Everything You Need to Know About Lead Nurturing in 2022

Lead nurturing is the process of developing relationships with your leads and nurturing them through the buyer’s journey.


What is lead nurturing, and how can it make you more sales?

You know it’s essential, and you know the big companies do it, but how the heck do you do it for your business, and what are the best strategies for 2022.

Don’t worry.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll share with you everything you need to know about lead nurturing.

By the time you have finished reading, you’ll know how to nurture your potential customers like a professional.

Sounds good?

Let’s get to it.

What is lead nurturing?

Lead nurturing is the process of building a trusting relationship with your leads by guiding and supporting them through the process of buying your products or services.

The Buyer's Journey

You make them realize that you’re the answer to their problems.

You don’t just show them your products; you make them feel like they need your product by marketing and talking to them in a way that pushes their buttons.

Take a look at this basic example of lead nurturing:

Bob has just signed up for a free cheat sheet on driving traffic to his website. He entered his email but remains skeptical about the company because he has no idea who they are.

He reads the report, and he’s impressed with the quality of the information, especially the part on SEO.

The next day, another email arrives, offering him a free SEO audit — provide us your URL, and we’ll do the rest, it says.

He’s been thinking non-stop about SEO since reading the report, and here they are now offering him a free audit — it’s like they knew it was playing on his mind. (Spoiler alert, they did)

He signs up for the audit and receives the results within two days. It tells him exactly what’s going on with his website and what he needs to do to fix things.

There’s also a link to attend a free webinar.

He attends the webinar, and he’s again blown away by the quality. At the end of the webinar, he’s asked if he wants to sign up for their flagship course.

He wants the course, and he clicks the buy button but then decides to wait — it’s almost $2,000, and he’s not sure if he can afford it.

The next day he receives another email answering every question he was thinking about over the past few hours; not only that, he’s offered a payment plan for the course.

Bob purchases the course.

Can you see what’s just happened?

Bob was nurtured from the minute he entered his email. He went from being skeptical to whipping out his credit card — the company knew which buttons to press.

They knew if he clicked the buy button but didn’t complete the transaction, he was still likely to be interested, and maybe he had questions on his mind, or perhaps the price was the issue. 

Using their behavior-based email software, they sent him a pre-written email answering the clients’ general questions.

The last question was about the price, and they provided a link to pay in installments.

We’ll get into how to do this later and explain other ways to nurture leads, but hopefully, now, you understand lead nurturing a little better.

Why you should nurture your leads now more than ever

Covid has changed things, and it’s now more important than ever to make the most out of your leads. 

Businesses need sales, and your potential customers need to feel confident that you’re the one who can provide results.

Gone are the days when you could offer a freebie and sell your product on the download page — you need to do more.

Customers are naturally wary; they don’t trust you, and they never will until you give them a reason to do so. 

According to Oberlo, a lead will open your welcome email on average around 82% of the time, but they will only open your other emails on average around 21% of the time.

Welcome emails stats
Data source Wordstream

This stat was from 2018 and proved that potential customers lost interest if you didn’t nurture them from the very first email you sent them — this was before the pandemic.

Fast forward to today (Post Pandemic breakout); it’s even more crucial to nurture them.

Open rates are down to less than 15% in some industries.

People have changed, the world has changed, and according to MyEmma, 47% of nurtured leads will purchase more high-end products than non-nurtured leads.

The stats don’t lie.

Lead nurturing is vital, and if you’re not nurturing, you’re heading for failure.

What are the different types of leads?

With any lead generation strategy, you will typically come across six different types of leads.

They all have different meanings, and knowing which one your potential customer falls under will save you time and money.

There’s no point spending too much time nurturing cold leads because they probably won’t be buying from you anyway.

And likewise, there’s no point in sending a webinar to a sales-ready lead because they would be better off being sold directly on the product you’re selling.

Here are the 7 most common types of leads used across marketing and sales teams.

Types of business leads

Cold Leads
Cold leads are the ones who generally don’t respond to your interactions. They could’ve signed up for your lead magnet with a fake email address or are simply not a good fit for your business. However, in some cases, you can turn a cold lead into a warm lead with a  good lead nurturing campaign.

