Before you can launch a successful nurture marketing campaign, you must define your audience. The objective is to know your target audience well enough to create nurture campaigns that feel personal to them by speaking to their specific concerns. You can narrow down whom you’re targeting by segmenting them according to specific qualities in the following groups:
- Why they would buy
- Relevant products or services
- Influence in buying process
- Top three motivating factors
- Research channels
- Preferred communication channels
- Type of nurturing campaign
Don’t try to target too many different types of roles, industries, and buyers in one nurturing campaign; personalize the message to groups that encompass at most a few roles. Solicit and incorporate feedback and insight from the full spectrum of marketing and sales – including customer success managers, account managers, support team members, and customer-facing roles – when deciding which prospect belongs in which group.
For an audience definition, you need to know:
- The titles and roles of individuals – are they decision makers? Influencers? Those who control the budget? Define the axis of influence for your typical audience member.
- The products that will resonate with them.
- Their influence in the buying process.
- Their issues, pain points, or motivating factors – why is the audience out shopping for a new solution? What’s making them want something better? A good place to start figuring this out is with your existing customers; ask the people who fall into this audience segment what they were experiencing that led them to a purchase. What was going on in their organization? What were the pressure points that your product alleviated?
- The sources of information they find most valuable and trustworthy. Where and to whom do they turn when doing research? Are there particular websites or journals they look to? Do they go for traditional sources (newspapers, conferences) or more current ones (Facebook, LinkedIn)? Sometimes there are several different types of media that all have influence, enabling you to repurpose the same content across multiple channels.
To determine the appropriate number of audiences or segments, start with two or three target audiences or segments. They should be sizeable (of sufficient size to target and measure), stable (the target audience doesn’t change quickly or move between segments), and identifiable (you can easily identify current and new members of the target audience).
In order to segment your audience, you can use a number of methods.
- Using demographic data or BANT (budget, authority, need, and timing) data is the traditional way to define an audience; however, fewer than 20% of B2B buyers go through a formal buying process, which renders traditional methods ineffective. Even if your audience is in a buying cycle, the BANT data, particularly the budget component, is possibly ineffective for more than 8 out of 10 buying decisions.
- That said, don’t completely throw out demographic and BANT data. You can still use historical data to segment based on titles, company type, revenue, industry, size, and so on, especially if you have good data about the types of companies and people who have made purchases in the past.
- Take into consideration some other ideas, such as the audience’s influence or role in the buying cycle, and build out an audience matrix specific to that, assuming you’re creating content that is very specific to that audience as well.
To learn about the five reasons to nurture and the ten top strategies for success, read “The Lead Nurturing 5@10“.