6 Tips on Creating a Successful Lead Nurture Campaign

Katie Schieder
Katie Schieder Director of Inbound Marketing & Content

A common question that all digital marketing agencies are asked to answer iswhy aren’t my leads converting into customers? 

The best answer to this question is another question: what are you doing with your leads after they convert?” 

If you aren’t doing anything with your leads, then there’s your answer to why they are not becoming customers. If you are sending them directly to the sales team, its possible that your leads are not ready. This is why lead nurturing campaigns are so important in the digital world.  

You may be wondering, what is a lead nurturing campaign? It is the sequence of events that follows a digital conversion. This sequence starts when a lead completess a form on your website. This form should require an email address. Why do you need an email address? So that you can enter it into the lead nurturing campaign, or workflow, which involves a series of emails, digital offers, and calls-to-action. The goal is to provide valuable information to your lead while staying top of mind. These emails can be sent on a predetermined schedule or based on the lead’s interaction with your content. Emails should also be created for multiple scenarios and should coincide with your buyers’ journey. It would not make sense to send a new lead an email that says Buy Now, just like it would not make sense to send a mature lead an introductory email about your company. 

TLDR: lead nurturing is the act of creating a strategy, or workflow, that encourages leads to learn more about your product or service while also providing helpful information that matches their stage in the buyers journey. In other words, you nurture a lead into a sales prospect. 

But how do you create a successful lead nurturing campaign that will entice leads to learn more and become customers without being too pushy or self-promotional? 

We have experience creating lead nurturing campaigns and have listed out our six best tips to help you develop a campaign that converts leads to customers. These are industry best practice tips and include advice on setting goals, mapping your campaign, and understanding how to evaluate success. These tips will give you the foundation for a strong nurturing strategy you can use for years to come. 

1. Start with a Goal

This is the first, and one of the most crucial, steps to creating a successful lead nurturing campaign. Think of your campaign as a journey and your goal is the destination. If you don’t know your destination, how will you know how to get there? Better yet, how will you know if your campaign failed or succeeded?

If you’re like most people, you’re probably thinking that your goal is to nurture leads through the funnel to become customers. I have bad news, that’s not a goal. That’s just a description of a tactic. An example of a goal would be to nurture a lead to schedule a visit, download an eBook, visit a landing page, call a phone number, or provide more information, just to name a few.

To identify your goal, ask yourself the following questions: 

  • Why do I want to create a nurturing campaign? 
  • What product or service am I promoting? 
  • Who is the audience for this campaign? 
  • What stage of the buyer’s journey is my audience at when they enter the campaign? What stage of the buyer’s journey is my audience at when they complete the campaign? 
  • How will this help my business? 
  • How will this improve my sales process? 
  • How am I better informing my audience? 
  • What value am I providing through this campaign? How does that value relate back to a lead becoming a customer? 

If your answer to any of the above questions is “I don’t know,” then you need to put some more thought into why you want to create a lead nurturing campaign, what your goal should be, and how your goal helps leads become customers. 

2. Understand Your Capabilities and Your Limitations

Once you have identified your goal, you can work backwards to map out your nurturing campaign. We recommend doing a complete inventory of all conversion points and content on the site. This will allow you to have a full understanding of what you have to work with as well as where there may be gaps in your funnel. Creating content to fill those gaps is the best course of action, but if you do not have the time or capabilities to do so, you will need to work with what is readily available. This is part of understanding your capabilities and limitations.

The inventory of all conversion points and content gives you the opportunity to see what you are capable of creating. It also gives you the opportunity to see where you may struggle to meet your goal.

Here is an example:  

You want to gather more information from your leads, but your website only has two conversion points that ask for identical information. This limits your ability to gather more information about your leads. You will either need to create more conversion points, change the forms to ask for different information, or find a creative way to ask for information in follow-up emails or landing pages. 

Understanding your capabilities and limitations will allow you to set realistic goals and therefore properly assess the success of your nurturing campaigns. 

