Definition

lead nurturing

Contributor(s): Laura Fitzgibbons

Lead nurturing is a set of integrated marketing strategies designed to turn a potential customer into a buyer. Contact acquisition is the starting point of any nurturing campaign. Sales teams and marketing professionals use a wide variety of approaches to find and nurture leads, including direct email marketing and content marketing. In order to provide sales with the opportunity to virtually hold a prospective customer's hand, lead nurturing strategies include identifying purchase intent, developing a personal relationship with the potential buyer and communicating with the sales prospect on a regular basis as they move through the sales funnel

The use of third-party behavioral data can help marketers with their efforts to support, encourage and educate prospective customers. It is common for companies to track their prospects through various models such as a sales pipeline in order to segment sales leads into demographics. The ideal candidate for lead nurturing is a customer not ready to make a purchase, but who possesses qualities of a target customer. Lead nurturing programs then follow the consumer through the awareness, consideration and decision stages of the buyer's journey.

Lead nurturing can be thought of as the opposite of lead generation, which places emphasis on gathering as many consumer contacts as possible. In contrast, lead nurturing concentrates on quality over quantity. Instead of trying to reach a broad market, lead nurturing involves focusing on a specific prospective customer and learning as much as possible about that person in order to meet that customer's individual needs.

It is common for companies to track their prospects through various models such as a sales pipeline in order to segment sales leads into demographics. The ideal candidate for lead nurturing is a person who has the authority to make a purchase, but has not yet made up their mind about what product or service will meet their needs. Lead nurturing programs can then follow the consumer through the awareness, consideration and decision stages of the buyer's journey.

Lead nurturing best practices

  • Personalize campaigns to specific customers or demographics.
  • Keep track of lead and engagement data to produce more successful results.
  • Send timely and relevant information dependent on the consumer's stage in the sales cycle.
  • Create an optimal communication schedule that is not overbearing.
  • Tailor content around common pain points.
  • Take advantage of all forms of communication such as social media channels and email advertisements.
  • Use lead nurturing throughout the customer lifecycle to onboard, revive and renew contacts.
This was last updated in October 2018

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What is something that you would have been more likely to purchase if a company had applied lead nurturing to sell you their product?
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