Tuesday, April 27, 2010 NEW YORK
How to nurture leads and build lists
As social media becomes a key approach to marketing, companies are trying to figure
out how to nurture leads throughout the sales cycle. Prospective customers are becoming
leads prior to going to a company's website and companies must recognize the necessity of
tracking that info online. Engaging in social media is similar to lead nurturing in that
companies are building relationships with prospective customers who may not be ready to
buy but will have that relationship solidified for when the lead is ready to become a
Marketers can use social media to nurture their leads and build more effective mailing
lists by listening to their customers, providing interesting content and segmenting leads.
The first step in nurturing leads throughout the sales cycle is to listen. Companies can
find unidentified leads and nurture existing ones by listening to conversations on social
media sites, industry blogs and forums. This interaction allows companies to provide
customers with relevant content by gaining a better understanding of buyer interest. As
companies show customers they are paying attention to their interests, they will start to
receive valuable feedback in real time.
Creating free, valuable content to customers is an effective way to build relationships,
credibility and trust. As people start viewing your company as a "go to" source of industry
info, they will be more likely to subscribe to your newsletters, visit your website and
eventually become customers. If they are existing customers, the content you provide will
help you retain them.
I worked for a real estate company several years ago and their motto was, "We provide
information, not sell real estate." Their employees focused on being experts in their field
and provided buyers or sellers with the necessary information to move forward in the sales
cycle regardless of whether or not the individual was a customer.
Natasha Attal, Composure Marketing By tracking and monitoring conversations on social media sites and blogs, companies
can learn more about their customers, segment them by interests and see what part of the sales cycle they are in. Companies will also be able
to use these conversations to find new ways to sell their products or market their services.
A common mistake is combining all leads into one list and mass emailing them the same content. Over time, if the content people
receive is not relevant to their needs or interests, they will start opting out of your emails and that customer will be lost. This brings up the
strategy some companies use to expand their outreach of purchasing lists through 3rd parties. This does not allow proper segmentation of
contacts and is not an effective strategy for companies interested in reaching the right customers.
Recently, David Meerman Scott blogged about an email he received indicating that he could purchase miles for a trip. Scott is a frequent
flier and if American Airlines had segmented their lists, they would have seen that he already had thousands of miles and would not need to
book a trip. They made the mistake of not segmenting their contacts into specific interest areas and levels of customer loyalty. This takes us
back to the first step: listen to what your customers are saying and doing.
Marketers cannot effectively build lists and manage leads if they don't have the proper tools. Some of the resources I have used recently
have been Hubspot, Radian6, Constant Contact for email marketing, Cotweet for tracking Twitter, Google Analytics and Google Alerts. Most
of these resources have free tools to help companies communicate with their customers and understand their needs and preferences.
Natasha Attal is a social media marketing consultant at Composure Marketing, New York, N.Y.
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