How to Nurture Leads and Watch Your Garden Grow
The saying “Build it and they will come” rang through your head as you created a wonderful, user-friendly website for your future customers to flock to. You toiled night and day on perfectly crafted blog posts and free ebooks until your fingertips were bleeding. You worked for months collecting leads from referrals, web forms, email signups, and social media. Success! You’ve got people signing up and a couple of great testimonials from die-hard fans. But, once you get past the rush of your first success, the tempo slows to a Sunday stroll rather than the speedy Monday morning rush you were hoping for.
What’s going on? Where are the hoards of customers? How can you build the momentum? If you want to hit the big time you have to nurture your leads. To get a clear picture on what I mean, let’s take a look at this extremely scientific bell graph I put together and framed for you:
On one end you have the people who are so-ready to buy your product. They don’t need much convincing because you’re there with the right product, in the right place, at the right time, an easy sale! At the other end you’ve got the people who are kind of interested in a vague way, but they’re not yet ready to invest, you’ll want to keep them in the loop but they’re a long-sell. In the middle you’ve got a huge chunk of fence sitters. These people could be coaxed over to your side but they need some persuading. How do you persuade these fence sitters to join the party? Lead Nurturing!
Email marketing campaigns are hands down a huge winner when it comes to lead nurturing. According to Custora Ecommerce Pulse, email continues to be one of the top three channels driving sales, with the latest data from January 2016 showing that email is driving 18% of all sales.
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Source: Custora Ecommerce Pulse
This doesn’t mean you bombard your subscribers with “BUY MY PRODUCT, BUY IT NOW!” emails all hours of the day, you’ll just end up with a lot of unsubscribes.
The most important thing to do is to work out who you are talking to and craft your emails so that they are relevant to them. The Direct Marketing Association found that relevant content is integral for customers having trust your brand, with 32% of people losing trust if content is not relevant to them.
Source Direct Marketing Association
Know Thy Customer
How do you make sure content is relevant? By knowing who your customers are. Many companies create “personas” which are representations of their customers. This means doing interviews with real live people, and finding out things like their industry, and what stage they’re at in the buying process. You also have to find out their goals, attitudes, and feelings on their buying journey, this is important information which can make or break your lead nurturing. Sort your leads into these persona categories and offer them content that gives them a solution or a different way of tackling their problems. Check out this ebook from SproutContent for more info on how to develop personas.
Clean Your Data
Before you start crafting excellent content that you know your leads are going to love, your first port of call is to have clean data. If you’ve got a thousand contacts in your CRM, and (you think) 500 different ones in Google Contacts, (and maybe) another 500 in MailChimp, how do you find out if your data is clean? You need to weed out the duplicates by merging them together, and make sure that you and your staff are consistent with the input. Is your data squeaky clean? Great! Let’s move on.
Trigger campaigns will result in higher lead conversions that any other campaign. Triggers come into play once a lead takes an action, for example if Ms. Lead downloaded one of your free e-books, you could have a trigger that a week later she receives an email about a complimentary webinar. The potential content you send to your leads is endless — blog posts, webinars, helpful hints and tips etc. The one thing to remember when sending content to your leads is you have to make sure the content is useful to them. Nothing will have your leads clicking “unsubscribe” faster than sending them content they don’t find relevant. You can set up a trigger campaign using your CRM and MailChimp. Need ideas for triggers? Read this awesome Hubspot article about email automation.
Lend a helping hand
Answer questions and offer information even if the lead never buys from you. Remember that lead nurturing is about building relationships, not just getting conversions. Jump onto reddit, Quora and industry related forums and answer questions. You generally have specailized knowledge people would love to hear, use it to your advantage to build relationships and build your image as an authority. Caveat — you have to be genuine in the forums, nothing will get you shown the door faster than being a pushy salesperson!
How many times should you contact your lead? The formula varies depending on who you ask, some say “The Rule of 7” and others swear by “9 touches in 90 days”. The key is to be flexible and analyze the results so you can find out what works best for your leads.
Don’t forget to nurture your existing customer base. Offer them exclusives and freebies — they’ll repay you with their loyalty.
Good luck on your lead nurturing journey!
Originally published at www.business2community.com on June 6, 2016.