Putting Together a Lead Nurturing Campaign

14 min read
Marketing-Automation

Lead nurturing campaigns are one of the most valuable strategies brands can use today. These campaigns promote brand awareness and keep marketing and sales teams in touch with leads and customers. Most importantly, a properly executed campaign increases lead engagement and conversions.

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What Is a Lead Nurturing Campaign?

A lead nurturing campaign is an email marketing strategy that provides leads and customers with educational content about your services and products. Lead nurturing campaigns provide you with information on leads who aren't yet ready to make a purchase. They can also be used for all customers at all stages of the buyer's journey.

How Do You Create a Lead Nurturing Campaign?

Before starting any lead nurturing campaign, you should know what you hope to accomplish. Take some time to brainstorm the end goals of the campaign, define your customers' needs, and then determine what types of messaging you want to send.

While crafting your strategy, take note of these guidelines for effective lead nurturing campaigns:

Personalize your communications. Personalization should be a priority in the lead nurturing content. When you personalize emails and other communications, you're building a bond with your leads. This is where market data about your customer base can help anticipate new leads' questions. 

Keep the buyer's journey top of mind. Focusing on the buyer's journey leads to solid lead nurturing. When you know where leads and customers are in the journey, you continue the personalization that allows for better lead engagement. It also helps you send content that applies to each stage of the journey

Have a soft touch. The relationship between consumer and brand can't be rushed. Don't come on too strong when trying to convert leads into customers, and don't send constant messages. Although lead nurturing can be a slow process, you'll be rewarded for the time spent building a sustained connection.

Lead Nurturing Campaigns Are Versatile

It's a mistake to think about the lead nurturing process solely as a way to gain successful leads. It can and should be used for customers from first contact and continue after purchase. You’ll find that lead nurturing campaigns are versatile and work for most of the basic segments in your email list.

Some other everyday situations where lead nurturing campaigns are helpful include:

  • Re-engagement campaigns

  • Onboarding campaigns

  • Promotional campaigns

  • Educational campaigns

  • Renewal campaigns

The Best Lead Nurturing Strategies

There are several tasks you and your marketing team can perform ahead of time to optimize your lead nurturing strategies. Here are four of the best ways to prepare for successful campaigns.

Create Buyer Personas

To help you understand who your ideal leads are, create detailed personas. This is the process of segmenting the demographics of potential customers into groups that enable personalized campaigns.

Some questions to ask that help create meaningful personas include:

  • What does our ideal lead need?

  • What are their job titles?

  • What are their pain points?

  • What topics are they interested in?

  • What are their problems that we can solve?

Once you've created your personas, you can use them to create lead scoring strategies.

Segment Your Content

While many marketers are familiar with segmenting their email lists for campaigns, the same should be done for the content you plan to deliver. Start by making a list of your existing content, including videos, webinars, blog posts, whitepapers, and other assets on your website.

Once you have your list, assign funnel sections to each piece. Using input from a top salesperson, visualize which part of your sales process could benefit most from which piece of content. Ask yourself if someone visiting your website for research would first go to your webinar archive or would they go to your whitepapers.

By associating your content with the personas it belongs to and which parts of your market it best serves, you're better equipped to create a meaningful lead-nurturing campaign.

Map Out Your Timeline

How long a lead nurturing campaign should run is an important consideration, and your sales funnel should inform this decision.

If top-of-funnel prospects generally take two months to get to the middle of the funnel, your top-of-funnel lead nurturing campaign should be two to three months. This allows you to speak to leads while they still have interest, but not so long that they're still receiving content after that.

This is also the right time to decide the number of emails you'll send in this campaign and at which frequency. Shorter campaigns should send out emails more frequently, while longer campaigns should send no more than one weekly email.

Design Your Emails

A variety of emails should be created for all campaigns. The goal is to keep customers engaged with relevant content, and re-sending the same old content won't work.

Different emails should also be crafted for the various stages of the buying process. Early in the sales cycle, email messages can be broader. The focus of messaging should narrow as they get closer to making a purchase decision.

Lead Nurturing Campaign Examples

Here's a look at how lead nurturing campaigns are used at all stages of engagement and the buyer's journey.

Welcome Drips

When a potential customer signs up to receive emails from your company, you'll want to send them a welcome drip email immediately.

The message should be addressed to the customer's first name in the subject line and contain a short welcome message. This is also an opportunity to give the customer an overview of the experience they should expect with your brand. Someone in the company often personalizes these emails with their signature.

By including a name at the end, a bond will start to form between the customer. If the person who signed later calls the customer, it will be easier to create a real-world connection. That's because the customer already feels as if they have an online relationship with that member of your team.

Although the soft touch should be maintained at this point, it doesn't hurt to include a gentle call to action (CTA) at the end of a welcome email. This might be a link to a storefront, FAQ, or another way for the customer to engage with your website.

At the same time, remember that not every conversation should be geared toward a customer making a purchase. That's an excellent way to get customers to ignore all communication from your company. 

When finding the right balance between the soft touch and the sales pitch, it's important to remember that, first and foremost, lead nurturing campaigns should always be relevant to the customer. Remember that adequately nurtured leads will increase revenue over time. The benefits might not be immediate, but eventually, they materialize.

Onboarding Emails

Welcome emails are usually followed shortly by an onboarding email, particularly if the customer has signed up for a subscription or other service. Onboarding email drips help customers get acquainted with the brand and any services they now have access to.

If your CRM system has behavior-tracking features, the onboarding email is the time to put them to use. Behavior tracking can let you know if a customer hasn't completed registration or downloaded something from your site. The onboarding email can nudge the customer in the right direction to complete any unfinished tasks.

