In my last post, I talked about closing sales on your website. However, not every visitor to your website is going to make an instant purchase. That’s why it’s so important that you give them an incentive to provide you with contact information, and that you have a solid plan in place to nurture those leads.
Lead nurturing differs somewhat depending on the nature of the lead. Sales leads —those who requested more information about a product or service— invite a direct approach that may include a follow-up call, mailing or emailing product literature, providing testimonials or current client references and other direct sales-related activities. However, many of your website leads will be soft leads—prospects who provided you with contact information for some other reason and haven’t expressed a direct interest in your products or services. If you’ve planned your offerings well, most of these leads will still fall within your target market, but they won’t be as far along in the sales pipeline.
Cultivating Soft Leads
Nurturing soft leads requires a lighter touch. The methods for drawing these leads will vary considerably depending on the nature of your business, but some examples include:
- Offering white papers
- Making additional content available with a log-in
- Offering industry-relevant reports
- Offering free samples
- Inviting newsletter subscriptions
- Relevant contests
When designing these offers, think carefully about the contacts you want cultivate. If you give away an iPad, you’re likely to collect a lot of email addresses. However, the number of entrants actually interested in your products and services may be low, meaning that you waste a lot of time and resources attempting to nurture “leads” outside your target market. On the other hand, if you provide home security systems then offering an e-book about keeping your home secure will likely generate interest from a receptive market.
Soft Lead Nurturing
The nature of the offer doesn’t just determine the quality of your leads. It should also guide your lead nurturing process. The specific offer a prospect responds to will tell you something about what’s important to them. For example, if you provide payroll services to small businesses, you may offer a white paper regarding the pitfalls of the payroll process and another about the cost savings a company can achieve through outsourcing. Though the business owners or managers who download those white papers may be candidates for the same service, your approach to introducing those services will differ based on their specific concerns. While you’ll ultimately want to introduce all of the benefits of your service, you’ll want to lead with the areas you already know are of interest.
Ideally, each offer will trigger a unique nurturing campaign designed to tie your solutions to the prospect’s area of interest as revealed by the resource he’s chosen. Some aspects of that campaign may include:
- Additional free resources to help establish your expertise and keep your company in the forefront of the prospect’s mind
- Invitations to subscribe to newsletters, follow you on social media and otherwise increase engagement with your company
- Discounts or other special offers framed in relation to the prospect’s known concerns
- Be creative!
The bottom line is that not all soft leads are equal. You learn as much about them based on the webinars they attend, the white papers they download and the free samples they’ve requested as you do from the information they’ve entered into a form on your website. Put that information to work for you.