So, you've offered gated content on your website, and now you've gotten clicks and form submissions. Great news, you've got leads you always wanted! But, now what do you do?
That's where lead nurturing comes into play. Lead nurturing is what you do with your customers after you've gotten them onto your site and interacting with your content. You can call them leads or contacts at this point, but if you don't feed and nurture them with more information along the way, they may not blossom into customers. Instead, they might just die on the vine.
There's a lot that has to happen to create a successful lead nurturing campaign, so let's dive in!
Step 1: Map it All Out
Like most things in life, it all works better if it's well thought-out. Ask yourself:
- Who are you trying to target?
- Why do you want to target them?
- What do you want them to do?
- For how long do you want to be in their inbox?
- What's the best-case scenario for this campaign?
Once you've clarified your goals, you'll be able to more easily stay on target as you create your emails and design your workflow.
Step 2: Create the Emails
If the content is the gasoline for a lead nurturing campaign, emails are the vehicles. There are a lot of tactics that allow for successful open rates and click-through rates (CTR), so let's look at the various sections of an email:
Subject Line: Open rates are determined by the quality of your subject line. The better the subject line, the more likely your customer is to open your email. Therefore, keep it short and to the point. Depending on your relationship with your customer, personalization tokens in the subject line can increase open rates.
Body Content: Likewise, click-through rates are determined by quality content. Use pictures, bullet points, short paragraphs, and CTAs to induce higher CTR. There's a good chance that much of your audience will be reading these emails on their phones, so make your links as "clickable" as possible by making your CTAs large and clear.
Now that you know how to get people to interact with your emails, you need to make sure you're serving them with quality information. Personally, I like to pick content that relates to the form they initially filled out. You know, give them something you think they'll actually want to read. For example, if the initial form they filled out was to access a loss prevention webinar, send them other loss prevention-related information (like blogs, white papers, case studies, etc.).
But, you'll want to vary the content you send depending on your overall goal for the campaign. For instance, maybe you need more contact information. If so, send them another piece of gated content with different form sections to fill out. Or, maybe they're further down the sales funnel and you want them to request a quote. In that case, add a simple CTA to your emails to lead them to your quote page.
Step 3: Lay Out the Workflow
This is my favorite part of the process. Take all the content you've created (landing pages, forms, emails, etc.) and link them together into one organized workflow.
When designing the first step of the workflow, make sure that your enrollment criteria only brings in those you're interested in nurturing for this particular campaign. This could be as broad as anyone who filled out a conversion form, or it could be made more specific by breaking down that list based on customer data (i.e., they filled out the form AND they have less than 10 locations, etc.).
From there, you'll want to send them those emails you wrote up in step 2! You should add a time delay of (generally) at least a week, since you don't want to bombard their inbox, and you want your brand name to stay on their mind until they're ready to purchase. So think about your customer's average buying cycle and try to match your lead nurturing campaign so it fits their questions, needs, and timelines.
Step 4: Analyze and Adjust
We've come to the end of our journey! Now you can finally sit back and watch the leads roll in. Thankfully, there's plenty of data to review. Start by looking at the open rates and click-through rates on the first batch of emails you sent out. If your open rates are really low, adjust the subject line on the next email in the workflow. Likewise, if your CTRs are really low, focus on changing the content of the email.
As your customers move through and eventually complete your workflow, take note of their behavior, and use that data for your next campaign. Further segmenting your contact list and serving up specific content is always a powerful move.
To make this a little easier, here's a list of some key takeaways for your next lead nurturing campaign:
- Plan, plan, plan! Map out exactly where you want your leads to go.
- Experiment with emails. Use what worked and what didn't work in your first batch of emails as a lesson for future emails. Play with the subject line, CTA placement, and email content until you get the best results.
- Be specific with your workflow. Customize what happens to various leads depending on the decisions they make.
Lead nurturing is all about holding your customer's hand and guiding them through their own buyer's journey. With workflow technology and email best practices, you're able to map their progression from casual website lead to customer. It just takes plenty of planning, helpful content, well-written emails, and a logical workflow. Sounds easy, right?