How To Set Up a Lead Nurturing Campaign

What is lead nurturing?

Lead nurturing means pushing all inbound traffic down the marketing lead funnel and guiding them through the customer journey to convert into a sale.  It focuses all marketing and communication efforts on listening to the needs of the prospects and providing them with the information and answers they need.

Why is it so important to nurture your leads?

According to Marketing Sherpa, 73% of leads are not ready to buy when they first give you their contact details.

They might not be ready to buy on the second, third or even fourth email! But with a successful lead nurturing campaign and a good amount of your marketing effort, you can push the shopper through the funnel to turn them into a sale.

Lead nurturing is designed to assist your prospect by sending a series of strategically timed emails and personal marketing content, with the end goal of a purchase.

With the right tools and planning, your campaign can run automatically, doing all the legwork and freeing you up to pursue your hotter leads. This saves both time and resources for your marketing and sales teams.

How do I create a lead nurturing campaign?

Designing a campaign can actually take a bit of work, but once you have a process in place, your all set to sit back and watch questionable leads turn into sales. Designing a lead nurturing campaign is only just a few steps.

Step 1: Define Your Goals

The end goal of nurturing any lead is a sale. But the sale is not the only measurement that can make a lead nurturing campaign successful. Instead, you’ll want to focus on more short-term, visible goals with the intent to turn the lead into a sale.  It takes time to form a relationship with the prospect by educating them and making them aware of your product or service and encouraging them to trust your brand.

Some more definitive goals can (and should) include:
– Increase opportunities for leads to enter the pipeline
– Create more tailored messaging
– Boost response rate
– Increase conversion rates

Step 2: Plan Your Strategy

The best way to determine your strategy is to work through your goals one by one.  Let’s take a look at each goal:

Goal #1 Increase opportunities for leads to enter the pipeline

Strategy: This feeds directly to your ‘top of the funnel’ buyers. Aim to meet them as often as possible while they’re shopping around and looking for a product or service. How? Content. Lots of content. The shopping consumer needs to be educated and guided to your product. It is up to you to produce the materials to do so, which can include videos, blogs, infographics, podcasts, e-books, etc. If you’re looking for more ideas on content, check out The Top Ten Best Types of Content Marketing. We want your brand to be at the top of every Google search!

Goal #2 Create more tailored messaging

Strategy: As you study your prospects habits, you can start to learn more about them and what they best respond to. Pay attention to the point in which the lead entered your database and where they continued to follow through your website (e.g. links they clicked on, content they downloaded, videos they watched and blogs they read).  As you learn who your prospects are, you’ll learn how to talk to them better.

Strategy: Not every lead should get every email.

This is where you segment your data and start personalizing your messages. By this, organize them into bucket categories and identify common traits amongst the group.  Also, consider personalizing your messages with field merges such as, ‘first name’ or ‘company’ (if your email marketing tool allows it).

Let’s say you have a select group of contacts who have purchased one of your products in the past, but bought nothing since. You decide to start a re-engagement nurturing campaign for these leads.


Hi [FirstName]- I’m following up about the software [Company] purchased two years ago. I hope everything is still running smooth! Just to let you know, we have a new plugin to that program if you are interested. As a past customer, we’re offering you a special discount if you use the promo code REPEATCUSTOMER. Please let me know if you are interested or have any questions.

Thank you,

Goal #3&4 Boost response rate & Increase conversion rate

Lead nurturing emails get 4-10 times the response rate compared to standalone email blasts. (DemandGen Report)

Strategy: This will happen as a result of segmentation with tailored messaging. Once you’ve figured out the type of message you should be sending, you’ll start generating more interest in your product. In marketing, it’s all about speaking to your audience in a way which shows you know all about them and their preferences. When you start sending messages that speak to them personally, not only will you see a larger response but they’ll actually be more qualified and sales-ready leads.

Lead nurturing is about the long term. Don’t expect to send one personalized message and expect your inbox to be flooding with interest. In general, it can take 6-8 touch points before a prospect turns into a qualified lead. Be patient.

Final Strategy: One strategy that applies to all goals is to incorporate email automation. The problem however, is affording such an intelligent email marketing tool. If you’re a new business owner, you may not have the resources yet. But consider the investment as it has the ability to lower the cost per lead in the long run and increase your ROI (return-on-investment).

Such a tool allows you to:

  • Schedule emails in advance as part of a larger email marketing plan.
  • Create kickbacks (automated email sent directly after downloading content or subscribing)
  • Write more personalized messages using field merges – as mentioned above.
  • Create a Multi-Step email campaign – which also includes scheduled emailing but based on behavior as a result of each previous email.

Step 3: Track, Measure and Analyze

As with any other marketing initiative, it’s easy to just dive right in, but spare yourself the time and effort. It’s always worth running a trial before launching across all channels.  Your lead nurturing campaign must allow for testing and optimization in order to get the most value.

As you start a campaign, monitor your click-through rates, conversion rates, time to customer conversion and overall response rates. It’s also important to be able to measure and explain the lead nurturing’s ROI; basically Cost-per-Customer. This is the marketing cost of acquiring a new customer. Often times it can be almost seven times more expensive to get a new customer than to nurture a past customer. Good news, lead nurturing works on both types.

In Conclusion

You do not have to be a professional writer to accomplish a successful lead nurturing campaign. But know that your best emails will:

  • Educate
  • Establish connections
  • Be benefit / value driven
  • Recreate opportunities
  • Have a personal appeal

Lead nurturing can be a lot of effort but you’ll see it pay off in the end. Your content should be conversational. Your communication should be relevant. Your numbers should be strategic and impactful. Plan to nurture for the long-term.

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