Contrary to the implication of how most people use the term “conversion,” capturing someone’s email address or phone number isn’t the final step in earning a customer. In the digital space, it’s actually the first step. (Or probably the second or third, but the first big one.)

What you need to do once you have that lead is to nurture it until the prospect becomes a customer. But what does it mean for a small business to nurture leads?

Well, think it through. What would you do if you suddenly got an email address or phone number of someone you knew was interested in buying from you? You’d email them or call them, right? You would ask them if they knew what they were looking for or needed help deciding what to buy, right?

Nurture leadsGuess what?

That’s what you do to nurture leads.

The hope, however, is that you do such a great job with your lead generation by creating engaging content that people want to consume so much they come to your website and give you their contact information to get it, that you have too many to handle. You need to plan for scale.

For most small businesses, one or two new leads per day is easy. Ten or 15 might be a busy day, but still doable. But what happens when you have 50? 100?

As you build your website, your lead generation forms, your content to entice those lead conversions, think about what you’re doing to do with the emails and phone numbers you receive. Who will take that list and follow-up with them? What does the first call or email look like? What about the second one? What if they say they aren’t interested in the product, they just wanted that content you posted?

Now what happens if the person assigned says they can’t handle all the leads coming in effectively alone? Who else will help? Are there toolsets or software packages that can help you?

(Hint: Customer Relationship Management and Marketing Automation Software may be in your future. These packages help you automatically send the first or first few emails to the prospect to qualify them before you have someone physically do something to follow up with them, but those cost money and time investment, so we’ll cover those down the road.)

Making a plan to be successful with lead generation is as important to being successful with it as anything else. So sit down and answer those questions. That way, when the leads start coming in, you know what to do with them.

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