I just saw a Tweet come through the stream from the Marketing Sherpa B2B Summit that reads: So if sending an email isn't nurturing what is? #b2bsummit
Lead nurturing is about providing the right content at the right time that addresses a problem that a prospect is focused on (or at least considering) solving. Lead nurturing is based upon content that educates the prospect about the problem, provides expertise about how to solve it and then proves via evidence that the expertise pays off with results the prospect wants/needs. Lead nurturing is done best when it addresses each stage of the buying process in parallel with your prospect's position in the buying process.
Lead nurturing can be done via email, but it's not about the delivery system of email, it's about the perceived relevance of the content delivered via the email.
Where the concept of nurturing can be sneaky is when we confuse delivery systems with the intention of the nurturing process itself.
Social media like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook can be a delivery system for nurturing content.
Blogs are a great delivery vehicle for nurturing content. Not to mention delivery of that content via RSS feeds and as email alerts to subscribers to the blog.
Webinars can be a delivery system for nurturing content. As can virtual events.
Conferences can be a delivery system for nurturing content (Such as #b2bsummit)
Website visits can deliver nurturing content. As can videos, podcasts, Slideshare, etc.
Google alerts with corresponding keywords can serve as delivery vehicles for publicly available nurturing content.
Do not confuse the delivery vehicle for nurturing. It's about what's getting delivered and how well it addresses the audience's needs, priorities and objectives over time.
The other confusion about nurturing stems from the ridiculous notion that by sending regular emails - regardless of content - your company will stay top of mind for whenever the time arises for prospects to buy. Hogwash.
If your content hasn't provided value, you've demonstrated a total lack of relevance and expertise that's a prerequisite to make the short list. Nurturing is about much more than just showing up in your prospect's inbox.
Lead nurturing is not about email. It's about the consistent delivery of content that builds relationships with prospects based on their perception of relevance and value.
A prospect does not need to reside in your database to be nurtured. They just need to engage with your content purposefully. If they continuously come into contact with your content and find it valuable, share it with others on the buying committee or act upon it to contact your company for a conversation, you've nurtured them well - regardless of where it happened or how the content was delivered.