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Beyond Lead Generation: The Importance of Nurturing New Leads

Last month we talked about acing your landing pages to generate new leads. But, just like fruits, not all leads come ready to be picked: some spent more time basking in the web's sun and absorbing nutritious information. Resolution is a temperate fruit, and your task is to make sure the conditions are right for it to ripen.

So what are the right conditions?

  • Need. A prospect must have a clear need for your product or service (and the fact that they may have downloaded a whitepaper isn’t proof enough—in fact, most of the visitors to a website aren’t ready to make a purchase according to Marqui Inc and other experts, but are merely gathering information)
  • Compatibility. If the prospect can indeed benefit from your product/service, they’ll have to be confident that it can adequately meet their needs—and do so better than the competition.
  • Trust. You might have a great product, but unless the prospect feels confident about you they’ll never proceed to make a purchase.
  • Affordability. Even the best service/product from the most trustworthy company is worthless to a prospect who can’t afford it.

A lead nurturing program is like the bridge between your marketing and sales departments. The sad reality is that salespeople are concerned with opportunities rather than with leads. SiriusDecisions research group has found that up to 80% of prospects discarded by sales teams have gone on to make a purchase from competitors within 24 months.

So the goal of a lead nurturing program is to:

  • Keep your company fresh in the minds of prospects
  • Establish need, compatibility, and trust
  • Determine when a lead is sale-ready

There are different services that can help manage and automate your lead nurturing program by creating a sequence of emails to be sent out in a specific order. John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing has put together a helpful list of 10 Small Business Lead Nurturing Tools.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Mind the ‘From’ and ‘Title’ fields. The prospect must recognize the sender. They must also get an idea of why they're getting the email and how it pertains to them. Avoid spammy-looking phrases or abusing characters (as in: ‘You HAVE to Read This!!!’ or 'Make BIG $$$')
  • Keep it relevant. As human beings, we can actually be trained very easily—for better or for worse. You want your emails to be associated with value. The worst thing you can do is train a prospect to take you as irrelevant—it’s a straight passage to the junk box, and there’s no coming back from there.
  • Don’t blast too frequently. Prospects have more to do throughout their day than go through your emails, and you don’t want your messages to go unread. That’s another behavioral training: if they skip two, it’ll be just as easy for them to go on skipping the rest.
  • Consistency. Once you have set an expectation, make sure you stick to it—with the same frequency, quality, and relevance. This will gain you another valuable brownie point: reliability. In this game, you can never have enough brownie points.
  • Go from early stage to late-stage offers. According to hubspot, an introductory offer will appeal to a broad audience and achieve high conversion-rate but can’t reliably indicate that someone is sale-ready. On the other hand, a late-stage offer will generate less interest but attract those who are likely ready to make a commitment. (The first can be downloading a whitepaper; the latter signing up for a free-trial) This is an important distinction and incorporating both with help you strike a balance between generating leads and identifying where they are along the conversion cycle).

By sending consistent, valuable information and strategically planned offers, you will sort out the sale-ready leads from those who need more time, meanwhile providing the latter with the nourishment necessary for their resolution to ripen. A lead nurturing program should be an integral part of your marketing efforts. With patience and commitment, you too will ultimately pick the fruits of your effort.

Related Articles:

  1. 5 Tips to Help You Effectively Use Landing Pages to Generate More Qualified Leads
  2. Know Your Leads: A Look at How Call Stats Can Help Improve Your Marketing Performance
  3. The Inbound Marketing Revolution: Inbound vs Outbound Marketing - what’s the Difference, and what's it to you?
  4. Inbound Marketing University: a Great Resource for Small Business Owners

posted by Maty Grosman @ 3:22 PM