Lead nurturing is the process of gaining leads and then helping to increase their engagement and their loyalty to your brand, to the point where you are ready to sell to them. In this post, we’ll explain what this means in detail and how to go about it.
A lead in business is anyone that you are able to contact for marketing or sales purposes. The simple fact that you have someone’s contact details, means that you have the ability to promote your products and services to them, which in turn means you have the potential to turn them into customers.
The problem is that not all leads are made equal. While a lead is anyone you can contact, that doesn’t mean they are ready to buy from you or interested in what you have to offer.
And this is where lead nurturing comes in. It means taking what is a ‘cold lead’ and turning that person into at least a warm lead. Ideally a qualified lead and better yet, a customer.
A warm lead is someone who has shown an interest in your brand. Perhaps they have signed up to your mailing list. Maybe they have asked a question about your products. A qualified lead meanwhile is someone who has shown interest in a specific product or service and who seems ready to buy. They might have preordered, or they might have signed up to hear when a specific product is launched.
Either way, it is much easier to turn a qualified lead into a customer. And any ex-customer is a potential warm or qualified lead for future marketing purposes.
This is lead nurturing: taking them from point A to point D and keeping them happy and engaged along the way.
Whatever the nature of your business, you are going to rely on other people as your customers. No business is an island, and if you want to make money then you are going to need to somehow reach out to have to find a way to contact and impress clients, customers and business partners who can help you to generate some cash from your products or services.
But waiting for customers to come to you (inbound marketing) isn't particularly proactive and as you may have guessed it's not a great strategy to rely purely on that happening. Sometimes you've got to get proactive and that means going out there into the big wide world and chasing down leads. But how do you go about doing that? I'm not proposing you stand outside your house handing out fliers, so where can you meet these people who would become your paying customers?
Tradeshows are a perfect opportunity to generate business for your company, as you will be dealing with an entire room of people who are interested in your industry. This is the strength of a tradeshow, but the downside is that there's a lot of competition. So, make sure that you know how to stand-out, that you have practiced your pitch, and that you have all the best materials for convincing people that your company is the right one for them.
Networking events are another brilliant opportunity to find potential business - this time we're talking clients more than customers and particularly if you provide a B2B service. This is where you will find companies that need websites built if you are a web designer, and it's where you'll find companies that need coding if you're a freelance coder. Go to the right networking events and talk to as many people as you can.
Talks and Presentations
I once went to a talk by Tony Robins who you may know as the motivational speaker for businesses and personal development. His events are long talks that you sit through with the hope of coming out inspired and more motivated, but they're also a great place to meet lots of like-minded people. There will be a lot of entrepreneurs and business professionals here, and they're all going to be psyched up and very positive. Be ready to pounce with your business cards!
In Chance Meetings
But you don't have to be at a conference or networking event to spread the word of your business. In fact anywhere you go that has lots of other people will be a suitable venue for promoting yourself - you just have to tone it down a little. Your son's birthday party for instance is a fine place to meet parents that need your services - just let the conversation skirt around what each person does and be ready to discretely present a business card.
Of course, you don’t want to be that guy or woman who is constantly talking shop, but just be ready to sense the mood and strike if the opportunity presents itself!
Now what do you need to do in order to engage those leads further? There are many steps involved but some useful tips include: