I talk a lot about nurture programs.

That’s because they are some of the most inexpensive and effective marketing any business can do.

They are also incredibly versatile.

Here are 5 different ways you can use a nurture program in your business…
1. Nurture prospects during the sales cycle

This is the most common way to use nurture… To take people who are serious prospects for your business – who are already interacting with your sales force – and send them something on a regular basis that reinforces what your sales people are doing with them and educates them about the value you provide.

Nurture programs of this type are typically heavily educational, since your goal is to overcome objections and teach them what they need to know to understand why your solution is the right one and why it is worth what you charge for it.

You might send case studies, educational articles you have written, reprints of articles published about your business or written by someone in your company, and articles written by others that support your point of view or explain why it makes sense to do things the way you do.

You might send links to videos of customer testimonials or demonstrations of how to use your products. You might have links to podcasts of interviews with you or key individuals in your company.

The goal of this type of nurture program is to help people move through the sales cycle faster, and to convert more prospects to customers.
2. Nurture “B” or “C” prospects

This is the second most common use of nurture programs…

These are people who are not quite ready to be serious prospects. Maybe they don’t have a budget yet, maybe they are still very early in the research stage.

They have contacted you and expressed an interest, but it is too early for them to actively engage with a sales rep.

However, you don’t want to ignore them because they are likely to buy at some point and you want them to buy from you, rather than a competitor.

Setting them up in a nurture program keeps your company in front of them, and lets them learn about your offerings in a low-key way.

Your goal here is to keep enough mindshare so that when they are ready to get serious, you’ll be on their list.
3. Nurture “ideal” prospects

This is an interesting strategy that can be extremely effective.

You identify up to 100 people who you would like to be customers.

They might be marquee customers, people or companies who are well-respected in your industry. They might be companies in an area where you want to expand and do more business. They might be organizations that are a little larger or better funded than your normal clients or just companies you really really want to do business with.

But they have never contacted you. They might not know you exist.

Well, you start marketing to them. You mail them something every month, something that educates them about what you do and what your offerings are.

Get in front of them month after month, and they will start falling into your sales cycle.

Your goal here is to introduce your company to high-value, ideal prospects and convert them to customers.
4. Nurture people who refer business to you

Most small businesses get most of their customers by referral. And most small businesses do nothing to general more referrals.

The main reason that’s the case is that almost all of us hate asking for referrals.

But it’s possible to get referrals without asking for them. At least, without asking in person.

You can set up a nurture program that goes out to people who refer prospects to you (or who could refer prospects to you) and have a little note on some of the pieces that says “We love referrals” or “If you know anyone who might be interested, we’d love to hear from them” or “Know anyone who might be interested? We’ll take excellent care of them (and send you a cool tshirt to say thank you).”

There are dozens of low-key ways to phrase a request for referrals. You can use any number of them.

But how you ask isn’t as important as that you DO ask.

Your goal here is to make sure the people who could refer business know what your business does and feel good about the quality of work you do, so they are comfortable making referrals. And, of course, to ask for the referrals.
5. Nurture your customers

You’ve seen all the statistics about how much more cost-effective it is to keep a current customer than attract a new one.

So direct a bit of your marketing budget towards making your current clients feel special and valued.

This is particularly easy if you have relatively few big customers. But it can be done even if you have thousands.

If you have fewer than a couple hundred customers, you can send a small gift once or twice a year. Not during the holidays, which is when everyone else does it. But in the spring or summer or early fall.

It can be inexpensive and clever – something with your company’s logo on it.

Or it can even be electronic, which is the way to go if you need to deliver thousands of them around the world. It could be a free ebook or tips on how to get the most out of your products…

The goal here is to make your customers feel appreciated and special.

There you go… 5 inexpensive ways to use nurture programs to help you grow your business. Which one are you going to try?

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