Is your lead nurturing plan working?
It takes a lot more than a single interaction with a potential customer to make a sale.
When someone opts-in to an email list, they’re not necessarily ready to throw money your way. Most of the time, they’ll be “ToFu,” or top of the funnel. To see the impact of each prospect on your bottom line, you’ll need to guide them through to the bottom of the funnel (BoFu) and keep them engaged for as long as possible.
Unfortunately, converting leads is easier said than done. Marketo suggests that about half of the leads in any funnel aren’t ready to buy straight away.
The good news?
The right lead nurturing sequence will deliver the results you’re looking for.
All you need to do is figure out which emails you can send to build real, lucrative relationships with your audience.
What is a Lead Nurturing Sequence, and How Does it Improve Sales?
Before we start exploring lead nurturing email best practices, let’s begin with a basic definition.
An email nurture sequence, or lead nurturing plan, is a way to cultivate and develop relationships with customers, improving your chances of conversion.
Remember, getting someone to sign up for your email list is great, but it’s just adding them to your contact list. You need to engage if you want those people to convert into paying customers. According to Hubspot, 79% of marketing leads never convert into sales.
Fortunately, email continues to be the best way to cultivate crucial customer relationships.
Good lead nurturing generates about 50% more sales, according to Hubspot, at a 33% lower cost to you. What’s more, nurtured leads make up to 47% larger purchases than their counterparts.
In other words, an email nurture sequence is well worth your time.
So, where can you get started?
1. Say “Welcome” to Qualified Leads
If you’ve ever signed up for a newsletter before, you’ve probably noticed that the company asks for a few details about you. They might want to know your name, what kind of products you’re interested in, or even where you live.
Gathering those little details is crucial to your lead nurturing plan. It’ll help you to figure out where your audience is in the buying funnel, and it’ll give you details you can use for segmentation. Just remember to only ask the most pertinent questions.
Every additional form field decreases conversion rates by 11%.
Once you’ve qualified the leads you’re gathering with a bit of info; you can start to create a sequence designed to engage them. You want to take someone from knowing the basics about your product and services to understand exactly who you are.
The best way to do that?
Send a welcome email that shows your subscribers the kind of value you have to offer.
Airbnb knows that people signing up to their email newsletter are probably going to be interested in travel. That’s why they don’t just send a generic “Welcome” email. They combine that welcome with suggestions on the kind of high-rated content their customers might want to see.
Don’t just welcome your leads into your funnel. Use what you know about them to convince them that they’ve made the right decision by joining your community.
2. Segment your Leads
If you want to improve your chances of building great relationships with your customers, then it’s worth remembering that everyone on your list isn’t exactly the same.
Lead nurturing email best practices always include at least some segmentation. After all, customers like seeing evidence that you understand their needs and personality. No-one just wants to be another number on your balance sheet.
Segmentation lets you send your prospects precisely the content they want, without having to spend hours writing dozens of different emails. For instance, when your lead signs up for your email sequence and tells you their gender and location, that allows you to split each person into a category based on those details.
The more you break your subscribers down into specific groups using hyper-segmentation, the more unique and engaging your lead nurturing emails will be. For instance, Adidas frequently segment their list by gender to ensure that customers receive more relevant content.
However, they also use information about prior purchases and customer preferences to deliver increasingly personalized material.
The more your emails speak to your customers, the more likely it is that they’ll keep coming back to your brand for more insights, experiences, and products.
3. Use Testimonials to Build Trust
There are plenty of things that can stop a lead from becoming a customer.
Most consumers don’t have unlimited money to spend. That means that they need to feel confident about buying your products and services.
While plenty of thought leadership content and excellent sales material will help you to gradually convert your followers, there are few things more likely to boost your chances of success than case studies and testimonials. A customer testimonial instantly makes you more credible, by showing that you’ve delivered the kind of experience your consumer wants before.
For instance, here’s a lead nurturing email from Shape FX that includes information from a real-life customer:
Shape FX also includes the info that they’ve been featured in the Oprah Magazine, which gives them even more street cred.
With such a wide variety of different items to choose from today, consumers need proof that you can be trusted. Case studies and testimonials are a fantastic way to start pushing your followers down from the top of the funnel, through to a place where they feel comfortable hitting the “buy now” button.
4. Don’t Just Sell, Educate
One of the biggest mistakes that companies make is forgetting about the “nurturing” part of a lead nurturing plan. Collecting details about your customers isn’t just great for giving you more selling opportunities. It’s also a chance to strengthen your connection with your customers via entertaining and educational materials.
