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Lead Nurturing: The Secret Sauce for Conversions

Written by | Wednesday, 01 August 2012 00:00 | Published in 2012 August
Each and every day you likely have hundreds or thousands of visitors to your website. If you've done your proper content/promotional offers, call to actions and landing pages there's a chance that you will convert between 1 to 4 percent of these visitors into a lead. But how can you effectively convert these leads into sales? One critical tool used to boost lead conversions are lead nurturing campaigns. After reading this article you will understand what a lead nurturing campaign is and how they can boost your lead conversion rates and in-turn boost sales.

Inbound Marketing Funnel for JoomlaFirst, before we dive into why lead nurturing campaigns are so amazing, let's first define and look at what a lead nurturing campaign is. In your Inbound Marketing funnel we have different stages of the customer buying process. If you have your website properly structured with multi-stage content offers, a prospect may convert on your top funnel offer or your middle funnel offer, but how do we move the lead down the Inbound Marketing funnel towards bottom funnel conversion? The answer is a lead nurturing campaign.

If you're confused already, check out some additional resources to learn more about the Inbound Marketing process: The Ultimate Marketing Guide For Joomla Web DevelopersWhy Inbound Marketing Rocks at Producing Leads

A lead nurturing campaign is the bridge that transitions leads from one stage in the buying process to the next. They bridge this gap by sending a series of automated emails to the lead which educates the lead and gives them call to actions to convert on the next stage of the funnel. If the lead ends up converting on the next stage content offer, they are automatically taken off the previous campaign and set on the path of a new lead nurturing campaign to help move them to convert on the next offer.

Here's an Example:

I'm on your Joomla! extension website and I'm curious about an extension you offer for blogging with Joomla!. I'm not quite ready to buy the component, I'm simply looking for more information about blogging.

Luckily, you offer a free ebook which explains everything I need to know about blogging. So I decide to fill out the form and download the free ebook. By submitting my information, I'm not entered into the top portion of the inbound marketing funnel and placed on a lead nurturing campaign.

Two days after downloading the free ebook, I receive an email thanking me for downloading, asking me if I have questions and information on another educational ebook you have about "How to Select the Perfect Joomla Blogging Extension". I want to download this ebook but forget to and loose the email in the process. Then two days later I receive another email with some additional educational content and another call to action to download the new ebook and so I click on the link and download the "How to Select the Perfect Joomla Blogging Extension" ebook.

By converting on this middle offer, I am now automatically taken off the previous top funnel lead nurturing campaign and I'm not placed on a middle funnel lead nurturing campaign. After a few days I receive an email again thanking me for downloading, asking if I have questions and then offering a free trial of your company's component.

Well at this point I've been educated on blogging, I know what to look for in a good Joomla! blogging component and I trust your company because you've given me some great educational content. So I visit your website and convert on the free trial offer. (This would be a bottom funnel conversion)

From here there are a few ways to move the lead to get them to convert into a paid customer. It could be handing the lead to your sales staff to start the sales process. It could be to get them on another lead nurturing campaign. It really depends on the process that works best for your particular company.

Why Are Lead Nurturing Campaigns Important?

Once a website prospect decides to make the leap and convert into a lead, you've already won half of the battle. However, this is where many companies fall short in engaging the lead to get them ready to convert into a paying customer. Lead nurturing campaigns are important because:

  • Customer Engagement: For the last few years the name of the "Marketing Game" was engagement. How can you interact with your customers in a personal, one-on-one experience and get them excited and involved in what you are doing at your company? If done correctly, lead nurturing campaigns are a great way to continuously engage leads and get them excited to be involved with your company.

  • Reminders: Each and every day people's minds are pulled a million different ways from work to family to emails, texts and phone calls. It's important to continuously "touch" each lead in order to get them to convert. Don't simply give up if they don't respond right away. The general rule of thumb is people need to be reminded of your company seven times before making a buying or conversion decision.

  • Reinforce Your Brand: Each time a customer has a positive experience with your brand, it reinforces you as a leader in that particular niche. So the more you can provide great content or valuable information to your leads, the more it will reinforce your brand name, products and services and make them stand out in their mind.

  • Automation: Lead nurturing campaigns are completely automated and don't require much work other than the initial setup and improvements along the way. Because it's an automated system, it allows you to focus on other parts of the inbound marketing process while still engaging your current leads. A certain level of automation is critical to maximizing your business marketing power.

These are just a few of the key reasons lead nurturing campaigns are important in the inbound marketing process and how they can help improve your lead conversion rates.

Where Else Can You Apply This Concept?

The concept of a lead nurturing campaign can be applied to many different aspects of your business. Many smart companies turn lead nurturing campaigns into customer development campaigns and send out automated emails to current customers to help improve their experience with the product or service and to help engage and upsell them into other offerings.

For Example: I own an extension development company and my extensions are free to use, however, I do offer a paid subscription support plan. Once a user converts by downloading one of my popular components, they will be entered into a lead nurturing campaign that will continuously engage them and educate them about the how to use the component and hints of why to upgrade to a pro member.

These emails should not be blatant sales messages. Each one should be educational and provide the user value. If they are packed with sales messages, there's a good chance the user will quickly unsubscribe.

In this article we covered what a lead nurturing campaign is and how they effectively drive the lead further down the inbound marketing funnel. Learning the specifics of how to structure the email, what content to include and how to write them, how many and when to send these emails out and how to monitor and adjust your campaigns to maximize conversions is a whole separate topic that we can cover another day.

If you have comments or questions on lead nurturing campaigns, please post below and I (along with other community members) would love to help you.

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Luke Summerfield

Luke Summerfield

Greetings! My name is Luke, the brains behind the inbound marketing team at Savvy Panda, jInbound and Master Inbound. I'm hubspot, google analytics & adwords certified and have a B.S. in Marketing.

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