Information Qualified Leads
These leads have provided you with proof that they are seeking information from you. They have probably signed up for your free report or webinar or submitted some sort of form on your website.

Warm Leads
Warm leads have shown some interest in your product or service. For example, they may have viewed the sales page or watched a webinar.

Hot Leads
Hot leads have shown a significant interest in your product and may have clicked on the buy now button but not purchased.

Sales-Ready Leads
These leads have contacted your business directly for help. 

Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs)
These are the leads that are qualified by the marketing department. The process usually involves using lead scoring to assign numerical values to leads. The leads that pass a certain threshold will be identified as MQLs and sent to the sales team.

Sales Qualified Leads (MQLs)
These are leads that have been qualified directly by the sales team, usually by jumping on a call with one or more sales reps. These leads also include your previous clients who have already purchased from you in the past.

Knowing what to do with the different types of leads will not only save you time and money; it will also help you nurture when nurturing is needed and sell when selling is required.

It’s crucial to know what to send to each lead and how much time to spend throughout the sales funnel.

How do you do this?

You give each lead a score and qualify their importance.

What is a lead qualification?

Qualifying your leads is a way to know which potential customers are most likely to buy your products. For example, you know that hot leads and sales qualified leads (SQLs) are more likely to purchase, so they will be regarded as important opportunities when qualifying them.

On the other hand, cold leads are unlikely to purchase, so these leads are not as important as the others.

You can qualify the importance of your leads by asking the following questions:

  • Did they click on any links in your emails?
  • Have they downloaded your free report or taken a trial?
  • Have they purchased from you before?
  • Do they continually open your emails?
  • Have they ever replied?
  • Did they press the buy button?

In addition to this, you can also qualify them by determining if they fall under the following demographics:

  • How old are they?
  • Do they have their own business?
  • Are they married?
  • Do they earn less than 100k per year?
  • And so on.

By understanding the demographics data and online behavior, you will determine who buys what more than others.

For example, married men who have their own business and have taken a free trial are 50% more likely to purchase from you than unmarried women.

It’s all about the data and studying the information you have on your clients — the chart below explains the process of qualifying leads.

Lead typeQualifying LeadsPlan Of Action
ColdDoesn’t Open EmailsArchive 
Warm LeadClicks on LinksNurture
Warm Lead Registers for WebinarNurture + Sales Call + Email
Hot LeadClicks Buy ButtonNurture + Sales Call + Email
Warm Informational Qualified LeadEntered Email For Free ReportNurture + Email
Hot Sales Ready LeadSent An Email To Customer ServiceSales Call + Email
Hot Sales Qualified LeadPrevious ClientSales Call + Email
Hot LeadOne Of The Above (besides cold) + Free TrialSales Call + Email

Scoring leads (save time and money)

How Lead Scoring works

Lead scoring is a powerful feature that you must implement to increase your sales. It helps you target the right people — the ones who are more likely to buy from you.

Imagine knowing each of your subscriber’s lead scores. Then, you’ll be able to have a plan of action for each score range.

If the score range is below 50, nurture them more; if it’s above 50, get your sales emails sent to them.

You can set your very own custom lead scoring strategy with Encharge. You determine how many points a lead gets from doing a specific action. 

For example:

  • If they read your welcome email and download your report, +5 points.
  • If they attend a webinar +20 points
  • If they click the buy button but abandon the sales cart +40 points, and so on.

You can then automate the content you send to them once they reach a specific points tally (more on this later).

Learn what is lead scoring in our extensive guide on the topic.

The best lead nurturing strategies that work in 2022

Fantastic, you now know what lead nurturing is, the different types of leads, and how to qualify and score them.

Let’s move on to some highly effective strategies that work exceptionally well in 2022.

1. Email lead nurturing

Email is the most popular marketing method to lure your potential clients and customers.

You probably already know this.

There are generally two types of lead nurturing email campaigns: time-based campaigns (also called drip campaigns or sequences) and behavior-based flows.

