If you are a small business properly successfully utilizing inbound marketing you are likely generating leads, many of which should considered soft leads. According to Hubspot, only 25% of leads that come in are actually ready to be handed off to a sales person. If that happens too early, it is likely that you will lose the sale. Because of a lack of lead nurturing, 79% of leads are never actually converted to sales. The purpose of lead nurturing is to take the leads that are not ready to move onto sales and continue to educate them until they are.
If you aren't getting these soft leads, they are likely going to your competition. If this is the case you must re-evaluate your entire inbound marketing strategy and how that is being implemented. If you are generating leads but need some help with your lead nurturing process, start with these 5 tips:
1. Define your process.
You may think you have some sort of lead nurturing in place, but without defining the process it will inconsistent and many leads will be lost. Determine what exactly happens with the emails once they are generated as a lead, how often and how they are contacted, the content of that contact, etc. Be detailed as it will be much easier for everyone to followed with that detailed plan.
2. Don't be a pushy salesperson.
If a person is in the awareness stage they are still very early on and educating themselves. Your communication with these individuals should be non-branded and non-product specific. Be helpful and provide them accurate and valuable information, even if it doesn't point directly to what you are able to offer them.
3. Offer a helping hand.
I'm not telling you to give away the farm here, but in your communication with them offer to help them with their education in some way. You'll earn their trust and start building a relationship. Relationships will eventually lead to revenue!
4. Prepare for long lead times.
This isn't always the case, but remember that an individual might take a long time before they actually buy. Don't give up on them too soon. On the flip side, define when a lead is no longer qualified as well. If you've been sending follow-ups to the same person for a significant amount of time (this will vary by industry/business/purchase type) and they've never shown any interest, it might be time to not focus efforts on those individuals. If they begin to interact with you again in some way, you can re-enter that lead into the lead nurturing process.
5. Convert lead nurturing into good customer service.
Part of inbound marketing is delighting customers so that they become raving fans. Just as you were providing value to an person when you were trying to get their sale, be just as helpful to them after you have made the sale. The same philosophies from lead nurturing can apply to good customer service. These will be the people that will buy from you again and tell their friends.
Use these 5 tips and start evaluating your lead nurturing process. As a small business, you can use every lead that you can get so make them count!