The Four Lead Nurturing Stages Every Business Should Know
Lead nurturing is a very effective way to turn more of your website visitors into leads and customers. 95% of your traffic does not convert. If you do not nurture these prospects into leads, then these potential customers will just end up buying from your competitor.So the aim of lead nurturing is to convert more of this 95%.
Think of lead nurturing as relationship building, you must build trust with a potential customer before they will buy from you. By giving them content that helps them at every stage of the buying cycle, you will help move them down the sales funnel until they trust you and buy from you.
When people arrive at your website they do so at different stages of the buying cycle and your lead nurturing has to match these stages.
Stage 1 – Awareness
I like to call this stage the awareness stage and it matches closely to the top of the sales funnel. People at this stage are not ready to buy but are in the market for information on how your product or services will help solve their problem.
Your content at this stage should be void of sales talk and the goal here is to persuade people to enter your sales funnel, thus changing them from being a prospect into a lead.
At the awareness stage your future leads are anonymous and you need to persuade them to give up some information so they can enter your sales funnel and start to be nurtured. An effective way to do this is with the use of call to actions, landing pages, and relevant content.
Research which questions people have at this stage, try asking your sales team for questions they get asked every day and turn these questions into content. Then when your prospects do a search or ask a question on social, your content is out there ready to connect with them.
Once you have answered their questions you can use calls to actions to persuade them to download further relevant information on the subject.
These calls to actions will then lead to a landing page that will tell them more about the related content and offer a form for them to add their details. Once they have added their details they are now in your sales funnel and are ready to be nurtured as they have shown an interest in your product or services.
Do not be greedy at this stage; only ask for basic information, by asking for too much you run the risk of scaring them off. Just ask for perhaps a first name and email. You can ask for more down the line. Remember you are trying to build a relationship and you wouldn’t ask someone for their life story on your first meeting.
Stage 1 – Content Examples
What content works best here really depends on your industry, but like I said a great place to start would be answering your customer’s questions. This content should not have any sales talk and should be of high quality. You will have to experiment to find out which content works best. Give your audience content that they would pay for, but give it to them for free.
- How to guides
- Free whitepapers
- Free Guides and tip sheets
- Free eBooks
- Free checklists
Stage 2 – Interest
Now that you have their attention you can begin to gain their interest. This stage matches with the Middle of the sales Funnel and you can now talk more about your product. As they have already given you their email address you can start nurturing them through email. Be careful and do not send them too many emails as this is a sure fire way to annoy your leads and have them reaching for the unsubscribe link.
Make sure you give them an easy way to opt out of your emails as not everyone, even at this stage, is interested. You will always get people who only downloaded your awareness content for reasons that we will never know, perhaps they are a student and are researching your industry.
When you offer your leads content that is focused on gaining their interest you have a couple of options. You can email them a link directly to download the content or send them back to your website where they can surrender more information about themselves, perhaps a telephone number or their business name. I would test this to discover what works best for your leads. I would personally not ask them for any more information at this stage and just allow them to freely download the content.
Although some businesses do like to contact their leads at this stage with a phone call, bear in mind that you are more likely to lose people by asking them to return to your website to add a telephone number as they may not want to give you any more information.
This is also a good time to get more interactive with your leads. You can offer a free webinar that you host every week to answer any common questions to showcase parts of your product or services.
Stage 2 – Content Examples
Now that your leads have shown an interest and are starting to build trust, your content at this stage can be more specifically about your product or services. Some ideas are:
- Case studies of success
- Free samples
- Most frequently asked questions
- Product spec sheets and what to expect documents
Stage 3 – Desire
Now that their interest is peaked it is time for you to show off your product or services. Your leads have stuck with you through the awareness and interest stages and are really becoming warm leads. They are beginning to trust you at this stage and are ready to buy. This stage fits in nicely to the bottom of the sales funnel.
How long people take to arrive at the desire stage will vary between industries as a typical buying cycle looks very different for a lawyer than it does for a company that sells software. It will also vary from person to person as some people need less information to be convinced.
So the amount of awareness and interest content you need to offer your leads is something you will need to test.
Stage 3 – Content Examples
Now that they have an interest and desire for your product or services you can really start to show them how choosing you will make their life easier. Some examples of content you can offer at this stage could be:
- A free trial
- Free consultations
- An Estimate or a quote
- Free coupons or discounts
Stage 4 – Satisfaction
Wait a second, I have made the sale why is there a fourth stage? Satisfaction is a stage many businesses get very wrong or pay little attention to. Now that your lead is a customer, you should not forget about them as these new customer can become your most powerful advocates.
Not only are these people more likely to buy from you again if they are satisfied, they are more likely to recommend you to a friend or colleague. You need to nurture your customers for life and make sure they are satisfied with your products and services. Furthermore, they need to be satisfied with you as a business. They need to know that you care and their problems are listened to.
These people, if nurtured right, will become brand advocates and their lifetime value will far outweigh the original sale.
To do this you need to have outstanding customer service, this alone will make you stand out from the crowd because as much as I hate to say it, there is not enough great customer service experiences out there.
With the aid of social media your customers have the potential to share the good word about your product or services to millions of people worldwide.
Make sure you regularly survey your customers to make sure they are happy and listen to their ideas on how you can improve. Create referral programs to make it easy for happy customers to spread the word.
Create Facebook and Twitter pages where you can listen, communicate and build the relationship further with your customers, leads and prospects.
There is a lot work that needs to be done in creating remarkable content that your customers will love but it will be worth it in the end. Do not be tempted to cut corners when creating content because the better the content, the bigger the draw your prospects will have to you. Be different. Connect with your customers in ways your competitors don’t. Surprise them in new and wonderful ways.
Now it’s your turn
What ideas have you came up with to help nurture your prospects and leads?
What are your biggest challenges when it comes to making sales? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.