Nurturing warm leads is a lot like dating, actually:
- In the beginning, you might want to see your partner all the time, but you also don’t want to look too interested or desperate.
- As the relationship develops, you might send flowers, gifts, or chocolates to indirectly show you care and make your special someone feel special.
- A maturing relationship stays healthy with responsive, open communication. You’re honest with each other and listen attentively, so your partner knows how much you value them.
Perhaps most of all, dating, like lead nurturing, takes patience. Nothing can be forced; it’s got to develop naturally, in its own time. Easier said than done, right? Warm leads don’t nurture themselves — that warmth will need a heat source.
Best Practices For Nurturing Warm Leads:
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to keep warm leads from growing cold. No matter what specific inbound marketing tool or tactic you’re using, it helps to keep your best foot forward. Keep these lead nurturing best practices in mind:
Delight at Every Touchpoint
Your number one goal should always be to please your prospect, so they’ll stick around and not start looking at a competitor. Be polite, positive, and always listen closely. Show that you hear and understand their pain points or desires.
Follow Up With Purpose
Too many follow-ups will scare away the warm lead. But too few will make you look disinterested. The ideal balance is often to follow up just a little more than you want to by nature (most folks tend to lean towards showing too much caution). You also need to have a purpose to the message: new offerings, useful content to share, a company update, congratulations for developments at the lead’s company, or just a friendly happy birthday greeting.
Timing Is Everything
Make each contact count by finding the right time to reach out. Workday calls, for example, are often missed or ignored. Instead, try connecting with them during their commute, at lunch, or right before dinner. Immediately after they contact you is always the best time.
The right place matters, too. Connect with warm leads through multiple channels whenever possible. The landscape is broader today than ever, with social media platforms, phone, email, in-person meetings, snail mail, SMS, and more. You can build a more rounded relationship by diversifying your contact methods. Follow their company on social media to keep track of product launches or milestones; these could be talking points for your next follow-up!
Don’t Give Up
Nurturing that lead into a customer could take days, or it could take more than a year. As long as you keep the faith, dutifully stoke the fire, and stay optimistic about your marketing goals and objectives, that lead can stay warm. If you give up, it’s guaranteed to go cold. Persistence takes that unflappable Lloyd Christmas attitude:
Remember, Content Is King
Quality content gives you a great reason to follow up with warm leads and provide them with a steady stream of value. Study your warm leads to see what they care most about, and get to work on creating content that delivers the goods. This might mean eBooks, webinars, whitepapers, infographics, or how-to videos.
Send these content offers out with personalized messages that show you understand the warm lead’s role and desires, and that you want to help them accomplish their goals. Nurtured leads produce a 20% increase in sales opportunities, so this free content is more than a giveaway for your company.
Automate Email Drip Campaigns
This is one of the most tried and true warm marketing strategies. HubSpot even has a few examples that produced open rates over 40% — these are great to use as models if you need a place to start. Your marketing and sales teams can only do so much manual outreach. You have to use automated campaigns to make sure warm leads don’t fall through the cracks and cool off.
Finally, Be Thoughtful (Don’t Sell All the Time)
It might feel counterintuitive to back off from the sale, but constant sales messages are a turnoff. Instead, try these gentler approaches:
- Postmark a thoughtful handwritten follow-up. Taking the time to write a letter shows personal interest and feels special.
- Wish them a happy holiday. Relevant, non-sales messages can keep the conversation going and make the relationship more substantive and genuine.
- Send gifts! Free consultations, discounts, swag, trials, eBooks, homemade cookies...everyone loves gifts. Try to keep them warm by sending something that supports their business or personal interests.
Warm leads aren’t guaranteed to convert. Even the best-laid plans can sometimes go awry. But these best practices will help you lead nurture with efficiency and keep yourself in play. In the end, that chance is what warming leads is all about.
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