Mastering the Art of Email Nurturing.
Learn how to transform leads into customers.
CONTENT MARKETINGMARKETINGEMAIL MARKETINGLEAD NURTURING
Email nurturing campaigns have become the principal tactic for businesses looking to engage and nurture their leads from the awareness stage to becoming a customer. By leveraging the power of personalized and targeted communication, these campaigns can significantly boost conversion rates and foster long-term customer relationships. In this article, we will explore the benefits of email nurturing campaigns, discuss best practices, and provide valuable tips and tricks to help you optimize your campaigns for maximum results.
In our last blog, Lead Nurturing – Why it Matters and How to Do it Right, we explored why lead nurturing is critical and discussed how retargeting leads and social targeting can be effective strategies.
While these two methods are important strategies to have in your arsenal, they do not have the power and effectiveness of a well-crafted email nurturing campaign.
Why Email Nurturing Campaigns Work
Email lead nurturing campaigns are effective because they will allow a company to build and strengthen a relationship of trust with potential customers. Sending personalized emails, that address a prospect's problems and concerns will help educate and inform the user. This process invokes the Law of Reciprocity, so when they are ready to start comparing companies who can offer that solution, they will first turn to the company that provides them with reliable and accurate information.
There are also hard numbers that support the use of email nurturing campaigns.
Increased Sales – Lead nurturing generates 50% more sales-ready leads (TechReport).
Lower Cost Per Lead (CPL) – Lead generation lowers the CPL by 33% (Data Axle Genie).
Higher Engagement – Marketers have seen a 77% increase in nurturing email engagements (HubSpot).
Larger Purchases - Nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads (Campaign Monitor).
These numbers prove that email lead nurturing campaigns are a powerful and profitable marketing strategy. With the average email user receiving over 121 business emails a day (Campaign Monitor), how do you get your email noticed?
Best Practices for Email Nurturing Campaigns
Lead List Segmentation – If you want the recipient of your nurturing campaigns to open up the next email you send, every single one of them MUST be relevant to their concerns and their stage in the buyer's journey. While you always start your list segmentation using the information you developed in your buyer persona report and buyers’ journey report, the segmentation in nurturing campaigns needs to drill deeper.
List segmentation needs to provide the most relevant experience possible, so develop a lead scoring system and utilize a marketing automation platform that will automatically transfer a prospect to the correct workflow as their activity and behaviors dictate.
Lead Scoring - One of the most critical elements of any successful nurturing program is the use of a robust lead scoring system that utilizes first-party data. A well-developed lead scoring system will factor in the following information that is automatically accumulated, calculated, and then automatically put the user in the correct email workflow. The factors that might need to be considered are:
Each of the applicable categories has a number of touchpoints that will add or deduct points. Certain elements, or the accumulation of points, will transfer the person to a different nurturing workflow or pass the lead to sales for handling.
Here is an example of a simple lead scoring chart for a B2B client.
Personalization – Tailoring content and messaging to individual prospects increases the likelihood of capturing their attention and engaging them in a meaningful way. Nobody wants to feel like a number, and 41% of prospects will look elsewhere due to the lack of personalization (Accenture).
It was discovered that 80% of customers are more likely to engage with a brand that provides personalized experiences (Demand Gen Report). In fact, personalized email campaigns have a 29% higher open rate and 41% higher click-through rate compared to generic campaigns (Epsilon). Therefore, incorporating personalization strategies in lead nurturing campaigns is not just nice-to-have, but a necessity in today's hyper-personalized culture.
The more you can personalize the lead nurturing experience, the more success you will have. Fortunately, marketing automation platforms such as HubSpot, make this process easy. There are many types of attributes you can personalize in both the subject and body of the email, including name, company, location, and CTAs.
The only limitation is knowing what will create that silent bond and when it becomes creepy.
Compelling Subject Line – The only purpose of the subject line is to compel the reader to open the email. This subject line should be personalized and meaningful to the recipient. Often framing it in a question format can be compelling to the reader.
