8 Ways to Successfully Run a Lead Nurturing Program


A lead nurturing program is a company’s lifeline. Without strong lead-nurturing practices, your business could lose potential customers and cause current ones to churn.

Like technology, lead nurturing is always changing and growing. Therefore, you want to continuously review and update your lead nurturing program.

If you’re aware of what lead nurturing is and want some quick tips on how to improve your lead nurturing program, head to our infographic below.

Our guide will do the following:

  • Walk you through the basics of lead nurturing
  • Discuss modern ways to attract and engage new sales leads 
  • Explain how to effectively automate and outsource components of your lead nurturing program

Let’s get started…

What is lead nurturing?

Lead nurturing is the process of engaging and building relationships with your prospective customers. It’s part of the marketing and sales strategy that helps move prospects through the sales funnel. In general, a marketing department typically heads the lead nurturing program. 

Part of lead nurturing is creating personalized content campaigns and being available to prospects when questions or issues arise. The company’s content should work in tandem with their sales and customer experience (CX) teams with one goal in mind: to educate prospects and convert them into repeat customers.

Content and sales campaigns allow companies to create an ongoing dialogue and to build trust with their customers. For instance, it typically takes a company eight touchpoints from first contact to close a deal. Within that time, marketing, sales, and CX professionals are in the trenches working to build trust with new customers. 

In some ways, lead nurturing never ends. You can implement the same lead nurturing techniques used to acquire leads to help retain customers and prevent churning.

Building and sustaining a successful lead nurturing program takes time and requires a lot of resources. However, there are ways you can automate and outsource your program. Doing so can drastically reduce costs and allow you to direct efforts towards product updates or other areas of the business. 

The below sections will explore unique and effective ways to automate and outsource your lead nurturing efforts.

8 Ways to automate and outsource your lead nurturing process

Setting up a lead nurturing program takes time but it’s worth implementing. By automating or outsourcing your lead nurturing program, you can gain the trust of more customers, increase sales, and retain buyers.

Below are eight ways to outsource and automate your company’s lead nurturing plan.

1. Outreach campaigns 

An outreach campaign is typically a phone, email, social media, or ad campaign. 

Generally, an outreach campaign contains two components: a target audience and a specific goal. The goal can be any one of the following:

  • Educate your target audience about a new feature 
  • A simple email or survey check-in to gain customer insight
  • An advertisement getting consumers interested in your product or services

Regardless of the campaign type, they’re likely time-consuming to create, deliver, and report on. You can save yourself time and energy by outsourcing your outreach campaigns to Smith.ai or implementing automations into your marketing and sales platforms. 

Here is an overview of which type of content or campaigns work best for different leads.

2. Contact list segmentation

Lead nurturing campaigns also require contact list segmentation. If you already have contacts in your customer relationship management (CRM) software, you can narrow down and create target audiences for individual campaigns. Once you have target audiences, you can begin to test different messaging with each.

Here are a few ways to narrow down your audience:

  • Demographics like gender, age, location, country, etc.
  • Buyer’s stage, which means that buyers will be redirected based on the stage they’re in
  • Events or actions, where a specific activity triggers an automated (but personalized) email or internal notification

Segmentation helps you A/B test audiences, which helps you nail down your buyer persona. The upfront work can save your business money by not advertising or emailing the wrong crowd.

3. Email marketing

If done right, email marketing campaigns are extremely effective and normally costs less than social media advertising. Plus, you can almost entirely automate your email marketing campaigns.

When running email marketing campaigns, it’s vital to implement contact list segmentation. You want to make sure you’re emailing customers when they need you and not overwhelming them. 

Here are a few actions by customers that should trigger an automated email:

  • Welcome email: When someone subscribes to your services or joins your mailing list
  • Thank you email: After a customer makes a purchase or gives feedback
  • Onboarding email: Typically a series of emails to help new clients learn about your services or offerings
  • Newsletters: Newsletters that explain relevant industry, company, or software updates
  • Re-engagement emails: For clients who haven’t purchased lately or have unsubscribed from a service or offering
  • Cart abandonment emails: For e-commerce businesses when someone abandons their cart

Be careful not to send too many emails or to have multiple actions trigger different emails in one week. If necessary, consider delaying an automated response. Most experts agree that your business should send one or two emails per week to customers. 

4. Personalization 

It’s important to personalize your interactions in order to build better personal connections with your customers. That said, sometimes your unique and humanized personalization can come off as generic. If that occurs, simply apologize and document patterns for the next outreach campaign.

The below section will reveal where you can personalize your brand’s messaging and how to correctly do it.

