Lead Nurturing

How to Develop an Effective Lead Nurturing Strategy

By: Frank DePino | May 9, 2024

Lead nurturing is what guides prospective buyers through the sales funnel and can ultimately inspire their first purchasing decision. If your company doesn’t already have a lead nurturing program, you’re behind the eight-ball. Why should you focus on nurturing leads?

Lead nurturing can achieve many company objectives, including new lead generation, boosted sales (opportunities for upselling and cross-selling too), better engagement, and more conversions.

In this guide, we’ll explain what lead nurturing is, the benefits, and how to create a comprehensive lead nurturing process so your company can be poised for success. Make sure you keep reading!

What Is Lead Nurturing?

According to conversion rate optimization company Invesp, 80 percent of new leads never become anything more than leads. They just disappear out of the funnel at various stages.

That alone explains why lead nurturing is such a crucial component of any successful marketing plan.

Nurturing leads involves connecting with leads who are early into your sales funnel and thus not yet ready to make a purchasing decision and forging a successful professional relationship with them.

It’s in connecting with your leads that they can learn more about your company’s products and services and feel readier to move through the sales funnel, eventually making a purchasing decision.

Lead nurturing is a major part of the buyer’s journey and can reduce the rate of leads who languish in the sales funnel.

A Small Biz Genius stat found that nurtured leads commit to bigger purchases at a rate of 47 percent compared to leads that aren’t nurtured.

Building that relationship is key!  

Lead Generation and Nurturing: how they differ

Lead Generation and Nurturing: How They Differ

Companies focus a gargantuan effort on leads, as these are prospective customers. Yet lead generation and lead nurturing are two very different things. Here’s how.

Lead generation is the process of attracting potential buyers or leads through a series of marketing, sales, and advertising measures.

For example, companies will post online content, coupons, and other content that’s designed to grab attention, bring a lead to a website, and get them to provide their contact information.

Lead nurturing starts after lead generation.

At the beginning of the sales funnel where a new lead enters (especially an unqualified lead), they have very little information on your company and possibly little interest as well.

The lead nurturing process does more than build a relationship but provides information and quells doubts and concerns as well.

Now, nurturing leads does entail sending relevant content and emails just as lead generation does. Nurturing the lead is the follow-up to inspiring their signup on an email list and is what motivates their purchasing decision.

If you leave an unnurtured lead to make their own decisions, then their choice might be no decision at all.

The Benefits and Goals of Lead Nurturing

What kinds of benefits and goals can you achieve by nurturing your leads? Per the intro, let’s go over the advantages now.

New Lead Generation

Lead generation is a process that should never stop, at least not for profitable companies.

Nurturing the leads you have in the funnel will produce more engaged customers.

Those customers might be more willing to participate in your company referral programs or even recommend your products and services of their own volition.

This, in turn, brings on new leads for your company.

More so than being unqualified leads though, if these leads are coming from the recommendations and referrals of your existing customers, they may be considered qualified leads.

Qualified leads are readier to buy, which tremendously benefits your company. 

Lead nurturing will increase your sales

More Sales

It’s not only that you have a higher chance of earning a sale out of a nurtured lead, but you can continue to earn from them in a multitude of ways.

For instance, since you took the time to educate your lead on your company’s products and services, they’re likely surer of what they want to buy.

You can try to upsell or cross-sell the lead, which might have a higher chance of success thanks to your nurturing efforts.

Even outside of that initial purchase, no matter how small or large it is (and you’ll recall that the stats from earlier suggest it will be large), that will likely not be the only purchase from this lead.

Now that they’ve converted into a customer, if they’re pleased with the quality of your products and services, they will surely purchase from you again.

The increased rate of referrals as discussed above can also more generously pad your bottom line.

Higher Conversions

What is your company’s current conversion rate?

While it can and does vary by industry, marketing resource WebFX says that a good conversion rate on average is 10 percent.

If yours is lower than that, lead nurturing is a strategy you must implement immediately. You could in turn see your conversion rate catch up to what your industry standard should be and possibly even surpass that.

Better Engagement

Once you’ve begun successfully converting more leads, you can keep them engaged using the nurturing strategies you have been.

After all, nothing is worse than going through the effort of converting a customer and then failing to continue engagement.

Customer engagement will deepen their sense of loyalty towards your company, better the overall customer experience, and foster a stronger trust in you.

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What Is a Lead Nurturing Email?

In the next section, we’ll outline lead nurturing strategies to utilize, but for now, we want to talk about one strategy in particular, and that’s email marketing.

Through an email campaign, you can nurture your leads.

These email campaigns are advantageous for a variety of reasons.

For one, they’re highly personalized.

A report from HubSpot found that 99 percent of marketing professionals found that personalization is the key to furthering customer relationships. Your customers will respond strongly to personalized content as well.

Second, a lead nurturing email is often automated. This has the double benefit of nurturing existing leads and possibly qualifying new leads as well.

Blogging Wizard states that one’s rate of qualified leads can increase by up to 451 percent through marketing automation software.

Your drip email campaign will captivate the lead’s attention and grab them at just the right time so that you can maintain engagement even when you’re not necessarily in front of your computer or phone to send an email.

