How to Nurture Prospects, Leads, Existing Customer & Past Customers

How to Nuture Prospects, Clients, Existing Customers and Previous Customers
Nurture Your Prospects & Customers Like You Nurture Your Family

Having a Prospect Visit Your Website, Phone You or Visit Your Premises Isn’t The Same As Getting An Order. To Secure The Order You Need To Nurture Them. This Is How To Nurture Prospects.

Creating a Nurture Campaign for Prospective Clients, Customers, Patients (or whatever you call those that serve) is the key to successful sales. But how do you nurture prospects and existing clients or customers?

A slightly different nurturing approach is needed for each category of prospect, customer or past customer. And in the next sections I’ll detail how each should be dealt with.

8 Ways on How To Nurture Leads

Converting a lead into a prospect is step one. A lead is just a potential customer that hasn’t yet shown much interest. They may have all the characteristics of existing customers but until they show interest they are just part of the group that might become a prospect. Leads are unqualified. Once qualified they become a prospect. Prospects are leads that have shown more interest by responding to your marketing and have visited your website, responded on social media, visited your premises or whatever. Don’t confuse the two.

1. Make It Personal

All correspondence with leads needs to be personal. It doesn’t matter if it’s by email, phone or letter try to use their name. Dear Customer or Dear Enquirer is not a great way to build a relationship.

And make sure you use your name rather than something like The Sales Team. People want to build a relationship with an individual NOT a sales Team.

2. Educate Don’t Sell

Repeatedly sending leads a sales message isn’t going to endear leads to you. A better strategy to educate or entertain them with valuable information that makes their buying decision easier. Things like trends, case studies, stats or whatever is relevant to them.

3. Don’t Overload Leads With Daily Emails

Imagine getting a daily email or call from someone you don’t know. Or worse still, getting several emails or calls a day. How do you think you will react to this? Most people will find it intrusive and want it to stop. I see a lot of marketers insisting that it’s necessary to send loads of emails and clearly if you don’t send any you will be forgotten. So you need to compromise and send, say, one a week. This frequency will depend a lot on the type of prospect and is a guideline to use a starting point. Try testing different frequencies to see what works for you.

4. Don’t Send Every Lead The Same Emails

Not all leads are the same. You probably obtained them from different sources and each will have a particular profile. Some are likely to want your bargain product and some your top-end product or service. But if you treat them all the same you are likely to lose too many of them. Eg. telling someone that is very price sensitive about your very expensive top-end product is likely to put them off on price alone. And vice versa. Try to profile your leads into categories and treat each differently. It’s not always possible but you could do so early on based on where you obtained their details, their location, age, gender, interests. job title, a quiz or whatever suits you and them best.

5. If They Don’t Respond, Re-engage Them

Check the opening and click rate on your email metrics and if they aren’t opening your emails or clicking on the links in them you need to re-engage them. It could be as simple as an improved headline (why not split test headlines), or better wording on your buttons. There are hundreds of things you can do to ensure people remain engaged.

6. Start Now

Too many businesses wait to nurture leads. They want a bigger list of leads before starting or to wait until the season starts. The reality is that it’s often best to start with a small list of leads so that you can perfect your process before dealing with larger numbers.

So start now, not tomorrow.

7. Don’t Rely On One Channel

Email marketing is relatively easy and low cost. And for that reason most people focus on it. But that’s not to say its the best way to engage with leads. And not everyone likes emails or opens them every day. So mix it up a bit. In my case I write a lot of articles for relevant press and websites plus I do a lot of radio interviews. That doesn’t mean you have to do exactly the same as me. Your business is different from mine in many ways. But I know that when someone hears me on the radio after having received my emails for a while they are much more likely to respond. It’s being seen in several places that often shakes them enough to move to the next stage .. and maybe even place an order right away.

8. Create Content Around What Matters to Your Leads

These Kittens Have Nothing to Do With Nurturing Customers .. Except We Know a Lot of Readers Love Kittens & We Love Nurturing Our Customers
These Kittens Have Nothing to Do With Nurturing Customers .. Except We Know a Lot of Readers Love Kittens & We Love Nurturing Our Customers

Leads aren’t interested in what you want to sell. They are interested in their problems and themselves.

