I Have Leads! Uh, Now What? | Six ways to build a successful lead nurturing strategy with email marketing

Getting Started with Email Marketing | You’re learning how to find new leads for your business. That’s great. You’re also probably learning that finding those leads costs you something. Whether it’s time, energy or money, it’s lost if that lead goes away — and that revenue is lost, too. That’s not so great.

That’s why you need a plan for building strong relationships with people who show interest in your services. But like any relationship, lead nurturing takes effort, time and persistence. If that sounds complicated, don’t worry. It gets a lot simpler when you put email marketing to work.With email marketing, you’ll create messages quickly. You’ll send them for pennies. And you’ll have a lot to show for it: email marketing returns $43 per dollar invested, according to the Direct Marketing Association. That’s better than any other channel. (You go, email.)

Send regularly. | Getting Started with Email Marketing

When you send regular email messages, you’re not the guy from the networking happy hour six months ago. Instead, you’re the guy who sent that great-looking email last week. Above all, you’re the guy who’s more likely to get the call when a prospect is finally ready to hire someone after a long buying cycle, a change in the season or a budget shift.

Package it up nicely. | Getting Started with Email Marketing

Email is an expressive medium. You’ve got design, graphics, images, text and branding to help tell your story. Use ‘em all to show off your unique style and create a memorable, professional brand that builds trust with would-be clients.

Tailor, target and refine. | Getting Started with Email Marketing

Your prospects have different goals and perspectives. Why send them all the same message? For example, email past customers a message to encourage repeat business. Send a “what’s new” email to people who inquired more than a year ago. City, gender, buying budget, whatever: ifit’s something you know about your prospects, then you can tailor a message around it.

Be yourself. | Getting Started with Email Marketing

Remember, you’re building relationships, so start with great content that fosters a personal connection. In addition to the latest newsand work, share what’s inspiring you or post photos or stories from recent travels. Include testimonials from other clients and useful links, too, and always remind people how to hire you.

Dig into the data. | Getting Started with Email Marketing

Don’t just send and walk away. Partner with an email service provider that tells you who opened, clicked, shared your email on Twitter and more. You’ll know what content people enjoy most and have a manageable list of your most likely buyers for personal follow-up.

Connect email to, well, everything. | Getting Started with Email Marketing

You can use a strategic email program to engage all kinds of prospects. Make it easy to join your email list onyour website. Share your latest email with Twitter and Facebook friends, and encourage them to sign up. Do it offline, too, at conferences and networking events.

And above all, remember: they’re not solely leads, they’re people — people who’ve given you their time and information. Yes, it’s about making money. But first, it’s about making a connection. Respect that, and you’ll be well on your way to successful lead nurturing.

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Suzanne Norman

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