This is Part One of a three-part blog series on lead nurturing strategies. Read Part Two and Part Three.
You’ve followed lead generation best practices: Your website, content, and landing pages have all been optimized, and you’re picking up leads like never before.
You’re just facing one major problem: You’re not driving more sales. Why?
Quite simply, not everyone who’s visiting your website is ready to buy.
But just because they’re not ready to buy now doesn’t mean they won’t be ready to buy eventually.
That’s where lead nurturing campaigns come in.
While the most common type of lead nurturing campaign is automated email, there are many different channels you can use to personalize your leads’ interactions with your company.
In this post, we’ll discuss how to set up a successful automated email campaign, and then delve into complementary platforms you can use to boost your lead nurturing efforts.
What is lead nurturing?
Lead nurturing is the process of building a relationship with a lead, in order to move them through the stages of the marketing funnel and eventually pre-qualify them as sales opportunities.
Lead nurturing is essential because a successful inbound marketing campaign is built on trust. Just as you wouldn’t ask someone to become your life partner after the first date, you can’t always expect a lead to buy your product after reading one blog post. That’s why it’s critical to continue establishing your company’s credibility by interacting with your leads and meeting them where they are in their buying process.
How to set up a successful lead nurturing email campaign
Email automation is a popular lead nurturing tactic because it’s efficient and cost-effective. With a content management system like HubSpot, you can easily create workflows that will automatically send a personalized message once your lead has completed a specific action.
Ready to get started building your own lead nurturing email campaign? Follow these six simple steps.
1. Segment your audience
Your company probably attracts a few different types of buyers, which means you can’t use a one-size-fits-all marketing strategy. As such, you’ll want to segment your email lists according to your company’s buyer personas.
With list segmentation, you’ll be able to personalize your content according to your buyer personas’ specific needs — and personalized emails have been shown to improve click-through rates (CTRs) by 14% and conversion rates by 10%.
Additionally, you can map your content to where your leads are in the buyer’s journey:
For example, if your lead is in the awareness stage — just gathering information about their problem — they may not be receptive to a decision-stage sales pitch, but they may appreciate a free eBook that tackles the problem they’re experiencing.
If you target your messages to your leads’ specific pain points, they’re more likely to be interested in what you have to say.
2. Define your content strategy
Now that you know who your target audience is, it’s time to establish what type of content will be most useful in addressing their needs. Broadly speaking, there are four content types that contribute towards a successful campaign.
Educational content provides your leads with valuable information. This allows you to position yourself as a thought leader in your industry, so as to build trust and familiarity.
Content that establishes a connection helps both you and your lead to figure out if what you have to offer is a good fit for what they need. (It’s equally important to weed out prospects who are a bad fit to save yourself trouble down the line!)
Content containing promotions can persuade sales-ready leads to buy from you. A free demo or trial can show your leads how awesome your product or service really is.
Finally, re-engagement emails target leads that may have gone cold by inviting them to get re-involved. One way to do this is by reminding them of why they originally subscribed to your list.
3. Set a timeline
Once a prospect fills out a form on your website, you need to reach out immediately. According to HubSpot, “the odds of a lead entering the sales process, or becoming qualified, are 21 times greater when contacted within five minutes versus 30 minutes after an inbound lead converts on your website.”
Beyond first contact, you’ll also want to have a plan for how many emails you plan to send, as well as when to send those emails. On average, prospects receive 10 marketing touches from the moment they enter the marketing funnel to becoming a closed-won customer.
While that’s a relatively high number, stay patient — your prospects may be put off if you inundate their inboxes with daily content. Quality sales leads take time to nurture. Allowing at least a week between emails will give your prospects time to process the content you’re sharing.
4. Identify objectives and goals for each email
Before you send, ask yourself: Why are you sending that email?
If you can’t answer that question, there’s a good chance that your content isn’t adding value — and nothing makes prospects unsubscribe from email lists faster than pointless content. Each email you send should contain an offer that catches the attention of your audience segment within 5 seconds.
Each email should also move your prospects through the marketing funnel. Chart a logical flow through your campaign that leads your prospects from the content of one email to the next.
To keep track of all the details, consider documenting your email workflows. For example, a company that wants to sell tennis rackets to beginning male players could use the following chart:
Type of content
Educate leads about how tennis rackets affect game performance
Download Free eBook
Compare pros and cons of popular tennis racket brands
Read Guide Now
Share a professional tennis player’s testimonial of your product
Download Roger Federer Case Study
5. Use data to optimize emails
There’s always room to improve your campaigns! And the more emails you send, the more data you’ll have on what’s working and what’s not.
The key metrics to monitor, in order of least to most useful, are:
Re-conversions on your offer
Additionally, be sure to track your open rates and click-through rates against industry standards. We love this email open rates tool from HubSpot that helps you figure out where you stand in your specific industry.
At the end of the day, you need to know: Is your lead nurturing campaign working? Use your performance metrics to assess if you’re meeting your goals.
The insights from your data will help you to refine your subject lines, body copy, and CTAs — and show you which of your content offers are getting the most traffic. You might be surprised at what resonates with your target audience!
6. Keep your sales team in the loop
Your marketing team might be in charge of building your email campaign, but they shouldn’t be working in a vacuum. Ultimately, the goal is to pass your prospects on to your sales team — and the last thing you want is for your sales team to frustrate the lead by recapping information already discussed during the marketing process.
So, make sure your sales team is up to speed on the offers you’re sending. They might even be able to help refine your strategy by sharing additional insights into your prospects’ needs, behavior, and pain points based on their experience.
Once you’ve passed a sales-ready lead on to the team, remove the lead from your campaign — again, marketing automation tools like HubSpot can do this automatically using contact property triggers — once they are ready to buy, they don’t need to receive more lead nurturing emails.
When it comes to inbound marketing, lead generation and lead nurturing go hand-in-hand: Once a prospect has expressed interest in your work, you need to continue building that relationship until they’re actually ready to buy.
Automated email campaigns are the most popular lead nurturing technique, but tactics like social media retargeting and progressive profiling can also work to further engage your leads as they hop around the web. It’s just smart business to diversify your campaigns to ensure you’re always meeting your prospects where they are!
The Sprk’d team has extensive experience using Hubspot to plan and execute effective lead nurturing campaigns. We love helping businesses find the spark in their customer interactions — contact us today.