Inbound Marketing

Lead Nurturing – Build Relationships with Future Clients

Reading Time: 6 minutes
Lead Nurturing - Build Relationships with Future Clients

An important marketing process for all businesses is to generate leads and build your email list. And once you have people willing to give you their contact information, that’s where the real work begins. You need to move these leads from a visitor who is slightly interested to someone who purchases. The way to do this is through lead nurturing email campaigns.

What is lead nurturing?

Lead nurturing is continually providing support and nourishment to leads going through the buyer’s journey. You do this by anticipating their needs and sending them new, fantastic content that is interesting, educational and relevant. A lead nurturing campaign builds deeper relationships with your leads. You continually help them understand your business and how you can help them solve a problem or fulfill a need.

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 they are ready to buy. Lead nurturing now uses social media, email marketing and blogging to provide those continuous touch points.

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?

Did you know that 80% of new leads never translate into sales? So driving visitors to your website and converting them into leads is great, but you need to do more. In fact, companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales ready leads at a 33% lower cost.

Lead nurturing helps raise awareness of your business. These campaigns educate potential customers about you and your products or services. The goal is to build trust and convince consumers to choose you rather than your competition.

However, keep in mind that your lead nurture campaigns need to be a regular activity. Most of your subscribers need time to make a decision to work with you. One campaign is not enough to educate your subscribers as to why you are the best pick for them.

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 a content marketing strategy for your business, include the content you need for your nurturing campaigns. You want to provide the right content at the right time depending on where these leads are in the buyer’s journey. By sending strategic content to those on your list, you can move them from cool lead to a hot prospect.

Lead generation and lead nurturing

Lead generation and nurturing

The complexity of your product or service will dictate the type of content you create. Small businesses primarily need educational content that helps your prospect understand:

  • Who you are 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 ensuring that you are a valuable resource for them. This type of nurturing develops a relationship built on trust and respect.

Types of lead nurturing campaigns

You are probably aware of the different types of campaigns available. We all have received many of these when we have shown interest in a product or a business. Once you identify which campaign type to use, you then need to customize it for your audience.

You also need to create your strategy for the particular campaign. This will include a schedule for when you will touch your prospects and with what content. When you launch a marketing campaign, you need to develop a campaign strategy to ensure a smooth execution.

Welcome Campaign

This is one of the simplest nurturing campaign to implement. When prospects have signed up for your email list, you send a series of emails introducing them to your company. These emails should be educational, providing more specific information about your product or how you can help them.

Keep-in-Touch Campaign

Most of you are probably already implementing this campaign. This campaign sends a regular email to your contacts just so you keep your business visible to your list. The content can be a newsletter, blog post, a quick video or anything you can put together regularly. Consistency is important as the contact then expects something from you. And you can include a call-to-action that may trigger another nurturing campaign. Keep the content useful for those who are not sure of their path. You don’t want to push them to opt out of your list.

Re-engagement campaign

At some point, your lead may go cold again. Continually sending them emails won’t work if they are not at the right stage of the buying process. It is better to stop sending them emails for some time and then try to re-engage later. When you do, the goal is to create offers that will result in some action on their part. When they take an action, you can then trigger another nurture campaign. It may be something you offered them before but they weren’t ready for it.

Event campaign

As the name implies, this campaign is centered around an event. The email is a reminder to attend the event followed by an email with access to the materials. You could also send an email asking for their feedback on the event. This could trigger another nurturing campaign based on their response to the event.

Buyer’s journey campaign

This is probably the most common form of lead nurturing. The goal is to provide the information your prospect needs in order to move through the funnel. At this point, the lead has done their homework and considers your business an option for them. It’s main goal is to building a trusted relationship with them.

Depending on your business, it starts when someone completes the signup form. Unlike the welcome email campaign, this one would provide content that shows the prospect how you can help them. This type of campaign is good for service-oriented businesses. It allows you to demonstrate how your product or service can help the buyer solve their biggest challenge.

Product education campaign

A product education campaign focuses on delivering specific product information based on what your business can offer. Your content can include demos showing how you can solve their problem. If you are a service business, include how your service can address their pain points. Combine that with customer testimonials and case studies to reinforce your expertise. This gives the prospect information they can use to make a decision.

Inbound marketing lead generation and nurturing

  • Lead generation using content marketing helps find 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 acquire 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?

4 thoughts on “Lead Nurturing – Build Relationships with Future Clients”

  1. Lead nurturing is not new – it’s a process that has been used by quality sales people for years, taking prospects through various nurturing stages 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.

    This means you must provide the right information at the right time 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 the prospect begins to differentiate you from the competition in their minds. Thanks a lot for this info.

    • Absolutely! The big difference today is marketing is more likely doing the nurturing through the online channels rather than sales. Sales will nurture relationships directly with the buyers.

  2. Hi Debra. Very succinct yet comprehensive discussion of the customer-seller relationship and the process of making a sale. As you imply, there is a thin line the salesperson walks in providing information and value to potential customers. It is so easy to cross that line and become a nuisance and lose the sale. Thanks for a great post.

    Ellie

    • Hi Ellie,

      Being a long time marketing person, I’ve always felt that marketing is educating your prospects about you, your services and why you are a good match. If you do that well, the sale is easy. Now with inbound marketing, we have the tools to educate and build relationships more effectively.

      Thanks for commenting!

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