Your First Lead Nurturing Campaign: What You Need to Know
The art of lead nurturing has been widely discussed on the Web, and although there’s no shortage of information on the subject, the process of actually starting a lead nurturing campaign can be somewhat intimidating, and only gets easier as you go. But you have to start somewhere. So how can you be sure that you’re starting your first lead nurturing campaign off on the right foot? Below are some practical tips to help guide your efforts on this exciting new aspect of your marketing strategy.
- Remember that the core premise of lead nurturing is relationship building. In a nutshell, lead nurturing boils down to building an authentic relationship with the customer. As with any meaningful relationship, lead nurturing requires consistent investments of time and effort before you will see any measurable return. This is one of the most intimidating aspects of lead nurturing to newcomers – they fear that all of their efforts will ultimately come up short and not pay off. While no marketing campaign will have you batting a thousand in the leads department, you have to approach lead nurturing with a degree of trust that your work will produce some type of benefit. This can be hard to do, but you have to be willing to commit to the process in order to experience real results.
- Develop a solid lead scoring system. In terms of readiness to purchase, all leads are not created equal, and this is one of the keys of lead nurturing – you have to be able to recognize what phase of the buying process your leads are in. The best way to do this is to first establish a target persona, which is basically a composite sketch of the characteristics and qualities of an ideal sales-ready prospect. Develop a scoring system that will determine if your prospect is ready to buy, or if he/she will need more nurturing before making a purchase. You can use an alphabetical system (e.g., A, B, C or D leads), a numerical ranking system (e.g., 1 through 5), a “temperature-based” system (e.g., cold, warm or hot leads), or any other number of scoring mechanisms. Just make sure that the system you select is easily understandable and replicable.
- Make your communications customizable. Involving your prospects in something as simple as communications preferences will do wonders towards strengthening your relationship with them. Find out from them what types of communications they would like to receive from you (e.g., emails, text messages, direct mail, etc.). Ask them how often they would like to hear from you (e.g., daily, weekly, once a month, etc.). Also find out what their primary interests are; this will help you better match their preferences with the product or service offering that suits their needs.
- Stay in touch with prospects who are not quite ready to make a purchase. Use the information you obtained about their communication preferences to drip-feed relevant content to them. One of the most powerful aspects of lead nurturing is informative content. Educate your prospects on the different features of your products or services. Provide them with how-to videos relative to your product or service offerings. A word of caution: Try not to make this content seem like one big glorified sales pitch. Provide content that is genuinely helpful and engaging, and offer it with no strings attached.
- Establish a solid follow-up strategy. Create a timeline that includes intermittent follow-up communications to the leads that have purchased from you. Many times businesses spend so much time and energy obtaining new leads that they forget the gold mine that’s already in their hands by way of repeat customers. Treat your long-standing customers with the same respect and gravity that you treat new leads. You’ll be amazed at how your referral traffic will grow by exercising this one vital principle.
As a general rule, more than 90 percent of your website visitors are there to do research initially, but over the long haul, 70 percent or more of those visitors will end up buying a product or service from you. By utilizing the above tips, you’ll nurture a healthy relationship with your prospects and customers – regardless of their particular stage of sales-readiness – and eventually earn their business in the process.