Lead nurturing: How to use email marketing to turn leads into clients

Lead nurturing is an essential part of your digital marketing strategy. It helps you establish trusted relationships with your audience and gradually convert leads into paying clients. 

Only a few website visitors are ready to buy right away. However, many of them are likely to warm up and become a client after they get to know you. Without a lead nurturing strategy you are missing out on 90% of your website visitors. According to RAIN group, it takes about 8 marketing touches from the point a lead enters the top of the funnel to the sale. This is why lead nurturing should be a part of your email marketing strategy.

An effective lead nurturing campaign can have a huge impact on your revenue. The return on investment for email marketing is X44, meaning for every dollar spent you get 44 back. This is the most obvious, but not the only benefit. Lead nurturing can be successfully used for client retention and upselling. It also drives traffic to your website and improves your SEO, so will show up more often in search results. 

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What is lead nurturing

Lead nurturing is engaging with your leads by sending them useful content, usually via email. Good content is not only informative but also encouraging. It should keep your audience excited and build trust. There are a number of ways to achieve that through targeted messages, timely follow-ups, and personalization.

The most popular lead nurturing is a group of emails sent to a lead at preset times, also known as a drip campaign. Every email is designed for a specific part of a client journey to move your lead down the sales funnel. This lead nurturing system is triggered automatically when your lead completes a certain action, for example, requests your lead magnet. For an e-commerce business, a lead nurturing sequence can be triggered by a client adding something to their cart. Then you can send them reminders, special offers, and similar products.

 How to create a good lead-nurturing email sequence

  1. Create useful and engaging content
  2. Keep it down to one topic per email
  3. Be concise
  4. Include a CTA
  5. Make sure the sequence flows logically
  6. Test your emails
  7. Study analytics and choose the best-performing option

1. Create useful and engaging content

Content is the king as you know. You want your leads nurtured and not annoyed. So make sure to provide a lot of value in your emails. Of course, you want to include some information about your product. It is ok, but keep it to 20%. The remaining 80% should be about your leads and their needs. 

There are various types of content you can use. Text remains the most popular, but you can also use infographics and videos. Making your content more diverse will be more entertaining for clients, so they are more likely to engage with it and remember your brand later.

Creating good content requires a good understanding of your target audience. The greatest content is only valuable to certain people. So before drafting emails, take a look at your customer personas, do online research, and offer a solution to your leads’ problems. Your lead nurturing emails will work best if they are aligned with your content strategy.

2. Keep it down to one topic per email

You want your leads’ attention focused on one topic at a time. This helps them to process the information comfortably. It also helps to build confidence in your content. It will also help them to organize their mailbox and come back to your email later. Why would they want to come back to your email? Because you send valuable information, right?

You have a client journey map in mind, and the purpose of your email is to gently move them in that direction. So avoid confusing them with too many topics and links. As soon as they start wandering around, they are unlikely to complete the desired action. Navigate their attention and keep the focus on the CTA.

3. Be concise

Respect your lead’s time. Email has been invented as a brief form of communication. Most people have hundreds of emails daily. So keep it short, sweet, and to the point. If you have a long piece of content to share make it a blog post or an e-book, and only include the preview in your email, then add a “read more” or “download the report” button. This will keep your email brief and help you track engagement.

4. Add a CTA

Make it clear what the next step is. Don’t assume that if your readers like your content, they will hit reply. Or, even less likely, go to your website to find contact details. Be clear about what you want your leads to do. If you offered a free trial, add a button “Start a free trial”. If you want to schedule a call, add a button “schedule a free call”. If you do, make sure to use scheduling software. It is easier for your leads than back-and-forth emails and appears more professional. If your email is pure content, no sales attached, add a button “read more” and place most of the content in a blog post. 

The best practice is to have one CTA per email. But you can place it in several fields. For, example, at the beginning and at the end of your email. This way, those who are immediately interested will use the first button without reading any further. Those who want to read the details don’t need to scroll back. They can use the button at the end of the email.

5. Make sure the sequence flows logically

In order to ensure the success of your sales funnel you need to carefully plan the flow of your emails. Create a content plan for your campaign. Make sure your emails are both rich in content and converting. For example, the first email may be educational. This helps to establish yourself as an expert and build trust. As you progress, include more opportunities for conversion: invite to a sales call or offer a free demo. It is important to offer opportunities to get in touch once in a while – in every third or fourth email.

An easier and more efficient way to ensure a consistent and logical flow is email automation. 

First of all, it saves a lot of time and resources. You only set it up once and it keeps running on autopilot. If you make any changes to it, they will apply to all future emails. 

Second, you can track the analytics and improve your campaign to drive more conversions. For example, you can see that one of your emails’ open rate is significantly lower than the others. Your readers clearly don’t find this subject interesting. In this case, you can replace it with something more useful. With email automation, you can build a sequence perfectly suited for your audience.

