The lead nurturing diagram below fills in a crucial piece of the online marketing puzzle, namely what to do once you capture leads on your website.
If you aren't familiar with what lead nurturing is, click the link a few words back and read that first. And don't be ashamed, a lot of people aren't familiar with the phrase “lead nurturing” but I'm sure you already familiar with the concept. And changes are that you do this to some degree in your business, perhaps manually.
Let's look at how to set up an automated lead nurturing system that can help you turn your ideal customers into paying customers.
Anatomy Of A Lead Nurturing Program
As promised here's the diagram:
There are 5 essential parts to a lead nurturing system:
- A lead capture mechanism, typically an opt-in form
- A thank you page
- An autoresponder system such as AWeber or Infusionsoft that can deliver emails automatically
- A series of emails
- Landing page with an offer
Let's look at each.
Lead Capture Mechanism
This is the starting point of lead nurturing – capturing leads. You've seen these before – they are all over the place here and should be on your site and blog too. These are opt-in form of various natures that offer something of value in return for an email address or more information.
Once a person's information is captured they become a lead. Until then they are simply a website vistor.
After opting in to your offer, always send the person to the next step in the system…
A Thank You Page
A thank you page can do more than just thank your new lead for opting in. This is your chance to strengthen the relationship.
A few items you want to consider putting on your thank you page include:
- Links to your major resources pages, for instance our how to blog or how to SEO pages
- An invitation to share the opt-in offer page with their social media communities
- If it makes sense for your business, inviting them to join your social media communities
I've also seen a number of businesses promote upcoming events or free trial offers of their products on the thank you page. The idea here is that if some has already signed up they are more likely to continue acting.
Here's the thank you page you'll see if you fill out the form below and sign up for email updates:
Now lead nurturing is not possible if you don't have an automated email delivery system.
An autoresponder system allows you to create an email list and then create, in advance, a series of emails to be delivered on a pre-scheduled basis. There are two we recommend.
If you're just starting out with lead nurturing definitely sign up for AWeber. We've been using AWeber for more than 3 years and have always had fantastic success with them, meaning our emails are delivered and we have a ton of metrics we can dig into. Their support is also top-tier.
If you're ready for something more advanced the only choice in my opinion is Infusionsoft. At $300 a month Infusionsoft combines customer relationship management, e-commerce, and email marketing into a highly flexible package. For the price you won't find anything better. Eat your heart out Salesforce!
Regardless of what system you use, the point is that you need an autoresponder system that allows you to create a defined sequence of emails like you see in the lead nurturing diagram above.
A Series Of Emails
Now here is the heart of your lead nurturing system. Using a sequence of emails you can automatically deliver valuable content to your leads in combination with additional opt-in offers.
As in the diagram above you want to keep your offer emails spaced well apart, focusing instead on delivering value. How far apart should you space your offers? That depends on your average buying cycle. If you have a 6 month buying cycle you might want to have your email series set up like this:
- Week #1 – Value
- Week #2 – Value
- Week #3 – Value
- Week #4 – Offer
- Repeat 1-4 up to 6 times
In this example you would need to write a total of 18 value emails and 6 offer emails.
Note: each offer email sends the lead to a landing page.
Always send your leads to a landing page with your offer. What's an offer? It could be a free consultation, another free report or other information, or it could be to purchase your product.
Why do you want to send them to a landing page? Testing. With this set up we can test:
- Email open rates using different email subject lines
- Email click through rates using different calls to action
- Time on page for the landing page
- Conversions on the landing page
- And on yes, even more 🙂
Each landing page should be part of the natural buying cycle of your customers. Now you might be asking why I colored the landing paged red in the above lead nurturing diagram. That's because it's what I call a stop page, meaning there is only one action someone can take on that page – opt-in or leave. Okay that's two actions, but you get the point.
Here's an example of our landing page for the Google SEO Case Study:
Simple? Not So Much
In essence a lead nurturing system is a fairly simple thing. You have the 5 parts that fit together to automatically send valuable content and offers to your leads. The goal is to keep in touch with your leads until they are ready to buy.
Is this simple? Yes. Is it easy to set up? Fairly, given you have the time.
Will having this in place give you a distinct competitive advantage? Absolutely. It's amazing how few companies do this today, given how important it is to stay in front of customers and be prepared when they are ready to buy.
The customer is in control. Thinking any different is suicidal.
Can we help them along the way? You betcha. Use a lead nurturing system like I've outlined here to do just that.