Lead nurturing is about strengthening relationships with leads who aren’t ready to buy, but could be a customer in the future. The right lead-nurturing strategy can help you educate leads on your products and services, build trust, and boost sales in the future.
A short-sighted business might focus on only selling outright, while a successful organisation that strategizes for the long term looks to nurture leads and guide them through the sales funnel. Given the importance of nurture sequences, it’s well worth it to spend time understanding how to design the perfect nurturing sequence.
Understanding lead nurturing and its benefits
Lead nurturing sequences can be trigger or time (interval) based, and they’re important because customers rarely make a purchase based on first impressions alone. Instead, leads need reassurance that your product or service is reliable and is what they’re looking for. This journey towards peak engagement, where a prospect is turned into a sales-qualified lead, can be created through a nurture sequence.
Automated email lead nurturing sends targeted, personalised emails to people at exactly the right times, and this can boost relationships and trust, while encouraging leads to act. Nurturing sequences are designed to familiarise subscribers with your company, and they can be used to manage expectations on the content and frequency of emails in the future. Nurturing sequences can be differentiated from engagement sequences, which are aimed at encouraging smaller-step actions that will push subscribers to converting.
The research on lead nurturing and its advantages shows clear results. Forrester Research reports 67% of B2B marketers report at least a 10% increase in sales opportunities thanks to lead nurturing, and 15% to 20% of those not yet ready to buy are converted into sales with lead nurturing. Lead nurturing could increase the number of opportunities entering the pipeline, reduce unrated leads, and boost conversion rates at every stage of the funnel. Furthermore the report revealed businesses that are good at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales at 33% lower cost per lead, so lead nurturing could boost revenue and help you save on other marketing costs.
The 7 key email nurturing strategies
The following strategies could assist you with creating the perfect nurture sequence, but remember to tailor it to your business, goals, and services or products.
1. Follow a framework that matches your goals and business
Start with a basic framework and continue to benchmark and test it until you have the perfect formula for your business. Generally speaking, at a minimum your nurturing sequence should be two to three emails long.
One model suggests there are five core components in any nurturing sequence:
- Social proof
- Highlighting gains
- Instilling the why
- Concluding with logic
Email one should be a welcome email focused on introduction rather than selling. The message should offer a value-add in response to a highlighted customer pain point. Email two should show how others have resolved their pain point thanks to the product or service. Email three should emphasise and reinforce the gain, while email four ‘instils the why’ based on highlighting the fear, pain point, or consequences of inaction. Email five will then conclude with a logic-based pitch.
This sample model outlines some of the key email types you can include in your sequence. You can keep experimenting with these until you get the perfect sequence for your business.
2. Take care with timing
Timing is another key consideration. As a general rule, avoid emailing leads or prospects every day. Instead, aim for emails sent out anywhere between five days to four weeks apart. Consider the product or service’s sales cycle when determining the right timing.
3. Segment and personalise
Your list might contain a wide ranging demographic, so segment leads, and then tailor and personalise content as much as possible. For example, you might have a segment for each of the following: early stage researchers, subscribers who have expressed interest in a particular product by downloading an ebook, and contacts acquired at a recent event. You could also segment according to budget, product or service, or the type of pain point.
In addition to personalising the content, you can also boost personalisation by having a specific team member sign off, whether it’s the CEO or the head of the product department. Also use the lead’s name in the email to add a personal touch.
4. Tailor content and use evergreen content
Once you’ve segmented your list, you can tailor content to address consumer pain points. Consider what you know about your leads and educate them according to their likely pain points. Remember, you should focus on continuing to provide value for subscribers once they’ve signed up for the list, so content that’s relevant to the reader is essential.
Another helpful content strategy is to utilise evergreen content as much as possible. By using evergreen content, you can set up and run your email sequence without having to rewrite content for a long period of time. Focus on content that’s not tied to a specific time, current event, or fleeting trend.
5. Design the sequence according to the buyer’s journey
Effective nurturing and engagement with leads comes from giving buyers relevant information, so design your email sequence according to their stage in the buyer’s journey. Do you need to build awareness with more introductory materials, or drive consideration of your product or service with in-depth, educational content? Is the lead close to purchase, meaning you could guide them to the decision phase with reviews and testimonials?
Track your leads’ email behaviour so you can insert a trigger-based re-engagement stage in the sequence where necessary. For example, if they’re not opening their emails or clicking through to content, you could send out a re-engagement email that asks for feedback or offers an incentive.
7. Keep testing
Keep tracking and testing to see where leads are getting stuck in your sequence and where they’re “leaking.” Focus on identifying what works for your subscribers and be ready to eliminate anything that doesn’t work. You can create multiple email sequencesfrom the start to widen your testing opportunities.
Open rates, link clicks, unsubscribe rates, website traffic from emails, referrals from emails, and lead scores are some of metrics you’ll want to track closely. Keep in mind the hard work is worth it, as once you’ve perfected it, your nurture sequence runs automatically without needing excessive revision.
Figure out what suits your business
No fixed model exists for the perfect nurture sequence since it depends on your goals, products and services, and target audience. A great way to find the perfect nurture sequence for your business might be to use a popular model as a basic template and refine it through ongoing testing and benchmarking. By tracking metrics and making the necessary adjustments, you and your organisation could fully realise the proven benefits of lead nurturing.
TractionNext is an industry-leading provider of all-in-one marketing automation software. Our next-generation marketing technology allows you to automate workflows and accelerate conversions without getting in the way of your business. To find out more about how we can help you provide a more relevant and engaging brand experience to your customers, reach out to our team or start a free trial.