The Ultimate Guide to Lead Nurturing for Contractors

Why contractors need lead nurturingOur clients are busy spending time in the field. They’re getting their hands dirty, getting to know their customers, and making a name for their business. The last thing they want to deal with is long sales cycles and dormant leads.

If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. The marketing game is changing in 2022—and you need to change your tactics to close sales and crush the competition. That’s where lead nurturing can make all the difference in your marketing game.

Simply put, lead nurturing involves developing and strengthening relationships with leads at every stage of the sales funnel. A successful lead nurturing campaign focuses on marketing and communication. Your main goal is to listen to the needs of your prospects and provide the information they need to build trust. Then, when they’re ready to buy a new heater or renovate their kitchen, you’ll be at the top of their mind. Sounds easy enough, right?

Of course, caring for your leads is much easier said than done. The best way to nurture leads will change over time—and a strategy that worked a few years ago might not be nearly as effective today. You already know that algorithms change. Your leads are feeling overwhelmed with the constant stream of advertising they face every day. So, it should come as no surprise that they’re learning to ignore certain channels.

How can you cut through the digital noise and optimize every stage of your buyers’ journey? It’s all about staying up to date on the latest lead nurturing tactics and pinpointing what works for your audience. Caring for your leads can give you a huge advantage over the competition, but you need to do it right.

Whether you’re caring for HVAC, roofing, or plumbing leads, here’s what you need to know to start closing more sales.

 


 

Why Contractors Need Lead Nurturing

Even if you haven’t seen that many romcoms, you probably already know the formula. It’s a little something like this: Boy meets girl. Girl meets boy. Throughout the movie, we watch the main characters discover what’s appealing or annoying about each other. Eventually, they end up together, well-versed in each other’s qualities.

At the end of the day, romcom storylines aren’t that different from lead nurturing. When your lead finds out about your company, they won’t be ready to purchase right away (most of them aren’t). You need to spend time building your relationship and establishing trust. When your lead is finally ready to purchase, you’ll be miles ahead of the competition.

With a comprehensive lead nurturing strategy, you can turn lead generation into customer generation. It’s all about moving leads through the sales funnel by reinforcing your relationship across multiple channels and providing useful content. You want to respond to your prospects’ needs in real time so you can be there when they need you.

If you don’t have a lead nurturing campaign in place, you’re leaving countless missed opportunities on the table. So, what are you waiting for?

 


 

Components of a Successful Lead Nurturing Strategy

At the end of the day, there’s no one technique that’s going to work for every single lead. So, to make the most out of every lead you’ve captured, it’s going to take some trial and error.

We know—restarting your strategy over and over again sounds like a lot of work. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Instead of starting over from scratch, there are a few components you’ll need to build a successful lead nurturing foundation. Once you’ve mastered the basics, you’ll be able to craft a powerful, conversion-driving strategy.

Then, you can start finetuning your lead nurturing strategy to capture every ounce of value from those leads. Here’s how to get started.

 

1. Lead Scoring

To nurture the right leads, you need a proven lead scoring strategy. Lead scoring helps qualify your leads quantitatively. Leads are assigned a numerical value (or score) to determine where they fall on a scale from “interested” to “ready to buy.” The criteria for scoring leads is up to you, but it should be consistent across your marketing and sales departments so everyone is using the same method.

A lead’s score might be based on actions they’ve taken (visited your website, clicked your PPC ad), the information they’ve provided, their level of engagement, or other criteria determined by your sales team. For example, a lead who has interacted with your social media posts might score higher than a lead who has clicked your PPC ad.

To effectively score leads, you’ll need to bring your sales and marketing teams together to pinpoint where a particular lead is within your sales funnel. This way, you’ll know when and how to address each prospect with the most relevant communication.

The higher a lead’s score, the closer they are to becoming a sales-qualified lead (SQL), which is only one step away from converting into a paying customer. Chances are, you’ll need to adjust your lead scoring system and criteria until you find the right formula. Once you’ve perfected your system, you can identify which leads are worth spending time and money to nurture and which aren’t.

 

2. Tailored Content

Content marketing is all about creating relevant, valuable content for your leads throughout every stage of the sales funnel. Sure, it takes time to create engaging content that guides your leads down the funnel, but if you’re not offering anything for leads who aren’t ready to buy, they’re going to walk away and forget about your business.