Finally, every lead gets content suited for his stage of the client journey. You cannot achieve this effect with bulk emails. Imagine you downloaded a lead magnet. In the next email, you get a brief introduction to a company. Then you get a link to a demo and some tips on how to use it. This flow is perfectly aligned with your journey as a client. Instead, with a newsletter, you simply get one-size-fits-all information. ”Whether you just learned about the company or have been a client for years, here is some information about our brand”. You may ask yourself “Why am I seeing this?”. And you would be right. In today’s world, internet users are spoiled. They have unlimited access to quality content, so the content alone will not get you far. While client journey personalization is guaranteed to win more clients!

6. Test your emails

Before launching your campaign, send your email to yourself and some colleagues. Make sure your emails look good on all devices: desktop, tablet, and mobile. Test all the links and the pages they lead to. Usually, email marketing software offers to send a test before you send it to subscribers. It’s a must-have for every email tool.

You can also send a campaign to a limited amount of subscribers and run an A/B test. The majority of companies test the subject line. This helps to ensure your email gets opened and your leads will see your attractive offer. But you can also test your copy and your CTA. Using the test results, you can optimize your campaign and achieve higher conversion rates.

7. Study analytics and choose the best-performing option

To create a high-converting campaign you can constantly check how your emails are performing. The key metrics to look at are the open rate, click-through rate, and unsubscribe rate.

The open rate shows the percentage of subscribers who opened your email. If the open rate is too low, this means the subject you have chosen is not interesting to your audience. However, it may also mean that the subject line failed. This is why it is a good idea to test various subject lines before launching a campaign. What is a good result? Open rates vary by region and industry, but in North America, the average open rate is 23.4%.

The click-through rate is the most important metric for your email. It shows how many people clicked your call to action. The average click-through rate in North America is 3.86%. If your CTR is low, this may mean multiple things

  1. The offer is not relevant to your audience. In that case, the open rate will also be low. 
  2. The content is not engaging. People are potentially interested in your offer, but after looking at your email they are not buying it. In this case, the open rate is high, but the click-through rate is low.
  3. The CTA is not inspiring or not visible. Try testing different CTAs and how they affect conversion.

The unsubscribe rate shows the percentage of people who opted out of your emails. This is a dangerous metric since once people unsubscribe, you lose them. The average unsubscribe rate is only 0.1%. If your unsubscribe rate is higher than this, the reasons could be:

  1. Too many emails
  2. Your content is not relevant to your leads

To curb your unsubscribe rate ask people why they no longer want to receive your emails. Most email tools offer this option in every package. The best practice is to give people preset options for the answer since most email users are too busy to write their own responses.

Using these analytics you can optimize your email marketing campaigns and make your conversion rates skyrocket!

Take it to the next level: design personalized journeys

Not all the leads are created equal. Depending on the needs, preferences, and stage of a client journey, different leads need to receive different content.

Many think of personalization as adding a name to an email or a subject line. This is a nice move and it can give you some extra points. Now, most email marketing tools have this feature. You can also add other basic information pulled from your client’s profile, such as a company name.

But this will not be enough to convince your leads to buy from you. What you really need is to identify what stage of a client’s journey they are at. And then send them the content to move them down the funnel.

Of course, you can try to do it manually if you know your leads personally. For example, if you met them at a conference and talked about their business, you will understand what stage they are at. But if you find your leads online, this approach won’t work. 

You can use marketing automation to personalize your client journey. Use a lead magnet as an identifier. 

Let’s consider a complex B2B example. For example, you are selling a fintech B2B software. You can create a lead magnet for a discovery stage, for example, an investment guide. The content for this stage must be educational and generic since a client hasn’t identified his problem yet. For the next stage – consideration – create a more specific lead magnet, for example, a checklist for choosing your financial management software or a guide on how to choose one. At the decision stage, a common lead magnet is a free demo or sales call.

Do you see the difference between the first and the second stage?

At the discovery stage, our potential lead is only looking for information on finance management. They are not interested in software. Once they download the lead magnet we can send them some financial management tips (beginner level) and introduce the software. Then we can show how using this software will make their financial management easier. And only then offer them to try it.

What is good for the first stage – discovery – leads, will not work for the second stage – consideration – leads.

People at the consideration stage do not need introductory tips on financial management. They know this already. If we start sending them such information, they will most likely unsubscribe. They are also aware that there are several tech solutions to their problem. So the purpose of our email marketing sequence must be to convince them that your product is better than the competition. Identify key strengths, offer a free demo, and send coupons and limited-time offers to win this deal.

Such a complex funnel will work best for a company with marketing resources and a marketing budget.

As you see, the approach to these leads is very different. But with email automation, you can reach the right people with targeted messaging. This will boost your conversion rates.

Lead nurturing is where marketing magic happens when you turn a total stranger into a loyal customer. Take time to build meaningful relationships with your target audience and they will appreciate your client-centric approach. This will boost client satisfaction and, as a result, your revenues.

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