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You’ve attracted leads and captured them into a database. Awesome. Now, what do you do? Do you start sending them emails with more information about your services? Do you start targeting them with messages focussed on driving sales?
SMEs typically focus on filling the “top of funnel” with new leads and focus less on nurturing prospects and building trust. But it is nurturing and building trust that will turn someone into an aligned buyer and brand advocate.
In the Inbound Marketing Methodology, nurturing is the process of taking customers who are somewhat interested in what your business has to offer, to needing and desiring your product or service. This process is no longer driven by sales teams as it was in the past. It is a vital aspect of the marketing function of the business.
Whilst waiting for my wife to have her nails done down at the local Westfield, I usually just browse around the shops with no real intention to purchase anything. I may even wander into a men’s clothing store for a quick browse and am nearly always greeted by the salesperson straight away with a “Hi mate, how’s your day going?” Whilst this is a friendly [and scripted] greeting, and of course, it’s their job, I know what’s coming next. “Is there anything, in particular, you’re looking for? Something for work?” The salesperson starts rolling into their usual sales technique, trying to convince me to make a purchase. In my mind, I’m saying “Don’t talk to me, don’t talk to me, don’t talk to me… I’ll let you know if or when I’m ready to buy something”.
Over 60% of the leads in your database are no where near ready to buy from you yet. The last thing they want is to be sold to straight away. A relationship needs to be established before a decision to buy can be made, and this relationship needs to be built on trust. I don’t trust the salesperson in the clothing store, I just met them and here they are trying to sell me something.
The same situation applies to any business. The last thing a majority of your leads want is to be sold from the moment they first come in contact with your brand. They are perfectly capable of making a decision themselves. If you can nurture the relationship you have with them, providing value to enrich their own life or business, the foundations of that relationship will be built on trust. Customer trust is not only essential in a world where consumer expectations are growing, but it is also a brand differentiator that makes or breaks a business.
Are you a Hunter or a Farmer? A Hunter will venture out into the wild, rifle in hand, ready to bring home the much-needed food for the family. Sometimes, the Hunter is successful in their quest and is well fed, some days the Hunter will come home empty-handed and left starved for the next few days.
A Farmer, on the other hand, will plant the seeds and take the time to let them grow. In the meantime, the Farmer will nurture the crops, feeding them with water and treating them with care. He continues this process over and over again to the point he is always harvesting and never left hungry.
Quite often SMEs will eventually neglect their prospects after two or three moments of contact. The neglect decreases the value and trust between prospects and the brand and diminishes the chance of harvesting paying customers out of your prospects. Their crops die.
You need to be more like the Farmer, feeding prospects with the information they crave. Not information about your brand or services, rather information that will help them solve a problem or fulfil a need. Information that will help them grow into more aligned, engaged and willing buyers. This can be in the form of quality content that answers some of their biggest questions [specific to your industry/expertise], videos, research reports, and eBooks delivered to your prospects on a regular basis, keeping them informed and engaged for longer. This adds value to the relationship, builds trust and prepares your prospects to be ready for harvesting.
Once you’ve attracted leads to your business and built a database of prospective customers, you need to be nurturing them along the journey to a purchase decision.
If you need any help with your lead nurturing strategies, contact the team at businessDEPOT Marketing and let's do some kick-ass marketing together!