1. Make it Personal
If you want to turn people on with your lead nurturing, personalize your efforts. Some easy ways to accomplish this:
- Send emails from a real person, not from a generic mailing list like firstname.lastname@example.org, 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. In a word, be human.
2. Timing is Everything
Timing is always important when nurturing your leads. You can easily upset people by emailing them too much (Daily? Hourly?) or too little (who is XYZ company?). There is a delicate balance when adjusting the timing of your emails, and your best bet is to experiment to figure out what works best for your audience:
- Emailing someone every day for a month is never a good idea, and it's a fast way to encourage prospects 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 prospect. Helping to set an urgent tone is important in the sales process, but there is a delicate balance between setting the right tone and stalking.
- 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 are 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 in the same business day, and you should impress your contact.
3. Keep it Relevant
Nothing will convince a prospect that you're not listening, nor do you care about them, than sending automated emails containing irrelevant content. Instead:
- 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 the prize drawing bowl at conference C? Make sure your nurturing campaign is related to this initial incident that attracted them to you.
- Offer them other pieces of content, and pay attention to what they click on. Then tailor subsequent nurturing efforts to their expanding interests. Remain relevant throughout your nurturing efforts by keeping current 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 current and interesting.
4. Don't Forget the Call-to-Action
You're emailing the prospect, 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 redundant, right? WRONG! The secret to effective lead nurturing is to collect as much information as you can about your leads, and use the information you gather to be relevant and interesting. Calls-to-action are a great way to collect information you may not have been eligible for at the initial encounter.
- Calls-to-action can help you learn more about your leads' interests. A click indicates what they want to learn more about. This provides valuable information and 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. Use Social Media as a Nurturing Tool
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:
- 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.
- Engage your followers by replying to their tweets, asking questions, and just chatting once in a while. Everyone likes to be part of the conversation. Make sure you're doing your part to include others.
- Include interesting offers. You still want to collect information about what interests prospects, so share links to your whitepapers and webinars, and learn more about what people want to hear.