Lead Nurturing Ignites Hotter Online Conversions

07/06/2016 03:06 pm ET Updated Jul 06, 2017

While lead generation is vital to any business, without proper nurturing, the initial spark of customer interest gradually dims and dies out. It takes consistent engagement to keep leads burning brightly as they progress down the conversion pipeline. Your best efforts to cultivate authentic relationships are enhanced when coupled with the right strategies and technical solutions.

Marketing Automation - A Trusty Fire Starter
Since 2011, marketing automation has generated significant heat across various industries, making it a must have for any business with an online presence. The business software solution improves efficiency by streamlining cross-channel marketing. It also produces an impressive ROI. For example, about half of the leads in any system are not yet ready to convert (Marketo) and nearly 80 percent will never generate sales (MarketingSherpa). However, nurtured leads result in purchases that are 47 percent larger than their non-nurtured counterparts (The Annuitas Group).

Just as a sustainable fire starts with the right tinder, a lead scoring system serves as the foundation for automated marketing. The software uses an initial questionnaire to evaluate key variables and gauge the compatibility between your business and a customer's needs. Then it analyzes how potential customers explore your website, assigning a corresponding value to each action. The higher the score, the closer they are to converting. This scoring system informs when and how to approach each lead.

Content Keeps Interest Burning
Next, you have to kindle the interest by providing information that is both relevant and appealing. Successful cross-channel marketing must involve a coordinated plan to consistently deliver content that satisfies the interest of potential customers. Information sharing takes on many forms - including e-mails, video tutorials, FAQs and social media. Every question that you answer through these avenues will bring the lead one step closer to conversion. While automated marketing plays a role, your message always starts and ends with your website's branding.

The time and effort it takes to nurture a lead to the point of conversion varies from customer to customer. Yet, every touch point that draws them back to your website reignites the possibility of conversion. This underscores the long-term value of developing a high quality site with robust search engine optimization (SEO). It is also important to regularly refresh the information on your site through timely and newsworthy blogging.

Personal Interest Stirs the Embers
It's true - modern customers value speed and efficiency. Yet for all the conveniences that technology offers, nothing compares to the personal touch of good customer service. It's comparable to the careful vigilance nascent fires need to really get them burning. Similarly, potential customers need to feel important, respected and appreciated. The best way to ensure that they feel valued is through person-to-person communication.

When nurturing leads, remember that technology is still just a tool. It may start and feed a new fire, but you must cultivate it. Technology is not a substitute for human interaction, whether it is in person or over the phone. During such conversations, you can carefully listen to a potential customer's needs and ask discerning follow up questions. Once you really understand them, you can empathetically explain how you will address every detail of their concern. Such nurturing may influence a customer to see beyond pain points like paying a higher price tag or working with a less experienced company.

In a business environment - where winds of competitive offers are likely to snuff out a small fire - lead nurturing takes considerable time and effort. The right technology will detect the initial spark and inform your approach. Content marketing through your website and other channels will educate potential customers, keeping their interest hot. It also requires the vigilant attention of human interaction. A comprehensive lead nurturing strategy not only instills potential customers with confidence in you and your business, but also fuels your commitment to deliver on their expectations. The best result is the roaring fire of a win-win scenario.