The 3 undisputed truths about lead nurturing
Contributor Seth Price discusses how automation, content marketing and eliminating limits to follow-ups will improve the success of your lead nurturing efforts.
When the water gets murky, nurturing your leads is the next step in the marketing and sales funnel. You can uncover new leads all day, but the real work comes in finding meaningful ways to continue engaging with these individuals.
To help you start wrapping your mind around this critical step, I’m sharing three undisputed truths about lead nurturing.
1. Follow-ups have no limit
Do you have a self-imposed limit for follows-ups? Throw it out the window.
Too often, marketers give up on leads too soon, when in reality they should continue politely nudging.
A strong marketer will practice between seven to 14 follow-ups across various mediums — text, email, snail mail, call and voicemail. Most of these touches should be in the first three days after initial contact, and then spread out over the next 100 or so days after.
If this feels aggressive, remember that the consumer has already proven their interest in what you have to offer. It’s your job to reach them in any way possible and prevent them from becoming distracted from the reason they made contact in the first place.
“It’s like dating done right. You’re not pushing the relationship, you’re providing value and commitment. You’re letting the relationship grow,” Billy Ekofo, director of lead management at Century 21 Redwood (disclosure: client), told me.
2. Automation is a must
It’s simply not possible for one person to track and follow up with every one of their leads without the help of technology. This is where automation comes in.
Through a variety of CRM (customer relationship management) platforms on the market today (often specialized to distinct industries), marketers have the ability to automate emails, texts and calls to prospects. This takes some of the legwork out of following up, and allows you to focus energy on your hottest leads.
Take time to find the perfect balance between automated and manual communication. If you have a very hot lead where the stakes are high, and they’re expecting to hear from you quickly with specific information, personalized follow-up is best.
For warm leads — those not ready today but planning to pull the trigger in the near future — automated messages provide the perfect ping they need to keep you top of mind, so eventually they move into your “hot” bucket. Tweak the copy in these notes every month or so to keep them fresh and current.
Another important note about these messages — make sure you’re always ending on a question, automated or not. Say, “Did you get information you were looking for?” instead of “If you have any questions, let me know.”
In my latest book “The Road to Recognition,” my co-author, Barry Feldman and I dedicate an entire chapter to question asking. In our research, we found it’s an empathy trigger that drives engagement. Whether you’re focused on marketing, sales, or really anywhere you might aim to win people over, empathy is critical.
Listening is the key to creating conversations, developing an understanding of how to be more useful, and ultimately, building relationships. Make sure you include good questions in your lead nurturing efforts.
3. Content marketing isn’t just for lead generation
Content marketing is widely known to be a powerful tool in a marketer’s lead capture arsenal, but what many don’t realize is that it’s just as effective for nurturing and growing relationships with these same prospects.
This is especially true for leads with long sales cycles. When you’re still trying to gauge where these individuals stand, and determine exactly how you can help them, you’re actually doing them a service by sending them resources that help them figure out what they need.
Whether it’s a blog post, e-book or checklist, these touch points ensure the prospect sees you as an expert, and has you in mind when they’re ready to take the next step.
Now that you have a better grasp on lead nurturing, try revamping some of your follow-up notes and messages. Remember that it’s all about fostering the relationship, in any way you can — big or small.