Lead Nurturing Strategies

Are you ready to put together your own lead nurturing strategy but need some insights? This section will tell you what should comprise that strategy so you can begin fostering stronger relationships with your leads.

Targeted and Relevant Content

As we’ve touched on several times already, your strategy to nurture more leads involves sending them relevant content.

What relevant content is will vary by your industry as well as your audience.

In addition to sending relevant content, you also want the content to be targeted.

In other words, this content is separate from what you send to long-term customers who are already well-acquainted with your products and services because they know and own them.

Personalized Emails

Going back to our point from the last section, personalized emails are such a critical touch when nurturing your leads.

You’ll recall that the crux of lead nurturing is relationship-building, and it’s hard to build a relationship to the degree you have to when you regard your leads impersonally.

It suggests that your leads are interchangeable and replaceable, that they’re but one of thousands.

Taking the time to personalize content will make a difference.

You can add the lead’s name to an email subject line or send them recommendations based on the products or services on your website that they’ve been browsing.

Lead scoring

Lead Scoring

Not all leads are necessarily worth engaging with.

You’re trying to find the most qualified leads to nurture since those are the ones who are the likeliest to become customers. The best way to do that is through lead scoring.

When you score your leads, you review their behavior for a predetermined period and then assign each behavior a numerical value.

At the end of the predetermined period, you add up those values to get a lead score total.

The numerical values will be either positive or negative.

For example, when a lead opens an email, they get points. If they click through the links in your email, this nets them more points.

A lead who unsubscribes from your email list or bounces from your website would lose points.

A/B Testing

Another element of lead nurturing, albeit one that doesn’t get as much attention, is split testing, also known as A/B testing.

A/B testing, as the name implies, involves testing two versions of something to determine which will gain the highest rate of receptivity among your audience.

You can split-test just about anything, be that your email subject lines, the email body itself, social media posts, your website homepage, CTA button placement, blog posts, you name it.

Determining where to place elements or what kind of copy you’ll use matters. A/B testing points you in the right direction of which version of these elements to use so you can build stronger lead relationships.

Multi-Channel Lead Nurturing

Another element of your strategy should be multi-channel lead marketing.

As you might have guessed from the name, this method of nurturing leads involves using several channels at once to foster a solid relationship faster.

For instance, you might engage with the lead over social media while at the same time sending them emails or SMS messages.

Time is of the essence when trying to convert leads, and multi-channel lead nurturing ensures no stone is left unturned.

Marketing and Email Automation in lead nurturing

Marketing and Email Automation

Although we’ve talked about nurturing leads as mostly a solitary endeavor, that’s not quite accurate.

When you nurture leads, you’re not just doing it one at a time. You’re nurturing several, possibly dozens of leads at once, maybe even hundreds.

Each deserves the same level of attention and personalization so they feel prioritized and valued, yet you only have 24 hours in the day.

That’s why using email and marketing automation is so critical. Even when you can’t be at the office, automation will continue the nurturing journey so it’s like you’re there responding to your lead at every turn.

Buyer’s Journey Analysis

It’s also wise to assess your company’s current buyer’s journey and what that looks like from beginning to end.

A buyer’s journey analysis is a review of how your leads move through the sales funnel, including at which stage they make that initial purchase and convert.

From awareness to consideration, purchasing, and hopefully secondary and third instances of purchasing (and more on top of that), you need to map out each stage so you have a better idea of when you need to begin nurturing your leads in the future.

How to Create a Lead Nurturing Campaign

To wrap up, here is a succinct review of the steps you need to follow to create your own effective lead nurturing campaign.

1. Segment Your Audience

Your audience is comprised of people at all stages of the buyer’s journey. You only want those leads who have recently entered the sales funnel and who, from your lead scoring results, your company has deemed viable potential leads.

2. Share Valuable Content from the Start

Your first contact with a lead is not a sales pitch, as that’s not very nurturing. Rather, you want to provide value right off the bat, whether that’s a helpful blog post or a checklist.

3. Begin Email Marketing with Objectives

Once you’ve got the lead’s contact information, you can begin taking them through your automated email marketing campaign.

Every email you send, even if you’re automating it, should have an objective that’s slowly working you towards your short-term and long-term goals.

4.Create a Timeframe for Progress

Based on your buyer’s journey analysis, roughly how long should it be until your lead is ready to make a purchasing decision?

Once you have an idea of when your lead is readier to make a buying decision, you can review their progress and see if their behaviors match the timeframe.

5.Track Your Results

From there, it’s time to review your findings and gauge your successes.

Did the lead convert? Was their purchase commensurate with what a first-time purchaser usually buys or was it bigger than usual? Smaller?

Since you took the time to nurture your leads, remember that your efforts should pay back dividends around this time.

Download Our FREE E-Book

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Does your luxury website include any of these common mistakes? Learn the secrets to driving more traffic to your luxury website, generating more leads, and ultimately increasing sales.

Conclusion

Lead nurturing is the process of developing relationships with your leads to elevate them into customers.

Now that you know our recommended strategies, you can begin generating more leads, qualifying them, and nurturing the most viable candidates for conversion!

By: Frank DePino

Frank DePino is Principal and Founder of Mediaboom. Since 2002, Frank has led Mediaboom’s award-winning staff of creative and technical professionals, building the most effective marketing and advertising solutions for its clients.

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