Nurturing

Lead Nurturing: Triggered Emails, Newsletters and Webinars

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Your demand generation programs are running, bringing lead information into your SFA system or other database. What do you do next? Send the raw leads directly to your sales team to qualify?

Isn’t this like throwing out the baby with the bath water?
Instead of immediately handing leads to sales, marketing should make it a practice to nurture the leads, setting up a program of activities that provide information on topics of interest to your target and that focus on the value of your solution. Sending and tracking the response of successive lead nurturing activities also lets the lead self-qualify. You can assume that the more information requested, the stronger the lead.

While there are many different nurturing activities, some of my current favorites are:

Triggered Emails – Send a series of emails, each triggered off the one before. Each email offers a document (or webinar, or trial software, etc.) that helps move your target along in their decision-making process. Including a link to a relevant white paper without requiring additional registration information can provide better viral penetration for your content, says MarketingSherpa.

Newsletters & Blogs – Newsletters, when content-rich, can be excellent nurturing vehicles. Third-party content, special offers and product tips & tricks are excellent content for newsletters. Similarly, links to blogs that fill the information needs of your target and that invite comments from readers can nurture your target. RSS feeds and content that is formatted for mobile devices such as BlackBerry, Treo and iPhone can also increase the reach of your nurturing activities.

Webinars – Webinars, particularly when featuring an industry analyst or expert not associated with your company, are excellent at moving prospects along in the nurturing process.  According to MarketingSherpa, decision-makers are more likely to attend webinars than contributors, so webinar attendance might weigh heavier in your nurturing process.

Calls – There is still no substitute for the pre-qualification telephone call. Reaching your prospect allows you to fully qualify the lead in a short amount of time. But don’t stop at just one call if you don’t reach your target. Create a timeline of calls (on day 3, day 8, day 15, for instance) and leave short, contextual voice messages. You might also intersperse these calls with more personal emails (referring to earlier interactions, for instance).

Custom Landing Pages – And don’t forget that custom landing pages can increase conversion rates during your lead nurturing as well as your lead generation activities. You only have eight seconds to get their attention, so use bullets, short forms, and no external navigation (just your call to action!).

So why not keep the baby, nurture it until it’s mature, then hand it over to sales. Your sales team is happy with the lead, you can close the loop between lead generation and sales, and you’ll look like a hero.