Sep 16, 2010 Jack Barry

5 Steps to Getting Started with Lead Nurturing

For those of us who are involved in the world of online marketing, it's easy to get infatuated with rankings and traffic.  But at the end of the day, we all must stay focused on the fact that we do those things in order to not only generate leads but eventually convert leads to customers. 

lead managment systems

Here are 5 steps for building a lead nurturing system that will help convert your list to qualified sales opportunities and customers.

  1. Define your funnel - think about the actions that your prospects typically take as they move through your sales process.  It might be helpful to think of a recent sale and which identifiable steps the customer took along the way.  Write down those steps and number them in sequence.  For example, the funnel for a software company might be:
    1. Download a free report
    2. Register for a Demo
    3. View the demo
    4. Register for a free trial
    5. Phone consultation
    6. Software purchase
  2. Develop your follow up process - now that we have our funnel mapped out, we can plan content that will help move the prospect to the next step.  This gives us some context and direction to the content that needs to be created.  Consider what the prospect must "know" "feel" or "believe" in order to take the next step.  This can help to identify content that needs to be included in communications.  The steps for developing the follow up process are:

    1. Determine the steps
    2. Select the format or media type
    3. Determine the timing and content of each step
  3. Automate follow up - once you have created your content and determined the sequence of each step, automation can play a huge roll in a successful lead conversion campaign.  Automation tools range from very inexpensive and simple to complex solutions that require a larger investment.  Here are a few examples of solutions in each category:
    1. Single purpose and inexpensive email autoresponders such as Aweber
    2. Multi-function systems that offer more than basic email such as multi-channel communications, affiliate management, billing, etc. such as Infusionsoft
    3. More sophisticated marketing tools that offer more advanced functionality such as landing pages, lead intelligence, lead scoring, CRM integration and more. Vendors include companies like HubSpot, Marketo, Eloqua and Manticore.
  4. Don't let the conversation end - we invest so much time and energy generating leads and developing relationships and yet many companies let these relationships atrophy.  Make sure that there are no "dead ends" in your lead follow up process.  Make sure that all of your lists or databases have scheduled communications that are appropriate for them. 
  5. Consider trigger events - think about which events warrant a follow up campaign such as:
    1. New customer welcome
    2. Lost customer
    3. Inactive customer
    4. New leads
    5. Old leads
    6. Etc.

One last tip is to not try to do too much in the beginning.  I've seen many companies get overwhelmed with trying to mastermind a 12 month sequence for every possible scenario.  Start simple and get something in place that you can build on.  A basic 3-5 step email sequence is a great start and can pay big dividends.  

Please feel free to add your comments as to what else should be included on this list.

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Published by Jack Barry September 16, 2010