When someone expresses interest in your business, that’s a lead. When you receive a Felix call, for instance. But when you get a lead, your work isn’t done. It’s your job to nurture that lead, and convert it into a customer.

When we say “nurture the lead,” what we mean is create a relationship with the person, and guide them along the buying process, whether it’s for a product or a service.

So, what does a successful lead nurturing strategy look like? It will be a continuing, focused conversation with your potential clients built on trust and personal connection. It’s about taking your potential clients and customers through every step of their buying journey.

A great example that everyone experiences is email. Think about when you visit an online store, subscribe to that store’s newsletter, then click away without purchasing. You’ll likely get an email thanking you for subscribing, then a few follow up emails about products the store sells, maybe even a few that you looked at. Each email you get will make you think about the company, however passively. And since they’re on your mind, there’s a chance you’ll shop with them in the future.

Do you have a lead nurturing process in place for potential customers? Here are five strategies you can use to nurture leads:

  1. Know your clients. The first step in knowing more about your clients is through conversations and interviews with them. Direct conversations help you develop a deeper understanding of their needs. Not only will you know understand what matters to them, you have also started your connection with them. Remember, clients want personalized treatment because it makes them feel special. When you have a greater understanding of your current clients, and why they do business with you, you’ll be able to talk to leads in ways that will help them convert.
  2. Follow up quickly. If you get a voicemail, call the person back as soon as you can. Chances of a lead converting to a sale drop the longer you wait to get back in touch. When you speak to a lead, get as many details as you can from them, especially their email, and add them to a contact list. This can be as simple as a spreadsheet. Send emails checking in every now and then. Include some details you recorded from your phone conversation. Remind them of your business, and they’ll likely come back. Establishing a trusted personal connection with your clients with the right timing is the key to an effective lead nurturing strategy.
  3. Create relevant content. Not all leads are created equal. Some clients want to purchase your products or services, while others are just browsing for options. You don’t want to speak to these two clients the same way. You wouldn’t send the same email to someone who just subscribed to your list as someone who has purchased from you before. If you send a potential customer something completely irrelevant to them, it might turn them off of your business.For potential clients that are still unsure of their needs, you can help them by giving them educational materials about your business and industry. If you teach them why they need you, there’s a high likelihood that they’ll realize they do. This is an opportunity for you to indirectly convince them to do business with you by demonstrating your expertise and giving actionable items.
  4. Create different touch points. You might think the only way to nurture leads is through email marketing. While it’s certainly an important one, it’s also a good idea to utilize other available marketing channels. This is called Omnichannel Marketing. According to sales estimation, clients need an average of 10 encounters to be converted to qualified leads. If you’re just reaching out through email or phone, you may be missing some opportunities. Reach out to your clients in different channels — social media and targeted advertising, for instance.

Remember that your clients have evolving needs that you’ll want to meet and deliver. Think of the relationship not as service provider and customer, but as a partnership. Build connections with potential and current clients, and always look for ways to improve.