What is Lead Nurturing?
Lead nurturing is any action your company takes to develop strong, trustworthy relationships with potential buyers at every stage of the inbound marketing flywheel. Most often, lead nurturing refers to the communication your company has with specific prospects — people whose contact information you already own.
What is Automated Lead Nurturing?
Automated lead nurturing uses automated marketing tactics, like email workflows, sequences, or even chatbots to build trust with leads. The goal of automated lead nurturing is the same, its approach is just a little different, and often a little easier.
Why Should I Care About Lead Nurturing?
If you’re into inbound marketing (and you should be) lead nurturing is important because it’s what keeps your flywheel spinning.
In the past, we used to talk about lead nurturing primarily in the engage stage of the buyer’s journey. Now, with inbound marketing’s flywheel in mind, it’s clear that any interaction you have with any potential or previous customer can be lead nurturing.
When your company leaves a good impression on a potential client, you’re nurturing that relationship and increasing the trust they have in your company. The more trust they have in you, the more likely they are to choose your product or service.
The fundamentals of inbound marketing are at the heart of lead nurturing: you're aiming to deliver the right content, to the right prospect, at the right time. Click To TweetThis is applicable to every stage of the inbound marketing flywheel. When done properly, delivering the perfect content with the right context keeps those customers and potential customers happy and keeps your flywheel spinning.
So, how can you implement lead nurturing in your inbound marketing strategy?
Understand Your Buyer Personas
The first step to lead nurturing is understanding your buyer personas. The best way to deliver the right content, at the right time, to the right person, is to know who you’re talking to.
Take time to sit down with other departments in your company and really flesh out your company’s individual buyer personas.
- What are their pain points?
- What are their business goals?
- What are their personal goals?
- What kind of content do they like best, and what channels do they prefer that content on?
Email, social media, blog posts, and even phone calls are all great examples of media channels you can use to deliver quality, lead nurturing content.
When you have a clear picture of who you’re marketing to, it’s easier to develop content that will solve their pain points and leave a good lasting impression, nurturing those leads closer to a sale.
Lead Nurturing Through Email Automation
With your buyer personas in place, you can get started on the actual work of lead nurturing.
Email automation — also known as email workflows, or email sequences if you’re a HubSpot fan like us, — is one of the most well-known ways to nurture leads. The basic concept is to deliver targeted content to a qualified lead in a way that pulls them through the buyer’s journey.
Here’s an example:
Step 1: A Lead Converts
Let’s say you’re a custom home builder, and someone on your website just downloaded a content offer about “6 Design Tips for Building Your Dream Home”.
Now, you have their email address, and given the content they’ve downloaded, it’s not too much of a stretch to assume that they might just be looking into building a new, possibly custom home, in the near future.
Step 2: Your Automated Email Sequence Begins
With email automation tools, you can set up an email sequence or workflow that’s triggered by this content download, and set up to deliver more relevant content to this buyer persona.
For this example, you might have your workflow send along a “Custom Home Budget Planner” a few days after they read the first content offer. Then you could send another email that asks if they’d like to see a few of your most popular floorplans, or even set up a free consultation with your sales or design team.
Step 3: Your Email Sequence Helps Nurture that Lead to Close
By delivering more content that’s relevant to what the lead has already shown an interest in, you’re offering great customer experience. They don’t have to go looking for the next step of information, it’s being delivered right to their inbox!
If the lead has already been delighted by your content and quality service, they’re likely to appreciate your effort. When they trust you as the best resource for home building information, you’ll be at the top of the list when they finally do decide to take the plunge.
Lead Nurturing Beyond Email
Lead nurturing has always been talked about primarily in the context of email. For the most part, that makes sense.
When you’re emailing a lead, you already know a little bit about them. You can ensure the message you’re delivering is personalized to that lead, which guarantees high-quality results.
The problem is that most marketers report less than 20% open rates on lead nurturing email. You can’t limit your lead nurturing to just email, because it’s not speaking to all of your potential clients.
That’s where some of these additional lead nurturing tactics come in:
Multi-Channel Lead Nurturing
Like we mentioned before, any action you take or resource you offer that improves someone’s perception of your company is considered lead nurturing. There are so many ways you can nurture leads outside of the small sphere of email. In fact, a multi-channel approach to lead nurturing is most likely to deliver the best results.
On the whole, it takes a consumer or prospect an average of 7 to 13 touches to convert to a lead or sale. Whether your marketing team reaches out to them, they see your product advertised on LinkedIn, or they see a paid search ad a few times while they’re researching, each of these touches helps you convert that lead.
And if the only place they’re hearing from you is through your email, you might not have huge success nurturing that lead. That’s where multichannel lead nurturing comes in.
A multichannel lead nurturing approach is one that makes use of all sorts of marketing channels, from social media and remarketing advertising to paid search ads to blogging and content promotion to direct calls from sales and marketing representatives.
Obviously, you don’t want to hit people over the head with your brand, or cold-call prospects before they’re ready to talk. However, delivering quality information, and remarketing products and resources people have already looked at is an intuitive method of lead nurturing on channels other than email.
If your email and automated lead nurturing strategies are already up and running, you might consider branching out into a few more channels. The more lead nurturing you do, the more warm, qualified prospects you pull into your flywheel. The end result?
Overall company growth, as a result of closing quickly on warm leads.
It’s all well and good to say multi-channel lead nurturing can help grow your company — but how? Let’s take a look at social media specifically because many people forget to consider it’s potential as a lead nurturing platform.
Can You Nurture Leads Through Social Media?
Sure! Any interaction your company has with a lead, from the time they come to your website and even after they close is a chance for you to continue nurturing that lead through to a sale.
Like we mentioned above, the best way to nurture leads today is to take a multichannel approach. Social media can play a big role in that.
Social media is the perfect platform to boost quality content, to implement remarketing ads, and to run ads that speak directly to your ideal consumer.
It’s true that social media lead nurturing will look a little different than email lead nurturing. For the most part, you’re going to be nurturing leads who you don’t know, and who might not know you. This is outbound marketing, but we promise that’s not a bad thing.
What makes social media viable, non-disruptive lead nurturing tactic is your ability to target your ads and conversations to your ideal buyer.
For example, remarketing ads are an excellent social media lead nurturing tool. They only target people who have already been to your site.
Other forms of social media advertising can also be lead nurturing. You can target people who already like your company, or who have an interest in your product or service.
Finally, boosted or promoted posts are excellent examples of lead nurturing through social media. For the most part, boosted posts only go to people who have chosen to follow you. By throwing a little money at the post, you succeed in making your post visible to a greater number of your followers.
If that post offers great content, solves a buyer’s pain point, or lets your followers learn a little bit more about your company, then it’s helping you nurture leads.
Too often, social media marketing and advertising get a bad rap as disruptive, outbound marketing tactics. When used properly, social media can offer serious lead nurturing capabilities. Click To Tweet
In the end, it’s just important to remember that you should be communicating with your clients and potential clients regularly. Any form of positive communication, whether it’s on email, social media, a sales call, or even a newsletter update, is a type of lead nurturing.
The better your relationship with your clients and potential clients, the more warm leads you’ll see flowing into your inbound flywheel. And when your flywheel is spinning, your company is growing.
Got more questions? Whether you’re not sold on outbound marketing, or you need a bit more info on lead nurturing or inbound marketing, we’re here to help. Feel free to reach out, or schedule a conversation with our team! We’d love to chat.