Do you have a green thumb when it comes to marketing? Do you just barely touch something and it springs to life?
The idea of lead nurturing is a common topic in marketing chats and a frequent point of discussion whenever marketers and sales people get together. I used the term “green thumb” because that’s a very common gardening term that usually refers to someone who is naturally gifted (or at least appears to be) when it comes to nurturing plants or flowers in their gardens. They seem to be able to make something grow out of nothing and they can keep plants alive for a long time. That last point is especially tricky for me. For some reason keeping plants alive and growing is insanely difficult for me. Just ask anyone in the office and they’ll tell you - the ideal plant for me is a cactus.
I think just as with gardening there are some people who are just naturally gifted at nurturing and growing leads in business as well. And just as with having a green thumb in gardening I believe everyone can learn this ability and talent. What is lead nurturing you ask? Well, quite simply put lead nurturing is the process of growing and keeping alive a potential customer for your business until they become a customer. This process involves paying attention to their needs, watering them, and providing optimal conditions for their growth. It really is quite similar to gardening. Nurturing in its simplest form is simply the act of encouraging growth and life.
3 Steps to Amazing Lead Nurturing
If we can identify what lead nurturing is and how the lead generation process funnels directly into a lead nurturing process then we can begin to identify how to do lead nurturing right. The process shouldn’t be tricky or confusing. Don’t let the unknown words trick you into not doing amazing lead nurturing. Let’s get started.
1. Lead Nurturing Starts Early
When you’re growing a plant or a flower many times you will start with a seed. There’s not flower, there’s no root system, there’s really nothing more than a tiny seed. It doesn’t look anything like the beautiful flower you believe it will be in the future.
Now I want you to imagine with me that you’re in a garden with your friend. The two of you have gotten up on a cool spring morning and met in the flower bed behind your house to plant some beautiful tulips you’ve just gotten in. Now as you kneel in the dirt next to your friend you begin the process of digging the holes to place the flowers into. But your friend is not helping! In fact, he’s sitting there with a tulip bulb in his hand. As you watch him he turns it over slowly in his hand and then carelessly tosses it over his shoulder before selecting another from the bag. He does this again and again, until finally you stop him and ask what he’s doing throwing these great tulip bulbs away! What would you say if his response was that these weren’t tulips at all because they didn’t look anything like a tulip. They weren’t even green!
Obviously you’d be shocked and a bit confused that your friend didn’t understand the potential these tulip bulbs held to become stunningly beautiful tulips…when they bloomed. You would have to explain to him that these seeds would turn into beautiful flowers, over time and with the proper care. They might not look like something beautiful now, but with the right care and love they would eventually grow to become a beautiful tulip. Lead nurturing should be done the same way. Lead nurturing must start early, well before your lead actually even looks like a lead. You have to nurture them with attention, love, and care. You have to understand the potential each lead has to become a beautiful customer.
2. Lead Nurturing Is Consistent
Continuing with our story in the garden, the tulips you planted are continually in need of care. You will need to water them regularly, ensure they get proper sunlight, and maintain ideal temperatures. In short, you have to care for their survival with constant and consistent attention. The same happens when you are nurturing leads in your marketing. You have to consistently water (sending timely information), you have to make sure they get proper sunlight (providing relevant information), and maintain ideal temperatures (offer easy ways to respond). Did you get those? Let me highlight them again and provide a sentence or two more detail on each.
Send Timely Information: Don’t flood new leads with information immediately upon the first time you make contact with them. Just like when watering a plant, you want to send information consistently over time. Nurture leads daily, weekly, or monthly as appropriate for your particular market or industry.
Provide Relevant Information: Don’t spam your leads with information that’s not relevant. You want to shed light on questions they have and provide answers to problems. You want to be sunshine and warmth for them in the sense of being an environment that encourages their growth and development. Continually.
Make Responses Easy: You want to be listening to your leads as you nurture them. You need to consistently provide ways for leads to become customers. This is the ideal temperature aspect of nurturing. If you provide a consistent way for leads to respond you give them an optimal “warm and fuzzy” feeling for growth and development.
3. Lead Nurturing Takes Time
The last thing to remember when nurturing leads is the important aspect that everything takes time. If you’ve ever planted anything before you know the results are not instant. You have to follow the process. You have to trust that the things you do day in and day out without seeing any immediate results are serving a purpose and doing something greater. You’ll see the results if you are consistent in following your processes. Your ongoing watering, providing relevant information, and making feedback easy should begin very early and must be consistent. You’ll see results over time. Now, some leads may be much faster to grow and bloom but most will take time.
Lead nurturing requires patient and persistent marketing.
I know one of my own biggest weaknesses is patience. I work all the time on being more patient and letting things unfold but it’s still a struggle I must face every day. Nurturing leads takes time. But let me be clear on this point about one thing. Just because this takes time does not mean passively waiting; instead we must do active waiting.
Lead Nurturing Software
Lead nurturing software like Mautic helps you accomplish these steps. No longer stress about being consistent or contacting each lead at the optimal time. With a strong lead nurturing platform you can automate the lead process and still personalize each point of contact with your potential customer. A lead management software system helps nurture leads by making you consistent in your approach. This is one of the greatest benefits to using a marketing automation and lead nurturing platform like Mautic. I know for myself, this struggling to be patient and consistent is one of my biggest problems and Mautic makes it easy to be both consistent in my lead contact and patient in my approach.
We must stay actively engaged in nurturing and growing a lead using the steps mentioned above. So don’t lose heart, don’t give up easy. Be consistent and be patient. And understand that nurturing your leads takes time. Water those leads and watch them bloom into an awesome customer!