What is lead nurturing?
Lead nurturing is what it sounds like: continually providing support and nourishment to leads by anticipating their needs and sending them new, fantastic content that is interesting, educational and relevant.
Lead nurturing is not new – it’s a process that has been used by quality sales and marketing people for years. To nurture a prospect, you take them on a journey until the time is right and they are ready to buy. The major difference between traditional lead nurturing and today is you are touching your prospects using social media, email marketing and blogging.
These people gave you permission to contact them when they signed up for your offer. If you ignore them, you will let these leads turn cold and possibly drive them to buy from your competition.
Why do you need to nurture your leads?
According to Brian Carroll, Executive Director of Applied Research, MECLABS (parent company of MarketingSherpa), “most lead nurturing programs don’t begin to impact conversion before at least five meaningful touches, and that it’s important to continue nurturing leads whether it takes five touches or 25 touches to get them to the sales-ready point”.
This means you must provide information to help your leads move through the buying decision process. Begin to communicate with them, offering valuable information and “can’t say no” offers every time you touch them. These meaningful touches must provide the value they expect so they begin to differentiate you from the competition.
Sounds Good – Now How Do I Do This?
You need to understand your audience and know what type of information they need. Then craft a plan that sends the right information to them at the right time without becoming a pest. But, if it were that easy, we all would be wallowing in the fruits of our success.
If you have created a content marketing strategy for your business, it should include the content you will need in order to provide the right content at the right time depending on where these leads are in the buyer’s journey. Sending strategic content to those who have opted into your list, you can take them from being a cool lead to a hot prospect.
Lead generation and lead nurturing
Content you create will depend on the complexity of your product or service. Small businesses primarily need educational content that helps your prospect understand:
- Who are you and what do you offer?
- Are you an expert in your field?
- What is your value proposition?
- Can you help me solve my problem?
- Do I want to work with you?
It is not about selling your services or products through your content. It’s about selling you as a valuable resource for them. This type of nurturing develops a relationship built on trust and respect.
To get started, set up a schedule for when you will touch your prospects and with what content. Once you have captured a lead, use varying types of content that helps them consider your business as a possible solution. Send them white papers, videos and presentations and case studies. Invite them to webinars to help move them towards this decision.
Inbound Marketing Lead Generation and Nuturing
- Lead generation with content marketing is geared towards finding new prospects that are not currently in your database that may be interested in what you have to offer
- Lead nurturing is taking the leads you acquired and cultivating them over time to turn them into prospects and eventually into customers
How will you be nurturing your leads generated through your inbound marketing activities? What type of content do you plan to provide at each step of the funnel?