It would be great if everyone who responds to a print or email contact would make a purchase right away, but they often don’t. Even when people don’t convert right away, don’t assume that’s a dead lead. It just might need nurturing.

According to Brian Carroll, author of Lead Generation for the Complex Sale, up to 95% of qualified prospects who visit your website (or by extension, respond to a print campaign) are researching. They may not yet be ready to talk with a sales rep, but as many as 70% will eventually make a purchase, whether that’s from you or someone else.

Lead nurturing is the process of taking qualified prospects, even if they are not yet ready to buy, and building a relationship with them until they are. It’s doing everything you can to make sure that, when they buy, it’s from you.

How does this work? Let’s say you’re an automotive company.

  • You send out postcards to a select target audience within 50 miles of your dealership. You announce the newest model of SUV and invite them to your website to customize their ideal family ride.
  • They sign in, select their favorite colors, interiors, and options, and download a PDF reflecting their selections.
  • Within a few days of their visit, you mail a full-color, printed version of the brochure they created.
  • You follow up with a postcard a few weeks later, inviting them in for a test drive. If they don’t respond, you drop a reminder email a week after that.
  • Continue to follow up at appropriate intervals, educating them on key features and benefits of the vehicle they designed.

Nearly every one of these leads is going to purchase another car eventually. Lead nurturing gives you a much better chance of it being with you.

So don’t just get leads. Nurture them!