If only everyone who downloaded your content, attended an event, or registered for a webinar was ready to buy? Wouldn’t that be nice?
The reality is, most leads will need a little extra love and attention to get them to the point of purchase. That’s why email nurtures are a staple in B2B marketing—they’re both necessary and highly effective. Research from Forrester has shown that marketers see a 20 percent increase in sales opportunities from nurtured leads. Yet despite this, only 36 percent of marketers actively nurture their leads.
One of the most important ingredients in a successful email nurture is targeted content. Too often, marketers will include generic content for all leads and then scratch their heads when they don’t see the results they want. Selecting the right content to send a lead at the right time can be a struggle. To help, we’ve put together this 7-step quick guide to put you on the path to effective lead nurturing. And it starts with content:
1. Identify the Type of Nurture Program
The kind of content you need for your email nurture will largely depend on what activity the nurture follows from. For instance, a welcome nurture for new subscribers may require a wide variety of content. They’re brand new to your marketing activities so it’s your opportunity to put your best foot forward with top performing content and benefit from your evergreen archive. If your email nurture is following an event or webinar, the nurture is best served by content that’s of the same or a related topic to the event or webinar. That content can be repurposed or net new, depending on your archive and bandwidth.
2. Determine the Number of Touches
It’s simple. The number of touches = the number of pieces of content you need. On average, prospects receive 10 touches from top-of-funnel to closed-won. However, half the time, marketers include less than five touches in their nurtures. Why? It could be a lack of time, a lack of content, or trouble selecting the right content for an email nurture program of that size. It could also depend on where their prospects are in the funnel when they enter the nurture (more on that in step 3). Whatever the case may be, the number of touches will dictate the amount of content you need to make your email nurture program a success.
3. Consider Who You’re Nurturing (and Who You're Not)
Now that you know the nurture type and number of touches, you’ll want to consider what you know about the prospect to ensure you give them a tailored, relevant experience. After all, if you try to nurture everyone with generic content, you’ll end up ineffectively nurturing your prospects.
Successful nurtures need to be considerate of prospects’:
For instance, you wouldn’t send an executive content that’s directed toward an administrative level. By the same token, you wouldn’t send a prospect who just consumed some top-of-funnel (TOFU) content an invitation to a demo. They’re still in the awareness stage so pushing them too quickly to the decision-making stage could cause them to disengage.
On the flipside, if the lead converted off a middle-of-funnel (MOFU) webinar, then fewer touches and starting at the middle of the funnel may be the most effective approach.
TIP! Oftentimes marketers set up nurtures and focus solely on the inclusions, rather than the exclusions. But you should always exclude customers and opportunities who are about to close. There's nothing more unprofessional that receiving a request a demo when you're about to buy—or even worse, have already bought. So don't forget your exit workflows!
Now that you have the right criteria and you know who you're nurturing—and who you're not—it’s time to start planning out your content.
4. Plot Content on a Buyer Journey Map
Here’s where we start to map out the content you need. In a classic nurture, you’ll need TOFU content, MOFU content, and BOFU content to help move prospects through the funnel.
Here’s a diagram of content mapped to the funnel:
Nurturing Leads with Content Through the Funnel
And here’s how you might map content for your nurtures:
By plotting each option for content on the buyer journey map, you can come up with an ideal picture of your nurture, which will be important for the next step.
5. Check Your Content Archive
To determine if you have the right content for your nurture, head straight to the archives. There, you’ll discover what content you have and what (if any) needs to be created. If you or your content team have performed a content audit recently or have organized your content by topic, persona, pain, and stage of the funnel, you can easily search and select the right assets for your email nurtures based on your needs. If not, this is a good exercise that will save you countless hours of manual search and review each time you need to build a nurture and help you make your nurtures as relevant as they should be.
Technology can help make a manual process a lot more manageable. For instance, in Uberflip, you can add tags to your content at the point of creation or automatically apply them to your entire archive using Uberflip’s Smart Filters feature. This way you can search for your content quickly and easily and make it accessible to other members of your organization as well.
6. Repurpose Content to Fill Gaps
If you’ve been at the content marketing game awhile, you shouldn’t have to create a bunch of new content for your nurtures, but you may want to splice, tie together, or reposition current content to fill any gaps in your nurture.
After step 5, if you see any holes in your buyer journey map repurposing content can be a quick fix. For instance, if you have a great generic article that you’d like to make more specific for a particular persona—do it. If you have a great top-of-funnel ebook but you don’t want to use a heavy asset at the beginning of your nurture, splice it up into a couple of blog posts. If you have a boring blog post that you’d like to transform into an eye-catching infographic, have at it!
Repurposing content not only fills content gaps, it can help create variety in content type which in turn can boost engagement which will have a positive impact on your lead nurture goals.
7. Personalize the Experience
Every nurture email you send to your prospects is a content experience. And as mentioned before, the success of a nurture program is largely dependent on the level of personalization and ability to hone in on something of particular interest or relevance to the prospect. So personalizing the email not just by [firstname lastname] but by the content of the email, the image header, and the way the content is presented will wrap everything up in a neat little package.
And as a final step, ensure that the content you link to and the experience around that content lines up. Are the CTAs correct for where the prospect is at that stage in the funnel? Does the experience of the content match the experience of the email?
Take a few extra moments to focus on the full experience, so you can ensure that all the work you put into selecting the perfect piece of content to include in your nurtures is worth it, because the experience doesn’t let you down.
Selecting the right content for your email nurture program is easy if you can break the process down into a few easy steps.
We've put together a downloadable checklist with some questions to ask as you go through the process.