Step one: Check your messages

If you are already sending out marketing emails, step back and look at the message you are sending your leads. A golden rule is not to send any emails that are really dressed up sales material. Angle your content to give relevant and timely information to the lead for that level of your lead nurturing campaign, but don’t forget to add a discreet call to action and contact details.

‘Timely’ means not giving everything away in the first email, but making judgments about what your lead needs to know and when.

Step two: Aim before firing

Don’t just run a campaign and sees what happens. You need to line up your ducks before kicking off. Ask yourself questions about your business and customers:

Are you targeting existing customers?

A favourite trigger is offering a guide or white paper download for leads who sign up. You know they are interested in that subject, but are not ready to buy. You need to send them more emails that gradually define their need as they respond.

Eventually they will make a request to discuss buying a product or fade away. Either way, lead nurturing has done the job – qualifying a lead as a browser or a buyer.

Step three: Know your customers

As a marketer you probably already have some ‘personas’ in mind for your customers. A persona is a customer profile, like age, marital status, job, income and other factors that are material to your business.

Once you have defined your lead nurturing target you need to focus on your customer and why they want to buy your products or services. Figure that out, and your marketing campaign drops in to place with a road map to follow.

Your personas will help you draft content that attracts leads who match your customer persona.

Step four: Different strokes for different folks

It’s an old saying, but true. Not every leads wants to read a guide or whitepaper. Some prefer a video, podcast or presentation. Repurpose content in different ways to give your lead a choice of which way to go. Turn a video in to a slide presentation and the presentation in to a guide for downloading.

Give the copy an angle for a specific market segment by pulling out statistics or facts of interest to them. Think about the questions your customers ask about your products and services – that’s the information they want answered when they come to your web site looking for information. For the most part, you will have the knowledge and information you need to generate content already in-house. It’s just a matter of collating and presenting the details.

Step five: Timing is everything

Lead nurturing campaigns are like sales, they have a cycle. The length of each cycle is dependent on the type of product, but you should plan to send at least two or three nurturing emails to a lead in any campaign.

Research shows that a nurturing campaign will see a lead buy from your company within 18 to 24 months. Depending on the cycle, you may decide to send out an email monthly. Your cycle may dictate that you send them out weekly. Try A/B testing and send the same emails out at different frequencies to separate sets of customers and measure the sales results.

Step 6: Get the measure of your campaign

Benchmark your campaign against data from previous campaigns or industry-specific data. For example, most businesses know how many leads they need to make a sale and the value of an average sale. Make sure you’re the performance of your lead-nurturing campaign is measured and reviewed.

Do not make wholesale changes, but A/B test to see if adjustments bring better results. Accept you will never have the perfect lead-nurturing campaign as something can also change for the better.

Step 7: Now it’s your turn?

What steps would you include in your lead nurturing?

Not doing lead nurturing? What are your biggest challenges?

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