From the outside looking in, it can often seem like email marketing is like a career in fishing: cast the net wide and hope you catch something good. But true marketing professionals know that successful selling is actually about connecting, nurturing and building a relationship that in time may yield a sale.
In this post, learn our favorite tips for nurturing your leads and turning them into customers.
Lead Nurturing Defined
“Lead nurturing” could easily be renamed “relationship building,” because this is exactly what you are doing. You are building a trust-based, authentic relationship that may in time yield a sale.
The Purpose of Developing a Lead Nurturing Strategy
It can be tempting to assume the internet has rendered relationship-building obsolete. In fact, the internet has made relationship-building more critical than ever. With the ease of any company to reach thousands of potential customers you must develop a lead nurturing strategy that helps you stand out.
Also, your lead nurturing strategy must now factor in long distance lead nurturing as well as local lead nurturing. What can you do to replicate the experience of sitting down face-to-face when your lead lives half a world away?
Your strategy must also have a timeline by which you can gauge how much time to spend before putting a prospect on the back burner or move them up in your sales cycle. With the analytics and automation tools this has become easier than ever to optimize your lead nurturing strategy.
Lead Nurturing Strategy Development Tips
Here are some steps to take to begin establishing your own lead nurturing process:
— Understand where your email marketing fits within your company structure. Is your email marketing used as the first point of contact with customers or as a follow up? Understanding where your email marketing strategy begins and ends will help you to understand how to properly utilize this type of marketing. Lead nurturing works best when your email marketing strategy integrates into your normal sales process. No part of your marketing campaign should be independent of another, the more integrated your plan becomes the easier it will be to see the strengths and weaknesses in your lead nurturing.
— Define what makes a “cold,” “warm” and “hot” lead. Most companies send the same marketing campaigns to their cold, warm and hot leads with no real direction. An astute email marketer will break their leads into different buckets with different campaign strategies for each one. Say you received a customer email address from them purchasing an item; would you send them the same campaign as an email you collected from a signup form? Grouping leads allows you to funnel them through a sales cycle almost like an in-person salesman.
— Create your ideal customer personas. Part of creating your “ideal customer” persona is understanding where your company and its products/services fit in the greater industry. Are you the creme de la creme, in the middle of the pack or at the bargain end of the price spectrum? What is the typical customer demographic of your customers to date? By knowing who tends to buy from your company most frequently, you learn how to position your email marketing campaigns that most closely match that demographic. If you are targeting bargain hunters it might be wise to periodically send out coupons to your list to urge them to buy your product or service.
— Map out a nurturing process. If you can map out how a lead converts into a warm lead and eventual sale through your email marketing campaigns you are on the right track. Even cold leads can be nurtured with a steady flow of useful information, eye-opening statistics and the occasional check-in. Try setting up drip campaigns in advance for each segmented customer group. Drip campaigns are a great way to keep steady contact with a lead or customer without having to constantly change messaging.
— Analyze results. Once your lead nurturing strategy is in place, you will want to continually review and analyze how well it is working. By studying the numbers and metrics you might find out one segment outperforming better than the others and have to shift focus on why that might be. If your strategy isn’t constantly changing with your customers you are doing something wrong. Just like face to face sales, email marketing should be able to pivot to turn leads into customers with a little information.