As a small business owner using internet or inbound marketing, you already know that email marketing and online lead nurturing are important keys to success. You have heard over and over, that the money is in the list. And you are actively collecting email addresses of leads and potential customers.
If you aren't, stop reading right now and get a free 60 day trial of our email marketing service. If you aren't email marketing, you don't have a business. It really is that important.
Great, you are still with me!
The question I am often asked, is what do I do with that list? What type of online lead nurturing program does my company need to implement? How can you turn all of those names into rabid buyers of your product or sevice?
While the details of online lead nurturing vary from industry to industry and company to company, fortunately, there are scientific approaches, and seven simple (but not necessarily easy) steps you can take to ensure you are turning those leads into buyers of your product and service. Which, is obviously the most important thing for your business.
Identify Your Ideal Lead and Customer
Step 1 of your online lead nurturing strategy involves creating a customer profile. Your ideal customer. This profile can't be too detailed, you want to figure out who your customers is. You want to identify their wants and needs. You want to figure out what their problems and issues are (so you can solve them).
Design and Implement a Universal Online Lead Definition
Working with your sales and marketing teams, if you have them, you need to determine how you will identify your ideal lead. Based on this lead definition, you can begin to qualify your leads and you can define their degree of sales readiness. What types of questions do you need answered? What do you need to know about your lead?
Lead Qualification Form
Now that you know what makes a perfect lead an how to determine it, your next step is to design a form that will capture the information you need to know. This is a balancing act. You want enough information to qualify your lead, but not too much that causes undo friction. By the point they fill out this form, they are ready to be contacted by a human being for further qualification. This is also a great place to ask for permission for online lead nurturing.
Learn, Understand and Capture your Online Leads
This is not so much as a step, as it is an ongoing process. You want to define who is coming to you, are they information gatherers, economic buyers, decision makers? You want to keep deeply engaged with this group and be relevant to what they are looking for. This is where you start to segment your leads into different groups so you can focus. It is more important to be deeply engaged with your group than it is to have a huge list of names that you are not engaged with.
Now that you know who your audience is, you need to develop relevant messages for each of your audience types. Who are they, what are there concerns? Engage with them and help them to solve their issues. What there concerns are is going to be related to their functional role, industry and where they are in the buying cycle. Figure out their priorities and challenges and develop your messages around those. Build a message map aimed directly at their role.
Build an Online Lead Nurturing Library
As a business owner you should be on constant lookout for information that your leads would be interested in. Your company should have an entire library of potential content. Build up all the third party documents that you can, and share them with your audience. You are now in the publishing business, and that's how you should think about your online lead nurturing strategy. If you build a big library of information, you will never be at a loss for what to send.
Build Online Lead Nurturing Tracks
Now that you have your contents and have defined you message, you want to create different tracks for each role or segment. These tracks should be designed to guide your prospects through different touch points by giving them more and deeper information. You want to design this around the process that your leads use to actually buy. There is no need to sell, you want to help your leads buy. Different roles have different ways they want to receive their content. Some will want white papers, others prefer webinars, yet others still will want round tables and group meetings. Your online lead nurturing needs to be designed around those buying processes.
Regardless of your industry, the previous 7 online lead nurturing steps are sure to turn more of your leads into customers. You want to define your perfect lead, decide how to determine if a lead fits that profile and begin to engage with them in a manner that is consistent with their normal buying process.
When is the last time you thought about your online lead nurturing? Do you have a strategy, or have you just been winging it. Now is the perfect time for you to sit down and get to it. Your homework? Start with step 1. And if you haven't begun capturing your leads email addresses, start a free email marketing trial today. Or, if you are ready to take your online lead nurturing to the next level, contact us today for a consultation.
An effective online lead nurturing campaign will ensure that you are constantly converting leads into clients and customers of your product or service.