Nurturing Leads A Valuable Inbound Marketing ProcessSo you’ve started your online marketing campaign and you are building a following. You have people following your blog, looking at your Pinterest boards, checking your Facebook page, but no one is buying. Sure, you have lots of interest but how do you get those inbound contacts to step forward and say, “I’m ready to buy!”

The truth is that more than 80 percent of your followers will never buy from you, no matter how effective your demand generation campaigns. They may like your stuff, and love your online content, but they will never become buyers. That doesn’t mean that these followers aren’t valuable. The whole concept of inbound marketing is to generate interest in your social media content so people will become fans and share with their friends. If those 80 percent are sharing your information with their followers, you are building a larger pool of inbound contacts.

Your real challenge is to convert that 20 percent.

Here are some specific steps that turn followers into buyers:

1. Have patience:

Leads are not converted overnight. You need to continue to share information to demonstrate your expertise and build trust. Over time, you will become a familiar name and your followers will feel they know you and trust you. That’s when they start to seriously think about becoming buyers.

2. Stay engaged:

Along with patience, you need to continue to nurture your contacts. You want to stay connected and share personal (or personalized) content to make your contacts feel special.

For example if you have a motorcycle shop and you have a number of followers interested in all kinds of motorcycles, from dirt bikes to highway cruisers. You want to give them content personalized for their needs. Say you post a blog post on a local motocross event. Your followers download a discount coupon or the schedule so you know they are interested. Then you follow up with a blog or social media content with more information about the event, and maybe some links to magazine articles or web sites about the riders. Now you are nurturing those contacts with targeted content. Then you can follow up with more on your shop’s motocross gear, and what to look for based on your level of expertise in the sport. (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, L.L. Bean, and other online catalogs track clicks and serve up custom content all the time.)

3. Maintain contact:

You want to maintain a drip campaign where you gently touch your inbound contacts on a regular basis to keep them interested. Using our motorcycle shop, provide educational information about motorcycles, then information about local events, new models, and eventually what you have in the shop. The idea is to continue offering relevant content until the followers are ready to come in to take a test ride.

4. Keep it light:

The golden rule of nurturing inbound leads is “no hard sales pitch!” That’s the fastest way to turn off followers. Instead, continue to engage, educate, and offer insights to keep them interested. Show them why they should do business with you without actually trying to close a sale.

The trick is to make your followers feel special, as if you are talking only to them, while automating as much of the process as possible. If you keep offering fun and valuable information, ply your followers with coupons, and continue to make them feel special, when the time comes that contact will become a lead and they will be ready to buy.

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Co-Founder & COO at PageLadder, Inc.
Entrepreneur, inbound marketing professional & outdoors enthusiast who finds joy in overcoming obstacles.
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