Are you using email campaigns to nurture your prospects until they’re ready to buy? Campaigns that are created with thoughtful care can have great results. Here are the six steps a client and I used to devise a very successful email campaign that resulted in open rates that were higher than the industry average.

1. DEFINE PERSONAS FOR YOUR KEY BUYERS.

Start by defining your buyers and creating in-depth personas for each one. This is the first step in segmenting your audience.

2. DETERMINE WHAT CONTENT WOULD BE MOST HELPFUL.

What problems do you buyers need to solve (such as investigating cloud contact center solutions because their current solution just isn’t cutting it)? The question to focus on is this: How can the information you send buyers via your nurturing campaign help them?

My client 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.

3. DEFINE A TIMING SEQUENCE FOR EACH EMAIL.

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.

4. DEVELOP A LOGICAL FLOW OF EMAIL CONTENT.

My client 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.

5. GET EXPERT HELP WRITING THE EMAILS.

My client’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 filled with fluff (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.”

6. TRACK PERFORMANCE.

With a marketing automation system, it’s easy to track the outcomes of nurture emails streams. As more emails were sent, my client 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 – continuing to nurture new leads with helpful, useful content.

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Considering building a nurture campaign and need an extra hand? Check out my services here.