This post was contributed by Mikolaj Podgórski at Survicate.

Lead nurturing with personalization turns prospects into customers. Now you can map your survey response fields to custom fields inside ActiveCampaign with the Survicate native app integration. Learn more here.

It’s 2020, and the way customers consume content has forced businesses to look for ways to better personalize it. After all, no-one wants to read about stuff they’re not interested in, and the same applies to your leads. If you want to move leads down the funnel faster, you need to understand what they like. You’ll then be able to better communicate with them around those topics.

What is lead nurturing?

Lead nurturing is the process of engaging a defined target group by providing personalized, persona-targeted content and information at each stage of the buyer’s journey. The ultimate goal of lead nurturing is to get leads to become your paying customers.

Let’s say you have a database full of leads you’d like to nurture. How do you go about it, exactly? Your prospects submitted a contact form and provided basic information such as their name and job title. What about the more revealing details like their pain points, interests, or preferences? What are the biggest decision-making factors they consider? When do they hope to make a purchase?

These are all critical bits of information about your leads that will help you map out the best lead nurturing strategy. If you asked all those questions in a lead form, your prospects would be discouraged and wouldn’t submit it. And that’s where surveys come into play!

Surveys are the missing piece to effective lead segmentation and nurturing. With a marketing automation platform, you can track user activity and behavior. This certainly helps, but asking your prospects directly will let you get to know them better.

That’s why some of the best marketers around the world use surveys as a complementary tool to lead forms and user activity tracking. I’ve found that you need to select a survey tool that integrates natively with your marketing automation platform. This will allow you to map survey responses to your leads’ contact profiles, which in turn lets you trigger follow-up nurture campaigns, improve lead scoring, and personalize your nurturing efforts. You’ll also keep all relevant lead data in one place!

Here are 4 ways you can use surveys to get more leads and nurture them at every stage of the funnel:

  1. Use surveys to prioritize Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs)
  2. Discover your prospects’ pain points through surveys
  3. Fine-tune your nurture program with a reader interest and preferences survey
  4. Reactivate free trial users or silent Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs) with surveys

In the article, I’ll also discuss:

  • When and how should you nurture your leads?
  • Key takeaways for using surveys to nurture your leads

1. Use surveys to prioritize Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs)

What better way to tell a hot lead from a cold lead than by using surveys? It might seem that knowing your prospects’ first name, business email, and position isn’t particularly helpful, but that’s not entirely correct.

Once you have those details, you can send your leads a survey. Try asking them how urgently they need to make a purchase. You’ll be able to tell which of your Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) are ready to buy, and which need more nurturing and convincing.

Suppose that your lead has taken the time to submit a contact form on your website. This means that they’re ready to build rapport with you. Now you need to make good use of it. Send them an automated confirmation email with a survey, or a sequence of emails.

You have a good reason to reach out to your prospects: They’ve filled out your Contact Form. Tell your prospects that answering a few additional questions will help you better assist them. Here are a couple of questions you can ask your prospects:

  • What does your evaluation process consist of?
  • How likely are you to make a buying decision within the next 2 months?
  • Do you have a budget allocated to this?
  • Who, besides you, is involved in making a decision?

Not only will you be able to prioritize leads, but they’ll also see that you genuinely want to help them. Depending on how ready a given prospect is to buy, you can have your sales team take over. You can also assign leads to different nurturing campaigns depending on their survey responses. As you can see, the benefits are endless!

2. Discover your prospects’ pain points through surveys

Each buying decision stems from a need. That’s why you need to discover why the prospective customer needs your product or service. Try asking questions such as:

  • What are the three biggest challenges you’d like us to solve for you?
  • What would you like to accomplish by solving those pain points?
  • Who are the likely consequences if you don’t solve them?

The only way to map out the right marketing strategy and win over your leads is by knowing their pain points. Use insights collected from surveys to provide prospects with personalized, persona-targeted content and resources.

Make sure that your prospects see added value in what your product offers, what problems it solves, and how it’s better than your competition. Now that you know what they struggle with, all you need to do is route prospects to different lead nurturing programs depending on what challenges they’re facing.