Studies find that relevant and informative emails increase revenue by up to 18 times more than generic broadcast emails.
So, what do your customers want to know?
Often, that depends on where they are in the buying cycle. For instance, if someone has just signed up with your newsletter, then you can provide them with a list of your most popular curated content to browse through. On the other hand, if you’re engaging with a customer just after they’ve made a purchase, why not show them how to make the most out of their new product?
Framebridge, a custom framing company, does just that with their lead nurturing emails:
Information on how to hang the art you just ordered is relevant, engaging, and timely for Framebridge’s customers.
5. Create a Reputation for Yourself
A good email nurture sequence doesn’t just convert your leads into customers once and then throw them to the curb. Used correctly, your lead nurturing plan can keep your clients coming back for more time and time again.
Some studies suggest that 80% of a company’s profits are likely to come from just 20% of your existing customers. Additionally, the probability of selling to existing customers is 60-70%, compared to only 5-20% for new prospects.
So, how do you convince people to stick around?
Let them know that you’re someone worth having on their contact list.
For instance, Vivino is an app that people can use to track, purchase, and rate their favorite wines. To show their customers that they know their stuff, the brand frequently shares information like how much a good bottle of wine should cost:
Curating existing content and transforming it into videos, infographics, and other material that educates and entertains your customer is a great way to keep them engaged. However, these lead nurturing emails also serve another purpose by positioning you as a thought leader.
6. Create Consistency with Automation
When you’re designing a lead nurturing sequence, it can be difficult to figure out how much work you should do organically, and how much you should delegate to tools and software.
It’s difficult to automate an entire email marketing campaign. After all, there needs to be some creativity and a human touch in your messaging if you want to build genuine relationships. However, a little automation can go a long way to making stronger connections.
For instance, automating an email nurture sequence ensures that you’re always sending content at the right time to suit your audience. You can track the opening times of each segment in your campaign and deliver emails at the moments that suit them. As well as saving you time, studies suggest that automating your emails based on time has a positive impact on click-throughs, opens, and revenue.
There’s also the option to automatically send emails when your customers set of specific triggers. For instance, Brooklinen sends emails to customers using dynamic content to show products they viewed but didn’t buy. They even include a special offer to improve their chances of a purchase:
Triggers combined with dynamic content is an excellent way to enhance the personal nature of your lead nurturing sequences. Since only 39% of online retailers send personalized product recommendations through email, you also have an excellent chance to get ahead of the competition.
7. Remember to Compel Action
Finally, remember that your email nurture sequence has a purpose.
Yes, it’s there to educate, inform, and even entertain your prospects. However, it’s also designed to ensure that your audience keeps engaging with your brand and continues to move further along the sales funnel. With that in mind, don’t forget to frequently bring your audience back to your website, and get them feeling comfortable about engaging with you.
A CTA is the easiest way to keep your prospects “active” in your sales funnel. The kind of Call to Action that you feature in your lead nurturing plan will depend on your customer’s position in their buying cycle. For instance:
- At the top of the sales funnel, your CTA might ask customers to fill out their profile so you can learn more about them and send more personalized emails.
- In the middle of the sales funnel, your CTA could ask customers to check out new blogs that are relevant to their interests or check out case studies.
- Towards the bottom of the sales funnel, your CTA will start to push conversions, by asking your customers to purchase a product, take advantage of free shipping, or get an exclusive deal on an item.
In the example below, fashion retailer Matalan uses a review and a bright CTA button to convince customers to check out the latest arrivals in their catalog:
Just remember that CTAs are supposed to make it as easy as possible for your subscribers to take action with your brand. Don’t make the call to action too complicated, and only include a single button in each email. Studies show that too many CTAs often leads to decreased engagement.
It’s Time to Start Nurturing your Leads
When it comes to email marketing, many companies get so caught up trying to build a rich list of subscribers, that they forget what they need to do with that list after they get it. Smart and engaging lead nurturing sequences improve your chances of converting as many people into customers as possible.
The more you invest in your lead nurturing plan, the more likely you are to access real revenue for your company. Through an effective selection of lead nurturing emails, you can help your customers get to know you and see your value. That way, they’ll feel more comfortable making the consistent purchases that have a lasting impact on your bottom line.
Don’t just collect email addresses and leave them to stagnate in your email automation tool. Make the most of your audience with lead nurturing.