Time-based drip campaigns

Time-based lead nurturing is what most of the email marketers out there do.

The lead nurturing emails are sent with fixed wait periods between each email. For instance, the lead receives the first email on day 1, the second email on day 3, the third email on day 6, etc.

This is how a typical time-based lead nurturing sequence looks like:

Time-based lead nurturing flow in Encharge
Click on the image to start with this automation flow

Behavior-based lead nurturing campaigns

You can go one step further by using email marketing automation that triggers emails at the right time from your potential customer’s behavior.

For instance, if a subscriber clicks on a specific link in your free report (like Bob did in the example above) or visits a particular page on your website, they will trigger an email campaign sent to them containing information related to the link or page.

It’s about providing information at the right time.

If you remember, Bob signed up for a free report and clicked on a link about SEO. Without Bob realizing, he had just triggered a response in the marketing automation tool the business owner was using — it’s known as behavioral-based marketing automation.

If he had clicked on another link, this would have triggered a different series of emails.

Because the business owner was using Encharge, they could push the right buttons at the right time, ultimately leading to the sale.

This is how a behavior-based lead nurturing flow could look in Encharge:

Behavior-based lead nurturing flow in Encharge
Click on the image to start with this automation flow

Are you starting to see how you can use email to nurture your leads? 

If you provide emails based on behavior and send relevant content, whether that’s email, video, free trials, or even a combination of all three, you will notice an improvement in your sales and email metrics.

2. Ethically stalk your potential leads with retargeting

According to Mailchimp, 97% of first-time visitors to your website will leave and never return.

But what if there was a way to nurture them with relevant ads by retargeting them on various other advertising platforms?

We are talking about your adverts showing up when they search the web and browse their social media sites.

For example, someone who visited your website was probably not ready to purchase from you yet; they visited your site, read a few articles but then left.

If you retarget them on the Google Adwords network, your ads will follow them around like a stalker. 

They’ll be browsing online, and your ad will show up and hopefully catch their eye; they might even come back to your site and sign up to your email list or even purchase a product.

To get the best out of your marketing strategy, you can also perform social media retargeting on social sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Linkedin.

Take Facebook as an example; you can retarget users on Facebook who may have taken a free trial for one of your products. As a result, your Facebook ad (maybe one extending their trial) will show up on their timeline.

Like Adwords, you can also retarget users who have previously visited your website with Facebook ads. In addition, if you use a service like Encharge, you can also automatically add your subscribers to your Facebook audience, so even if they haven’t purchased yet, they will still see your advert.

The example flow below will add all of your email subscribers to a Facebook custom audience:

Entered segment step connected to Add to Facebook audience step – flow in Encharge

Retargeting is a must if you want to increase your conversion rates. Skai reports that consumers are 70% more likely to convert if you retarget them.

Before moving on to the next lead nurturing strategy, let’s briefly talk about display retargeting, otherwise known as remarketing.

What is remarketing?

Remarketing is similar to retargeting, but instead of using adverts on social media sites or Google Adwords, you tend to nurture your potential customers via email or SMS text messaging.

Popular with eCommerce sites, remarketing is an effective marketing strategy that you should be using, in addition, to retargeting.

If a customer leaves an item in their shopping cart, you can remarket by emailing them about the product. Alternatively, you could offer them a discount code via SMS.

Remarketing is about targeting your potential customers with carefully selected reminders that make it almost impossible to refuse.

Using behavioral-based marketing automation software, you can add tags to the leads that click on a link (like the buy button link) and set it up to send an email reminder or discount code.

3. Personalization (simple and effective)

Did you know that: 

  • 74% of customers hate it when emails are un-personalized
  • 91% of consumers say that they would instead purchase with brands that offer products personalized for them, specifically.
  • 90% of Americans say that personalization in marketing is very welcoming
  • 98% of B2B and B2C marketers say personalization improves their customer relationships.

Source: Forbes

Your leads don’t immediately trust you. So it’s best if you build a relationship with them by providing trust, quality-driven content, and above all else, tangible solutions to their problems.