To create relevant content, consider what leads are looking for at different stages of the buyer’s journey. Let’s say you own a power washing business. Someone at the beginning of the buyer’s journey might be interested in DIY tips for cleaning their gutters, while someone who’s more familiar with your business (and further down the sales funnel) might be interested in a discount on spring gutter cleanings.

Make sure you’re creating content for every phase and offering relevant, compelling CTAs for these offers throughout your content. You should be posting tailored content across multiple channels, including:

  • Social media: Social media is your secret weapon. And we’re not talking about LinkedIn—we mean Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube. If you can connect with leads where they already are, you can add a personal element to your relationship that becomes even more powerful during the sales process. For the best results, end your social media posts with a CTA that links to a relevant landing page.
  • Web content: The highest-converting content marketing campaigns rely on consistent messaging. Make sure you’re conveying the same message across your Home page, landing pages, blog posts, and ‘About Us’ page. Your web content should go beyond getting a lead to subscribe to emails—it should develop a relationship with prospects and give them the information they need to make an informed purchasing decision.
  • Email newsletters: Lead nurturing is all about reinforcing your relationship with a prospect—and the best way to do that is to cultivate a personal rapport with them. That means making all of your client-facing communications as personalized as possible. When planning your next email newsletter, start with a series of basic templates. Then, personalize them as much as possible by adding in unique details you know about the lead—like their name—to strengthen that relationship.

 

3. Multichannel Marketing

A simple lead nurturing strategy might just involve a series of email newsletters sent over the course of a few weeks. Meanwhile, a more advanced strategy might include multiple touchpoints, content offers, and communication channels—all over a much longer period and with multiple variations.

A simple newsletter campaign can help you close sales, but it’s important to evolve your campaign over time to ensure a steady stream of conversions. That’s where multichannel marketing will be your MVP.

With multichannel marketing, you’re sending marketing messages to leads using all the channels that are relevant to your leads. When you leverage different marketing tools to your advantage—and sync them all together—you’ll not only build greater brand awareness, but you’ll reach exponentially more people. 

So, what channels should you rely on? We’ve already covered most of them:

  • Email
  • Social media
  • Retargeting
  • Web content
  • Mobile marketing automation

Basically, you want to be everywhere at the same time without being too spammy or intrusive. You don’t want to think your leads are stalking them or not listening to their needs. Instead of blasting messages everywhere they turn, consider a) where your leads are in the buyer’s journey and b) what content or channels would be most useful to them in that stage.

 

4. Retargeting

Retargeting is arguably the most powerful way to nurture leads. Think about it: After you see a brand for the first time, you’ll probably forget about it. But once you see a few ads around the web, you’ll start reconsidering that brand. Eventually, when you’re ready to make a purchase, you’re going to turn to brands you already know and trust—and they might just make it to the top of the list.

Of course, it’s not enough to just set up a retargeting campaign. You need to carefully plan out your retargeting strategy to get your brand in front of the right people at the right time. Even though retargeting is the most effective way to convert leads into paying customers, getting that conversion requires a flawless sales funnel.

For example, you should avoid repeating information that leads were already exposed to on your website. Instead, switch up your ads to convey the value of your services. If a lead wasn’t impressed with your Facebook post, a retargeting ad would create the perfect opportunity to attract them with a discount on seasonal HVAC maintenance.

If you’re new to retargeting, there are two avenues you should focus on:

  • Social media retargeting: Social media retargeting is the most effective way to stay in front of your leads, but the success of your ads will depend on the exact segment and social media platform. For example, if you’re targeting homeowners over the age of 30, Pinterest and Facebook might be the most engaging platforms for your segment. After identifying the right platform, you’ll need to create engaging Facebook and Pinterest ads that capture your audience’s attention.
  • Display ads: Once leads start navigating your sales funnel, they should start seeing display ads relevant to the stage they’re in. This way, you can nurture leads without their email address. And if you do have an email, display ads boost email opens because your leads are getting more exposure to your brand. The best part? They get less exposure to competitors’ ads because you’re taking advantage of the available ad space.

 

5. Marketing Automation

If you’re not using marketing automation, it’s time to start. Between long sales cycles and leads constantly entering your sales funnel, it’s too easy to drop the ball and let opportunities fall through the cracks. To stop leaving money on the table, start searching for ways to automate your marketing processes.

