Google+ The Marketing Survivalist: Winning Customers and Influencing Prospects Through Lead Nurturing

Winning Customers and Influencing Prospects Through Lead Nurturing

I think I’ve been remiss by not covering lead nurturing in any real depth in the couple of years since I started this blog. The more I work with marketing teams, many of them great in many respects, the more I am convinced that lead nurturing is the “secret sauce” that is missing from their efforts.

I want to thank Brian Carroll and his team at InTouch for helping me really cement my thoughts on Lead Nurturing and its importance in any marketing plan. My opinions are not necessarily always representative of theirs (so don't blame them!) but they are an impressive organization with an incredible amount of expertise.

Let’s start with what lead nurturing is. Here’s a quick quiz to test your knowledge.

Lead Nurturing is:

A. Telling your prospects that they are wonderful and you know they’ll become great customers someday.

B. Calling your prospects every few weeks to “touch base” and see if they are ready to buy yet.

C. Staying in front of your prospects with information that is useful to them and that they want to receive and that brings them closer to engagement with you.

The answer is C, of course.

I think most of you probably guessed that A was an attempt at humor. And, although most of you probably guessed C was the right answer, it’s amazing how many companies will say they have a nurturing program that, upon further investigating, consist of B – with maybe a few email campaigns thrown in.

Critical elements of lead nurturing
C is a pretty broad statement and doesn’t really capture the essence of the elements of lead nurturing so let’s take a look at a few of these in more depth:

Staying in front of prospects – This implies that you “touch” your prospects on a fairly frequent and consistent basis. The frequency of contacts in more sophisticated lead nurturing programs may be different by type of prospect. Some companies will even allow their prospects to define how often they want to be contacted.

At the very least, you don’t want to let so much time lapse that the prospect forgets who you are. In my opinion, if a lead is worth nurturing it’s probably worth at least one touch a month. This is one of the reasons why quarterly newsletter programs can play a part in lead nurturing, but by themselves, they don’t complete the picture.

Useful information – The type of information sent is also critical to a solid lead nurturing program. We’ll spend more time in a later post on types of content and tips for creating good content. For now, I want to focus on the word “useful.”

What prospects really want to see is information that is useful to them. In most cases, this does not mean product information. Save that for the sales process.

At this early stage, prospects want information that educates them. This educational information may help them understand their situation better. It may help them think about their problem in a different light. It may equip them with knowledge they need to make better decisions. It may answer some of the most common questions that others in their situation have.

It probably goes without saying that this education information is not focused on your product or your company. The focus is on your prospect and their needs. Brochures do not count as lead nurturing content.

Want to receive – This doesn’t mean that the prospect requested the specific information per se, but it should be information that is not intrusive. That begs the question – Do prospects in a lead nurturing program need to opt-in to the program?

Opt-in is not legally required in the U.S., but in a lead nurturing program, opt-in is a fundamental component. In the next post, we’ll talk more about how to build your opt-in list for your nurturing program.

All the best!

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1 comment:

  1. Amen to all the above, Melissa. That includes your assessment of Brian and his InTouch team.

    As marketers we spend so much time trying to put leads into the funnel, we forget about those who are already there, but are not ready to make a buying decision.

    Shame on us for not recognizing the single best source of qualified sales leads.


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