Would you trust someone who didn’t call you by your name?

Of course, you wouldn’t, so the first step in email personalization is addressing them by their name. Don’t write emails starting with “Dear Customer” or “Hey there.”, especially if you already know their names.

Address them by their first name — you can collect all the data you need in your Encharge account.

You can also add little touches to the email that show it isn’t generic but instead explicitly sent for them. Encharge supports liquid merge tags and the advanced dynamic personalization needed to craft remarkable email messages.

Merge tags personalization in Encharge

Using the data from your client user profiles, you can tell them how often they used a particular feature or even how bad the weather has been in the area they’re from — the possibilities to add a personal touch to emails are almost endless.

Another way to personalize the user experience is to use dynamic content on various web pages and landing pages. For example, if a lead is from New York, you can send them to a landing page on your site that references people from New York. 

It adds a personal touch that’s proven to increase the conversion rate.

As you can see, personalization is essential, and you should be using it in your marketing campaigns.

4. One-on-one interactions

One-on-one interactions with your leads are an advanced strategy used to increase revenue. 

Whenever you reach out to a client or lead personally and interact with them, you increase the chance of making a sale.

It’s a simple process.

Reach out to them on social media. 

Send them messages, reply to comments, encourage, praise, call them by their first name — yes, talk to them like a friend.

Another way is to interact over the phone. 

You can do this yourself or get your sales development reps (SDRs) to do it for you. Answer their questions, be polite, don’t push too hard, and you’ll benefit from it.

Encharge is pretty good at identifying the best leads to reach out manually. You can use lead scoring in combination with our HubSpot integration to send the qualified leads to your sales reps:

Sales flow in Encharge

Finally, you could meet with them face-face. Arrange to meet your high-end prospects in a cafe or quiet bar to discuss the business opportunity, product, or service you’re selling.

A face-to-face meeting is a great way to build relationships and help you get to know your lead a bit more. Your potential client will also have the opportunity to ask you any questions about the product.

What does an effective lead nurturing campaign consist of?

Any effective lead nurturing campaign will need to have the following key elements to make it a success. 

Components of a successful lead nurturing campaign

  1. Sales funnel goals
  2. Customer avatar (or Ideal customer profile)
  3. Marketing automation
  4. Lead magnets
  5. Segmentation
  6. Quality content
  7. Personalization
  8. Sales team
  9. Ongoing optimization

Let’s break them down, one by one.

Sales funnel goals

Your goal is the first thing you need to think about when setting up a lead nurturing campaign. It will keep you on track with what you are trying to achieve. 

For example, say you’re a dentist, your goal could be to sell a specific type of cosmetic dentistry to your potential clients.

Once you have identified your goal, you will have a clear vision of what you want to achieve, and the next step is to plan a series of steps that will nurture your lead towards your goal.

Customer avatar

You need to know who you are targeting with your nurturing campaigns. The best way to do this is to create an avatar of your ideal customer.

An avatar is a made-up person who represents who you are trying to sell to, and you can create as many as you need, but we recommend that you start with one or two. The more = personas you target, the more work you’ll have, not only with lead nurturing but marketing and sales in general.

Say you’re at the start of your funnel; what type of person will be interested in your free trial, report, or audit, etc.?

Ask yourself the following:

  • How old are they?
  • What is their gender?
  • What are their interests?
  • What industry do they work in?
  • What is their job position?
  • How much revenue does their company make?
  • What keeps them awake at night?
  • What problem would they love to eliminate?
  • Do they have their own business?
  • Are they embarrassed?

Most importantly, you have to understand why this person would go with your product or service — how does your solution map to their problems.

Create a paragraph or two explainings who they are, literally write it down, give them a name, age, and make them come to life as much as you can — you’ll be amazed how much it helps you with your campaign when writing emails and content.

To help you get started with your customer avatar, we created this ideal customer profile template:

Ideal Customer Profile template in Encharge

Marketing automation

You need to automate the process using marketing automation.

Nurturing won’t work otherwise. 

Tools like Encharge will enable you to automate the process and send automated emails at the right time and to the right people.

