Feeding a Baby RobinLead nurturing is an important component in small business marketing, particularly for B2B companies. Since most of your potential customers will not be ready to buy when you first meet them, or they first find you on the internet, it is important to achieve and maintain top of mind status so that when they are ready to buy the will remember you.

Before you jump right in and start creating a lead nurturing campaign, set yourself up for success by considering these factors first.

Define Your Ideal Customer

We always begin discussions about marketing by emphasizing the importance of understanding your ideal customer. This understanding needs to go further than high level, demographic information like industry, revenue (or income), and location. You also need to understand your customers buying process – the stages they go through when making a purchasing decision along with the information they typically need to move from one stage to the next.

Understand Their Motivation

More than likely, your ideal customer didn’t wake up this morning and think “I’ve never bought an estate plan before, I think I’ll try that today.”. No one wants to buy software or insurance. People do want to move away from pain, towards pleasure, and they want to achieve their goals. Where do your products and services fit into that picture?

Map Out Your Marketing Hourglass

The marketing hourglass is a great tool to map out the process of moving your customers through the stages of know, like, trust, try, buy, repeat, and refer. Use the hourglass to identify any gaps you have in your marketing system and use it as a map for defining your lead (and customer) nurturing programs.

Automate Your Communications

I’ve always believed that technology should free us from doing the repetitive work so we can do more value added work. See if you can apply this idea to your lead nurturing program – once you have automated the “routine” communications, think about the extra things you can do that really add value.

Nurturing isn’t just for prospects, nurture your customers as well. An automated “welcome campaign” is a great place to get started. Consider sending elements from your new customer kit via an automated campaign rather than dumping everything on a new customer at once.

Keep in mind that automation may be automatically sending a message, but it may also mean automatically reminding you that it is time to get in touch (i.e. pick up the phone) as well.

Lead nurturing is essential component of a fully functioning small business marketing system. Lay the groundwork for your nurturing program using the tips above and grow your business.

Got a favorite lead nurturing tip? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear it.

Photo credit - TPapi on Flickr

Bill Brelsford Small Business Marketing Consultant