At its core, lead nurture is about one goal: Getting people to take action. But too frequently, marketers are so focused on the end behavior — the purchase — that we neglect the small actions along the way that make it easier for a prospective customer to ultimately convert. Behavior design fills that gap.
Here’s the rub, spurring a prospect to engage in a large behavior — like a purchase — is significantly more challenging than nudging them to take a series of small, simple actions whose momentum builds their motivation to convert. These are actions like: fill out an assessment to match themselves to a product; download a white paper that helps them over a hurdle; read a case study that reduces their uncertainty about a product; or participate in a demo that builds their understanding of how a service will integrate into their systems.
When mapping out content for a nurture path, it’s important to think about the small actions prospects can take on their way through the customer journey that will either motivate them to act or increase their ability to move forward.
Is the prospect motivated by sensation (seeking pleasure/avoiding pain), expectation (seeking hope/avoiding fear) or belonging (seeking acceptance/avoiding rejection)?
Here’s an example: When we integrated motivation into mapping the customer journey of an adult child seeking senior living for an older adult in his or her life, we discovered that reducing anxiety about the unknown was a significant motivator. We responded by prompting prospect behaviors that help make the unknown known. Our nurture path was built to include simple, valuable actions such as downloading a checklist designed to make tough conversations about the future a little easier or watching videos of current residents speaking about how senior living made them feel more independent. By illustrating the realities of this shift, illuminating the path ahead and reducing anxiety, we keep our client in the prospect’s consideration set, and build a relationship of growing trust, which motivates the prospect to move forward in the customer journey.
Is the prospect’s perception of cost, time, the mental effort it takes to understand what to do next, the physical effort required to take the next step, or the fact that the desired action is not part of their normal routine blocking them from moving forward?
Here’s an example: When evaluating the nurture stream of a technology platform, we discovered that the program was very focused on a singular component of ability: mental effort. The company’s nurture program was highly focused on making it easy for prospects to understand how to use the platform. However, the email stream did not focus on one component of ability that was likely blocking a segment of the audience from converting: cost. We recommended integrating cost/value content into their future program, so that prospects would be more likely to move forward in the customer journey after having completed a cost calculator or read a case study that accentuated the value of the platform.
Integrating motivation and ability into customer journey mapping not only helps clarify prospects’ wants and needs at each stage, but also accelerates movement through the journey as content speaks to motivating factors and tears down ability hurdles. It’s a path to purposeful content planning, stronger CTAs and greater value exchange.