After you capture contacts in your email list, your job has just begun. You still have to inform and educate them about your product / service and persuade them to buy it; you have to nurture the leads.
Before a visitor becomes the subscriber, the “inform” and “educate” phases of lead capture process operate to convert a fresh lead into a qualified lead. They are conducted through email campaigns designed to educate and persuade the leads. They are called the Lead Nurturing emails. These emails simply do the job of finding qualified leads from your entire email list.
So, let’s list down a few common yet highly-effective types of lead nurturing campaigns. They are also called "drip" campaigns because the information in these emails is set out piece-by-piece over a period of time. All the below-mentioned drip campaigns comprise of more than a couple emails
The very first rule of online marketing is “give before you take”. You follow this rule by offering downloadable freebies to lure in new subscribers. This campaign is just a continuation to the same. Also, you shouldn’t be treating your new subscribers like your seasoned clients who have already bought several times from you. Therefore, you must dedicate a full series of welcome emails, not just a single email.
The kind of messaging here will be light. So, the content of these emails will be educational content that introduces your product and provides some additional information.
The Welcome email series starts by confirming the subscriber’s opt-in. Once confirmed, a second mail contains information to reiterate:
After this email, you will send a series of well-timed emails; these are your main drip campaign emails. These emails will show them information “they absolutely must know” about your brand. The length of drip campaigns is your choice; you can divide them the way you want. The only thing is it should be well-spaced. The frequency should not be so high that they get overwhelmed or so low that they forget about your brand.
Because welcome campaigns are repetitive, you can easily automate them.
Once the subscriber knows who you are, you have to ensure that he doesn’t forget the same.
In the initial phase, the lead needs more time and/or information to make a purchase decision. He might be trying out multiple brands. The objective of this post-welcome email series is to keep your brand’s name on top of the prospect’s mind during this phase.
The duration of this drip is longer than the welcome campaign. The content is less informative. It must be more intense than the welcome campaign yet it must not try to engage in active selling.
Use this phase to communicate the value of your product/service to the customer. This campaign does allow a fair bit of freedom in terms of choosing what you will share in the mails.
Standard artifacts that are shared in this campaign are:
Just like the welcome campaign, the top of the mind campaign can also be automated.
This series is meant for leads who are already interested. They have consumed your emails in the welcome and post-welcome series. They may have also expressed interest in your product by engaging with the previous emails. You must offer them more focused, in-depth content through this email series.
This campaign answers detailed questions. It shows exactly what your business can offer. The technical, ground-level details are not abstracted; the conversation here is no more cosmetic.
The focus of emails in these series is answering the “HOW” question more often. You will now be talking to decision makers in the client’s company. You simply can’t attract them without showing them the exact technical aspects of your product / service.
So, you start by focusing on the key problem areas of your prospect. This is followed by features and benefits that help your customers solve these problems. Typical artifacts that help move leads further into the marketing funnel include:
Case studies are a very important artifact at this stage. You must include the “before” and “after” states of a customer with their testimonial or case study.
In terms of creation, the content has to be rich but the leads who are receiving it are still not your paying customers. This is not the re-engagement content either. So you can base the entire series on your product content.
It will be repetitive, and you may consult some pre-made templates for this purpose. You can also look at examples of how other brands (non-competitors and the competing brands) have done it. However, 100% automation of this series may not be possible as these are customized emails.
Some leads may not even know they need change. This is a problem of their lack of awareness - they have never seen better, so they don’t know things could be better.
Often, prospects do not want to change as it requires them to leave their comfort zone. Their other psychological barriers (besides money) are very strong. Therefore, we use strongly worded emails and other persuasion techniques to effect a change in mindset, thoughts, or beliefs of your prospects.
This is done through a deep dive into your prospect’s world. Show them where there could be potential faults. Do their SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis for them, if need be.
When you talk to them about why their business needs change, you have to speak from a position of authority while being empathetic. So, the content in this campaign is more about their issues and only minimally about how your product fixes those issues.
This type of drip series is particularly suitable for re-engagement campaigns.
This campaign targets leads that are not converted by the “Top of the Mind” or “Product Deep Dive” campaigns. The idea here is simple: we gave our best content in the first few campaigns. The prospect is still not convinced because he may be considering a competitor’s product. So, we flip the campaign and include the disadvantages of not using your products.
When composing emails, in both cases, the focus should be what separates your products and/or offerings from other competitors. You would have already talked about the benefits and operating details of your products in your previous campaigns. Use this campaign to clearly point out differentiators of the plans you offer.
In the second case, you must schedule one-on-one sales discussions with such leads. If their number is large, you can persuade them to answer questions in a survey. Ask them what features they would want to see in "ideal scenarios". Be prepared to offer them any customized plans, if the regular plans don’t suit them.
In any case, the better way to talk about differentiators is focusing on downsides of not using your products. In the case of using your competitor’s weaknesses against them, you must use “ghosting” techniques without directly mentioning the competitors.
You may even mention how your product performs better than other products by specific companies, but do it in a very matter-of-fact manner. Never talk your competitors down; it is considered very distasteful. It doesn’t convert well either.
Often when leads are in the closing stages of the purchase, they need a reassurance that they are working with the right people.