3. Fine-tune your nurture program with a reader interest and preferences survey

Research by Clutch reveals that 73% of respondents have made a purchase as a result of viewing marketing content. Your blog can be one of your biggest lead sources — what better place to ask prospects what they’d like to read about next, then incentivize those leads with more personalized content?

You could also use this survey as an opportunity to fine-tune your nurture programs. If each prospective customer is one generic email list, you’re not likely to succeed. That’s why you need to personalize your nurture programs.

Discover what are your leads’ preferences when it comes to topics, content types, and how often they expect to hear from you. The way they keep abreast of industry news might differ from person to person, so make sure to cover all possible scenarios. Try asking the following or similar questions:

  • What would you like to read about next?
  • What is your preferred content type (webinars, articles, blog posts, podcasts, ebooks, videos)?
  • How often would you like to receive new content?
  • How do you normally keep abreast of industry news?

Use those insights to map out an effective content strategy and craft more targeted lead nurture campaigns. Put up a non-disruptive website widget survey on your blog articles and ask any of the questions mentioned above.

You can add leads to specific ActiveCampaign lists and automations based on their responses. That way, you’ll make sure your prospects receive engaging content that resonates with them.

If you give your users the content they want how and when they want it, you’ll forge more meaningful relationships with them. And, ultimately, you’ll improve your conversion rates.

4. Reactivate free trial users or silent Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs)

Do you have Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs) that have gone silent on you? Or trial users who didn’t convert? Don’t worry, all of us have been there! Surveys give you a great chance to find out why your prospects lost interest, and if they’re ready to reconnect.

Try sending a small incentive (for example, a $5 Amazon gift card) to ask your leads whether they are still in the buying cycle and what prevented them from converting. By doing so, you’ll be able to remove obstacles from the funnel for your future prospects. You’ll also learn if your previous SQLs are ready to revisit your product or service.

Since you haven’t heard from them in a while, you need a smart way to get them talking. For the best results, we recommend that you embed a survey directly in the email to make it more engaging and easier to answer.

Some questions you can ask silent SQLs and expired trials include:

  • What’s the one thing we can do so you give us another try?
  • What are the three features you’d like us to introduce to our free trial?
  • Is now a good time for you to revisit our product?

If someone tells you they’re ready to reconnect, you’ll be able to put your old prospects and leads back on your priority list, and apply new nurturing strategies to win them over!

When and how should I nurture my leads?

If you’d like to use surveys for lead nurturing, you need to make sure you aren’t pitching the product too early in the buyer’s journey. That’s why you need to approach your leads with neutral, relevant questions. Any actions you take need to directly relate to their answers.

You can combine surveys with website visitor behavior data (such as site tracking) to customize messaging and pre-qualify leads. For example, if someone visits your blog articles (as opposed to pricing or product features pages), it’s not the best idea to pitch your product just yet.

Conversely, if a prospect visits a page that compares your product or service to the competition, it’s about time you offered them a demo.

For full-context information about your leads, always ask them about their goals, preferences, and interests. Surveys are a great way to do that. Then combine survey data with user behavior information and create different lead nurturing journeys for each answer.

Conclusion: Key takeaways for using surveys to nurture your leads

Your conversion rates depend on two things:

  1. How well you understand your leads
  2. How well you customize their journey, starting the very moment they become your prospects

You also need to pay attention to where in the customer journey a given lead is. If they found your blog via organic search and said in a survey that they’re interested in educational content, they’re likely not ready to learn about your product yet. You’re better off nurturing them with content that’s more educational than promotional.

Surveys are the best way to get a wealth of information about your leads and put it to good use. For example, if a prospect shares that their biggest challenge is the lack of CRM, you’ll be able to market to them effectively and provide content related to CRM tools.

As you use surveys to better understand your prospective customers, you’ll get a bunch of information about them. That’s why it’s important that your survey tool is natively integrated with your marketing automation platform. After all, you’ll want to keep all your prospect data and feedback conveniently in one place.

One recommended method would be to use the Survicate and ActiveCampaign integration, which helps you capture customer data so you can personalize your automation campaigns and increase your conversion rates. Learn more about the Survicate and ActiveCampaign integration here.