The probability of a new lead converting at the first instance of engagement is very low. For leads to convert to customers, lead nurturing, which is the practice of maintaining regular communication with parties who have expressed interest in your products or services through their buying journey with the objective of having them ultimately choose you as the supplier, has become an increasing focus.
These are just some statistics from various sources on the state of readiness to buy from interested parties:
Marketing Donut: 63% of people requesting information on your company today will not purchase for at least three months – and 20% will take more than 12 months to buy.
Vorsight: At any given time, only 3% of your market is actively buying. 56% are not ready, 40% are poised to begin.
DemandGen Report: Nurtured leads produce, on average, a 20% increase in sales opportunities versus non-nurtured leads.
Forrester Research: Companies excelling at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads at a 33% lower cost
Lead nurturing serves a few purposes. Firstly, it keeps top of my awareness with the prospect through relevant sharing of content according to their specific interest. Secondly, it helps the prospect remain connected with your products and services while they move through the different stages of the buying cycle. Thirdly, it can create demand for interest parties and accelerate their move up the buying cycle.
Lead Nurturing Applies to both Inbound and Outbound Marketing
From an inbound marketing approach, the prospect can sign up for your newsletter and receive personal and relevant email content from you periodically on their topic of interest, which can lead to invitation to events. From an outbound marketing approach, the prospect can receive a cold call from your sales rep to set an appointment for a follow up discussion. To be successful in leads nurturing, it requires discipline and a well thought out content plan to ensure that you keep communication at the optimum. Different content works for leads at different buying stages – top of funnel, middle of funnel and bottom of funnel. Over-communication would be perceived as spam and would eventually lead to opt-out and a loss of future opportunities to engage with the prospect.
Database marketing has been practiced by marketers for a long time and is the earlier form of leads nurturing. In recent years, this has become more advanced with the use of automation technology to provide tighter qualifiers and content distribution.
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