By Kim Gusta
Here's another article in a series that highlights how my clients have solved common content challenges. In this post, you'll learn how inContact built their successful lead nurturing email campaign and how you can follow their steps to create your own.
Building email lead nurturing campaigns might seem daunting, but I can attest they really pay off. My client, inContact, develops cloud solutions for contact centers, and has used these types of campaigns successfully with their Eloqua marketing automation system for a few years.
I'm often ask how to get started with email nurturing. Here are the six steps inContact followed to launch their campaigns:
Michelle Burrows, former Vice President of Demand Generation and Marina Antestenis, Senior Director of Demand Generation, and their team worked hard to define their buyers and build in-depth personas for each one. That was the first step in segmenting their audience.
This might sound like the self-serving part of this exercise, but if you take the assumption that buyers interact with you for a reason (such as downloading a white paper on your website), then they also probably have a problem to solve (such as investigating cloud contact center solutions because their current solution just isn’t cutting it). The question is, how can the information you send buyers via your nurturing campaign help them?
inContact did this by looking at the content they already had and matching it up with their buyer personas. They focused on educational content that didn’t just sell and market their software, but rather was helpful and solved a key problem for their buyer. This is an important aspect of building nurture campaigns that have great results – focus on how you can help your buyer rather than what you can sell them.
Lead nurturing works best when you send a sequence of emails (I usually recommend 4-5) for a defined period of time. Based on the level of engagement your prospect has demonstrated (they attended your latest webcast, downloaded multiple white papers and read your latest blog posts) you may want to send emails frequently, such as every two weeks for 8-10 weeks. Or if they don’t seem as engaged (they’ve only downloaded one datasheet), then a less frequent schedule, such as sending a nurturing email monthly, might be best.
inContact had a lot of great content I could use when developing the email stream sequence. We created a plan for each nurture stream that defined each email’s theme and a call-to-action. We mixed up content formats, such as using video, written content, recorded webcasts, etc. to keep it interesting for prospects. We also created what I call a “content path” that logically led prospects from the first email’s content to the second and so on.
inContact’s marketing team is incredibly busy, as most technology marketing teams are. They asked me to help write the email sequences, because they were having a tough time keeping up with the volume. Plus, while they were all good writers, they didn’t have experience writing nurture emails, which is a bit of an art and a science.
As most marketers know, to ensure emails actually get read, they can’t be too long or too short. They can’t be tedious or too over-the-top (or prospects won’t take them seriously). They must immediately focus on building trust and demonstrating they can solve a problem – fast.
There’s also the intangible of putting yourself in the prospect’s shoes and having that come across in the email’s copy. My mindset for writing was imagining I was having a short, empathetic conversation with the prospect. He or she had explained to me their vexing problem and I, while figuratively nodding my head in agreement, said “Here’s something that could help. Try it and see.”
With a marketing automation system, it’s easy to track the outcomes of nurture emails streams. As more emails were sent, inContact started to gather a great sense of what was working well and what needed tweaking. They found that email open rates were 40% and click-through rates were 4.14%, both of which were higher than industry averages.
Best of all, due to their careful planning and well-founded strategy, the email nurture streams made a measurable impact on their first quarter lead opportunities. And once the streams were up and running, they just stayed on auto-pilot in their Eloqua system – continuing to nurture new leads with helpful, useful content.
Get more details about how inContact implemented their successful email lead nurturing process by downloading the complete case study here.
Considering building a nurture campaign and need an extra hand? Check out my email lead nurture package to learn how I can help.
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