To get started, sign up for a free 14-day trial and create a flow with one of our lead nurturing sequences.

Lead magnet

A lead magnet (also known as tripwire) is an ethical bribe that usually starts at the beginning of your sales funnel. It can be a free report, trial, audit, cheatsheet, or just about anything that your audience will find beneficial.

When creating a lead magnet, the critical thing to remember is to make sure that it’s helpful to the client.

You need to impress the hell out of them because it’s your first chance to woo them, and as we have already stated, most people don’t open second emails, so make sure you give them a reason to do so.

For instance, at Encharge, we have compiled a library of all of our eBooks, webinars, spreadsheets, and more and offer it as a completely free lead magnet:

Free resources lead magnet

Segmentation

Segmentation is the process where you separate your leads into different categories, such as warm or hot. Doing this will save you time and money because you can chase the leads that give you the best chance of success.

In Encharge, you can build user segments with all of the data that you have collected during the customer lifecycle:

  • Every form answer they submit when they download a lead magnet.
  • The data that you collect during the signup process
  • Online behavior data from your website or app
  • Other external sources, and more.

Quality content

Listen, you could have a million leads, but if the content you provide isn’t good, you may as well pack up and go home.

Seriously, it needs to be better than good, relevant, and make the lead realize that you’re the real deal. If you can’t produce the content yourself, then pay someone to do it for you.

The content you need to create will be:

  • Reports
  • Cheatsheets
  • Blog posts
  • Emails (written to target pain points)
  • Videos
  • Podcasts
  • Infographics

The better the content, the better the sales.

Personalization

Adding a personalized touch to your campaigns will dramatically improve your chances of getting the sale, so make sure you do it.

For example, Sleeknote used personalization to increase their lead nurturing emails’ open rate by 1213.3%.

One of the easiest ways to personalize your lead nurturing campaign is to ask your leads what they are interested in. You can ask them about their biggest challenge or what they want to achieve by reading your content.

In our Free Resources lead magnet, you might have noticed that we ask people about their biggest marketing automation challenge. We use Convertflow to create these multi-step lead magnet forms.

Asking questions before a lead magnet

Based on the answer they provide, we send a personalized lead nurturing sequence:

Lead nurturing flows in Encharge

So, for instance, if you indicate that your biggest challenge is “Onboarding and converting users,” you will receive our nurturing sequence on “Onboarding emails”:

Onboarding emails lead nurturing flow in Encharge

Sales team

Depending on what your sales process looks like, you might also need a sales team. This could be yourself or your sales development reps.

When the time is right, your sales team will need to contact your lead to close the sale.

Yes, you can get sales automatically through your funnel, but for more significant sales and better conversion, sometimes a personal touch is needed to get the lead over the line.

Ongoing optimization

Those who nurture the clients the best are those who never stop tweaking and optimizing their funnel.

KPIs (key performance indicators) should be monitored and measured to keep targets and goals on track for your email campaigns.

A/B split test emails, titles, links, and tripwires to optimize your funnel to peak perfection.

Start with a lead nurturing email sequence 

We covered a lot in this post, so you might be wondering where to start with lead nurturing.

Below we have a simple but effective email sequence template that you can use to send to the leads that download a lead magnet.

The idea is simple: send them this nurturing email sequence when a person downloads a tripwire through a form on your site.

Email 1: Download your eBook

Email 2: Make lead magnet work for you!

Email 3: What to do next?

Email 4: More resources on topic of the lead magnet

If you need more inspiration, you can check the rest of our lead nurturing email sequence templates.

You now know how to nurture your leads like a professional

We are serious; you now have enough knowledge to go out there and start doing it right now.

Yes, you’re going to have to put in some effort and set things up, and you still have a bit of learning, but honestly, you know enough to get started.

You know the fundamentals of nurturing leads, and we have just shared some of the best lead nurturing tactics for 2022 — you’re ahead of the game.

As long as you keep going, keep learning, and ask questions along the way, you’ll get there in no time.

And when you do, your business will be all the better for it.

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