An Overview of Lead Nurturing: For Every Business

Up to 95% of qualified prospects visiting your company’s website are there to research but are not yet ready to make a purchasing decision; ultimately, as many as 70% of these prospects will buy from you or your competitors. How do you gradually mold these prospective leads into buyers?

This is where lead nurturing comes in. A lead nurture program involves adapting calculated marketing strategies to share useful, relevant information with prospects regardless of how ready they may or may not be to buy. The goal is to establish your brand and build a relationship based on trust and credibility, which will ideally position you to be their first choice once they are ready to make a purchasing decision.

First, identify a set of new prospects by monitoring certain activity on your website, such as who has downloaded a white paper or filled out a form, and determine which leads are ready to be sent to sales and which need to be nurtured. This can be achieved through a lead scoring methodology, which should take into account demographic attributes; budget, authority, need, timeline (BANT); lead source; and level of engagement with your materials.

For those prospects that you have determined to be nurturing candidates, establish permission to be included in your nurturing campaign by asking prospects to opt in or out. This is the first step in building a relationship that is based on trust and relevancy. At the very least you need to comply with the CAN-SPAM Act by providing a clear way to opt out, but you might want to go the extra mile and ask for explicit permission on registration forms. Not only does this earn you the prospect’s trust by proving your concern for privacy, but it also increases your deliverability and sender reputation scores.

Throughout the nurturing process, gradually send pertinent information over time. Timing is critical; consider the duration of the buying process and the communication approaches you will use to determine the best frequency of communication. A general rule is to contact prospects at least one a month but no more than once a week.

Personalize the content of your communications to ensure that it will be relevant to your prospect, which will keep them interested in staying on your list. Develop profiles of your prospects that include characteristics that will help you best tailor your communications to their needs, rather than simply providing less valuable generic content.

Do not let leads sit at any point in the process. You should always be communicating with prospects and continuing to move them along a cycle, even if they are not ready to buy. Pay attention to a prospect’s activity and engagement with your website and adjust your communication according to these cues. Accelerate communication with prospects identified to have a higher interest, and reduce communication with prospects that are slower to respond.

By building a positive impression of your company and keeping the prospect engaged and interested throughout the lead nurturing process, they will be more likely to select your company once they decide it’s time to buy.

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