Lead nurturing strategies are highly effective sales-focused processes that take e-mail marketing a step beyond average correspondence. Our inbound marketing industries pay enormous attention to lead generation methods, so much so, that we often neglect sales oriented processes.
Your less than average inbound marketing agency may only consider lead generation as a single pronged sales strategy wherein leads equal sales. However, according to Hubspot.com, “only 25% of leads are legitimate and should go to sales.” This insight alone speaks volumes because if sales strategies are based on lead generation alone businesses are in effect discounting 75% of all campaign efforts. Realistically speaking businesses usually plan around a certain percentage of unresponsive leads in the same way financial institutions estimate bad debts, which is of course a reasonable expectation. However, if you told any financial institution that you were able to decrease their bad debts and improve annual gains they would definitely stop to find out exactly what you were talking about. In this case, lead nurturing is the annual gains improvement mechanism because according to Hubspot.com, companies that send “lead nurturing emails get 4-10 times the response rate of stand-alone email blasts.”
What Exactly is Lead Nurturing?
Basically, lead nurturing is an email marketing process that allows you to pre-qualify leads by broadcasting a series of strategic emails developed to build a client-business relationship. According to Gleanster Research, 50% of qualified leads are not ready to purchase immediately. However, by using lead nurturing, companies are able to correspond with prospective clients without using ineffective or overly aggressive sales strategies. Lead nurturing is essential because it provides you with the means to remove barriers to the consumer-business relationship. These strategies allow you to build trust, communicate the value of services or products, and it also promotes consumer retention during periods of non-selling.
Creating a Highly Responsive Business
A great deal of the lead nurturing process deals with the way we respond. The concept translates from traditional brick-and-mortar standards to internet based inbound marketing.
Consider the following analogy: A Macy’s store located in one of your run-of-the-mill malls opens for business at 10 am. Another store located inside the mall; let’s for this purpose call it “Stacey’s”; also opens at 10 am and carries the exact same inventory as Macy’s. A customer arrived early and decided to park directly in front of the Macy’s entrance. She then entered the store and began shopping. A few minutes into her shopping frenzy she receives a text/SMS message from Stacey’s shopping center about an “early bird sale happening now”. She subscribed to Stacey’s shopping center updates earlier in the month. Although she had not purchased any items from Stacey’s “yet” she knew they sold the exact same products carried by Macy’s because she read the newsletters last week. The customer decides without a second thought to return her Macy’s items. She then purchased the same items at Stacey’s at 50% less. She was so pleased with her savings that Stacey’s has now become her regular shopping center.
Yes, this example was ridiculously lengthy, but necessary nonetheless. To understand the lead nurturing process you must also understand that in general your leads will always be a collective gradation of consumers. While no single entity is able to please 100% of their customers 100% of the time. Your goal is undoubtedly to serve each and everyone of them in the capacity that suits their current needs. This is exactly why lead nurturing strategies excel.
Reaping the Benefits of a Well Oiled Machine
The lead nurturing process is in fact a well-oiled machine. It’s not your average mass email sent out 3 times a month. This process allows you to learn more about your prospects and in return they learn more about you. For example, in a standard email marketing campaign you may send a welcome subscriber message and a few monthly updates. In contrast, a lead nurturing campaign selling keyword software would send out a series of emails teaching prospects about keyword research, valuable SEO tips, and at the same time, subtly introduce leads to products specifically sold by your company or company affiliations. You’ve got to admit that’s an excellent strategy.
Although, even more interesting than the strategy is the amount of influence it has on consumer engagement and inevitably consumer purchasing patterns. In a study conducted by Hubspot.com, lead nurturing strategies were compared to generic email blasts. The goal of the study was to determine differentiation between click-through and unsubscribe rates relative to email marketing and lead nurturing. The results of the study showed both higher click-through rates and unsubscribe rates in the lead nurturing process. The chart below displays the results which indicate a more responsive campaign related to lead communication and qualifying leads.
The fact is larger click-through rates indicate your message is actually being received by your leads. Not only are they receiving the message but they are also viewing it to determine if they either need or want what you have to offer. This accomplishment alone is one of the major benefits of lead nurturing. Another benefit of the lead nurturing process is automation. Enabling an automated process is both cost and time efficient. Finally, according to Hubspot.com, “nurtured leads have a 23% shorter sales cycle.” A shorter sales cycle increases cash flow and inevitably improves any bottom line.
In short, lead nurturing enhances email marketing campaigns by deploying strategic sales-oriented strategies that leverage time, money, and opportunity. Yes, now is a great time to start your lead nurturing campaign. If you need help, let us know. We’re here for you, and lead nurturing is one of our strongest suits.