So that means if you keep pushing sales messages about what you want to sell, and ignore what interests them, you are likely to lose them.

Don’t look for customers for what you have, create products from the customers, prospects and leads you have.

So focus on what matters for them, not you. Do this and you will sell, but without having to force a close or sale.

One way to do this is to identify what matters to them and write content that shows how to solve their problem. And where your competitors are already doing this you need to show greater insight into the lead/prospects problems. Conduct some research into the issue and give them the latest research findings is one such approach.

How to Nurture Prospects

Nurturing prospects is similar to nurturing leads except for one thing. The people on your prospects list have been qualified. They’ve taken an action that indicates their interest. It could be that they’ve downloaded your lead magnet, spoke to you on an exhibition stand, phoned you or whatever. But hey have indicated interest. So you now need to build on this and convert them into a customer/client/patient or whatever you call them.

1. Thank Them For Their Interest

How many times have you enquired about a product or service, got a brief answer then been ignored?

For example, you go into a shop or showroom and look at an expensive TV, car or other product. Or you phone a professional and ask about their services and fees. But after getting a brief answer you hear nothing more.

What if after you visited the owner dropped you a quick email and said, ” I understand you came in to the showroom today, I’m sorry I missed you. Thanks for your interest. If I can personally help you in any way please give me a ring”.

You’d be surprised and take notice.

Because few companies bother with this level of personal contact.

But I bet you pay the company much more attention in future. They are half way to getting your custom.

2. Send Them Exactly What They Need

Don’t just send them piles of sales blurb about every product you offer. Focus on what they have enquired about. That’s not to say you should never let them know what else you offer. But don’t focus on the things they aren’t currently interested in. You can always add a link to other products and/or services in a link in the footer. There is always a judgement call to make here but just don’t concentrate too much on what they haven’t yet shown interest in.

3. Give Them Insights

Just pumping out the same old stuff as your competitors is no longer enough. Show you know what they need and understand their issues by providing them with in-depth insights. It can be as simple as saying things like. “The majority of our clients in your position are having issues with implementing x.y or z. Is this something you’ve experienced, thought about or planned for?” I can share some of the ways they’ve overcome if it’s of any help.

4. Ask For The Sale

It’s so easy to keep emailing, sending hard copy or phoning that sometimes we forget why we are doing it. The objective of nurturing is to convert the potential customer into a customer. They need to buy something.

But they will never do that if we don’t ask them for the sale. In some cultures the whole idea of asking someone to buy is something to be avoided. It’s too blunt and direct. As a Brit I have to say a lot of my countrymen are guilty of this. But we have to ask, or we are unlikely to get the sale.

And we don’t have to be blunt. We can just add a small note at the end of an email that says something like. If you’ve found this email of use why not buy a marketing mentoring package from me know. It’s the affordable way to become great at marketing and grow your business. Enquire for details now. It costs nothing to talk!

Of course sometimes we need to be blunt. Although I’ve said that recipients want sales messages in every email, they are human and know you have a living to make. They will excuse the occasional sales message email that contains nothing but a sales message.

I sometimes send one that says,

“The reason I can provide these pages and posts full of free marketing advice is because I’m in business. That means that like every other business I have something to sell from time to time. And today I’d like to make a few sales, so that’s why I’m sending this email.

If you want to “Borrow My Brain and Become Great at Marketing” you should join my Marketing Mentor Programme. It’s a very affordable way to get me to analyse your business and/or marketing and guide you in what you need to do to be great at marketing.

“Enquire now. It’s more affordable than you might think and it costs nothing to talk to me”

Hey, and seriously, if you need help to market your business get in contact now.

How To Nurture Existing Customers

It’s easy to forget existing clients need nurturing when they regularly buy. But if all you do is rely on them buying and don’t otherwise keep in contact you are taking a big risk. The risk is a competitor will get to them will a persuasive tongue, “great offer” or other promises and the orders will dry up.

