What is Lead Nurturing & Why is It Important?

With the buzzword "lead generation" always being thrown around, many business owners think that's all there is to it; you get some leads, you convert them, and you make some money. But what about that oh-so-important middle ground between a generated lead and a closed sale? What happens there? 

It's not realistic to think that you can find a lead and immediately call or email them your pitch and close the deal. Leads are just possibilities. They're not a guaranteed sell.

This is where lead nurturing comes in. 

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What is Lead Nurturing?

The lead nurturing definition is simply developing relationships with your leads and nurturing them through the buying process.

But that's the short version. Let's dive into lead nurturing a little more thoroughly.

At least half the leads in any business's software or CRM are not yet ready to buy. Maybe you got the lead through an online opt-in form in exchange for a lead magnet. Maybe it was done through sales prospecting and you're working your way through a cold call or cold email process. Perhaps it was a business card given to your sales team at a trade show.

There are hundreds of ways to generate leads, but the fact of the matter is that just because someone gave you their information does not mean they're 100% ready to give you their money. And to expect them to already be at that point is naive, and can even turn someone away.

They want information. They don't want to have to pull out their wallets before they're ready.

Instead of offering your hard pitch immediately, you need to have a softer approach.

You don't want to get a new lead's contact information and immediately shout in their faces, "Hey look at these great products we have! Buy some!"

No.

You want to be more attentive in your approach. You want to send them marketing materials that are going to get them interested in what your business does, and why they might want to work with you. It's important to know what part of the buying process your leads are at so that you're sending them relevant, targeted content, and not content that's going to put them off because they're not far enough down the sales funnel.

Why is Lead Nurturing Important?

We've covered the basics of why it's important; you can't go straight from lead generation to conversion. It doesn't work like that. But let's get down to the bottom of why it doesn't work like that.

Fifty-seven percent of marketers see lead nurturing as one of the most important parts of their marketing automation software. When scaling a business and collecting more and more leads every year, it's essential to utilize automation resources for your lead nurturing to make sure you're touching your audience at every step of the buying process.

When a business focuses on lead nurturing, they make 50 percent more sales at a 33 percent lower cost. This means your ROI is even better when you, as a marketer, focus on nurturing each lead generated, rather than the sales team going in for a hard sell.

Furthermore, lead nurturing leads to 47 percent larger purchases than leads that were not nurtured will buy. So it's definitely worth your investment, and it's a win-win every time.

This is why lead nurturing is so incredibly important to include within your sales and marketing strategy. The time it takes to nurture your leads is nothing compared to the ROI you will see because of it.

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How Do You Create a Lead Nurturing Campaign?

So now that we've covered what lead nurturing is and why it's so important for a business to include within their marketing strategy, let's move onto the next step. How do you create a lead nurturing campaign?

1. Segment Your Audience

The important first step is ensuring that every person who goes through your campaign is at the same spot in the buying process so that they're all nurtured together correctly. As we said before, you don't want to send someone at the beginning of the buying process content and calls to action that are meant for someone in the middle or end of the buying process. That's a good way to lose a customer.

Instead, you want to start by segmenting out your leads by where they are in the buying process. You can do this by creating triggers based on opt-ins, by lead scoring, or even sending out a survey.

Lead scoring is giving your lead a score based on a number of factors: visits to your website, videos watched (high level or in-depth), downloads of your free content, webinars attended, blog posts read, social media posts engaged with, etc. The more someone engages with your business, the more likely they are to become a customer.

You can create a full lead nurturing campaign, designed to guide a customer step-by-step through the buying process, then segment out your leads and place them wherever they belong within the campaign.

2. Send Out Something Valuable

Next, you want to offer something of value to your customers. Lead nurturing is a give-and-take kind of strategy. You can't expect your customers to just give you their email address, their time reading your content, and ultimately their money, without giving them something in return.

If someone signs up to receive more information about your business on one of your landing pages, don't immediately send them an email asking if they want a quote or a demo. Unless they were completely in the market to buy (which a small percentage of people will be), they're not going to respond to your email. 

Instead, offer an ebook, webinar, or white paper with more information about your business, what you do, and why it's important. You want to take it slowly with your new leads. Metaphorically take them to dinner and tell them about yourself before you propose.

3. Create an Email Marketing Automation

Then you'll send them through an automated email marketing campaign that answers FAQs, shares resources like blog posts and videos, and more, in order to stay top of mind and offer valuable information to each lead about your business.

Be sure that each email has an objective or a goal. You don't want to put anything within your marketing funnel that doesn't have a purpose.

Each one of your emails should have the intention of moving your leads further down the sales funnel. So you want to offer valuable tips and information, but ultimately end with the goal that they'll become a customer. Include some kind of call to action in each email, making your pitch stronger and stronger within each one.

For example, your call to action in your first email might be "Download this ebook!" whereas the call to action within email number three might be "Click here to watch a demo," and email number five might say "Request a quote."

Set up a timeframe for your email automation, like sending an email every two to three days, skipping weekends, so that you're staying at the top of mind of each lead, but you aren't bombarding them with daily emails, calls to action, and sales pitches.

4. Close Sales

Not every lead generated is going to become a customer. In fact, studies have shown that over 80 percent of all leads will never become a sale. But lead nurturing is essential to lowering that number, increasing overall sales, and increasing the amount of each sale.

Once you've created your lead nurturing campaign, especially if you've done so using email marketing automation, your lead nurturing goes on auto-pilot, and your marketing team doesn't have to interact with every single lead throughout the nurturing phase. This can save your business a ton of time, while still touching those leads often enough to lead them further through the buying process.

You'll want to check in on your email automation often to ensure your value offers are still working the way they should. Each time your company creates a new webinar, white paper, video, ebook, etc., you should look to see if it can replace an old email or value offer within your lead nurturing campaign. This keeps your automation up-to-date so that you're giving out the most relevant and current information to your leads.

There are other types of lead nurturing campaigns you can create as well, but an email marketing automation is one of the most popular. A few other types include testing out push notifications on your website so that you can send alerts right to someone's phone or computer, SMS campaigns so you can send texts with updates and information, sending leads through landing page sequences with varying offers on them, and more.

Regardless of how you choose to run your lead nurturing campaign, one thing is certain: it's not an option. Lead nurturing is essential for your business. It can help you to close even more sales and make even more money.

If you're interested in learning more about marketing automation software that can help your company with its lead nurturing, request a free Demo today!

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