If you’ve run a lead generation campaign, or have plenty of contacts that might have gone cold, or are capturing details on your website and don’t know what to do with them, an ongoing lead nurturing program is a great way to reignite the fire, move people along your funnel, and identify the keenest prospects.
It takes time and energy to turn prospects into paying customers. Often in business-to-business transactions the buying cycle is a long one, but a lead nurture strategy can increase the chances that a sale will be the end result.
Here are 5 of the best ways to nurture your leads.
1. Short term nurture track
This approach can be triggered by a particular event. For example, it could be when someone first makes an enquiry or gives you their details, or it could be sent to anyone who hasn’t done business with you in 6 months or a certain period of time after they made a specific purchase. There are lots of options, and it will depend on what works for your business.
The idea is to send them a discrete series of content to help give them some useful information, see where they are at in their buying journey, and identify or encourage the warmer ones to take the next step.
If you’re sending something to new sign-ups, you might want to introduce your offering in more detail and then perhaps find out more about them through a survey. You could use their responses to decide whether to take things to the next level now, or to leave them on a lower level nurture track.
2. Ongoing newsletter
This is the classic nurture strategy. You create and send a regular newsletter to all your contacts, by keeping in touch regularly you can remain top of mind when they do need your services, as well as giving you an opportunity to get your messages out. It can work well because it’s relatively simple to do compared to complex automations.
But with so many newsletters out there, it needs to be done very well to stand out from the crowd. Just sending out specials and sales offers won’t cut it, nor will making all your content just about your company (eg ‘we’ve upgraded to a larger premises’, ‘we’ve put on a new sales rep’ or even ‘here’s our latest case study’). As much as you’re burning to let people know what you’re up to, this approach tends to put off anyone who isn’t highly engaged with your business already.
On the other hand, newsletters that are still performing really well include those that:
- Are presented more as general industry news
- Contain useful tips, technical info and advice
- Are thought-leading or have key industry insights
Taking this approach maintains your audience’s attention and greatly enhances your reputation, so even if you do add in a more direct sell from time-to-time, you’ll be doing so to a much larger and more engaged audience.
3. Automation and personalisation 2.0
Taking things to the next level of sophistication, you can create different nurture tracks based on your customer’s demographics, actions or specific product interests.
For example, if you have an onboarding nurture track (see point 1), you could include a few different options in your introductory email, offering your prospects more information on various offerings or topics.
Based on what they click, you could then send them more specific information on that, or set them on a new nurture track based around that topic or product.
You can also use surveys or quizzes to get a more detailed view of what that customer might be interested in, or what their objections or buying criteria might be, and then target them with a specific nurture track on that topic.
This is obviously a more complex option than the first two, but can work particularly well when you have more leads than you can manually deal with, and need to automate the process of finding out more about them.
4. Round tables and webinars
While the previous 3 options have been based around email content, there are other ways to nurture leads as well.
In-person events, or virtual events in the age of COVID, can be a great way to deepen relationships.
As with email content, the information offered needs to be valuable to make it worth their time to attend or tune in, it can’t just be a sales pitch.
But when done well, events give you a great opportunity to provide more information and interact more closely with your prospect list. They also get a chance to meet, or virtually meet you, and you can increase the level of trust.
Lead nurture events can range from huge events with thousands of attendees to more intimate online roundtables with just a handful.
5. Content partnerships
Finally, you don’t have to rely just on our own resources or existing lists to nurture leads. Another very effective option to gradually build trust and recognition is to continue to be seen as a thought leader in other contexts.
This means you could partner up with a trade journal or website, or get involved with an industry event, or a sponsored social media campaign, to continue to get your message out through a series of articles across these platforms. It means that whenever your leads are getting industry information, they keep hearing from you.
If you partner with a publisher or other content provider, there’s also a good opportunity to tap their expertise on what’s resonating with people in the industry, or even get their support in creating co-branded content.
Keep it relevant
So there’s just a few of the main ways that we are seeing people effectively implement lead nurture campaigns.
The common element in them all is that you need to provide relevant and useful information over a long period of time. This is what builds the trust and engagement that ultimately leads to these leads becoming customers.