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Leads are the future of every business, if you have no leads you are going to hit hard times very quickly. This is why people are always trying to find new ways to generate leads. The problem is, you can have a stack of leads as tall as your house, but if they never become customers they are useless to you.

THE PROBLEM

Twenty years ago marketing looked totally different. It was dominated by what we would call outbound marketing: cold calls, brochures, hard-sell sales reps and more, but something happened, the internet exploded and all of a sudden people could educate themselves before ever contacting the vendor or service provider.

This revelation of empowered buyers means that society has largely become allergic to outbound marketing, thus turning the attention of business owners to inbound marketing. To clarify what I mean by that, you can think of inbound marketing as the science of helping clients that already want what you offer to find you, rather than you finding them.

“SOCIETY HAS LARGELY BECOME ALLERGIC TO OUTBOUND MARKETING”

The side-effect of this shift is that the leads we find are not all at the same place, they may be ready to buy right now, but they might be simply exploring their options. Your task as the marketer or vendor is to identify if the lead is hot enough to enter the sales process with or if they neednurturing first.

NURTURING LEADS

Any lead that is not hot enough to start the sales process with needs to be put into a nurturing program. If you try to sell too early you risk them disconnecting. The question is, how do you nurture them until they are ready to become clients? That is exactly what we are about to explore.

IDENTIFY THEIR INTERESTS

If you know about the interests of the individual, you can reach out to them on that level. You can do this several ways, you can offer a quiz or online test (as discussed in this post), you can monitor which page of your website they were on when they subscribed, or you can use your newsletter by sending out campaigns with multiple calls to action. The lead they click on will tell you what their interest or primary reason for finding you is.

This practice is called using activity triggers and can be used very creatively. For example: You send out a newsletter with several links. If one link is to an article on money management, you could set up a trigger on that link so the next day the lead receives an email saying “I see you read the article I sent you yesterday on money management, here is a free download of my ebook, ‘Cashflow Secrets’, let me know what you think!”  Boom, instant relevance and value delivered to their door!

GIVE THEM SOMETHING VALUABLE

Keep in mind that your lead has taken time out of their busy life to look at your content and has given you the privilege of access to their attention, so you want to be enriching this relationship. Once you know their particular interest (however it is that you come across that information), you should either be looking for something that will be valuable to them, creating something that will be valuable for them, or ideally you will already have a system in place to provide them with something that will deliver them undeniable value.

DO SOMETHING PERSONAL

My suggestions up until this point have been possible to automate for greater efficiency, but there is no substitute for personal interaction. If you can build a friendly relationship with your leads it is highly unlikely that they will go elsewhere. Even if another company offers them a better deal, the friendship they build with you will generally hold more value to them, and you can only build this by personal contact.

After they have received your automated contacts give it a little while then call them or send a personal email, ask what they thought of your content, ask if there is anything they felt was missing, anything to build that idea that you care about their business and them as a person.

Tip: If you are not sincere, give up now. If you are just trying to get sales by acting ‘nice’ you need to evaluate your motives. If you are not genuinely interested in the lead they will be able to sense it nearly instantly and that will be a lost opportunity.

THE ROLE OF YOUR WEBSITE

Your website is like a lead incubator, it should be a nourishing, content rich environment for your leads. When you identify an interest you should be able to automatically reach in to your website and pull out a few posts, whitepapers, videos or podcasts, that will speak directly to the interest of that lead.

For your website to fill this role you need to be constantly adding content based on your target market. Do some research as to what type of media your target market consumes, and what their key problems are likely to be, it won’t take long before you start seeing a pattern you can cater to.

WHAT DO YOU DO WITH YOUR LEADS?

Do you nurture or drop your leads who are not ready to buy? If you do nurture them, how do you do it? Are you planning to implement a lead nurturing program in the future? Let us know in the comments.