Congrats! You’ve done it.
You’ve created valuable content to your website visitors, and they’ve just signed up to your newsletter. That’s great. They’re now on your email list and they’ve entered into your sales funnel. They obviously like your brand and are genuinely interested in your content.
Unfortunately, though, that’s only half of the battle.
Fighting your way through a cluttered inbox is no easy feat, and some of these guys just aren’t ready to buy yet. So how do you build their trust, and move them through the sales funnel?
That’s where lead nurturing emails come in.
Arguably, emails are the most effective form of digital marketing. But how can you create lead nurturing emails that build strong relationships with your readers? How can you nurture them enough to become buyers? What kinds of emails should you be sending to them?
Get it right, and you’ll be turning blog readers into paying customers, customers into repeat buyers, and your regulars into brand loyalists.
In this post, we'll discuss what lead nurturing is and how can you improve your lead nurturing strategy.
What is lead nurturing?
Lead nurturing is the process of engaging potential customers by providing them with relevant information throughout their buying journey.
It’s now more important than ever for a business to understand its audience. You need to know who they are and what they want.
In today’s information-rich, digitally-led world, buyers are making more informed decisions. It’s a marketer’s job to walk each potential customer through their own buying journey by providing them with personalised and relevant content. You need to answer all of the questions that they might have. Think of it as a conversation.
Lead nurturing emails are a way to stay connected to your readers who aren’t ready to buy yet. They’re a great way to build up their trust until they are eventually ready.
7 ways to improve your lead nurturing emails
Lead nurturing can take anywhere from weeks to years. Here are 5 tips to create the most effective lead nurturing emails:
Educational emails are particularly important in the early stages of the sales funnel. They should be focused solely on providing valuable information to your new leads.
Remember – it’s not about trying to get a sale as quickly as possible. You’re in it for the long haul.
Yes – your prospects are interested in your company – but they’re still doing their research. They’re trying to find out what’s out there.
Providing helpful, interesting information to your readers is a sure-fire way to move them through your funnel. You’ll build a sense of authority around your brand. Potential customers will feel confident that you know what you’re talking about.
Not sure what kind of content you should be sending to your prospects?
Ask yourself – what have they already downloaded? Which pages on your website have they visited the most? What are they talking about on social media? What are their pain points?
Try talking about the next big thing in your industry, or your take on the latest industry news. Link to one of your company’s blog posts talking more about the topic.
This email, from social media management platform Buffer, is a great example:
This was sent the day after their welcome email campaign, in which they said they’d be sending some of their “all-time, most useful” blog posts over the next few days.
Be careful – don’t make these emails sound too salesy. You want to demonstrate your brand as a thought leader within your industry.
By educating your leads, you’re creating bonds and building trust, and ultimately making it easier for prospects to choose you when they reach the buying stage.
2. Get the timing right
A guaranteed way to lose your readers to email them every day.
In fact, 43% of people unsubscribe when they receive too many emails, according to a survey by Technology Advice.
When someone provides you with their email address, they’re trusting you to do the right thing with it. Don’t bombard them with loads of self-promoting emails.
There’s a fine balance between sending too many emails, and not sending emails frequently enough (you still want your leads to remember your company).
A great idea is to automate your lead nurturing emails. Coordinating the timing of the emails with where a prospect is in the sales funnel will give them time to digest the information, and to keep your brand at the forefront of their mind.
It’s likely that your lead won’t be ready to buy yet. Creating a sense of urgency is key for generating sales, but there’s a fine line between setting an urgent tone and just being a bit annoying.
3. Write compelling subject lines
All of your email marketing efforts are pretty pointless if they never get opened, so using engaging subject lines for your lead nurturing emails is essential.
The most effective subject lines are those which are relevant or personalised. It’s your ticket for standing out in a crowded inbox.
Your goal should be to build relationships with your leads, not to conduct a transaction. You don’t want to sound too spammy.
Here are some of our favourites that we’ve seen:
- “Your inbox just became more fun!”
- “Here’s what you need to get started”
- “Here’s something you may not know…”
- “Great things are headed your way”
- “Say Hello to The Hobbycraft Blog”
4. Create relevant, personalised content
Okay, so you’ve got your subscriber to open your email. Now what?
You want your lead nurturing emails to be clear, compelling, and answer the ‘What’s in it for me?’ question.
It’s important that they look like they’ve been created by a real person. Make your emails authentic and approachable.
Let your leads know that you care and that they aren’t just a number on your email list. It’s important to personalise your emails. If you know their first name, use it. Show them that you’re paying attention to what they say, so they’ll be more inclined to pay attention to you.
At a minimum, you should know the reason why your leads have signed up to your newsletter. Did they download a resource on your website? Maybe they signed up to one of your webinars?
Use this information and relate to this topic in your lead nurturing emails. Make your leads feel like their needs and wants are being addressed.
5. Keep it short
Your readers are busy people. And even if they do have the time to read your email campaigns, they might not have the attention span.
Within seconds of glancing at it, your leads should be able to understand the value that it provides to them. They have to be quick and to the point, so get your most important message across as quickly as you can. Use bold font to highlight the key points, and bullet-pointed lists so your email is easy to scan.
Don’t give them information overload. Try not to include more than one call-to-action, or loads of links. You want to keep your unsubscribe rates as low as possible, right?
This isn’t the time to show off with fancy fonts and custom HTML.
Choose one topic or pain point to focus on, and start your lead nurturing emails there.
6. Segment your leads
Not all of your content will be suitable for every stage of the sales funnel, so try to focus on a single stage.
You can’t nurture all of your leads by sending them all the same emails.
Are you educating, entertaining, or selling? Don’t try to do all three at once. Think of who you are writing your lead nurturing emails for, and what they would want out of the email.
The more you segment, the more relevant your content will be.
Email list segmentation will mean higher engagement, so your open and click-through rates will increase.
7. Social proof
People are more likely to buy something if they know someone who has already bought it.
You should be using social proof in your lead nurturing emails because – here’s the thing – people will trust strangers’ opinions more than your marketing.
Have you ever chosen to stay in a hotel because it had loads of great reviews on TripAdvisor? Or watched a series on Netflix because your friend said that they really enjoyed it? That’s social proof in action.
When your leads are shopping online, they’ll be looking to see what everyone else is buying.
Nothing will add more trust than positive reviews and testimonials from your existing customers.
This one from Matalan is a great example of using social proof in email marketing. They include four of their products which have 5-star ratings, and they quote a customer review alongside each one.
Social proof doesn’t just tell your prospects how good you are, it shows them.
Summary: It’s not all about selling stuff
The key with lead nurturing emails is to get your readers familiar with your brand and to make them want to engage with your content.
They should chip away at any doubt that your prospects might have, while educating them about your business.
When done well, lead nurturing emails can generate a much higher conversion rate. Although a single email might not do the trick, a steady flow of automated emails to gradually warm them up should work a treat.
If you’d like to create and send your own lead nurturing emails, then check out the Wired Plus platform.