When 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 your leads.
Before a website visitor becomes a 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. These are called Lead Nurturing campaigns. These emails simply do the job of finding qualified leads from your email list.
In this chapter, we'll detail the most 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 drip campaigns mentioned here comprise of more than a couple of 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 existing buyers. You must give them a full series of welcome emails, not just a single email.
The kind of messaging here will be light. So, the content of these lead nurturing emails will be educational.
The Welcome email series starts by confirming the subscriber’s opt-in. Once confirmed, a second email 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 that the frequency should not be too high or too low.
Because welcome campaigns are repetitive, you can easily automate them using a CRM software.
Once the subscriber knows who you are, you have to ensure that they don’t forget the same.
In the initial phase, the lead needs more time and/or information to make a purchase decision. They 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 emails.
Standard information assets 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 in your brand. 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. You can now share technical details of your products and services so that the potential customers can make an informed decision.
The focus of the emails in this series is answering the “HOW” question more often. You will now be talking to decision makers. You can’t attract them without showing them the exact technical aspects of your product / service.
You can 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 content that help move leads further into the marketing funnel include:
Case studies are very important 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 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.
Sometimes, you need to educate your potential customers about why they need your products or services. This is done by taking a deep dive into their world. Show them some ways in which they can improve their life or business using your products or services. Do their SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis for them, if need be.
When you write content for this type of lead nurturing campaign, you must focus more on the customer and less on your products. Try to educate the lead about the possibilites they are missing out on, and only then pitch your products as the solution.
This type of drip series is particularly suitable for re-engagement campaigns.
This email 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 they may be considering a competitor’s product. So, we flip the campaign and include the disadvantages of not using our products.
When composing these emails, the focus should be what separates your products and/or offerings from competion. You would have already talked about the benefits and operating details of your products in your previous lead nurturing 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 the 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 offered 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 have 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 email campaign is designed to project your brand's authority. Thus, it tries to persuade leads to cross the line and start buying from you.
This is also an “end-of-funnel” campaign like the Authority campaign. This is for leads not converting due to your product being at a higher price point than their budget. All the leads who have engaged with your brand during your previous lead nurturing 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 is to ensure that only those who genuinely need a discount get it. Some people may delay buying for reasons unknown to us, but those aren't budget constraints. Your discount emails have to be timed optimally so that they reach only the real target audience, i.e., people who really need a 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'd have other information to share with them.
This campaign will have emails that share:
This onboarding campaign goes a long way in good customer service.
If your organization sells only one product, you need to make a change now and 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 a website visitor shares their email address and consumes the lead magnet, they become a "lead". When this lead purchases their first product from you, they become a paying customer.
An Upsell campaign naturally aims to move these paying customers onto the higher steps of the ladder. You will do so by introducing them to the higher-value features or products that would still remain locked after their first purchase.
In these emails, you can communicate the benefits of the higher-value products and services. Since these are already paying customers, this one doesn'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. It becomes much easier 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 that 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 paid subscriptions 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 subscription 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 it. A customer is much less likely to miss out on their renewals if they're regularly reminded of it. Hence, renewal drip emails must be spread out over 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've had by buying from you. Focus on non-monetary factors as well.
Concrete numbers and charts will be helpful here. They make the customer recall all the benefits they've reaped by purchasing from your brand.
There may be exceptional cases where the customer may want to switch out 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 their 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.
A re-engagement campaign is designed to turning unresponsive customers into active, "willing-to-buy-again" customers.
The email frequency here will be lower than that of the Top of the Mind campaign, as you don’t know if the customer is willing to buy again.
There needs to be a novelty to the emails in this campaign. A new infographic, a proof-of-concept blog post, a case study and other types of "cool" content are needed here. It should be unique enough to prompt the customer to take an action.
Re-engagement campaigns require special attention from you and their content should be highly engaging. You can autoamte these emails too, but do pay special attention to the content of these emails.
There will always be a strong psychological barrier to people spending money. Convincing them that your product / service is worth spending money on requires you to overcome this barrier first. The next barrier is convincing them that 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. When they do, you'll need good landing pages to make their buying journey easy. In the next chapter, we'll tell you about the must-have elements of high-converting landing pages.