Content syndication is a proven method for generating high-quality leads. But there’s a common misunderstanding that since that lead has opted in on your content, she’s ready for the sales cycle to begin. That’s rarely the case. In fact, once those shiny new leads have entered your funnel, that’s when the real fun of B2B marketing begins: nurture campaigns to coax them toward the close. This article will give you a roadmap for nurturing your leads from content syndication.
As you probably already know, compared to just a few years ago, today’s B2B leads spend more time researching online and less time interacting with sales teams — according to Gartner, as little as 5-6% of their total buying journey is spent actually interacting with sales. On average, it takes about 20 touches with a brand before a prospect becomes a potentially successful lead for the sales team.
Leads that enter your funnel through content syndication are no different. In fact, almost all of the leads you generate through content syndication will need additional information and engagement before they’re ready to talk to sales.
Why new contacts from content syndication need to be nurtured
Think of it this way: content syndication works by amplifying the reach of your content through promotion to a larger audience across multiple channels. That means that the leads you generate will almost always be top-of-funnel, and most of the time, they will not have heard of your company. These early-stage prospects need to be nurtured in a strategic way to help them move along their buying journey.
Solidify brand awareness
Put yourself in the shoes of a lead generated by a content syndication campaign. They encountered your content on a third-party channel or publisher and were compelled to download an asset on a specific topic that they care about. They’ve expressed interest in a topic, not your product. In fact, depending on when and where your lead encountered your content, they may have zero recollection of your brand at all.
This is why you need a nurture strategy for content syndication lead generation that provides additional information about the problem they’re trying to solve — and important context about your brand and product. Going straight from their initial download to contact from a sales team member isn’t going to generate the conversion rates you’re looking for.
Gather additional data
If you partnered with a content syndication vendor with a global network of verified leads, it’s a good bet your leads are high-quality and fall within your ideal customer profile (ICP). And you probably received a lot of valuable data about your leads that you can use to segment and prioritize your marketing and sales outreach.
But if you’re syndicating content yourself across social media channels or partner sites, you may need to gather more information about your leads before you can even designate them as marketing-qualified leads (MQLs).
In both cases, monitoring how your syndication leads engage with your nurture campaigns can be downright invaluable. Tracking open and clickthrough rates across different subject lines, content offers, and CTAs can tell you a lot about a lead’s interests and intent.
You can also get quite a bit of information from third-party data sources, and account intelligence platforms, like Klarity. The more information you have, the more you can customize and connect with different audiences as you roll out your lead nurture strategy.
Top strategies for nurturing leads from content syndication
No matter what vendor you work with, how much data you have, or the approach you take to content syndication, lead nurturing is a must — but how does it differ from all your other nurture programs? And how do you actually customize your approach to nurturing content syndication leads?
Let’s dive into some of the top nurture strategies for content syndication lead generation.
Assemble relevant content
As you plan your nurture campaign, consider the initial asset your prospects downloaded as the first step in their journey. Every piece of content they encounter in your follow-up emails should naturally continue the conversation.
As you start planning your nurture campaigns, look at your existing content and assemble a collection of assets that relate to the topic of the content you promoted in your syndication campaign. Evaluate your existing content performance data to identify which pieces tend to see higher clickthrough rates in email campaigns, conversion rates from PPC campaigns, or social engagement. This helps you figure out which assets are most likely to engage your content syndication leads.
Ideally, your content collection will include assets tailored to every stage of the customer journey (awareness, consideration, evaluation, and purchase) and every industry within your ICP. You also want to share a diverse number of content types to appeal to different individual tastes and preferences, such as blog posts, videos, infographics, webinars, and whitepapers. And since these leads are already enrolled in your campaigns, you don’t need to gate these assets.
Assembling your content collection in advance helps you identify any gaps in your content library. For example, if you don’t have any mid-funnel assets (like case studies) that will resonate with a key industry, you may want to invest in creating one before you build your nurture campaign.
Segment your leads
Segmenting your content syndication leads allows you to personalize your outreach — delivering the right message at the right time to the right prospect. When you personalize your nurturing content, you’ll deliver even more value to your leads, and increase the likelihood that they’ll engage with your content and move along the funnel.
For example, you might segment your syndicated leads by:
- Industry (such as tech, media, or healthcare)
- Company size (such as 0-500 employees, 500-1000, or 1000+)
- Job titles or seniority levels (such as C-suite, VPs, or individual contributors)
- Prospects who use competitor products
Most marketing teams have a default campaign that reflects the different stages of the customer journey, but applies to all industries and company sizes. But when you have the content available, you can target your leads with more personalized content and messaging.
Using the segmentation example above, here’s how a personalized content syndication lead nurture campaign might progress:
- Email 1: Share an industry-specific research report that highlights a common problem your product is designed to solve
- Email 2: Link to a guide that covers best practices medium-sized businesses looking to solve this problem
- Email 3: Share a product comparison sheet that describes how your solution outperforms the competition
This kind of segmentation and personalization helps you enroll prospects in campaigns that are hyper-targeted to meet their specific needs and answer their most pressing questions. Sharing more relevant content builds more credibility and speeds up your leads’ progression along their buying journey.
