Nurture Marketing Basics: Align Your Offer with the Right Content

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We generally think of the offer as something tangible or specific, like a product or service, or something educational like a white paper. When you’re planning content for a nurture marketing campaign, it’s more helpful to keep in mind the benefit that customers will realize as a result of your product or service. Your offer needs to show your audience the benefits they can realize through accepting it, and these benefits should resonate consistently throughout all the steps in the nurture campaign flow.

Each nurturing interaction should carry forward a central theme or next-step recommendation. How many different things does the prospect need to consider before making a decision? What do you want them to do as a result? Let the offer progress gradually, especially in a complex sale, as more and more interactions are exchanged between company and prospect.

Each interaction should help the prospect answer two questions:

  • Was the time I dedicated to this communication worthwhile?
  • After I recognize a need, what do I do to address it?

Choose a message and call to action for each step

Think about your buyers and how they typically progress through the buyer’s journey. Decide which messages or topics you need to present at each step in the nurture flow, and what the call to action might be. For an example, your messaging during the awareness stage is going to be very different from the messaging you send during the education stage.

Your call to action should align with the audience’s behavior; you may want to create several different calls to action around the same message so that you have one ready for a number of different reactions. Some companies use multiple delivery mechanisms for the same content (webcast, white paper, video) which lets the audience choose the method they prefer. Consider the personality of your audience segment and map the message/call to action to a particular aspect of their personalities.

  • For people who like to be “in the know,” try a call to action that provides them with an invite-only offer or sneak peek.
  • For people who are influenced by the masses, try an offer providing them with insight as to why “thousands of others” have chosen your company.
  • For people who are drawn to limited-time savings, create a sense of urgency with words like “Now,” “limited time,” “first 100 people,” and so on.

Active verbs work best. The list below contains common calls to action in the marketing industry; notice that for each the consistent benefit could be “get better results, faster.”

  • Register
  • Sign up now
  • Free trial
  • Free download
  • Access
  • Subscribe
  • Opt in
  • View demo
  • Watch
  • Listen
  • Attend
  • Visit
  • Take a tour
  • Get your own account

Your call to action is basically a promise you’re making to your audience: Take this action and something you want will occur. Your call to action needs to drive people to the point where that promise is fulfilled. Some calls to action (Register for this event now) are time sensitive, which means you should give extra consideration to the timing of your message delivery.

Figuring out the gaps

Perform a content audit. Begin by creating a messaging matrix that maps the messages to different stages in the buying cycle, then determine which content fulfills the promise of the message, then create a call to action that points to it. Here’s an example of a message matrix:

messaging grid

Creating compelling marketing copy and content is difficult and resource-intensive. For every piece of content you have or create, determine how to how you can use it to serve several purposes or channels. For example, suppose you have a live webinar that generates good leads. Do it again. Make sure to build a promotional campaign around it which uses email and social channels; perhaps this time you run a series of PPC ads. Create a transcript of the webinar, and turn that into a white paper and a series of blog posts, all promoted socially. Post an on-demand version on your website, and run calls to action for it on website pages and in social media.

Use the right channels

Identify your audience’s “information ecosystem.” What channels and sites do they use to gather information? You can determine this by watching on social media to see what they recommend to each other, and you can ask your existing good customers which channels they trust. As an example, before you turn content into podcasts, determine whether your audience pays attention to them – or ignores them. After you’ve identified your audience’s information ecosystem, you’ll know the associations, experts, analysts, and sites they’ll respond to and trust. Try to work in at least two of those sources when figuring out how to distribute your content.

In the end, it’s all about knowing your buyers and what they need. Provide your audience with a stream of well-timed quality content and deliver on your promises, and you’ll build the trust that underlies every successful business relationship.

For more how-tos about nurture marketing, read “Best Practices for Setting Up a Lead Nurturing Program.”

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