lead nurturing best practicesCompanies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads at a 33% lower cost.

The best way to look at lead nurturing is as building trust with potential customers as they go from inbound lead to paying customers.

The way to build trust will look very different depending on the sector that you’re in. If you’re selling real estate, giving great information on buying property may build trust whereas if you’re an accountant keeping leads up to date on accounting regulations might be the best strategy. If you’re a beer mat design company the trust may come from releasing great beer mat designs of obscure Belgian beers. For anyone trying to nurture leads the starting point should be: “how I can give my customers the most relevant information so that they build their trust in our company?”

Here are three ideas to get you started:

Identify your target demographics’ key interests

To deliver useful information to customers you first need to understand what information they need the most. Spend time understanding the pain points they have that your company solves. This intimate understanding of customers will drive your lead nurturing strategy.

If you’re a technology company selling a scheduling app to fitness instructors then take the time to understand what information is useful to your potential users. It doesn’t even have to be about scheduling – it can be generally useful information. So you could produce content which helps them manage workload (a bit more direct), or just general content which is really useful to them. For example, they might be interested in how to win massive clients or how to build their brand – offer this value and you will become ubiquitous in their space, so if they need a scheduling app buying from you will be a no brainer.

Develop an effective content marketing strategy

So many companies have content strategies which are at best a waste of time and at worst counterproductive. Delivering great content is hard, time consuming and constant so before you jump in make sure you have a channel you feel comfortable with and a content plan. As a rule of thumb you should have in your mind at least a dozen great articles you can write if you’re thinking of a blog. You can de-risk this by producing something that is a one off piece first, like an e-book to see whether the process of creating content is viable for you. The most important point with content is to make it high quality and unique.

Invest in email segmentation and automation tools

You are likely to have customers who need different information so segmenting them accordingly is a sensible step – you should start by implementing a CRM with the appropriate features to do this. There are obvious segmentation fields like geography or job role which make sense to use, then you can drill much deeper into preferences related to your content, what they read or information gleaned from the sales team.  The message is clear: the deeper the profiling the better.

Once you know who is on your database you can set up email automation.  For example, a company selling beds could send out some links about a new type of mattress and anyone that clicks on the link for a mattress then receives follow up emails about why that is such a great mattress and why buying a good mattress is such an important purchase. These automations then take leads with specific needs or wants on a more tailored content journey to drive the action you need – in this case buying a mattress.

When I work with clients to build these strategies the most important mode of thinking is to start with the outcome: what do we want to achieve with the leads we’re nurturing? Once we can quantify this and assign some metrics I look at what information can be used to build the engagement and finally the channel. The channel is the easy bit – working out what you’re sending and to who is the hard part. Good luck!

Doug Haines has worked on a variety of CRM implementation projects and now writes on a wide range of topics. He is a regular contributor to Discover CRM.