Imagine you're trying to sell your house, and your realtor has detailed 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 mentioned and 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 the company Nailed It Home Remodelers. The guide is just what you need, so you fill out the form on the landing page and download it. By entering your information and downloading their resource, Nailed It Home Remodelers now considers you a lead.
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 professionals and contact them. However, if Nailed It Home Remodelers fails to provide valuable content via email and targeted social ads, you may forget about their services and reach out to a competitor instead. This would be the perfect example of a lead nurturing fail.
While it is important to see the lead’s perspective, we want to view it from your company’s angle. Being successful at lead nurturing starts with the basic question: what is the definition of lead nurturing?
What is Lead Nurturing?
Lead nurturing is the act of anticipating the wants and needs of a buyer, based on who they are and where they fall in the 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 about their challenge and solutions to solve them. 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 strategy can come in. Create and control the 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 convert to customers.
Educating Yourself on Lead Scoring
Let’s propose that you own a custom home remodel and renovation business, similar to 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 the right fit, then 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 campaigns are the answer.
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 and are relevant to their stage in the buyer’s journey.
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 submit 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. This enables you to begin providing content that is relevant to their specific interests and needs.
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. 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, while 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. By providing this information, the lead will see you as a resource and hopefully reach out to schedule a call with your team.
If the prospect acts 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 example, 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 on why they enjoyed working with your company.
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!
Focus on the Main Goal
The idea behind a lead nurturing campaign is to move your prospect through the buyer's journey to ultimately have them hire you or purchase your product while spending the least amount of time--on your part--winning them. Lead nurturing takes work, often requiring a logical communication sequence, which is followed by a really good content offer. 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 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 are interested in learning more about how inbound marketing campaigns can help drive more traffic and leads to your company, view what a sample inbound marketing campaign looks like.
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This blog was originally published on February 10th, 2016 and updated on March 8th, 2021 for accuracy.