Generating leads is an essential part of your marketing strategy. It’s not enough to just collect leads—they need to be nurtured consistently so they’re converted into customers. Leads are just potential customers, and nurturing your leads is how you turn those potential customers into paying customers.
Throughout this blog, we’ll cover the following:
Definition of Lead Nurturing
Lead nurturing is the art of persuading leads, over time, to buy from you. More specifically, it’s a strategy where you keep leads engaged over time by anticipating what they want and need based on their demographics and anything else you can learn about them.
Each time you communicate with a lead, your goal is to either get that lead to do a specific action or give you more information that you can use to convert them. When you have more information about your prospects, you can craft specific marketing messages that speak directly to their needs, which is how you’ll convert more leads.
One of the most common examples of lead nurturing is when a company sends out emails that link to new blog posts that contain interesting or insightful information, videos, interviews, webinars, or anything else their particular audience will find valuable. However, you can nurture leads through other methods, like phone calls and direct mail.
What It Means to Generate Leads vs. Nurture Them
Leads are valuable, and it’s ideal to have a large email subscriber list, but that alone won’t get you sales. Neither will sending out random emails every so often. Emailing prospects that have engaged with your brand is the main method for implementing lead nurturing, but you still need a strategy to get results.
While there will always be leads who buy from you with little effort from your sales team, most leads will need to be actively encouraged to do business with your organization. This is where lead nurturing comes into play.
Why Lead Nurturing Is Important for Lead Generation?
Not every prospect is ready to become a sales opportunity after the first point of contact, making lead nurturing an essential part of the sales development process.
When it comes down to it, there are three main benefits you can get from nurturing your leads: more revenue, greater trust from your prospects, and the opportunity to build a positive brand reputation.
Ultimately, lead nurturing drives more revenue for your company by moving leads closer to making a purchase. Lead nurturing takes prospects, wherever they are, and moves them forward over time, with the end goal being to generate a sale. For example, you might have leads who want to buy your product but aren’t yet convinced your brand is the best choice. Over time, you can nurture these leads into recognizing that your brand is what they want.
Given enough time and the right strategy, you can also nurture curious leads into becoming paying customers. These are people who were just researching and weren’t even considering a purchase when they signed up for your email list. In this situation, over time, your emails will positively influence them until they desire your product or service.
Another aspect of lead nurturing involves calls from your sales team. If your sales team is conversing with leads live, your email nurturing efforts will help them secure more sales appointments, which will contribute to more revenue.
Build Trust With Prospects
Building trust with your leads is all about building and maintaining relationships. When your prospects feel like you know them well and have their best interests in mind, they’re going to trust you more. Even though they’re the ones giving you information about themselves, using that information to provide them with relevant messages tells your leads you’re paying attention.
In a sea of marketing emails that don’t offer value, lead nurturing gives you the opportunity to stand out. It’s your opportunity to build trust with your prospects by showing them they can count on you to deliver value even in your emails. Once you capture their attention through your emails, they’ll be more likely to open your emails and eventually become paying customers.
Build a Good Brand Reputation
Even when your leads aren’t ready to buy, if your email marketing campaign provides them with insightful, inspiring, or helpful content, they’ll remember that. The emails you use to nurture leads will support you in building a positive brand image.
Most Common Lead Nurturing Strategies
The foundation of every lead nurturing strategy is to narrow down a target market. Successfully nurturing leads requires having a narrow market that you can reach with specific messaging. However, with email segmentation, you can reach multiple segments at once.
A few of the most common lead nurturing strategies include:
Lead segmentation is when you apply tags to your leads based on information you know about them. Each tag, or segment, is like a category or group. Once you have leads segmented, you can send emails only to people within that group. For instance, you can segment your leads by gender, age, location, occupation, or whether they own a pet. You can create segments according to whatever is important to your company.
A lead’s initial tags will come from your web form when they sign up for your email list. However, your form should be short and sweet, so you won’t get too much information at that time. To get more information from your leads so you can segment them better, you want to get those leads to click links in your emails.
For instance, your emails might contain questions that ask your leads to click a certain link based on their answer. When a lead clicks a particular link, they are given a tag on the back end. That tag puts them in a specific segment that allows you to send them even more targeted emails.
Once you have a solid lead segmenting system in place, that’s when you can launch high-level strategies that move leads in and out of pre-made email sequences based on applying and removing tags.
Automated Email Sequences
At a basic level, most organizations have a set number of emails they send to their subscribers and that’s it – once they reach the end of the sequence, there’s no more communication. Organizations using advanced strategies might have anywhere between 5-10 different email sequences, with new ones being created regularly.
Here’s what an advanced email sequence strategy might look like: a new lead will be added to your general email sequence until they click on a link that indicates they’re ready to buy. This might happen at email #3 or email #14. At that point, they’ll be removed from the general sequence and dropped into another sequence specifically designed to reach them where they are in the buying journey based on the link they clicked.
This cycle is then repeated based on what leads express interest in by clicking (or buying), and the process moves them away from general email messages and drops them into email sequences with a more specific focus. The end result is more conversions.