3. Don’t Over Complicate Things

It can be tempting to want all lead nurturing activities to be in one container or workflow. It may feel like this is the best way to monitor your nurturing success and simplify everything – but its actually the exact opposite.

We recommend that each goal, audience, and individual nurturing campaign be given its own container or workflow. This will allow you to monitor how individual audiences respond to email nurturing, make changes if necessary, and if something breaks, easily identify the problem and fix it.

A singular workflow typically has so many subbranches and different scenarios that just constructing and monitoring one workflow with a singular goal can be a challenge. If you add in multiple goals for multiple audiences, it can become a recipe for disaster. Save yourself the aggravation. Creating individual workflows will allow you to keep information organized, quickly access data, silo lists, and easily clone successful workflows to use in new campaigns. 

4. Make Sure Everything Has a Start, Middle, and an End

Creating journeys should be a complete process. As we stated above, you should identify your goal and work backwards. This not only means gathering content and conversion points that support your goal, but also making sure that a leadentry point into a nurturing campaign makes sense. It should feel very natural, almost expected, that you are reaching out to them. The first touch should reference their most recent conversion point or page visited. This will let them know that you are speaking directly to them and addressing their individual needs.

You also need to make sure that each branch of your journey gives the lead an option for if they interact positively, negatively, or do not interact with the email at all. This is a crucial part of fleshing out the details of your workflow. Emails should be followed with a yes / no or an if / then opportunity.

For example, ia lead opens email 1, then they will receive email 2A. If they do not open email 1, then they will receive email 2B. These emails are different, they speak directly to the action the lead previously took.

Giving leads choice gives you the opportunity to learn what resonates with your audience while also keeping them engaged. If we did not provide choices and if / then branches, leads would become stalled in the workflow and you would not be able to nurture them further through the funnel. That being said, there is a point at which you should allow a lead to drop out of a workflow. This indicates to you that they are not a qualified lead and prevents you from wasting further time and effort. 

5. Be a Nurturer Not a Nuisance

There is a fine line between being nurturing and being a nuisance, and as a marketer you never want to cross that line. Here are some tips on how to stay on the right side of email nurturing: 

  • Send emails based on opens, not based on your timetable. Six unopened emails will not make a lead more likely to become a customer. 
  • Send emails that are a 70 / 30 split. That means 70 percent should be valuable, original content, and 30 percent can be self-promotional. 
  • Create rules. If you have multiple nurturing campaigns running, make sure leads are not getting bombarded by emails from multiple campaigns.  
  • No means no! If a lead unsubscribes from your campaign, respect that choice. Do not continue to send them unsolicited emails. 

6. Monitor Success and Make Changes

Tip number 3 was don’t over complicate things, and one of the reasons for that is so you can easily monitor and assess the success of your campaigns. If you have an all-encompassing campaign with multiple workflow branches, it will be hard to know what is working and where leads are falling off/getting stuck.

Here are some things you should be looking for to evaluate your campaign, understand where there may be a disconnect, and replicate your success in the future: 

  • High open rates don’t always mean high success. Depending on the device type and audience behavior, its possible that leads are clicking into your email just to remove the notification. You should monitor clicks and actions taken after the email open. 
  • To understand why previously engaged leads are dropping off, look at the emails they opened/clicked then look at the emails they ignored. Is there a disconnect? Were you too pushy and self-promotional? Were you addressing the right audience with those same emails? Should those leads be funneled into another workflow? 
  • Keep track of how many leads become customers after completing the workflow. 
  • Keep track of any leads that become customers after entering the workflow and taking an action but before completing the workflow. 
  • Understand that every lead will not complete the workflow – and that’s a good thing. The point of a nurturing campaign is to better qualify potential leads and weed out leads unlikely to become customers. 

Finally, create a nurturing campaign that you would like to receive. It should make sense, provide interesting information, and tell a story. Lead nurturing is an ever-evolving process. Create a campaign and see how your leads respond.

For more information about lead nurturing or to request a consultation, visit Arc’s contact us page.