Here are some tips to set you in the right direction.
1. Choose the best course content
Your goal is to make every lead feel that the course is relevant to their situation, so begin by identifying pain points for every segment of your audience so you can customize content accordingly.
You can use Google Analytics to examine which topics on your site attract the most views, and break those down into various audience segments. Map your content further to decide which topics to keep behind a paywall and which to offer for free.
2. Create personalized courses
Forrester reports that the best organizations are delivering personalized experiences at scale. Automated LMS platforms like Moodle streamline the process of creating modular online courses that you can adjust easily in order to meet each lead’s individual interests and needs.
By integrating ClickMeeting, you can also deliver exciting, engaging live classes as part of or in collaboration with an online course. Use the built-in direct chat to interact with each lead individually during and after a class.
3. Incorporate brand messaging
Implement strong branding into every session, maintaining brand awareness and boosting messaging throughout the course.
ClickMeeting’s integrated registration flows, embeddable classrooms, branded waiting rooms and class backdrops make it easy to keep your brand front and center at all times.
4. Keep leads moving through the funnel
Your online course is only one stage in a larger marketing funnel, so you want to keep leads moving to and through it. By integrating email marketing platforms like MailChimp with ClickMeeting, you can create automated campaigns that begin sending course content as soon as a lead signs up.
Automate reminders too, in the form of drip emails or text messages, shortly before each lesson drops or expires. You’ll need to track course completion so that you can move ahead with the next stage of the sales funnel as soon as the lead completes the course.
5. Continually score leads
Metrics and lead scoring are vital to help you track and prove the RoI of your online course. Integrate your CRM with ClickMeeting so that you can automate lead scoring based on metrics that Moodle and ClickMeeting gather for you, like course engagement, completion rates, and abandonment rates.
These metrics can also help you assess the value of your course as part of your larger sales funnel and guide you to tweak it for greater impact.
Provide value for your leads
Bear in mind that online courses are only effective for lead nurturing if your leads feel that their lives as professionals are truly being enhanced by what you’re teaching them.
Every class should be somewhat bite-sized, because you’re aiming at busy stakeholders who don’t have time for a college-length course, and deliver an actionable insight that the lead can apply immediately.
It’s a good idea to end the entire course with a practical next step, guiding your lead to keep moving forward, even after the course is completed.
Online courses can play a key role in lead nurture strategies
Lead nurturing is a vital, yet challenging, link in the B2B marketing flow, so it’s wise to use every method at your disposal to increase your chances of success.
Online courses are a somewhat novel and highly effective way to bolster lead marketing by adding more touchpoints, establishing authority, and qualifying leads, as long as you use the right tools and tactics to implement it effectively. Personalized, branded courses that keep leads moving through your funnel and score them as they go can raise your RoI on lead marketing, increasing revenues and boosting conversions.