You’ve put out great content and really impressed some of your readers. So much so, they’ve decided to click that little ‘Subscribe’ button to get even further acquainted.
While we’re all about celebrating the small victories, keep in mind it’s just that – a small victory for now. The tricky part comes with getting this interested follower to convert into an actual sale.
It isn’t as easy as producing a blog post, which appeals to mass amounts of readers. A lead nurturing campaign needs to be far more segmented and conscientious than when you’re building traffic.
Well-nurtured leads will convert to better ROIs. Let’s talk about how to create an email campaign that produces results.
Establish Buyer Personas
During the early stages of campaign planning, you’ll want to know exactly who you’re speaking to. The best way to understand an audience, especially one as broad as an email list, is to create buyer personas.
Essentially, these roles explain who your ideal consumer is. This will help you create more personalised, convert-worthy content. It does you no good to merely send out information you haven’t vetted for a specific audience.
Instead, you’ve got to do the research. Consider your ideal lead’s demographics. How old are they? What type of job do they hold? What are some of their needs and also some of the problems they have? What goals do they have?
You can procure some of this information by asking questions once they opt-in to an email form. You don’t want to ask for too much right off the bat, or you’ll never get anyone to sign up.
But, you can discretely ask some of the harder questions without much alarm. Once you lay out some of the groundwork for your buyer identity, you’ll know how to prompt these questions.
Let’s say you’re an online education group who’s targeting parents. On your sign up form, you can ask, “Briefly, explain some of the challenges you have with your child and school.” Using a broad question like this opens the door for you to learn about parents’ pain points.
Segment, Segment, Segment
Any marketer will emphasise the importance of segmentation when it comes to lead generation. You have to realise that not all of your leads are at the same stage of the buying process. More importantly, you’ve got to realise that most of them are not quite ready to buy at all.
Rather, they opted into your email list to gather more information. They may want to buy from you in the future, but for right now, they’re just here for the ride. You put out content that interested them, so now you’ve established some trust.
But, you’ve got to keep building on that. You do that through segmenting your content.
Considering Stages of Buyer’s Cycle
You can start by considering what forms of content you already create. That list probably entails some of the following: blogs, email newsletters, eBooks, white papers, videos, webinars, social media posts, and case studies.
Then, you’ve got to consider who exactly would benefit from each piece of content. Think about the entire sales process – everyone from the research stage to the ready to buy stage. They’re all going to resonate with certain pieces of content differently.
Look at the types of problems you address through each content offering. Which forms are better suited for someone in the early stages vs. someone in the later stages?
If you’re in the early stages, you’ll find a blog article or white paper to be more useful. These forms of content are great for explaining why you need a certain product or service.
Someone who’s already looking to buy may benefit more from a case study or even a webinar. Use these beefier offerings on those looking to learn more about your specific product or service.
Once you determine where each piece should fall in the buyer’s cycle, you can create a flow of content. Keep this sequence in mind once you start developing your email blasts.
Deciding When and How Often to Send
It may seem like such a trivial factor. But, how often you send an email is just as important as what it contains. Receiving too much from one sender is by far the number one reason people opt out of email lists.
When determining an appropriate amount of engagement, consider the length of your campaign. How long it takes for your leads to move through the sales funnel determines the length of your campaign.
If it generally takes three to four months for your top funnel candidates to become buyers, your entire campaign should be close to four months. But, you’ll want to break these figures down even a little further.
Let’s say it takes two to three months for your leads to move from top-of-the-funnel to mid-level. Once they move into that mid-range, the types of content and the amount of content you send will change.
Someone who’s at the top fragment should receive no more than four emails a month. In fact, two to three emails should be enough to keep a reader’s memory fresh, without hounding them.
Once they move into that middle space, you can amp the emails up a bit. Reaching out every four to five days will get their wheels turning more. They’re getting closer to that ready to buy mode, so you want to be explicit in your offerings.
Even after someone gets to the bottom of the funnel, avoid reaching out every day. Moving your leads through has to be a natural process, so you don’t want them to feel bombarded.
Crafting Lead Nurturing Campaign Emails
Now we’re to the fun part: creating emails based on the pre-established sequences. Keep in mind your leads interests will vary depending on where they’re at in the buying process. You’ll have to meet them where they’re at to be successful.
Your early leads are going to want more informative content. They’re still in the baby steps of doing their research. You need to supply them with the information they need to learn about your industry.
This is where you’ll want to highlight your blog articles and even white papers. Don’t include the entire bodies of these content offerings in your email list. Write a little blurb explaining their main points and link back to your website.
Make sure these posts are purely educational, and not promotional. The purpose of these early emails is to establish trust with your audience. If they see you’re just trying to make a sale, they’re going to head in the other direction.
Now that a lead has done their research, it’s time to get them interested in you specifically. You’ve got to encourage them to learn more about your company in a natural way.
Social media is an excellent way for consumers to learn about different brands. Your social account should give an adequate amount of information into your processes, how you treat customers, etc.
Once a lead moves into this segment, you should start asking for engagement on your channels. Ask them to follow whatever social channels you’re active on.
Avoid incentivising someone to follow you, i.e. offering entry into a contest or discount. If someone follows you, you want it to be out of interest of doing business with you. It’s hard to decipher who’s actually interested if you’re offering a giveaway.
We recommend against going out and following your lead directly. This comes across as desperate, and if they follow back, it doesn’t guarantee they’re actually interested.
You’re in the home stretch! If you’ve got a lead to stay with you through this process until now, congratulations. But, you’ve still got to be careful in how you target this person.
You want to carefully make an offer to them. Don’t hound them with too much information or crazy offerings right off the bat. Start slow. See if they’re interested in a free trial or even a demo. Then, you can move into closing the deal.
You may be thinking, “My product is great – anyone who would try it would love it.” That’s not how the inbound sales process works. If you send out a mass amount of free products or promotions, you’re going to find a lot of uninterested candidates.
And, it’s not because your product is bad. It’s because not every consumer is ready to buy right away. That’s why the sales funnel exists – to help both you and the consumer weigh your options and find the best fit.
Let’s Wrap This Up
Once you start sending lead nurturing campaigns, you’ll need to make some evaluations. What aspects of your campaign are performing well? What stage are you losing leads? Are there pieces of content you should cut?
Lead nurturing is an ongoing, yet worthwhile process. It helps you find prospects who are generally interested in your product. Plus, it often leads to long-term relationships.
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