During the Authority campaign, we aim to provide the same in the closing stages of sales. This is done by sharing any of the following pieces of content:
The kind of subscribers receiving this campaign are very close to purchasing from you, but they are not made a decision yet. Price may not be an issue for these subscribers, they just need a reassurance that they are purchasing the right product.
This campaign is designed to project your brand's authority. Thus, it tries to persuade them to cross the line and start buying from you.
This is also an “end-of-funnel” campaign like the Authority campaign. This is for those leads who are not converting due to your product being at a higher price point than their budget. All those leads who have engaged with your brands during your previous campaigns but are yet to make a purchase will get these emails.
The way this works is you send a well-timed email with a discount or free shipping coupon. The key to ensuring that those who genuinely need a discount get it. Some people might delay buying because of reasons unknown to us, but those reasons don’t include shortage of money. Your discount emails have to be timed optimally so that it reaches only the real target audience i.e. people who really need the discount.
This is a series of emails to send once the lead has become a paying customer. It makes sense to club paying customers in a different segment; you would want to treat them better than regular subscribers.
Since they have now paid for the use, they'd naturally be curious about getting the most from their purchase. So, this drip series will contain emails including
By consuming all these products, the customer doesn't have to spend time going through your website. This onboarding campaign goes a long way for good customer service.
If your organization sells only one product, then you must create a complete value ladder.
The lowest priced product or service will be at the bottom of the ladder; the highest priced one will be at the top. The steps will comprise of mid value products arranged in increasing order of their price.
As the first step of this ladder, you would offer a free product (called the "lead magnet"). Once the user enters his email address and consumes the lead magnet, he becomes a "lead". When this lead purchases their first product from you, he becomes a paying customer.
An Upsell campaign naturally aims to move these customers onto the higher steps of the ladder. You will do so by introducing them to the higher-value features or products that would remain locked after their first purchase.
You can communicate the benefits of these undiscovered parts of your product / service. Since these are already paying customers, your emails don't have to be an out-and-out sales campaign.
Let the customers know if you are offering any discounts. A very smart way of successfully upselling higher-value features is offering them one-time, short-duration use for free. This trial period remains free for all your paying customers to whom you are offering the next level of paid features.
Once they're exposed to the new features, they will quickly realize the value they will get if they upgrade. They wouldn't want to go back. It becomes much easier then to move them to the next step of the ladder.
This campaign is not for paying customers; it's for people who help you sell your product i.e. your own sales team and/or your affiliates.
Regular sales enablement emails help them in two ways:
You could use this campaign as a feedback channel as well. Ask them questions about customer responses during the sales process.
This will highlight any good things you must keep doing. Also, it may bring out certain issues in your sales funnel which can be improved.
Like the Welcome campaign, the Renewal campaigns must be automated to reduce the load on sales reps.
This series is for paying customers whose contracts are about to expire soon. They have already spent some time using your products and know all the benefits inside out. They're happy with what you offer.
So, the content in these emails is just a reminder that their contract period is about to expire and they must renew soon.
Most people won't even remember their renewal dates. The strong psychological barrier of giving money to someone works powerfully against this cause. A customer is much less likely to miss out on their renewals if they're regularly reminded of it. Hence, renewal drip series must be spread out throughout the last month, and not sent as a one-time reminder email.
Successful, uninterrupted operation plays a key role when the customer is renewing. If they have had a lot of problems in the contract period, they would obviously not want to renew.
You must help such customers make a decision in your favor. You can make your own job easier by showing the outright savings that they had with your services. Focus on non-monetary factors well. Did they see new contracts, or performance improvements? How much time did they save by using your tool?
Concrete numbers and charts will be helpful here. They make the customer recall all the good things they have accomplished with you.
There may be exceptional situations where the customer may want to switch out and ditch your product at the end of the paying cycle. To prevent this from happening, your customer service team must constantly keep doing a doing health check in the last month. They have to make sure that the customer remains satisfied and all his doubts are answered. If you try to solve all of the problems before the customer is close to renewal, you might persuade them against moving out.
After the second drip series, the prospect usually has enough information. He may decide to go with you, or with your competitor. In rare cases, he may drop or postpone the requirement. At this point, there is a prominent disconnect between what the customer wants and what your brand is offering. Their engagement with your brand is almost zero.
When you look at the sales database, these are your inactive leads. A re-engagement campaign is for turning these leads into active, "willing-to-buy-again" leads.
The email frequency here will be lesser than the Top of the Mind campaign, as you don’t know if the customer is ready to buy again.
The kind of content to share during these re-engagement campaigns may be a bit tricky to decide. These leads are already exposed to a large part of your sales process. Repeating the same content would be counterproductive.
There needs to be a novelty to the emails you send when trying to re-engage a dead part of your list. A new infographic, a proof-of-concept blog post, a case study and other types of "cool" content is needed here. It should be unique enough to prompt the prospect to take an action. Once they start engaging through such emails, it indicates that they’re ready to be re-nurtured.
Re-engagement campaigns require special attention and the content in them has to be highly engaging and must have a surprise factor. It would be best not to automate these emails and pay special attention on composing these emails.
There will always be a strong psychological barrier to people spending money. Convincing them that your product / service is worth spending money requires you to overcome this barrier first. The next barrier is convincing them you are better than your competitors.
Lead nurturing campaigns are designed to overcome these barriers (as well as other micro barriers) so that leads can finally take the decision to buy from you.