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Lead nurturing is the process through which relationships with prospective buyers are developed and maintained throughout the sales funnel. The process involves identifying the needs of potential customers and developing a strategy that is tailored towards satisfying those needs. Successful lead nurturing leads to higher interest from potential customers and their increased likelihood of making a purchase.

The key components of lead nurturing involve engaging prospects, creating content that is relevant to them at their stage of the buying process, creating a lead scoring strategy and being a valuable resource as they seek to satisfy their needs.

This article will highlight the basics of lead nurturing as well as its significance to your business.

The Basics of Lead Nurturing

Engaging Prospects

Engaging prospects involves developing a two-way communication channel; where you listen to their needs and respond by providing content that is relevant and helpful towards satisfying those needs.

In order to properly engage your prospects, you must first understand who they are. Therefore, target audience analysis is an important step towards generating leads for nurturing. Target audience analysis involves carrying out market research in order to identify your ideal customer profile as well as evaluating and creating customer personas and understanding the buyer's journey. Your engagement efforts should aim at having prospects keep your company at the top of their minds when they need to satisfy certain needs that you provide.

Creating Content that is Relevant to the Buying Process

An important component of lead nurturing is identifying where your prospects are in the buying process or buyer's journey. Different from the sales funnel, the buyer's journey involves stages where the customer is looking for solutions to their needs. This begins with the prospect identifying their problem and ends with a post-purchase evaluation once they have made a purchase aimed at solving that problem.

Effective lead nurturing involves maintaining a relationship with the buyer throughout this process of the buyer's journey. In order to achieve this, you need to create content that is relevant and helpful to the buyer throughout their journey. They should view your company as their go-to resource when they need information about a product or service that you provide.

Creating a Lead Scoring Strategy

Lead scoring is an important component of lead nurturing. It is the process through which businesses develop a ranking system where they assign scores to prospective customers based on their value to the organization. Through lead scoring, businesses are able to determine which prospects are more likely to engage with their products/services and devote the appropriate resources towards nurturing those leads.

Lead scoring also achieves coordinated efforts between the sales and marketing teams. This enables marketing to generate and nurture hot and qualified leads, while the sales department pursues them with the aim of getting large and timely purchases.

Helping your Prospects to Achieve their Goals

Prospective leads often turn into customers because they have found a solution to their problem in your product. To the customer, your product is the best choice for solving the problem that they initially had. Therefore, lead nurturing should be focused on the buyer rather than the business.

Instead of trying to force your product down the customers’ throats, the approach to successful lead nurturing should be to get your product viewed by the customer as the perfect solution to their problem. In other words, your product should be a means for the customer to achieve their goals.

Lead Nurturing via Email

Lead nurturing occurs through 3 main channels: your branded website, on social media and via email. Of these 3 platforms, your email list is the most promising channel through which you can nurture your leads.

Once a prospect subscribes to your emails and gives you permission to content them, they immediately become a target for nurturing. You can now begin to send them content that is personalized, relevant and helpful to them with the goal of driving them further down the sales funnel.

Depending on how the prospect responds to the content in your emails, you can increasingly tailor your message in a manner that corresponds to where the lead is located in the buying process.

Use Online Signup Forms

Forms of different types that get your visitors to give you their information is a critical component of lead generation and the first step toward lead nurturing. These forms could be on the website on the contact us page(s), registration forms for webinars, sign up forms to receive a whitepaper or some other useful document, or a form to subscribe to the newsletter. It could even be on social media. Facebook pages aren't as limited as you might think. You aren't limited to just posting links, status updates, and images on your page. With a bit of customization, you can include things like a store into your Facebook page and more importantly a sign-up form. Email management providers like MailChimp include pre-built Facebook sign-up tabs for newsletters. These tabs appear on your page and when clicked direct users to a sign-up form within Facebook itself. These forms can be customized to fit the brand's image.

Use Automation to Cultivate Existing Leads

Keeping track of hundreds or thousands of subscribers at once isn't easy, especially if you're a small business. email and marketing automation software makes sending out emails to specific types of customers hassle free. You can send different types of emails based on a subscriber's interests or buying habits. Instead of hiring staff to micromanage each campaign, you can instead use automation software to schedule emails in advance, allowing you to easily build up correspondence streams.

Why Lead Nurturing is Important

It Leads to Increased Sales

Companies that nurture their leads report on average increase of 50% of their sales at 33% lower cost. With lead nurturing, you are not only able to attract more customers, but you also attract the right type of customer that fits your profile and is likely to make a larger, more timely purchase. Your sales department can also save time and resources by prioritizing the hottest leads.

Avoids Chasing off Prospects

The sustained relationship with a potential buyer during the lead nurturing process leads to a better understanding of customer behavior. This allows you to avoid creating content that is inapplicable to the prospect or that ends up turning them away if they are not ready to make a purchase. Rather than forcing a sale, lead nurturing allows you to adapt to the behavior of a particular lead and generate content that can draw them further down the sales funnel.

Increased Conversion Rates

Effective lead nurturing results in higher rates of conversion. Once prospects engage with your content, they will find it attractive and relevant to their needs. You can therefore convert more visitors on your site to into leads for nurturing, and eventually into customers.