Robert and I speak frequently about the best ways to attract and retain customers. In fact, the subject is so topical now and so often written about that a new(ish) term is being used — “lead nurturing”. The good people at Marketing Sherpa, who we sourced yesterday about a recent email study, have conducted some research about best practices for effectively nurturing leads. Here are their key findings:
1) Use several media to establish and maintain relationships with leads. While this finding isn’t anything new, it confirms that, if you want to have a meaningful impact, you need to use different channels and methods. Email, telemarketing and direct mail are the media that the study highlights.
2) Respond to leads generated online quickly…in fact, very quickly. While many organizations contact online leads within 24 hours, it turns that to ‘establish contact’ you need to follow up within minutes!
While the study focused on “calling” leads, unfortunately, it did not cover other ways of following up. One way that many entrepreneurs are using is email confirmation/follow up that is triggered immediately upon receiving a request. This method serves as a quick, personalized and cost-effective form of contact that isn’t as intrusive as phone calls can be.
3) Assess the quality of your leads. Surprisingly, the study found that few organizations actually evaluate or rate their leads. Of course, this provides a great opportunity for you, the entrepreneur. Specifically, if your competitors aren’t applying this type of discipline, here’s your chance to leapfrog ahead of them.
Robert and I will be devoting future podcasts to the different stages of lead nurturing. In the mean time, check out the Business Cast Podcast archives for a several shows devoted to attracting and retaining new leads and customers.