Lead nurturing is the process an inquiry goes through once it is received by your company. This process has the goal of converting as many of your leads into qualified prospects as possible. Depending on your business model this process could also result in immediate sales. With an intelligent and automated lead nurturing program in place companies can see a huge return on investment.
An effective lead nurturing campaign can increase the number of qualified prospects in your pipeline and decrease the time a possible client spends in a sales cycle. But even more important than this, a great nurture program can demonstrate to your potential customer base that you are trusted source of information. Once a prospect views you as a valuable source of information you have deepened your relationship with that potential customer. If you have a deeper relationship with your customer from the beginning, a solid foundation has been set and you will likely be able to retain that client for a longer period of time.
Successfully integrating a nurture campaign into your email marketing efforts takes some planning. You don’t want to just start pushing material out to your leads. You want to serve them timely information. Each email should be seen as a way to provide your prospects with valuable insight, not just as an opportunity to influence their buying decision. In return this train of thought could result in lasting relationship with your buyers. Reports have shown that acquiring a new customer is 6 to 7 times more expensive then retaining an existing customer.
Follow these steps to ensure you are setting your nurture program up for success.
- Decide Who You Want to Nurture
Before you launch your campaign you want to define who you want to include in your lead nurture program. There is a lot of criteria that you collect from your inquiries that can define who is put into a nurture program and who is forwarded directly to your sales team. Whether it is the potential volume of business, someone choosing “just browsing” from a dropdown on your form or if they simply requested a particular white paper from your website. You should who gets placed into a nurture campaign immediately and who is passed up to your sales team for follow up.
- Collect and Develop Assets
Keep in mind these leads have not read all your blogs posts or reviewed all your case studies; you do not have to write entirely new material for your nurture campaigns. Utilize past articles and whitepapers that have established your company as a thought leader in your industry. Encourage your readers to interact with you on social networks. Don’t forget including videos and surveys into your emails can increase engagement. All emails should have a call to action, whether it is a subtle “for more information contact our firstname.lastname@example.org” or a download now link for a whitepaper.
- Establish Your Timeline
You will want to decide how frequently you send emails and for what duration of time you should nurture your leads. This can be determined by analyzing your current buying cycle. If on average it takes a lead 5 – 7 months to become a customer, then you have an idea on the duration of your campaign. The most important thing is that you establish contact immediately. Be sure to give thought to how often you want to send to your leads. If you have decided to send out 25 emails over 7 weeks you’ll want to time them accordingly.
- Save Time and Automate
Research if your current email marketing platform allows you to set up automated campaigns. This could be referred to as triggered and sequential mailings or maybe even lifecycle marketing. These tools will enable you to set up your lead nurture campaign in the most effective way.
- Analyze Your Data
Once you have your campaign set up and running don’t think you are in the clear. Over time your offers could become stagnant or if you could miss key opportunities to convert your leads. Evaluate what emails encourage the most engagements if there is a particular call to action that has the highest clickthroughs rates, or if you are receiving a high number of unsubscribes during a certain timeframe. Analyze the data that is available to you and optimize your campaign to ensure the highest possible return.
Using your nurture campaigns to define your company as a trusted source of information will certainly have a positive impact on your email marketing efforts. Deepen the relationship with your leads from the first point of contact throughout the entire buying cycle and you will increase conversions and establish long term customers.