5 Ways to Totally Suck at Lead Nurturing

    by Karen Rubin

    Date

    November 8, 2011 at 2:11 PM

    NurturingLet's say you've done an awesome job of creating content, optimizing it so it ranks well in search engines, promoting it on social media, getting traffic to your site, and converting that traffic into leads. (Go you!) But now it's time to figure out how to effectively nurture those leads so your sales team can convert more of them into money-making sales. To help you figure that out, let's discuss 5 ways to totally suck at lead nurturing so you don't have to make these mistakes yourself.

    1. Keep Your Emails Generic and Unfriendly

    If you want to turn people off with your lead nurturing, don't personalize your efforts. Instead, make your messages as generic as possible and be extremely unfriendly. Some easy ways to avoid doing this?

    • Send your emails from a real person, not from a generic mailing list like marketing@yourcompany.com, and make sure your 'reply to' address is a real person as well. This lets people know you care about hearing from them by allowing them to reply to a real person. 
    • Personalize your email any way you can. Do you have the recipient's first name? Company name? Do you know how he/she first found out about you? Including this information in your emails indicates you're paying attention to who they are and not just sending out blast emails to any email address you can get. 
    • Write emails that are authentic and approachable. Be human in your marketing efforts!

    2. Mess Up The Timing of Your Emails

    Timing is always important when nurturing your leads. You can easily upset people by emailing them too much (Daily? Hourly?) or too little (long after they've forgotten about your company). There is a delicate balance when playing with the timing of your emails, and your best bet is to experiment to figure out what works best. Here are some tips to help get you started:

    • Emailing someone every day for a month is never a good idea, and it's a fast way to encourage leads to mark your emails as SPAM or to unsubscribe. Remember, while making the sale is your top priority, buying (right now) might not be the top priority of your lead. Helping to set an urgent tone is key in the sales process, but there is a delicate balance between setting the right tone and being annoying. 
    • Don't wait for 6 months after the lead was on your site to nurture them. 78% of sales that start with a web inquiry get won by the first company that responds! It might be a little creepy to respond 45 seconds after a visitor lands on your site. Keep it within a day, and you should be good.

    3. Use Completely Unrelated Content

    Go ahead and send your leads content that's completely unrelated to why you have their email address and not targeted to appeal to their needs and interests. It's a sure-fire way to confuse them and motivate them to click the delete button twice as fast.

    • At a minimum, you should know why you have their email address. Did they convert on ebook A or webinar B? Did they put their business card in your fish bowl at conference C? Make sure your nurturing campaign is related to this initial topic that drew them to you. 
    • Offer them other pieces of content, and pay attention to what they click on. Then tailor subsequent nurturing efforts to their growing interests. Stay relevant throughout your nurturing efforts by keeping up to speed on what they're interested in.
    • Update your emails as things change. Your industry isn't static, your offers aren't static, and your lead nurturing shouldn't be static either. Make sure you update your lead nurturing campaigns on a regular basis to keep them relevant and interesting.

    4. Don't Include a Call-to-Action

    You're emailing them, so obviously you already have their email address. Why on earth would you want them to convert again? Calls-to-action in lead nurturing efforts are a waste of space, right? WRONG! The secret to effective lead nurturing is to collect as much information as you can about your leads, and then use it to be relevant and interesting. Including calls-to-action is a great way to collect even more information. 

    • Calls-to-action can help you learn more about your leads' interests. What they click on indicates what they want to learn more about. This provides valuable information to your sales team, and it also helps you understand which types of content to use in future nurturing efforts.
    • Make sure your calls-to-action are clear and actionable. Tell your lead exactly what you want them to do and why they should do it. 
    • Try to include a call-to-action in the first paragraph of your email. People don't have time to read long, drawn out emails, so keep it short and sweet, and tell them what to do right up front. 

    5. Ignore Social Media as a Nurturing Tool

    If you think the only way to nurture your leads is via email, think again! Social media is a great way to keep in touch with leads over time and keep them updated on your business. It also has the benefit of allowing your leads to decide how they want to be communicated with. Just remember...

    • Share interesting and relevant content in social media. Twitter and Facebook should be more than your personal soap box. If all you're doing is talking about yourself and your business, people aren't going to listen very much. 
    • Try engaging with your followers by replying to their tweets, asking questions, and just chatting once in a while. Everyone likes to be part of the conversation, so make sure you're doing your part to include others. 
    • Include interesting offers. You still want to collect information about what people are interested in, so share links to your whitepapers and webinars, and learn more about what people want to hear.

    Getting started with lead nurturing can be a bit overwhelming. Just make sure you aren't making any of these 5 mistakes that can lead to totally sucking at lead nurturing, and be willing to test things out. What works best, and what doesn't work at all? Do more of the good things and fewer of the bad, and you'll figure it out in time. We promise!

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