Lead Nurturing: Why it’s a Must-Have & How to Do It Right
When someone visits your store or website, you probably expect that they’re ready to buy now. However, that’s generally not the case. In fact, only 4% of first-time visitors are ready to buy right away.
As a small or medium-sized business, you can’t afford to lose the other 96% of your visitors. That’s why it’s essential to nurture leads — educate and encourage them until they are ready to buy. This not only moves them through the sales funnel but also ensures they will buy from you when they are ready.
If you’re ready to improve your sales results and grow your business, you must have lead nurturing in place. Here are some reasons why, along with tips on how you can implement lead nurturing effectively.
What is Lead Nurturing?
Creating a lead is the beginning of the sales process. A lead is someone who has shown some interest in your brand, products, or services. Perhaps you generated the lead online through an opt-in form or got information at a trade show. There are dozens of ways to practice lead generation in business.
As we mentioned above, most leads are not ready to buy immediately. Leads are simply possible customers. Nothing is guaranteed. That’s why lead nurturing is so essential.
Lead nurturing is the process of building relationships with potential customers and encouraging them to move through the sales process. It’s a way of understanding where they are in the sales funnel and inviting them to take the next step forward.
Where is the Lead in Your Sales Process?
A lead you got from a cold call or trade show is probably high up in the awareness stage. They don’t know much about you but they’re willing to listen for a little bit. A lead that opted into your email list might be further down the funnel, perhaps willing to engage with you or take action on informative content.
Lead generation in digital marketing is especially effective. A lead that came to your website through search engine optimization (SEO) efforts — they found you due to a search — is even closer to a sale and more likely to buy. They were specifically looking for information about your company, product, or service when they found you.
Knowing where a lead is in your sales funnel is essential if you want to nurture them. Each lead needs content and relationship-building that’s appropriate to where they are in the process.
More Sales For Less Cost
One of the reasons lead nurturing is so important is that it allows you to get more sales at a much lower cost. Think about if you had to spend 100% of your marketing budget to get a 4% conversion rate. That would be terrible!
With nurturing, leads that came in from that initial marketing effort stay in the system. Over time, many of them will choose to become customers. Businesses that focus on nurturing make 50% more sales and spend 33% less to get them.
Nurtured leads, who have a relationship with you and trust you, will also make larger purchases. Companies who lead nurture see these customers spend 47% more than other buyers.
How do you implement lead nurturing? We’ll go into some specific lead nurturing tactics and best practices in a moment, but let’s do a quick overview of some of the tools you can use.
Email Marketing is one of the most common lead nurturing tools. Most email software programs allow you to segment your list based on where they are in the process so that you can send email marketing with appropriate, engaging, and useful information.
Social Media is another way to nurture leads. With social media, you can create a group or community and share interesting information, ask questions, and run contests. While you don’t own the contact information the way you do with email, there are a lot more options for engagement.
Text Messaging Campaigns are another great way to engage leads. People check their text messages much more often than their email, and as long as you have a clear opt-in, you shouldn’t get labelled as spam. Make sure you’re clear on what you will be sending and how often.
These are just three common ideas. The most important element of lead nurturing is not what system you use, but the fact that you have a call-to-action at the end of each message. Every time you connect, you should invite the lead to take the next step in the sales process, based on where they are today.
Lead Nurturing Tactics & Best Practices
There are a wide variety of lead nurturing tactics available, but they need to be executed correctly in order to get you the customers you need. Here are some best practices you can take advantage of right away.
Target Your Content
Remember how we mentioned that knowing where your leads are in the sales process is essential? That’s because, no matter what lead nurturing system you use, you have to deliver appropriate content to each lead.
Beyond knowing where they are in the funnel, you should understand each ideal customer persona and where your leads fit within that profile. That way you can deliver targeted information based on the individual’s interests and goals.
For example, if you own a plumbing company, an individual homeowner is a different lead than a person managing an office building. Also, a homeowner with a new home is different than a homeowner who owns an older property.
When you deliver exactly what your lead is looking for, they will trust you enough to take the next steps in your sales process.
Take Advantage of Automation
No one has time to sit on their email account all day sending individual emails. You also don’t have time to manually schedule email marketing blasts. Instead, take advantage of automation.
Automation allows you to send targeted, timely messages via email, text, or other platforms. These should be based on who the potential customer is and what information they likely need to take the next step. You can space messages apart by hours, days, or weeks, depending on the need.
With automation, you can nurture far more leads and no one will fall through the cracks. You can even make a more complex nurture process that tracks how leads respond to each message, where they click, and more. All without spending dozens of hours at the computer!
Nurture Using Multiple Channels
Most people think of email marketing when they think about lead nurturing. However, limiting yourself to one channel limits your ability to nurture all the leads you encounter.
Not everyone you encounter will give their email address, and if they do it might be a “junk address” that they use to sign up for offers and then ignore. So you can’t afford to rely on email alone.
What are some other ways you can nurture leads?
- Social media groups
- Dynamic web content that personalizes for the visitor
- Retargeting ads that follow your lead around the internet
- Texting or using an app for mobile marketing
When you have multiple channels for nurturing, you’ll capture more of your leads and be able to create more sales. You’ll also rack up more “touches” — times the lead connects with your brand — more quickly. If a lead moves toward a sale with every touch, you’ll get sales much more quickly.
How Does Your Lead Nurturing Look?
Lead nurturing is not optional for businesses that want to grow. Fortunately for small and medium-sized businesses, it doesn’t have to be expensive. Good nurturing software and some expertise can help you improve your sales conversion rate and profitability.
If you’re interested in getting more high-quality leads and sales, make sure your website is optimized for both SEO and conversion rates. We can help. Our agency works specifically with small and medium-sized businesses to bring in focused, ideal leads and customers.
Ready to get started? Check out our services today!