Email personalization means creating authentic and humanizing emails. You can customize your emails by creating email templates that use the person’s first and/or last name. 

You can also send product recommendations based on a customer’s previous purchases or interactions. 

Campaign and CX personalization should stem from customer feedback from online reviews and surveys, along with online research. This information will heavily influence your outreach campaigns and how your virtual receptionists conduct themselves. Both should directly address new leads’ questions and needs in as little time as possible.

You can easily personalize your campaigns and content by crafting email templates with people’s names into your CRM. If you need more tips on how to incorporate email marketing campaigns and personalize emails, review our email marketing tips.

5. Landing pages

A landing page is a standalone web page. It’s typically a page that someone lands on either organically or from an ad or email. Landing pages must do two things: 

  • First, they need to capture the reader’s attention so that they explore your business further. 
  • Second, you need a clear call-to-action (CTA). Usually, a CTA is to sign up for a demo, subscribe to your newsletter, or purchase a specific product. Your CTA can also be to visit another page on your site, like a blog post. 

One way to humanize your landing page is to install a live chat service or to allow users to get on the phone with a knowledgeable sales or customer service representative with the click of a button. 

You can also automate landing pages by saving templates of previous landing pages so you can easily fill in the copy or make quick structural changes. You can also integrate your landing page with your marketing automation or email marketing platform.

6. Surveys

The lead nurturing program never ends, even with repeat buyers and loyal customers. Surveys are a critical part of the lead nurturing process. Surveys help companies better understand pain points that new leads or recent buyers experienced. Surveys can also assist in defining your target audience.

Businesses can easily include surveys in their automation efforts by having specific actions trigger a survey to be sent. 

For instance, if a warm lead has a conversation with one of your business’s virtual receptionists, a satisfaction survey should be sent several hours later to gather both qualitative and quantitative feedback from the lead.

Another example of implementing surveys into your lead generation is if a new buyer abandons his or her shopping cart. If you have their email available, you first want to remind them to check out. If the buyer decides not to purchase, consider sending him or her a survey asking why they didn’t complete their purchase. 

You can then take that feedback and make it part of your customer experience data — which allows your company to readdress needs or make improvements to your product or business processes.

7. Live chat and messaging

Live web chat, SMS, and social media messaging helps the lead nurturing process by making sure your company can respond quickly and efficiently to all potential and current clients’ requests.

It’s difficult to entirely automate your chat service or SMS messaging. However, you can create tickets from conversations and track patterns in customer feedback and satisfaction. 

To give your business the best customer experience it’s best to outsource these 24/7 live chat features to a company such as Smith.ai, who can operate live chat for your business 24/7/365. These live website chat widgets easily integrate with other software tools or marketing platforms., and work with every website hosting platform, like the very familiar Wix, WordPress, Weebly, Shopify, and many others. 

8. Lead scoring

Lead scoring is one of the most important parts of a successful lead nurturing strategy. Lead scores are ratings your sales and marketing team assigns to each lead depending on their engagement and behavior with your website, emails, or social media. Nurturing leads with higher scores should lead to more conversions.

Here’s an example of how lead scores are assigned:

  • A lead subscribes to your emails and gets 10 points. 
  • He or she then clicks on an in-mail link and visits a landing page describing your platform — another 10 points landed.
  • If he or she spends more than five minutes on a page, add 5 points.
  • If the lead requests a demo from the landing page, he or she earns another 10 points.

With lead scoring, your team can better determine which leads need more nurturing and which leads should be contacted directly by a sales representative. Read our full article on lead scoring to learn more about finding and tracking the best lead-scoring criteria for your business.

Some marketing and sales automation platforms have lead scoring systems built in. They automatically assign numeric values based on the lead’s interactions and behaviors with your content. You can also use Smith.ai’s virtual receptionists for lead qualification and intake.

For a summary of the top lead nurturing techniques, review our infographic below:

lead nurturing 101 - 8 steps and techniques

Now you know what lead nurturing is and how to implement a successful lead nurturing program within your business. 

Remember, customers' needs are constantly changing; it’s important to be critical of your lead nurturing program and always consider how you can improve it. If you want to learn more about how Smith.ai can help you automate your lead nurturing process, book a free consultation or contact us.

Sources: HubSpot | MarketingSherpa | Demand Gen | Marketing Donut | HubSpot | RAIN Group

Lead Screening
Sales Tips
Outreach Campaigns
Written by Maddy Martin

Maddy Martin is Smith.ai's SVP of Growth. Over the last 15 years, Maddy has built her expertise and reputation in small-business communications, lead conversion, email marketing, partnerships, and SEO.

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