Lead Nurturing Definition

Lead nurturing turns leads into customers through engagement and relationship building

Chapter 01: What is Lead Nurturing?

You work hard to get leads but they’re not always ready to make a purchase in the beginning. Lead nurturing is all about developing a relationship with potential customers throughout their journey. Nurturing means listening to what potential customers need, providing valuable information and responding to questions. Nurturing future customers over time means growing a relationship that will keep them engaged so you’ll be there, and more likely be the first choice when they are ready to buy.

How does Lead Nurturing Work?

Lead nurturing, or ‘drip marketing,’ campaigns progressively inform, educate and increase awareness of your product or service. You are essentially 'dripping' information a little strategic drop at a time to keep the lead interested in what you're offering. Through informative emails and by providing access to resources or tools that are valuable, your future customers will gain trust and be more likely to choose you.

Think about your own buying habits. Do you often make a buying decision the first time you receive information online? Or are you more likely to explore, research and ponder alternatives prior to making a choice? When a company makes a consistent effort to educate and provide resources about an industry or product, it's more likely you'll think of them first when you're ready to make the buying decision. Here’s what the data says about the value of lead nurturing.

Lead nurturing works because, although most of us aren’t ready to buy when we initially look at a product, when we are ready we tend to choose a company we know and trust. Eight-six percent of buyers said they like to receive monthly emails from companies they do business with (Marketing Sherpa). And when we’re still in the decision-making phase, it’s helpful to receive follow up information that keeps us thinking about the process.

The decision-making cycle can be divided into three phases. A potential customer may be new to the topic and is exploring the industry in the awareness phase. In the consideration phase, he may be researching various companies within that industry and is looking at more detail on the product or service of interest. The decision phase is the final point at which the potential customer will determine where to buy. Creating a strategy that includes content specific to each phase will help you to make the most of your marketing investment.

  • The awareness phase benefits from industry information and trends
  • The consideration phase is ready for more targeted product or service information through a webinar or demo
  • The decision phase should include customer testimonials and product reviews

A lead nurturing strategy typically runs for about 60 days and includes three to five emails progressively engaging the potential customer. Through targeted content and attractive, highly visible calls-to-action (CTA) leads can respond to various offers and build a trusting relationship with your company.

5 Tips to Nurturing Your Leads

  1. Use lead scoring to prioritize nurturing activities. Lead scoring uses data to determine which leads are the strongest potential customers and where those people are in the decision making process. Capture and effectively use data and make the most of your marketing investment.

  2. Personalize emails throughout the campaign and educate your customers about your product or service. Meeting your customer where she is in the decision-making process means providing the level of information needed at the time to move forward in the process.

  3. Create gated premium content that provides a solution to your customer’s pain points and makes the most of Call to Action (CTA) buttons to engage them. When content becomes a valuable resource that solves a problem for your potential customer, you’re becoming a reliable go-to. This approach will be especially effective in the consideration phase.

  4. Use content to answer common questions and reduce barriers to buying. You might include Frequently Asked Questions as part of the email, weave answers into customer testimonials or as part of a premium content offering.

  5. Keep a cold lead active or re-engage customers who seem to be distant. When a potential customer doesn't become a buyer, you'll be ahead by viewing that as a 'not right now' response rather than a 'no.' Even if you haven't seen recent activity from a future or past customer, the best time to reach out and reconnect with them is RIGHT NOW!

ROI of lead nurturing

So how do you know if your investment in lead nurturing is working? Measuring the effectiveness of your lead nurturing strategy will help you to refine and improve your activities.

Establish specific criteria to measure before, during and after implementing your lead nurturing campaign. Capture data about how and where your leads connect and engage with your marketing activities and specifically identify which leads convert to sales as a result of lead nurturing versus those that convert (or not) without being nurtured.