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What is Lead Nurturing and How Does It Work?

Written by Todd Laire | February 10, 2016

Let's say you're trying to sell your house, and your realtor has listed off multiple things that need to be fixed or updated before it can go on the market. Most likely, you'll start researching how to fix the items on the list; maybe look at some DIY tutorials. Then, you stumble across a free online guide to getting your house ready to sell on a local home renovation company's site - we'll name them Nailed It Home Remodelers. It's just what you need, so you fill out the form on the landing page and download it. That means you're now a lead for that company.

Although their free guide may give you some helpful tips to get started, Nailed It Home Remodelers are hoping that you'll need some additional assistance from the professionals and contact them. But, as a lead, if that company doesn't keep up with you via email or targeted social ads and provide valuable content, most likely, Nailed It Home Remodelers won't stay top of mind, and you may choose to reach out to one of their competitors. This would be the perfect example of a lead nurturing fail. Definitely not a slam dunk, right?

 

Okay, let's get out of the lead's shoes and look at it from your company's perspective. To be successful at lead nurturing, it's important to first understand what it is. So, let's define it. 

 

What is Lead Nurturing?

Lead nurturing is the act of anticipating the wants and needs of a buyer, based on who and where they are in their buying process. Lead nurturing can also keep prospects engaged, by providing the most relevant content for their situation, which builds strong brand loyalty long before they’re ready to buy. 

Think of it this way; the majority of the website visitors you have coming to your website may not be ready to buy from you (or hire you) right away, but chances are they are ready to learn. The old adage can certainly apply here, “People hate to be sold, but love to buy”. We love to buy when the timing is ideal, and we feel we are the most knowledgeable and confident in making our purchase decision. We make decisions based on the information we gather, utilizing our own preferred methods and mediums. This is where an effective lead nurturing program can come in. Create and control the information and content your prospect gathers, by feeding it to them in a logical and even chronological order. This will drive your leads further into the buyer's journey and hopefully, encourage them to become a customer.

Lead Nurturing | Game pieces in buyers journey from leads to customers

 

Education First

Let’s propose that you own a custom home remodel and renovation business, like Nailed It Home Remodelers, and you have a website visitor that wants to learn more about the renovation process. Is this prospect filling out your estimate request form and asking to schedule a call so that you can take over, learn more about them, and pitch them an estimate? This would definitely be nice, but it is highly unlikely to actually happen.

Even if they did fill out your estimate request form, what do you know about them, and are they even a qualified lead? Your ideal prospect wants to learn how and if you’re a fit and hire you later when they have gathered enough information and the timing is right. So how do you make sure that your company is the first one they think of when they are ready to start their home renovation project? Lead nurturing to the rescue! 

Lead Nurturing | Businessman super hero with lead nurturing on shirt

Consider that your prospect is reading your website pages about your renovation process. Ideally, you have plenty of content on your blog about the ins and outs of home renovation. As they read more and more, they become inclined to subscribe to your blog to receive future articles and updates from your company. This is a start, since giving you their email address indicates a level of trust. Now that they have subscribed to your blog, you are in a great position to offer content to them that they find of value.

Suppose you have an eBook or project checklist that you want to offer to all of your subscribers, which details the beginning steps of a home remodel/renovation project. This content offer is given in exchange for more contact information from your subscribers. Your prospect sees it and decides to download it after clicking on the link. They give up a little more of their personal contact information, like their name, and the type of project they’re interested in, such as a home remodel, a home addition, or something more specific like an in-law suite. 

 

Lead Nurturing in Action

Your lead nurturing process should include an automated series of emails, triggered by the download of your content. As the process unfolds, your prospect downloads the helpful “awareness” stage content, or content designed to educate your prospects on where to start and what to expect, etc. Since they indicated on your web form they are interested in home renovations, you now know what type of content to start sending them. The lead nurturing sequence might look something like this:

  • Email #1 is sent within 24 hours of their download of your content. It thanks them for downloading the content offer and lets them know that your company is standing by should they have any questions.
  • Email #2 is sent 7 days later after email #1. In this email, you are checking in and asking what they liked about the content they downloaded, providing the latest trends and helpful industry statistics, and suggesting they read one or two of your recent (or not so recent, but relevant) blogs about home renovations. Also, you should once again, state that if they have any questions, you are standing by to assist and educate.
  • Email #3 is sent 30 days after email #2. Offer another piece of downloadable content to further their knowledge of the home renovation process. Perhaps the purpose of this content is to educate the prospect on questions to ask a home renovation company before they hire them.

If the prospect acts or “bites” on the 2nd content offer, you can now ask more pointed questions such as “What is your home renovation budget?”, “Goal completion date?” and “Biggest concern or challenge with your project?” - in exchange for downloading the new content.

The lead nurturing process can continue past this point too. For instance, if the prospect downloads the content, this could trigger a whole new lead nurturing sequence that leads them to act on a case study. The case study could detail where your company completed a project on time and under budget, with a testimonial from a past client.

These offers produce the ability to collect even more contact information needed from the prospect, like a phone number, address, etc. With all of this information gathered, you can schedule your time appropriately, as these are high-quality prospects that have indicated they want to hear from you!

Lead Nurturing | Cheerful man in office talking on the phone 


Focus on the End Game

The idea behind lead nurturing is to move your prospect through the buyer's journey to ultimately have them hire you or purchasing your product while spending the least amount of time--on your part--winning them. Lead nurturing takes work; it requires a logical communication sequence, which is followed by a really good content offering. The quality of your content is guided by your knowledge of their interests, which they disclosed in their interaction with your website and blog. You want your prospect to feel educated about their potential project and your company’s processes. That way, they get closer to pulling the trigger and becoming a customer before you ever get on the phone with them. 

 

Lead nurturing is a major function of an effective inbound marketing strategy. If you really want to learn more about how inbound marketing campaigns can help drive more traffic and leads to your company, wouldn't it be smart to take a peek at what a sample inbound marketing campaign looks like?

Download your FREE copy of our Inbound Marketing Campaign Checklist, and learn how to accelerate your marketing results today!

 

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Todd Laire
Todd Laire

Founder & Managing Partner, Laire Group Marketing