In an age where getting your prospects’ attention is hard (and maintaining and retaining it is even harder), lead nurturing is an effective way to stay in their minds in the days and weeks after a prospect has passed a milestone in the buyer journey and become a lead.
Lead nurturing via email is elementary online marketing. If you don’t have an inbound marketing strategy in place to collect prospect email addresses and nurture qualified leads, stop here and learn how to establish your inbound marketing strategy.
This piece is for online marketers who already have a basic lead nurturing framework in place and are looking to take their efforts to the next level.
Once you know you’ve covered the basics, here are five lead nurturing necessities to remember.
1) Be copy “aware”
If you’re practicing content marketing or inbound marketing, you have a lot of premium educational content on your site that’s accessible through gated landing pages. When one of these assets is downloaded, your marketing strategy calls for a lead nurturing email sequence that highlights other premium content. You don’t want to send your leads content they’ve already read. If you do, it looks like you’re not paying attention.
You need a workflow in place that does not automatically send someone a lead nurturing email promoting content that they’ve downloaded previously. Having a smart rule like this is imperative for anyone nurturing leads through gated content via a website. When a lead in your nurturing campaign has already downloaded the content being promoted, the trigger should catch this and offer them an alternative message.
2) Good things come in threes
Multiples of three are your friend. Research performed at Square 2 Marketing (as well as other sources) reveals the power of three in content marketing. Once we started testing lead nurturing emails that were delivered across three-, six- and nine-message campaigns, we saw a 50 percent performance improvement when compared to other campaigns. (The emails in this test also each contained three bullet points.)
If your sales cycle is shorter, consider distributing your lead nurturing messages over the course of three, six and nine days, rather than weeks.
3) Add a clickable postscript to your emails
A good email subject line is enough to get you in the door. But once someone has opened your email, how do you know they’ll actually read it? You don’t. Of course, if your content is just as awesome as your subject line, prospects are likely to read what you have to say. But know that your readers might just scroll through your copy.
People scroll out of habit, but also because time is valuable; no one wants to read a novel-length email (or blog post) in the middle of the workday. Capitalize on the reader’s instinct to scroll. Did you know that the most-clicked item on a page is sometimes at the very bottom? Here’s where an effective postscript comes into play. Consider adding an additional link to your landing page with a P.S.
If your readers are scrolling anyway, you might as well make sure they have something worth clicking when they get to the bottom.
4) Keep your Sales team in the know
It doesn’t look good when a prospect gushes over how much they loved your latest email and your sales rep doesn’t know what email the prospect is talking about. Your sales team should always be kept abreast of the marketing team’s lead nurturing efforts. Use your customer relationship management (CRM) platform to integrate your lead nurturing emails into an easy-to-access whole. Every sales person on your team should know what content was sent, to whom it went and whether there was a response. Make sure everyone on your team has the education they need to use tools like CRM effectively.
5) Conduct a content audit
Since many lead nurturing campaigns are hinged on promoting content that you’ve already created, it’s a good idea to block time on your calendar twice a year for a thorough content audit. Gauge the status of every whitepaper, guide, case study, infographic and other asset and make note of the topic, the target buyer persona, the stage in the sales funnel for each piece of content and how well the content is performing. When it’s time to tweak your lead nurturing campaigns, you’ll find this reference useful.
It’s also worth revisiting your older pieces to ensure they’re still relevant. For instance, you obviously don’t want to include a guide called “5 Lead Nurturing Tips To Succeed In 2014” in any of the lead nurturing campaigns you’re currently running. (However, that content could be made fresh again by revising the dates and adding new revelations. Remember, although a dated headline is the most obvious place to spot a piece of outdated content, review your copy as well to ensure your older assets are still on point.)
By incorporating the above into your lead nurturing email creation process, you’ll be in a better position to keep your team informed, maintain relevant offers and provide your readers with content they’ll want to read and ultimately convert on.
About the Author
James A. Foley is a copy architect for Square 2 Marketing. Follow him on Twitter @jamesafoley.Follow on Twitter More Content by James A. Foley