I was at an offsite and heard the term nuture marketing and it was one that I hadn’t heard in a while but nuturing customers is key to establishing a long term commitment both ways, between you and your customers. Karin Schaff has a good article explain the process.
Nurture Marketing: Always Being Connected
by Karin Schaff Glazier
The concept of nurture marketing has been around for a long time. However, with narrowing customer markets, fierce competition and an abundance of consumer purchasing options, nurture marketing is changing from a want to a critical need for survival. Much of nurture marketing involves basic common sense: Treat others the way you would like to be treated to keep in touch with prospects (new and existing customers) and develop and cultivate relationships to generate new business. Here are just a few highly valuable but simple tips you can use to begin developing your nurture marketing game plan:
Know your ABCs (and Ds)! Before jumping headfirst into nurture marketing activities, dissect your prospect base into A, B, C and D accounts. Typically, the A and B accounts are where most of your revenue will come from in the near term, per your sales plan and ideal client profile. The C and D accounts are those that hold potential to become revenue-generating accounts, though not necessarily in the near term. The As and Bs typically receive personalized communication when possible. The Cs and Ds tend to receive more of what the industry calls “drip” marketing, which means activities are more general rather than highly personalized by account and contact type.
Become the trusted advisor. Nurture marketing helps to establish you as a trusted advisor in the minds of your prospects—and therefore puts you at the top of their list when they are searching for or trying to make a decision regarding your type of offering. Ask yourself what you need to provide so that they will see you as a trusted advisor. Remember, your product/service information is important, but it isn’t everything. Industry reports, case studies (industry case studies as well as your own), articles, Webinar invites, etc., can also be powerful tools. These tools eventually build your nurture marketing tool kit.
Execution is key. Once you have developed your nurture marketing tool kit (which should grow continuously to keep information fresh and new), start to assign activities/materials to specific prospect types (the A, B, C and D accounts). Record specific dates in your calendar when materials should be sent out to each prospect. You may not know what materials you will send two months from now, for example, but you should at least note that you will be sending something on X date. And, don’t forget about the in-person visits and outings; they are great tools to add to your nurture activities. You may also have multiple contacts per target account which value different information sent in different ways–and possibly at different times. The information sent to the A and B accounts should be personalized. Sales should lead this effort (i.e. sending an article, highlighting the important concepts, adding a handwritten note, mailing in hard copy format). Be sure to explain why you are sending the information, otherwise prospects may not understand how the information pertains to their business objectives and functional needs. The C and D accounts may receive the same information but in more of a canned/ongoing campaign type approach through mediums such as monthly e-zines or direct mailers. These activities tend to offer the same information to the same people at the same time, and the marketing department tends to oversee these efforts.
Track your activities. It’s important to know what you are sending, when and why. Using technology (i.e. customer relationship management and/or sales force automation) to track all your nurture activities helps give you and others visibility into what is working, when and with whom. This allows you to continually improve your approach for better results.
The tips above are only a handful of the things you can do to proactively connect with your prospects. Nurture marketing is a forever commitment that needs some basic ingredients, such as common sense, strategic planning, consistent follow through and passion for getting close to your prospects, so you can reap the many rewards it offers.