Bonus tip: Use ABM display advertising to subtly nudge your lead and keep your brand top of mind as the decision-making process progresses.
Determine your lead scoring model
Lead nurturing is all about preparing leads for a one-on-one conversation with sales. But how do you know when a lead is sales-ready? Lead scoring.
Lead scoring provides a quantitative approach to qualifying leads and moving them along the buying journey in a structured way. With a lead scoring model, you assign a pre-determined amount of points to a prospect based on their characteristics or behaviors. Once a lead “earns” enough points to cross a specific threshold, they’re considered ready for one-on-one conversations with sales.
One important note: lead scoring is a team sport, so get your sales and marketing teams in a room together. You’ll want everyone to be in agreement on which activities or characteristics generate how many points.
For example, you might assign more points to a lead in healthcare versus finance, if you know that your product is well-established and trusted within the healthcare industry but new and unproven in finance. Or, you could assign a low number of points to a prospect who reads an introductory blog post — but a higher number to a lead who visits your pricing page and watches a product demo.
Here are just a few ways leads can be assessed during nurture campaigns:
|Actions to Consider||Points Assigned to actions|
|Visiting website||Lead views pricing page: +15|
|Frequent visits to website||Continued website visits: +3 for each visit|
|Downloading content||Case study download: +20|
|Attending an event||Webinar attendee: +25|
|Using live chat capability||Chat inquiry: +100|
|Filling out form inquiries||Form inquiry: +100|
|Opening emails||Email open: +1|
|Clicking on an email||Email click: +3|
|Viewing a video||Video view: +20 |
Lead scoring also helps the sales team prioritize who should be contacted first — and understand what kind of content a lead has engaged with prior to having a conversation. This kind of data-driven approach helps improve conversions and drive revenue, creating even better results for your content syndication campaigns.
Determine your sales handoff threshold
The final stage of your lead scoring model is a sales handoff threshold — the moment when an MQL (marketing-qualified lead) is ready to move on to a conversation with sales.
Set this threshold for your content syndication nurture campaigns in agreement with sales, getting everyone to agree on how many points is enough to warrant contact with sales:
- How many bottom-of-funnel content downloads?
- How many email clicks?
- What job titles?
- Which industries?
It’s essential for sales and marketing to be on the same page about what this number should be. According to Gartner, 64% of sales reps say they’re more likely to follow up on marketing-qualified leads (MQLs) if they’ve agreed to the qualification criteria in advance.
Build an email nurture campaign
Once you have your leads segmented, your content assembled, and your lead scoring model developed, you can start to build email nurture campaigns that will drive deeper engagement with your leads.
Since the goal of your nurture campaign is to move leads further along the funnel, you’ll want to strategically share additional content and messages that gradually progress from introductory and problem-focused to positioning your brand as a trusted solution.
When leads enter the funnel through content syndication, consider the initial asset they downloaded as the starting point of your conversation. From there, you’ll map out subsequent emails for every segment, with as much personalization as your content library will support.
Regardless of the segment, you’ll want to focus your initial touches on the problem your leads need to solve. Ebooks, blog posts, and webinar recordings can be great assets to share early on in your nurture sequence.
As your leads engage with your content, gradually shift to more direct messaging about your brand and product. Assets like case studies, buying checklists, and product comparisons can help prospects learn about your specific solution and become ripe for a one-on-one conversation with sales. Eventually, prospects who are ready to buy will engage with enough content to cross the threshold and be handed off to sales.
Analyze and refine your nurture campaign
As always in B2B marketing, never stop measuring performance and refining your campaigns. Track which nurture campaigns convert the most MQLs to SQLs. Monitor which subject lines or assets drive the most engagement, and which pieces of content appear to fall flat. You can continually refine and test your content and copy to improve results.
And don’t forget to gather feedback from the sales team on leads that eventually convert to customers, as well as those that are returned to marketing after their conversations with sales fail to close a deal. They may have valuable insights into questions that you could answer earlier in your nurture sequences, or identify customer segments that need more personalized content to prepare them for sales.
Start generating high-quality leads
One caveat to everything we’ve just covered about how to nurture leads from content syndication: Even the best campaigns won’t drive results if your leads are lacking in quality in the first place.
Don’t waste time nurturing leads that will never be a good fit for your product — or, worse yet, handing them off to sales. Working with a trusted vendor ensures your content syndication campaigns will produce high-quality leads that fall within your ICP, with a manageable and predictable cost-per-lead.
Learn more in our recent webinar on upgrading your content syndication approach. We cover the benefits of free vs. paid content syndication, how to strengthen your ROI, and share a before-and-after example from a real-world syndication campaign.
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