The term lead nurturing has started popping up a lot recently. At first glance, it seems to be just good business-to-business lead generation practices. But when you really get down to it, it’s what a business is doing when they implement a content marketing system.
You, as the business, provide immediate value for no cost to the potential prospect. You’re staying in contact. You’re responding immediately. It’s just good business. Most lead nurturing programs are automated to some extent. Whether it’s an engagement or indoctrination series of emails or sending an subscription confirmation email to increase engagement, it’s much easier (and more effective) if you are automating it.
So what goes into a lead nurturing campaign? First you need to know what your prospect is looking for. Do they want to be educated on your product/area of expertise? Do they want industry best practices? What about promotional emails? You’ll need to set up consistently fresh content, like any content marketing campaign. But you’ll need to test the results to see who falls into what interest groups and track the numbers. For example, if you’re in the home swimming pool business and you send out an email about new, safer chemicals, you can tell who is interested and who isn’t. The people who open the new chemicals email and click through to your site should be sent more emails on the same topic to keep them engaged. The people who didn’t should be dropped from the chemicals campaign and tried with a different aspect of pool ownership, like floating drink holders.
But wait, the rabbit hole goes deeper. Another important part of lead nurturing is tracking what someone does on your website. If they visit the “careers” page, they probably aren’t buyers. If they go to your site and a week later do a Google search with your company name in it, that’s promising. It means you made an impression. They may not be ready to buy yet, but they’re getting closer.
So what does this have to do with business to business lead generation? It’s what inbound marketing staff takes care of. Your outbound people should keep doing what they’re doing. They will throughout the course of their search come across many people who are qualified and fit your ideal customer profile, but aren’t yet ready to buy. These people (with permission) should be put into the category of lead nurturing. That way when they’re ready to buy, you’ll still be fresh in their mind.