Promotional Drip Campaigns

Promotional drip campaigns are used throughout the year, such as at holidays like Halloween, the winter holidays, and New Year's Day. Holidays represent an excellent opportunity to adapt your brand to the season, which tends to create customer engagement. A good example is an email featuring your logo with modified colors or decorative touches, showing that your company is feeling festive. 

Promotional campaigns can also be used to promote sales throughout the year or for any other promotional push your company may have started.

Behavior tracking can again be helpful for promotional campaigns. It can be used to analyze past purchases and help you decide when to send promotional emails — and when not to send them. For example, if a customer has just purchased a product or service, you may not want to send them a promotional email announcing a sale or discount.

Educational Campaigns

Educational campaigns are often successful in complex industries. For instance, if you're in technology, you can build engagement by offering downloads of whitepapers that explain technical concepts to the readers.

These campaigns are also an opportunity to use market segmenting practices. This works by sending out a broad informational email to everyone on your mailing list and allowing customers to select specific topics they want to know more about. As the customers engage more, you can send more narrowly-focused content that matches their interests. 

Re-Engagement Campaigns

When leads go from very active to having very little engagement with your brand, it's time to consider a re-engagement campaign. One of the best ways to trigger re-engagement is to send messages asking why you haven't heard from them in a while. 

It may be that a customer didn't get what they expected, or perhaps the content in your last email didn't match their interests. With this information, you are better equipped to create new campaigns targeting ways to bring engagement levels back up. At this point, it can be helpful to do some a/b testing to see what parts of your campaign result in lead generation and which parts don't.

Tracking Your Lead Nurturing Campaign

Once your campaign is up and running and emails have hit customers' inboxes, it's critical to do performance monitoring.

Some of the metrics to track include click-through rates, open rates, response rates, and conversion rates. These will let you know if your campaign is doing what you want it to do. It's also essential to track lead behavior on your website. Which inbound and outbound links are getting the most hits? Tracking website behavior gives you insight into what customers are interested in, information that's useful for future communications.

The metrics should also be used to figure out what isn't working. Some retargeting of email campaigns may be in order. If some landing pages are performing better than others, it may be time to revise an email template that got low engagement. You should be prepared to adjust any lead nurturing program to direct visitors to high-performing content, your social media, and business sites such as LinkedIn.

Lead Nurturing Do's and Don'ts

Finding the right lead-nurturing emails for your marketing campaign can take some trial and error. The following do's and don'ts are general guidelines that tend to apply in many industries. Of course, your situation is unique, so always do what's best for your company.

Do these things

Segment your list. Use filters in your CRM system to segment leads by industry and job function. This will help create a more specific campaign for each type of buyer. Also remember to segment by stage of the buying funnel.

Ask permission to stay in contact. When leads contact your company, they permit you to reach out to them. Over time, some leads will inevitably stop responding to your marketing efforts. At that point, include language in your messages asking for permission to stay in contact.

Send a reasonable number of emails. You don't want to email a potential customer daily. Follow your strategy and stick to the agreed-upon number of emails that go out per campaign.

Don't do these things

Send every lead the same email. As emails should be segmented by job function, industries, and stage of the buying funnel, they should also be unique for each lead. Your marketing automation system should be able to handle some level of personalization when crafting emails.

Start lead nurturing without good content. Remember that lead nurturing is a form of content marketing. The ultimate goal is to generate more leads and conversions, but customers see it differently. They need to have a reason to read your emails, and that's typically to explore content on your website. You'll gain fewer new customers if you don't have the content to back up a campaign.   

How to Nurture Customer Relationships After a Sale

A pat on the back is well-deserved if your lead-nurturing emails have resulted in more sales. But only half of the job has been done. Customers who purchase can become non-nurtured leads without follow-up marketing efforts.

Here is how you continue to nurture leads and focus on customer retention.

Build Trust

After a sale, you hope the customer is happy with their purchase. The best way to know for sure is by asking follow-up questions. This step will build trust and confidence in your company, showing that you care about the customer experience.

It may be tempting to just send an automated email with a survey after every sale. Marketing automation does have its place, but as much person-to-person contact that's feasible at this stage is worth your time. The personal touch goes a long way toward repeat business and keeping a customer as a qualified lead.

Offer Referral Incentives

Referrals are an essential tool for growing a customer base. Offering a customer some incentive for each referral will increase sales and a customer's positive perception of your company. 

Referral incentives can take the form of a certain percentage off a product or service price, credit towards future purchases, or even an upgrade of a qualifying purchase. Creativity and personal touches tend to pay dividends in referral incentives, so use data from your marketing campaign to find the right motivation.

Try Upselling

Upselling is the process of selling additional items or services to go along with an existing purchase. While upselling may have a negative connotation in some circles, it can be part of a strategy to improve customer relationships.

Using the information you have about a client, find the add-ons or extras that will appeal to them. With the right touch, you'll be considered a helpful salesperson and trusted adviser.

Offer Advice

If you're lucky enough to be seen as your customer's adviser, establish yourself as an authority in your field. You want your customers to think of you and your company as the place to turn whenever they need something.

Use the Right Tool for CRM

The right CRM solution will help you segment, analyze, and automate all your lead information. FiveCRM offers all this and more. Our team is happy to help with any questions you may have, so get in touch today or check out our product pages now.

Michael King says...

"I can’t think of a time where a client has requested something that we weren’t able to do with FiveCRM. Unlike most systems, it has a lot of flexibility."

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Managing Director, Senior Response

JANE HUSBANDS SAYS...

“Each client, and each of their campaigns, has its own unique specifications. We essentially needed to set up mini CRMs on one platform to meet those requirements.”

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