How to Reconnect with Lost Leads, Nurture Warm Ones and Convert Customers for Life

Chances are, one of your main business goals is generating high-quality leads. Sales, after all, are the lifeblood of any company. But where do those leads go? Actually, an alarming amount of them go nowhere: according to research from Marketo, 80% of marketing leads wind up lost, ignored or discarded.  

In this guide, we are going to go through five different scenarios – reasons why a lead (a.k.a. prospective customer) didn’t convert the first time round – and show you how to save those ‘lost, ignored or discarded’ leads, reconnect with them in an engaging, effective way and ultimately turn them into qualified prospects.


Scenario #1: A lead interacts with your content, but hasn’t made any move to convert. 

If someone has interacted with your site – for example, downloaded one of your guides or subscribed to your blog – but didn’t sign up or purchase your product/service when reached out to, don’t immediately write that lead off as a dead end. You might be able to nurture those warm leads to the point when they’re ready to buy.

Lead nurturing, or the process of developing a relationship with a prospective customer, is based on providing that person with educational, relevant content to build trust, resolve any of their concerns and ultimately nudge them to purchase.

  • Segment these leads into different categories, depending on where they are in the sales funnel. You want to make sure what you’re sending that person reflects the level of their current interest: for example, a lead who has commented on one of your blog posts, downloaded an e-book and attended a webinar shouldn’t get the same message as someone who has just registered for a webinar. By segmenting your leads, you can target them with more effective content that reflects their questions or concerns. For a more thorough guide on lead nurturing, check out this guide from Marketo.
  • You could even consider investing in marketing automation software to streamline your mailings, but you need to be careful how you use it. Don’t use it to send out general broadcasts or anything that might come off as spammy: you should use to send out highly-targeted content to those segmented leads.

Scenario 2: A lead has filled out part of a form, but didn’t complete it.

Capturing sale form drop outs

There are so many different kinds of online forms out there: an account registration, a ‘request more information’, a free trial landing page, the list goes on. That means there are a fantastic amount of opportunities to capture leads, but you need to make sure all your forms are optimised for the best user experience possible: you would hate for a lead to navigate away from your site for usability issues!

  • Make sure your form appears ‘above the fold’, i.e. they should be able to see most – or all – of it without having to scroll for ages.
  • Think about the length: shorter forms mean more people are likely to fill them out; longer forms are more likely to get you high-quality leads. Look at it from your prospect’s point of view: is it worth their time and effort?
  • Have a really good reason why you’re asking for certain information and be clear about what you’ll do with it. For example, on a webinar sign-up, if you’re asking a lot of questions about where that individual works, lives and what they’re interested in, clarify what you’ll use their answers for, i.e. ‘we ask these questions to help inform our future webinars and to better tailor our content to our audience, and that’s it.’
  • Don’t force forms on people, i.e. don’t make it necessary to create a user account to check out, interact with your site’s content, etc.


Scenario 3: A customer once purchased your product, but hasn’t in a while.

That constant struggle: how to turn a one-time customer into a lifetime one. Perhaps someone has purchased your product or service in the past but hasn’t in a few months or years.

Repeat customers make up an incredibly important chunk of a business’ revenue: according to research conducted by SumAll, businesses with 40% repeat customers generated almost 50% more revenue than similar businesses with only 10% repeat customers.

So how do you start talking with those customers again and convince them to repurchase?

  • Give them a discount or some other incentive. Although a customer who has bought from you only once before has a mere 27% chance of repurchasing, this likelihood only increases over time. Someone who has bought from you three times is 54% more likely to purchase a fourth time. Once you can get that second sale, you’re well on your way to having a customer for life. (Data from SumAll)
  • Consider offering them a complimentary demo session (either in person or via a videoconferencing tool with screen-sharing capabilities like GoToMeeting) to explain any updates on your product/service, give them the opportunity to ask direct questions, offer them an exclusive reduced rate and anything else that would be valuable to them. Show them a friendly face and demonstrate that you really care about their business.

Scenario 4: A customer who once engaged with your email newsletter hasn’t in a while.

E-Mail Leads

This is a bit like a combination of Scenarios 2 and 3: this person clearly knows who you are (because they’ve signed up to your newsletter) but this doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve purchased, so you need to be careful with how you approach your strategy.

  • Segment your campaigns: create a specific list of those who haven’t opened in a while, so you can tailor more effectively.
  • Change your messaging. Obviously something about your old newsletter wasn’t enticing a click, so revise it and make it personal (consider using the person’s first name in the subject line).
  • Don’t overdo it: don’t go in there with loud salesy messaging or you will put readers off.
  • Include exclusive content or discounts.
  • Switch up your content – if you’re regularly emailing them the same kind of content that they aren’t opening, try something different. If you’re emailing them only, try emailing them one of your webinar recordings, or a case study, or anything else you think they might be interested in. You want to demonstrate to them that they have a lot of valuable insights to gain from not eventually clicking that ‘Unsubscribe’ button.

Scenario 5: A potential customer is walking past your store (and may or may not be thinking about going in).

These days, most people do their shopping with their smartphone in hand: whether they’re checking their shopping list or doing a quick search for cheaper alternatives, smartphones are informing the way we purchase. This makes highly-targeted, location-based advertising on mobile an effective way to capture the data of a whole new potential customer base that’s walking just outside your front door.

Using beacons like Google Eddystone – a device that broadcasts using Bluetooth to nearby smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices – you can send geo-targeted messages to increase footfall and customers.

  • Send push notifications to people who are in range and offer them an in-store deal to get them in.
  • You can also share valuable or useful information; it doesn’t need to be all advertorial messaging. By offering up something genuinely helpful without any strings attached, this will increase trust in your brand and give you a database of new leads.

Generating leads

Generating leads is hard enough, and capturing all the great ones you may be missing out on is an even bigger challenge. Essentially, you want to draw back those individuals who haven’t interacted with you recently – or at all – by showing them that you view them as more than a source of income. By providing exclusive or enriching content, changing your tactics and really listening to the feedback you receive, you have a better chance of turning lost leads into valuable ones.

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