The subject line should be so thought-provoking that if they did go past it, they are forced to scroll back to see what it is “really” about. This is where that thought-provoking title must be immediately reinforced and validated by the first sentence in the body of the email.
If they think the subject line is clickbait, they will never open another email from you.
New and Relevant Content – We have often been asked how many emails are too many. Our answer is as long as the reader is opening them up, they are finding value in your emails and you should not worry. Once they stopped, that was one too many.
To ensure that they find value, every email you send must provide new and relevant content. Sometimes, the significant change might be the format. For example, if the initiating event was that they downloaded a large eBook, the flow of content might include, a 2-4 page summary guide, infographic, a video, etc.
The important part is that it is compelling and worth their time to open the email, read it, and click through to get the content offer. This means that it must provide ever-increasing knowledge on the areas of their concerns and possible solutions.
Natural Progression – The whole purpose of a nurturing campaign is to draw the prospect down the sales funnel by providing them with content that moves from the awareness stage to the decision. Sometimes, this can be accomplished in a single workflow, but more often, each stage has its own workflow that is comprised of eight steps. The reason you want an eight-step campaign is that it can take eight touchpoints for a prospect to move to the next stage of their journey (Medium).
Each email should naturally move down the funnel. Here is an example of a full-funnel campaign:
1st email – Thank you for downloading our eBook (have a share resource feature).
2nd email – An Infographic that crystalized the key points of the eBook
3rd email – A four-to-eight-page guide that offers additional insights or ideas
4th email – An explainer video that illustrates the problem and solutions
5th email – Invitation to a webinar with a compelling presenter to speak about the problem
6th email – What the experts are saying report dealing with the topic
7th email – Comparison of the benefits your solution offers
8th email – Case study/customer success story
The frequency of these emails should be 3-5 days not counting weekends or holidays.
Pro Tip - The primary offer for each email should be for them to secure the content. However, it is important to reduce any friction and have a bottom-of-the-funnel alternative offer. Try using different CTA offers for each email.
Short and Sweet – Nobody wants to read a lengthy email, so keep it short and sweet. It is best to keep the email under 200 words. Studies have shown that emails that were less than 20 lines (200 words) had the best click-through rate (HubSpot).
Readability – People will scan your email, even short ones, so follow all of the scannability rules we set forth in the Content Marketing Formula blog. It is vitally important that the emails be written to an eighth-grade level. Emails that are written to this level performed 36% better in terms of open rates than those written at a college reading level and 17% higher response rate than emails composed at a high school reading level.
Incorporate The Laws of Influence – The entire reason to begin a nurturing campaign is to entice the prospect down the sales pipeline. One of the best use cases for implementing the Laws of Influence into a marketing campaign is for nurturing emails. To refresh yourself about the benefits of incorporating a psychological trigger into your campaigns, visit The Laws of Influence – The Psychology of Getting to Yes!
Marketing Automation – Take advantage of a marketing automation platform (e.g., HubSpot) to do the heavy lifting. Much of the personalization and segmentation would be impossible without a software platform. Besides, the research shows that businesses that use marketing automation to nurture prospects experience a 451% increase in qualified leads (Business2Community).
Follow the Numbers – Prevail Marketing is a firm believer in measuring and optimizing the performance of all marketing activities. Nurturing campaigns are no different. Make the effort to A/B test all aspects of the program, including the messaging, content, and CTAs.
If you are having second thoughts, here are just some of the important benefits of lead nurturing:
Builds relationships - Lead nurturing will create trust and build your credibility with the prospect. An individual is more likely to choose a business that has helped them understand the problems they were facing and possible solutions.
Educates - Lead nurturing allows you to educate leads about the issues they are facing and how the benefits of your product addresses those concerns.
Shortens sales cycles -When leads are constantly receiving relevant information, they’re more likely to move through your sales funnel more quickly.
Increases conversion rates - Personalized and targeted communication can significantly boost conversion rates.
Reduces marketing costs - Studies have proven that nurturing leads can reduce client acquisition costs.