Here at Rhino, we’ve been something of outspoken advocates for inbound marketing, as I’m sure you know if you’ve spent any time perusing this blog. The inbound process produces tremendous results in attracting traffic to your website, and every one of those web visitors is a potential lead. The challenge, of course, at this point, is to convert as many of those visits as possible into actual sales, a process known as the “buyer’s journey”.
One of the key steps in this process is what’s known as “lead nurturing”. It refers to using various methods to develop relationships with prospective buyers, at every stage of the sales process. It’s often said that lead nurturing is really all about providing the right message to the right person, at the right time. It can be very easy to forget, especially when working with large numbers of “anonymous” web visitors, that not all leads are created equal, and that your approach to these leads needs to be personalized. Some people will visit your website because they’re ready to buy today. Others are doing research and gathering information for a purchase in the near future. Others may have simply followed a link to some engaging content you’ve posted, but could become a buyer of your products or services at some point in the future. Keep in mind as well that not every buyer will respond to the same messages in the same way. A personalized approach is needed in order to maximize your results.
If you’re like most people I know, you’re flooded with more marketing emails than you have time to delete, and sales calls by phone aren’t far behind (what ever happened to that no-call list, anyway?). So an important element in nurturing your leads is to avoid sending irrelevant messages. At best, they’ll end up ignored or deleted. In some cases, someone who could have been a valuable lead will actually take the time to opt-out of future correspondence (and thus the hope of you making a sale). Worse yet, your message may get marked and reported as spam, and that’s certainly not going to help your marketing efforts moving forward.
Part of the lead nurturing process is developing a relationship of trust with your potential customers. Sending an identical message to hundreds or thousands of leads is not going to further your efforts in that direction. Instead, make use of the data you can obtain using a system like HubSpot to group your leads into meaningful categories - according to where they are in the buyer’s journey, their location, what content they’ve seen or downloaded from your website, and so on. Using this information to deliver a relevant message, or an offer of meaningful content, to each lead helps them feel that you understand their situation, and has been shown to increase conversion of leads to sales.
And, above all else, when you do reach out to your leads, listen to their responses. There’s nothing that alienates a potential buyer more than feeling that their concerns are not being heard. And on the flip side, there’s nothing that earns a customer’s trust more than seeing that you’ve actually listened and gave them a meaningful, personalized response.