Consumers expect personalized marketing emails from brands. And with the help of advanced AI and machine learning, targeting customers with email along different phases of the buyer’s journey is easier than ever.
But it still takes a high level of strategy and precise execution. You can outsource your digital marketing or carefully design a lead nurturing campaign that allows you to foster lasting relationships with leads, so that they will convert when the time is right.
What is Lead Nurturing?
Lead nurturing is the process of developing relationships with leads along all stages of the sales funnel. It allows you to delicately guide them through the buyer’s journey and earn their loyalty over time.
Only 4% of website visitors are ready to buy. So to maximize your profits from website traffic, you need to develop a lead workflow that gently educates and reminds leads that you exist.
Today, the sales cycle is longer because consumers have more information at their fingertips than ever before. They can research and compare products and services to their heart’s content before making a purchase.
This makes lead nurturing all the more essential for modern brands.
Fortunately, you can leverage customer relationship management (CRM) software to automate and adjust your lead nurturing campaigns as you go. In fact, 77% of marketers who use automation software convert more leads.
Lead nurturing emails also get 4 to 10 times more responses than standalone email blasts. So besides building your brand loyalty and trust, lead nurturing helps generate more sales and motivate larger purchases.
If you’re just starting out, here are the steps to developing a successful email lead nurturing campaign:
Understand your sales cycle
Before creating a lead nurturing campaign, you need to understand your sales cycle. For example, many marketers follow the ACCD method: attract, convert, close, and delight. However you define your sales cycle, it’s important to understand it so you know how lead nurturing will fit into it.
Define your leads
Next, you need to determine the “who” behind your lead nurturing campaign. This means creating descriptions of your ideal client and target audience,aka buyer personas. Who do you want to eventually buy your product or service?
Segment your audience into lists
You can then segment your target audience into various types. Separate them by demographics like age, gender, location and then by their online behavior.
This way, you can better tailor your email campaign to each individual. Consumers no longer respond well to generic mass emails. They expect personalized messages.
Set goals for your campaign
Every lead nurturing campaign should have a goal. Otherwise, you won’t know how it’s performing.
Aim to make your campaign goals SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. That way, you set yourself up for the most measurable success.
Identify and develop valuable content
After you’ve set your goals, identify and develop content you can use in your lead nurturing campaign. This could be blog articles, webinars, ebooks, whitepapers, and more. It doesn’t need to be new content. If you have online resources that are high-converting, simply repackage them for email.
Otherwise, you can develop new content designed specifically for the nurturing campaign. Just make sure they align closely with your goals.
Map your content
Once you select your email content, it’s time to organize it. You can start with a template to make this step less overwhelming, but your campaign should include no more than 8 emails.
Decide on a trigger event that will enroll a lead into your campaign. This could be downloading a free ebook or signing up for your newsletter.
Then set up a timeline for when each email goes out to a subscriber. Space them out across the entire campaign cycle. You don’t want to rush your leads or make them feel pressured. Otherwise, you risk losing them. Remember, this is first and foremost about lead nurturing.
Test the campaign
At this point, you’re ready to test your campaign. You’ll want to make sure each email has a specific goal, even if that’s only to remember that you exist. Each email should also follow a logical order so they flow smoothly from one to the next.
You can run A/B tests on subject lines and calls to action (CTAs) to see how well your campaign does on a sample set of your leads.
This will tell you what’s working, and what’s not. Other variables you could test include the email copy and frequency.
The goal is to optimize your campaign for the best results. You want to have a click through rate (CTR) of 5% or more and an unsubscribe rate of less than 1%.
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Launch the campaign
Once you’ve tested for the best version of your campaign, you’re ready to launch it. Make sure to keep a record of your open, response, and conversion rates so that you have empirical data to work from as you go.
Evaluate and adjust
Make small adjustments and corrections over time. You’re bound to identify emails that perform better or worse than others.
Eventually, you can start additional email nurturing campaigns to support the one currently running.
At the end of the day, a successful email nurturing campaign requires a high level of personalization and adapting to the data coming in. If you can do this, you’re on your way to increasing sales and loyal customers.
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