When leads click links, where do they go? That depends on your company and what’s relevant to your customers. However, generally speaking, you’ll want to provide links that serve three purposes: links that lead to a purchase, provide value, and help you fill in the gaps in their contact record.
Links that lead to purchase basically say something like, “click here to buy this product/service.” Links that provide value are links that go to blog posts, white papers, webinars, case studies, or anything else of value. You can use these links to fill in contact record gaps.
For instance, in order for someone to access your white papers, they’ll need to provide a couple more bits of information, such as their industry and job title. This process of filling in the gaps is known as “progressive profiling.”
Making Warm Calls
Warm calls are a highly effective way to nurture your leads. A call is considered warm when they have already interacted with your business and generally are expecting some kind of contact. Maybe they’ve given you their phone number in a web form or they’ve specifically asked to be contacted via phone to discuss things further. The point is that warm leads are already primed for your sales call.
Although cold calls can be effective, warm calls are easier to close. It still takes time, skill, and persistence to close a deal with a warm call, but it’s one of the most common and effective ways to nurture your leads.
Messaging Prospects on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is an excellent resource for generating B2B leads for your business. You can find prospects on LinkedIn by searching for keywords in your industry, skills, experience, or even specific companies. The best part about emailing prospects on LinkedIn is that once you add someone to your network, messaging them is GDPR-compliant.
There are several different ways to engage people to warm them up before messaging them. For instance, you can comment on, like, or reshare their posts. Engaging in some way before messaging prospects on LinkedIn will make your relationship more natural. You’ll need to do a little work to capture and nurture leads from LinkedIn, but it’s worth the effort.
Multi-Channel Lead Nurturing Approach
Multi-channel lead nurturing delivers your marketing messages across multiple platforms. For instance, you might deliver marketing messages through email, blog posts, paid ads using remarketing, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
When you make use of multi-channel lead nurturing, your leads will spend less time in your sales pipeline. You’ll reach them more frequently with your marketing messages, which will help them convert faster.
Lead Nurturing Best Practices
When you’re focused on nurturing your leads, keep the following best practices in mind.
Be Professionally Persistent
Your sales reps need to find that fine line between being decently persistent and overly persistent to the point of annoying your prospects. You can’t please everyone all the time, so your sales reps should have a strong stomach and the ability to handle rejection without taking it personally. This is the only way they’ll be able to develop a persistence that isn’t easily shaken.
How often should your sales reps follow up with a prospect? According to a Brevet study, 80% of deals require an average of five follow-up interactions to succeed. However, 44% of sales reps give up after just one unsuccessful follow-up. After four follow-ups, 94% of sales reps give up. The takeaway here is that you need to train your sales representatives to not give up so soon.
What about email? Some people believe that sending emails too frequently will make you lose your leads, but that’s only true when you’re not delivering value. There is no magic number, since the perfect frequency will vary between industries and businesses. However, data shows that more frequent emails get better results.
Data from analyzing 199 million emails sent by eight major clothing brands shows that the ideal frequency is 6.21 emails per week. However, just sending out emails isn’t going to make people read your emails or generate a response. You also need to have a targeted list of people who want to hear from you and your emails need to provide value. This brings us to the next best practice.
Over-Deliver on Value
When coming up with ideas for delivering value to your prospects, take it one step further and over-deliver. Competition in some industries is fierce, and you’ll need to step up your game to capture attention, get your emails read, and get your prospects to interact.
At the very least, you want to send your prospects emails with content that is relevant to what they want, need, and expect. It should be as valuable as possible. Some highly successful entrepreneurs even go as far as giving away some of their best material that would normally be paid because it helps them generate more paying clients.
How a CRM Helps You Prioritize Leads in the Sales Pipeline
A good customer relationship management (CRM) tool will help you prioritize your leads in the sales pipeline in several ways, including:
- Gives you access to prospect data at a glance. Your sales team can look at each prospect’s entry to see where they are currently in the sales pipeline and what action needs to happen to move them to the next stage. Their contact information will also be visible, along with their purchase history, if applicable.
- Automates lead scoring capabilities. Automated lead scoring will help your sales team keep track of how hot each lead is based on an automatically assigned score.
- Provides real-time updates on leads. All sales personnel can see the status of each lead in real-time. This eliminates the need to pass files back and forth, make phone calls, or send emails about each lead.
If you’ve never used CRM software, or you have a CRM you aren’t sure how to use, it’s worth learning inside and out. Your CRM software is a huge asset in your lead nurturing efforts.
Lead nurturing is a sales development approach that helps you move prospects through your sales pipeline until you secure a sale. Companies that are successful with lead nurturing end up generating 50% more hot leads at a 33% lower cost. Nurturing your leads will not only generate more revenue, but it will also help you develop a strong brand reputation and earn your prospects’ trust.
At Abstrakt Marketing Group, our lead generation specialists are well-versed in lead nurturing and follow all the best practices to effectively guide leads to the end of the sales funnel. If you need help finding and nurturing relationships with leads in your sales pipeline, contact the business growth experts at Abstrakt!
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