What is lead nurturing? How does one define lead nurturing?
Jon Miller, VP of Marketing at defines lead nurturing:
Lead nurturing is the process of building a relationship by conducting an informative dialog that helps qualified prospects who are not yet sales-ready, regardless of budget, authority, or timing and of ensuring a clean hand-off to sales at the right time.
Brian Carrol of InTouch rightly says in a blog post on the :
Its surprising how many marketers now say they do lead nurturing but in reality they are just sending monthly email campaigns or monthly newsletters with some call to action.
If all you do is send generic email marketing messages to your early stage leads over and over and over again, youre missing the point. Consistency is good but being relevant and then consistent is even better.
To be truly effective, marketers must get over the automated only approach to lead nurturing (meaning there's no actual human interaction just a blind system that can't think). The point of nurturing is to build relationships and to do that we need to have a dialog between people thats relevant and consistent.
One needs to be able to differentiate between creating a periodic email marketing campaign and setting up a program for the very reason mentioned above. Another point to note is, every email should not be an outright attempt to sell or make an offer. Selling is for leads that are already nurtured and ready to be sold to. During the lead nurturing stages, leads are absorbing content and information which may help them decide on how their problem can be solved when they are ready to buy. Perry of Leads360 puts this point across well in a blog post saying:
You must not sell. A lot of business owners fail in drip marketing because they are selling products to their nurtured leads. First, they do not fit the qualifications you have, so there is a huge chance that they are still not going to make a purchase. Second, if they keep on seeing the word buy in their inbox or mailbox, they can get so annoyed and leave your business. However, you can pre-sell.
Auto responder email programs are often talked about as lead nurturing tools but auto responder email programs though very effective when used well, are just that....auto responder emails and not lead nurturing applications. Similarly fortnightly newsletter programs can be sent using , but isn't strictly lead nurturing on it's own.
So when you are planning your program, stand back, take a look at how it's setup and check to see that it fits the goal of lead nurturing and isn't whats its not supposed to be.