There's nothing quite the like the rush of attracting new, qualified leads. It's the big payoff for all of your work optimizing web pages, writing smart blogs, and using social media to share and promote content that addresses your prospects' pain points to convert sales leads. All you have to do now is call them upon conversion and close the sale, right?
We all love it when we get a red hot lead that wants to immediately close a deal for your services or product. Those leads will send you plenty of signs to tell you they're ready. One of our personal favorites was the prospect who wrote "Call ASAP to talk" in our contact form. Our president, Greg Linnemanstons, may have set a new dialing record making that call!
More often than not, though, your lead will not be ready to buy when they first convert on your site. Research suggests 50% of all qualified leads aren't ready to make a purchase when they first convert. Often, they're doing preliminary research or just exploring solutions to a particular problem.
A heavy sales pitch here and they're gone for good.
So how do you keep these leads warm until they're ready to buy? Lead nurturing. Simply described, lead nurturing is a (preferably automated) system where you send additional, relevant content to your leads, pulling them further down you sales funnel toward a purchase.
By the time you call them, they'll be more than warm. They'll be red hot!
Of course, there's more to it than that. You don't want to blast just any content out; that will turn them off just as quick as an ill-timed sales call. There are important elements your nurturing campaign must have in order to be successful. Once you have these elements in place, you can efficiently and effectively keep your leads warming up until they are sales ready.
Those 5 critical components of nurturing campaigns are:
1. A campaign goal
What are you trying to accomplish with this campaign? Are you trying to breathe new life into contacts that have been on your lists for a while? Are you after new leads and customers by building a campaign on content that addresses a new solution your prospects would be interested in?
Finally, what actions signal the lead is ready? There can be a great difference in readiness between downloading an eBook or requesting a demo.
With these questions answered, you can set your goal and design a campaign that will deliver relevant information to keep your lead moving down the sales funnel while also providing important signals of their readiness to buy.
2. A target persona
Knowing as much as you can about your prospects, their pain points and problems will help you decide what content to create or repurpose for your campaign, and it will also help you with the timing and how you present it.
3. Related content
Resist the temptation to hit them right away with a sales piece. Offer value. Educate them. Include content in your campaign that's related to the original download. Use existing content where you can. If you have particular videos, eBooks, or whitepapers with high conversion rates, include them where appropriate to help drive further conversions.
You don’t have to create new content for your lead nurturing emails. If you have a backlog of content, utilize those assets. If they’ve been successful at converting leads in the past, put them to work again!
4. A timeline
You know your sales cycle and your target persona behavior. Use those two elements to craft a timeline for the delivery of new content to the leads you're nurturing. You want it to be frequent enough to keep your service or product top-of-mind, but not so frequent that you become a nuisance and they tune you out.
5. Measurement and improvement
This is an essential element not only of nurturing campaigns, but of all Inbound Marketing. You need to consistently measure the effectiveness of your content and your campaigns. Does the content and timeline result in the conversion of qualified sales leads? If not, what's not working and how can you adjust?
Lead nurturing is an important part of your Inbound Marketing strategy. It helps you to keep leads warm until they're ready to buy, freeing you up to work on the hotter leads. By building your campaigns around these 5 essential elements, you'll be able to effectively keep your sales funnel full.
To learn more about Inbound Marketing and how it can help your business, check out our FREE guide.