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The Whys and Hows of Nurture Campaigns

Posted by Andrea Meyer on Jul 27, 2021

Email is still the 800 lb gorilla when it comes to digital marketing, and it’s no secret why. For every dollar invested in email marketing, a company will see $42.00 in return, on average, according to a 2021 study by Litmus.

And if you’re looking to make your email marketing efforts even more effective and haven’t ever implemented a nurture campaign, there’s no better time than now. Nurture campaigns are a series of automated emails to specific targets in which the content changes depending on actions that the targets take. 

Once they are set up, nurture campaigns require very little manual work, so long as you’re using a good platform to power the campaign. They enable you to reach a large number of prospects and current customers with relevant, personalized messages and appropriate follow-up. It’s a great way to nurture leads and prospects and encourage them to move to the next step of the buyer’s journey. 

Types of campaigns

Nurture campaigns lend themselves to a wide array of purposes: 

  • Onboarding: Whenever a new prospect has given you their contact information, you should definitely send a welcome email to entice them to continue engaging. Welcome emails typically have an open rate of greater than 90% and they generate 320% more revenue than other promotional emails. 
  • Post-demo: If a prospect engages with an online product demo, there’s no better time to remind them of the value you could provide and offer additional materials, such as video customer success stories or guides that detail the benefits of your product for the C-Suite. You could even offer an extended free trial.
  • Re-engagement: If a prospect hasn’t interacted with your company for a certain length of time, that could trigger a nurture campaign whose purpose is to get them to re-engage. You could offer a small discount, encourage them to read a new ebook or point them to a recent webinar. However, if you don’t see any action after the final email of the series, it might be a good idea to remove them from the list.
  • Events: If you’ve got a conference or webinar coming up, a nurture campaign is a perfect way to increase attendance prior to the event and follow up afterwards. 
  • Cross-selling: If a customer has already bought one of your products or services, they’re much more likely to buy another. In fact, cross-selling can increase sales by 20% and profits by 30%, according to McKinsey. Be smart about it, though. Perhaps there are multiple triggers — a current CRM software customer, for instance, who reads a blog post about your email automation platform would be an ideal target for a cross-selling campaign.

Putting a nurture campaign together

The first step in putting together a nurture campaign is to decide what technology platform you will use to automate it. Popular marketing automation platforms include HubSpot, MailChimp and Salesforce Pardot, but there are dozens more. 

Next, determine what your goal is and what outcome you want to achieve. The possibilities are endless. You could aim to accelerate the sales cycle, convert dormant leads into active ones, increase upsell conversion rates or increase sales of a specific product. If you can transform these qualitative goals into quantitative targets — such as reducing the amount of time it takes to convert a new lead into a sale by 5% — all the better.

Once you have your goal in mind, determine what kinds of people you would best be served targeting. Questions you can ask yourself at this stage could include:

  • Is there a role, persona or set of roles that offer the most opportunity to achieve my goal?
  • What actions would indicate prospects are receptive to becoming customers or buying additional or specific products?
  • What are my prospects trying to achieve by taking these specific actions?
  • How can I grab their attention, especially while they are working?
  • What would turn them off and make them delete or block my emails?
  • What action do I want them to take in response to this campaign?

Once you have a clear understanding of who you want to reach and the actions that will trigger the campaign, it’s time to create your structure. First, determine how many emails you want to send and how often. Best practice is to send no more than one email per week, and the number of emails is typically three to five.

As for a structure, let’s say you’re doing a re-engagement campaign for leads that haven’t interacted with your site or other emails for sixty days. Your flow structure could look something like this:

sample re-engagement nurture flow

With the flow created, get to writing those emails. Here are a few tips to help ensure they are effective:

  • Keep them brief: Once you’ve got the recipient’s attention, they can be a bit longer, but especially for the initial email, two to three short paragraphs is plenty.
  • Make them personal: They should sound like they were written by a human being, not a marketing bot. And use everything you know about the recipient — their role, the pain they’re trying to address, the action they took to trigger the nurture — to make the content as specific to their situation as possible.
  • Informative: Ideally, the reader should learn something from your email, and what they learn should compel them to want to learn more. That “more” is contained behind the CTA.
  • Include an ask: Don’t be subtle. You’re writing these emails because you want the recipient to do something. Let them know what you want them to do and include a button to press to make it easy for them to do it.

Finally, rigorously A/B test your emails by subject line, sending dates and times, CTA designs, copy lengths — go wild. The only way you’ll know for sure what resonates best is through testing. The more you test, the more information you will have to make future campaigns even more effective.

Want some one-on-one advice about designing and executing on nurture campaigns? Contact us!

Topics: Marketing Automation, Inbound Marketing & Lead Generation

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