It’s imperative that you nurture current customers as much, if not more, than prospects.

1. Frequently Email Existing Customers

The frequency will depend on many factors but think about how it would feel if you received regular emails that stopped as soon as you bought. Wouldn’t you feel that the supplier was taking you for granted? Most people would .. and do.

This doesn’t mean you necessarily keep customers in the same email sequence as your prospects. And it doesn’t mean email is the only channel you should use. It makes sense to send your customers information relevant to them and in a way that suits them.

AND don’t forget in the EU GDPR dictates what can be sent and what can’t. Our prospects, customers and clients wishes need to be considered.

2. Send Customers “Customer Only” Offers

A hotel I know well gets most of its business from previous customers by sending them regular Customer Only offers. About 2-3 times a year they send an email saying there’s a customer only sale coming up next week and that if they book during the offer period they will get the special price.

The following week they send out an email saying the sale starts tomorrow. Then, the next day, they send out the sale message.

During sale week they send out some reminders that it’s on .. and then that only a few rooms are left.

They have a really busy week on reception during promotion week .. but they also virtually fill all the rooms they have available for the sale period. And because the customer is given the chance to book, during the promo week, for a 4-6 month period ahead, huge numbers book.

It’s virtually all the marketing this business does. It’s that effective.

Of course they have to do a bit of marketing to find new customers simply because there is an attrition rate where customers die of old age, move overseas or whatever. But it is much easier to sell to existing customers than keep looking for new customers.

3. Help Existing Customers Get Maximum Benefit From Their Purchases

For example, if you sell them a hotel room booking you could offer a discount on a restaurant booking. Or if you sell them a tin of paint offer them a deal on paintbrushes. I’m sure you get the idea and can adapt the principle for your own business.

4. Invite Customers to Your Events

Some people go further than inviting them to all events and create events just for existing customers. It could be anything from being allowed onto the website sale page before it is released to all comers .. and you could allow them into your annual sale the evening before it is live to the public.

Other businesses I know invite customers to a Customer Only Garden Party. What you do depends a lot on your customers and the type of business you run.

5. Send Customers Thank Cards

This is one of the simplest tactics ever. When someone has made a significant purchase send them a thank you note. Keep a pile on your desk and send them when you have five minutes. Or make it a job for the accounts department. Get them to send a card a few days before the bills go out! (Never send a thank you card with the bill. It looks contrived).

How to Nurture Previous Customers

Many of the tips given above can be used for lapsed customers. Inviting them to a customers only event reminds them they bought from you previously and will prompt them to buy again. By giving them something you encourage them to reciprocate by buying. It’s the Law of Reciprocity.

1. Send Lapsed Customer Email

I frequently get emails with the headline We Miss You. And when they come from corporates they sound and feel false and contrived. But when an email comes in from a smaller business I have bought from and they likely remember me I’m far more likely to open it and respond favourably. Especially if they offer me something to whet my appetite. It might be an invite to an event, a discount or something else.

I’ve recently noticed two supermarkets vying for my wife’s attention. Each was offering a discount if she spent enough with them. For example Sainsbury’s was offering £12 off if she spent a minimum of about £70. And Waitrose offered something like £8 off if she spent around £50. With a bit of careful juggling, she was able to buy from both and get maximum discount.

This went on for weeks and she stockpiled a few items she wouldn’t normally buy as frequently. And now the discounts have ended she doesn’t need to order so much and their gestures haven’t resulted in loyalty to either supermarket. And that’s the issue. Loyalty is largely dead and if you sell a customer today what the want tomorrow they are unlikely to buy it tomorrow. You have to be very careful with offers or they cost you to the customers’ benefit.

2. Create Superb Content to Lure Lapsed Customers

The right sort of content that forms and/or amuses them keeps them coming back and ensures they remember the quality of your service and products. Assuming that the memories are good they are then on a tipping point and only need a nudge to buy again. And if you profile your customers accurately you can tailor the content to their personal needs rather than that of the masses.