Marketing automation is a convenient way to streamline and measure your marketing workflows. In other words, you’ll be able to boost your operational efficiency and revenue without sacrificing any time in the field. It can help you time your marketing touches perfectly, align your content with the prospect’s buying stage, and seamlessly move your prospects through the sales funnel.

Without marketing automation, there’s no way you can be omnipresent online. Start utilizing email automation, social media monitoring tools, dynamic web content, and advanced analytics so you can start showing up everywhere at once.

 


 

How to Start Caring for Your Leads

Lead nurturing can seem complex. First, it can span across multiple channels. On top of that, all your marketing efforts need to sync up and work together, from compelling CTAs to personalized emails and perfectly timed display ads. 

As you start implementing your lead nurturing strategy, here are some practical steps you can take to drive results.

 

1. Define Your Leads

The success of your lead nurturing campaign depends on the cooperation between your sales and marketing teams. To define the ideal lead for your company, you need to come up with a joint lead definition for your sales and marketing teams to follow.

Start by identifying your market, reviewing your past customers, and looking at your current prospects. What leads are converting into paying customers? What demographics, interests, and characteristics do your customers share?

Once you’ve defined your ideal lead, it’s time to separate different types of leads depending on what stage of the sales process they’re in. You can split your leads into two categories:

  • Marketing-qualified leads (MQLs): When a prospect signs up for your email newsletter, shares your Facebook post, or fills out a contact form, they’re engaging with your marketing efforts. Even if they’ve shown interest in your services, it doesn’t mean they’re a good fit to buy.
  • Sales-qualified leads (SQLs): Here’s where your sales team comes in. Once an MQL has expressed their interest, your sales team will follow up to make sure the lead is qualified to move forward in the sales process. Once sales has determined that the lead fits the qualifying criteria, the lead is considered an SQL.

 

2. Feed the Top of the Funnel

To grow your business and craft a powerful lead nurturing campaign, you’ll need to feed the top of the funnel with list-building tactics. Your goal is to grow your email list by giving your leads regular check-ins, eliminating duplicates, and removing inactive or junk contacts.

So, what’s the best way to combat email attrition and get more subscribers? Now that you’ve defined your ideal lead, think about what they’re looking for. Maybe it’s a seasonal home maintenance calendar that will save your subscribers headaches. Every successful list-building tactic requires providing something of value.

 

3. Segment Your Target Audiences

The more you segment, the more relevant your lead nurturing strategy will be. For prospects, personalized messaging promotes engagement with your brand until they’re ready to buy.

So, how can you start segmenting your audience? First, organize your leads by their stage in the sales funnel. This way, you’re categorizing prospects by their intent to buy. You can designate their place in the sales funnel, from a fresh new lead to a new customer, and target your marketing efforts accordingly.

Then, to get even more targeted, segment your prospects into two or three categories using their unique characteristics or interests. It might help to think of these categories as buyer personas. Basically, they’re realistic portrayals of your ideal customers.

If you don’t know what your prospects are interested in, marketing automation can help. With marketing automation, you can tag prospects using forms, link actions, and webpage tracking. Instead of manually entering every piece of information into a spreadsheet, marketing automation tracks your prospects’ online actions and automatically sorts them into the right category.

Once you’ve segmented your prospects by their status and interests, it’s easy to identify what kind of messages will promote the best engagement.

 

4. Test and Optimize Your Campaign

Just like lead scoring, lead nurturing is a process that’s never really finished. There’s always room to refine, improve, and update your marketing efforts. Along with adding new touchpoints, content, and communication channels to your existing strategy, there are a few other ways to take care of leads, including:

  • Customer loyalty and retention: Lead nurturing tactics can help you build deeper relationships with your existing customers. In turn, you’ll open new doors to cross-sell and upsell products and services with targeted content.
  • Customer onboarding: Congratulations! You’ve converted a lead into a paying customer—but your hard work isn’t over yet. Make sure you introduce that customer to support options, tips and tricks, and other resources to make the most of their investment.

 


 

Stop Letting Qualified Leads Slip Away

Lead nurturing can be intimidating, but that shouldn’t stop you from growing your business. Even if you don’t have the time to devote to lead nurturing, working with an experienced home services marketing team can help you transform lead generation into customer generation.

Tired of losing your best leads to the competition? We’re here to help. Reach out to our team to start building a comprehensive conversion-driving lead nurturing campaign.

Table of Contents