If you followed our example and resolved to get more leads this year, you have probably been focusing on the first step of our Lead Generation Funnel: Visitors—more specifically attracting visitors to your website and converting them to leads. But now that you have drawn visitors to your website, converting them to leads, what’s next? In this post, we will focus on the second step of the funnel: Leads—and more importantly how to nurture them and turn them into customers.

First, a look at the numbers

You may not be 100% sure what lead nurturing is, so let’s start off with a clear and concise definition. According to Marketo, lead nurturing is, “process of developing relationships with buyers at every stage of the sales funnel, and through every step of the buyer’s journey. It focuses marketing and communication efforts on listening to the needs of prospects, and providing the information and answers they need.”

So now you know what lead nurturing is, but if you are still unsure if it is worth your precious time and money, you may want to consider the below statistics from a 2014 Forrester study and the Marketo blog before reading on.

  • On average, marketers saw a 20% increase in their sales opportunities from leads that they nurtured
  • The companies excelled best at lead nurturing saw 50% better sales for their brand, with costs that were 33% lower
  • Nurtured leads typically make purchases that are 47% larger than those of non-nurtured leads

How to nurture your leads

Now that you know what lead nurturing is, and the statistics that make it an essential part of your business marketing, how can you warm up your leads automatically, with minimal blood, sweat, and tear? Here we will share three easy (mostly automated!) the lead generation tactics that have worked for us—all of which can be easily incorporated into your current inbound marketing methods.

Set up an instant response system for new leads

Remember the CTAs that you strategically placed throughout your website to convert visitors to leads? Well, what happens if a visitor does what they are supposed to do and takes action? You need to have a plan in place!

This is a perfect opportunity for an automated reply, that requires no instant effort from you or your employees. This initial email should reference the action taken by the lead (e.g. a contact form on your website, the request for a free e-book, etc.) and should include specifics on how you plan to follow up with them.

This is also an excellent chance to encourage leads to share further information about themselves and what they are looking for in exchange for something of value like a free webinar or consultation.

Consider a newsletter

Now that you have your lead’s contact information—thanks to you impressive inbound strategy—it is time to establish a plan to keep your company in the forefront of their mind, as they decide whether or not to purchase your goods or services.

According to Autopilot HQ, newsletters are “the bread and butter of any company’s customer communication strategy,” and we couldn’t agree more. A weekly newsletter in your lead’s inbox is a great way to share company news, blog posts, and of course a perfect opportunity to include a CTA to draw them back to your website.

Just remember to make sure your newsletter is relevant and personalized. You don’t want to annoy your readers with useless, impersonal information that will turn them off from your brand. To make the process even more automated, we suggest considering a service like MailChimp or Zendesk that will make creating, personalizing, and tracking bulk emails a cinch!

Schedule follow-up

Did you know that on the journey of converting a visitor to a customer takes an average of 10 marketing interactions? You heard us right, TEN.

With this in mind, Hubspot states that the most effective lead nurturing strategies “deliver content that helps prospects progress through the buyer’s journey by addressing common questions and concerns.”

These tactics can include a variety of marketing methods that we have touched on in the past such as starting a company blog, establishing social media accounts, and providing leads with other valuable content such as webinars, e-books, and infographics.

Multichannel marketing may sound like the opposite of “automatic” lead nurturing, but we suggest establishing a system that you follow with each new lead (with modifications depending on their specific needs).

Yes, it may take a little of work to figure out what channels work the best for your business, but once you have committed the time to establishing a system that works, you can put your lead nurturing into autopilot and sit back and relax while you watch leads become repeat customers.

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Does your company rely on regular, new leads to sustain itself? Learn how inbound marketing can help create an automated source of quality leads for your company!

Get our “Intro to Inbound Marketing” Guide and discover how it can help your company!