According to Marketing Sherpa, 79% of marketing leads never convert to sales. Most of the time, this can directly be attributed to either non-existent or non-effective nurturing.
There are a number of reasons why you need email nurturing, but here are the most important ones:
- Buyers are not going to engage with you once or twice and buy. In fact, if they had it their way, they would not interact with you at all in the research process. B2B buyers will find three pieces of content about a vendor for every one piece that marketing can publish or sales can deliver so once you have gotten them to engage with you, you simply cannot afford to let them go. And sending them right to sales is a sure fire way to lose them.
- 50% of buyers in any system at any given time are not ready to buy (Marketo). At the point in time in which you are lucky enough to engage a buyer, you cannot assume they are ready to buy just because they responded to your offer. You will generate leads that are in all different stages of their journey and cannot be treated the same.
- Nurturing drives more effective marketing results and sales opportunities. This study from Demand Gen Report states that more than half of B2B marketers say that lead nurturing campaigns perform 10-30% better than standard lead campaigns and almost half see a 10-20% lift in sales opportunities from nurtured leads.
Email nurturing is more relevant than ever for B2B marketing, but unfortunately, there is nothing simple about it. In fact, there are a number of things to consider, including but not limited to: automation, segmentation, mobile optimization – the list goes on and on. And if there is no strategy or planning to support your nurturing efforts, they will most certainly fail. While there may not be a “one size fits all” strategy to follow, here are five things to keep in mind that can help you maximize success with any email nurture campaign you run:
#1 Accurate Data & Insights
Any marketing efforts are only as good as the data and insights that inform them. Successful nurturing streams are built off of the ability to identify specific aspects of your prospect base that will allow you to understand what stage of the buy cycle they are in and what their needs are at any given time. And the more you know about your prospects, the better your ability is to provide them with the right information at the right time. Many companies will use lead scoring to help determine and/or automate these decisions. Data inputs that can help fuel lead scoring and nurture streams include basic contact and demographic information, firmographics, and prospect activity history across your own properties. This information will give you enough to get started, but in order to achieve more accuracy and better align your offerings to your prospects’ needs, you should consider augmenting your scoring logic with purchase intent insight from partners such as TechTarget.
No one knows your customers better than you. Use that to your advantage by customizing your communications based on your target buyers. Communicate relevant content personalized to the recipient’s role, interests, and activity profile. Trust me, it will pay off: Jupiter Research reports that relevant emails drive 18x more revenue than broadcast emails.
Marketing automation tools can help you execute on some really cool (yet sophisticated) stuff. Use these tools to dynamically trigger emails based on engagement. If a user opens or clicks, send the next email the following day…don’t wait! Neglecting any sort of personalization or customization will reduce the chances of a potential buyer even opening your email, let alone clicking on anything inside.
You’ve all heard the phrase: “Keep It Simple, Stupid.” Although I would never call anyone stupid, this certainly rings true with your email nurture campaigns. Shorter, more succinct emails tend to convert best. Users are more likely to skim emails and skip any introductory text. We’re all guilty of it!
Think about how many emails you receive in a day. Due to the high volume, people easily get lost when there’s too much information. Keep things easy to scan by using headings, bolding key words, and bulleting information. Your nurture emails are not the time to go into the full explanation of why they should buy your awesome product. Use these emails to help trigger them to want to go back to your website or download your next asset to learn more.
#4 Images & Content
Not to sound vain, but looks do matter. The same applies to your nurture emails. If a user opens your email and quickly glances at it, make sure the look and feel immediately catches their eye and keeps them engaged. Any featured content should appear above the fold so it won’t get missed. Never use a single image as the entire content of the email in case the user’s settings have images disabled. Be prepared and know what your email will look like without images.
But of course, it’s what’s on the inside that really counts. Yes, how your email looks is important, but what are you actually delivering? The best content is informative, relevant and engaging. Now is not the time to be sales-focused. You’re developing a relationship in these early email communications, so prove your value by sharing content that contains valuable resources to users. Engagement metrics such as open rates and click-through rates will reveal what’s actually resonating.
#5 Calls to Action
Remember that your ultimate goal is to develop a trusted relationship with these users. You’ve made the first move, but now the reader needs to reciprocate. Guide them to take some sort of action after reading your email. If you don’t have a call to action (CTA), then what’s the point of your email? Every single email you send should showcase the value of your brand and should prompt readers to take some specific action after reading.
Help them along by making your CTAs prominent, clear, and as high in the email as possible. Those in the form of HTML buttons tend to increase conversions. In fact, including a call to action “button” instead of a text link can increase conversion rates by as much as 28%.
In conclusion, email nurturing is essential to a successful marketing strategy. And companies that excel at lead nurturinggenerate 50% more sales-ready leads at 33% lower cost (Forrester). Keep these tips and tactics in mind to help you get to market with actionable items you can implement right now!