3. Reconnect Via Social Media

If you are linked to the lapsed customer via LinkedIn you could message them with a personal invite or offer. The beauty of this approach is that it comes from you .. a named person that has linked to them previously. (This is why LinkedIn connections need to be made and kept live).

And if you post something appropriate on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or elsewhere there’s a chance they l see it and respond. And if you tag them the likelihood of them seeing it goes up. But don’t tag in a haphazard or careless manner. Only tag relevant people. Or you will see them disconnecting from you.

4. Address Them By Name

When sending a mailing, email or whatever use their name rather than calling them customer. The reasons ought to be obvious.

5. Use PR and the Media

Getting seen in the media is a great way to remind people of your expertise. I love being on the radio and in the national press. It’s a quick and easy marketing win that demonstrates authority. You can see a sample of the hundreds of interviews I’ve done on my PR Interviews page

There’s a quick video here on how to use PR in the restaurant business but the principles apply to any business.

How Do you Target Lapsed Customers?

1. Invite Them to An Event
2. Prompt a Purchase with an offer
3. Call Them and ask if they need to restock, have a specific need or just to see how they are.
4. Ask About Their Preferences
5. Ask for Advice. E.g. we are thinking of producing xyz and wondered if it should be in green or purple. What do you think?
6. Ask for Customer Feedback
There are many more answers at

How Do I Reactivate My Customers?

1. Ask for Customer Feedback
2. Prompt a Purchase with an offer
3. Call Them and ask if they need to restock, have a specific need or just to see how they are.
4. Ask About Their Preferences
5. Ask for Advice. E.g. we are thinking of producing xyz and wondered if it should be in green or purple. What do you think?
6. Invite Them to An Event
There are many more answers at

How Do You Nurture Clients

1. Build Trust. People Prefer to Buy From Those They Like Trust and Respect
2. Build A Relationship
3. Be Consistent. In your Service and Product Quality
4. Realise That Nurturing Takes Time
5. Listen. Few of Us Listen To Our Customers Enough
6. Focus on Quality
7. Focus on the Customer Even More
8. Ask Questions
9. Respond to Answers

How Do you Nurture Business Relationships?

1. Build a relationship with individuals within the business. People do business with people.
2. Listen to them
3. Research them . their needs, what is happening in their business, what is happening in their sector or industry.
4. Provide insights into their needs and wants.
5. Say thank you each time they buy.
6. Always follow up and keep your promises
7. Don’t pester them with frequent sales messages
8. Send frequent insights and other useful information.

How long should a nurture campaign be?

1. As long as it takes to make the sale or until it is clear the prospect is no longer interested.
2. You need to adhere to GDPR but provided you do the time it takes to convert from lead or prospect to customer or client is variable. It could be just a few days or it could take years because the prospect is not yet in buying mode.
3. Send your prospects interesting and insightful content in emails, mail or whatever mode best suits them. When I’ve done this it has often taken months or years before some have become long term clients. Just because they haven’t bought doesn’t mean they are not going to buy long term. It means they aren’t yet ready.
4. Always have an unsubscribe option in every communication.
5. Be patient.

What is a lead nurturing campaign?

A lead nurturing campaign is a series of emails or other communications designed to convert the prospect into a buyer. Good lead nurturing campaigns use the data you have about the prospect to deliver appropriate content to the prospect. It doesn’t deluge them with irrelevant content or daily sales messages. It seeks to build rapport and a relationship that leads to a sale in the longer term.

How do you build a nurture campaign?

The following steps are designed to make it easy for you to build your lead nurture campaign
1. Profile your target audience
2. Offer your audience exactly what THEY want .. not what you want to shift.
3. Write your sequence ensuring you provide your audience with useful information and insights. Go easy on the sales messages. Sales messages should be gentle and shouldn’t overpower the useful information and insights you provide.
4. Decide on your timeline. Space your communications so they suit the prospect and don’t overwhelm them. The aim is to encourage a sale, NOT to annoy them so that they stop reading your sequence.
5. Choose a great headline for each email (or other channels). The objective of the headline is to get them to open the email.
6. Regularly evaluate your success.
7. Split test your headlines and content to see what works best.

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