A Complete Guide to Creating an Email Nurture Campaign

A Complete Guide to Creating an Email Nurture Campaign
10 December, 2022 • ... • 31295 views
Valeria Shulga
by Valeria Shulga

Loyalty and credibility are the cornerstones of successful relationships with your customers. To establish them, you’ll need to educate clients about your products and services and build trust and awareness of the brand. This is what lead nurturing email campaigns are about.

In this article, we’ll dive deeper into the process of creating long-term relationships with your audience and turning them into loyal customers.

What is an email nurture campaign?

As it is quite obvious from its name, this campaign is meant to nurture the relationship between the prospect and the brand. It focuses on the people that already know about your business, but haven’t bought anything yet. So, it’s a kind of tool to convince a lead to become a customer.

The distinctive feature of the email nurture campaign is that instead of direct sales, you are gently pushing the customer to make a purchase. The person you’re communicating with is already aware of your brand, so the task is to make your relationship more personal and less intrusive. You focus on staying relevant to the prospects and ultimately guide them to a sale.

Let’s see how it works. 

For example, a person uses a free version of a mobile app for meditation. They frequently browse different sections of the app, listen to free meditations, and read stories. One day they receive an email like this:

Email lead nurturing campaign by Headspace
Source: Really Good Emails

A concentrated value, isn’t it? This collection looks really helpful for those who are eager to cope with stress and properly manage their daily activities. Moreover, it has no selling CTA, so a person doesn’t feel an obligation to buy. 

Then the person receives another email, where they’re invited to join a Facebook community of like-minded people to share their experiences and get inspired:

Email lead nurturing campaign by Headspace
Source: Really Good Emails

Again, no sales and obligations –– it’s a dialogue between the consumer and the brand. The business is showing what it has to offer, and it’s up to the consumer to decide whether they need it or not. You’re gently guiding your prospects through the digital marketing process without them explicitly knowing it, “nurturing” them into loyal customers.

Why use an email nurturing sequence?

There are several core benefits of using an email nurturing sequence as a tool in your email marketing kit. Let’s take a closer look at its most important advantages.

Cost-efficiency

Email marketing itself has an impressive ROI –– for every dollar spent you get $36 in return. And email is the most effective online channel for lead nurturing campaigns –– so this makes a perfect match!

Increased leads’ quality and sales

Almost all of the visitors who come to your website or blog aren’t ready to buy right away –– but they may be willing to provide their contact information for a value you will offer. By educating them and showing them the benefits you have, you gradually build trust, turning your leads into potential buyers. They start liking your company! 

Better response rate

Lead nurturing emails get several times more responses than standalone email blasts. Lead nurturing helps prospects to perceive your brand favorably, and provides a wider range of interaction options.

To optimize your email for nurturing, you’ll need to personalize the message by doing proper segmentation. After that, include a piece of valuable content relevant to this particular segment of the audience. The tone of the email should be friendly and open –– don’t try to sell anything and avoid creating a sense of urgency. Remember that sending emails too often will make you appear like a spammer and turn people away from the brand.

How to create an email nurture campaign

Here are 4 simple steps you can take to ensure you generate more customers through a lead nurturing email campaign.

  1. Outline the goal of the campaign

Before starting a lead nurturing sequence, we recommend understanding why you need it. The goals may be:

Goals of marketing automation campaigns
Source: Ascend2

Having figured out the purpose of your campaign, you’ll need to determine your target audience to move them further down the sales funnel and closer to the customer stage.

  1. Determine your target audience

Usually, a business has more than one type of target audience so it’s useless to throw all resources into marketing to only one type of buyer. To set up a lead nurturing campaign, you’ll need to properly define your customer types and segment them before you start creating campaigns.

Segmenting your audience means the right people see your content at the right time.

There are two most popular strategies to define your ideal customer personals and get more information about them:

  • Using Google Analytics to see what type of people interact with your content most
  • Conducting a customer survey to better understand the customers’ needs.
  1. Choose the channels to present your offer

The goal of any email marketing campaign is to create meaningful connections with the audience. The closer you manage to get to the customer, the more likely you get them engaged with your content and offers.

That’s why it is essential to give your customers the option of choosing other possible means of connecting with you. Here’s the information about the most commonly used digital marketing channels:

Channels to communicate with your customers
Source: Statista

As we see from the chart above, it may be via subscription to your newsletter, connecting on social media, or content on your website or blog. Whatever the case, let the prospect choose the channel that suits them best.

  1. Automate your campaign

It is possible to nurture leads and customers after purchases, freebie downloads, subscriptions, sign-ups, etc. To save your resources, you can automate these sorts of campaigns.

Email lead nurturing campaign by Bellroy
An example of the automated email after signing up on the website

Besides cutting down on time spent on manual tasks, here are the other benefits of lead nurturing email automation:

  • Using lead nurturing emails, you have many opportunities to build a positive relationship with your leads appealing to their specific interests and needs. Automated sequences make the personalization process easier.
  • Email automation enables Integration with other digital tools, making touchpoints trackable. Even with low conversion rates, you can increase lead volume at little cost.
  • Automated touchpoints make lead qualification easier with emails acting as a screening tool. 
  • Sales cycles are already long for B2B organizations, and automated emails serve as a virtual sales rep to nurture them.

A series of emails sent automatically to a person who takes a specific action on your website is called an email drip campaign. In the following chapter, we’ll give the definition of this term and see when to use this type of automated sequence.

What is a drip campaign and when to use it

As we’ve already mentioned, an email drip campaign consists of several triggered emails sent automatically at a set time, based on actions the subscribers take. These actions may include:

  • Signing up for an online event
  • Abandoning a shopping cart
  • Placing an order / not placing an order for a long time
  • Registering for a lead magnet on your blog or website and so on.
Email drip campaign by Mastercard
An email sent after having signed up for a webinar –– the first in a drip sequence

We have observed the email drip campaigns, their pros, cons, and strategies to implement to make your sequence work in our ultimate guide to email drip campaigns –– check it out.

Lead nurturing emails best practices

The process of lead nurturing always takes many resources. Building a strategy that leads to warm and solid relationships with your customers is not a one-day job. So, to make your lead nurturing sequence work best for you, follow these practices. 

Always personalize

Different types of your audiences perform different actions and behave differently. That’s why it is essential to personalize your emails to a specific audience. This includes not only who they are as consumers, but also the information about how they interact with your products and services. 

Did they just sign up for updates? Or probably, made a single purchase? What products were they interested in? How long has it been since you last had contact? All those aspects matter when it comes to choosing content to nurture your subscribers.

Here is a good example of a personalized email by Epic! based on the customer’s preferences and behavior on the website.

Email lead nurturing campaign by Epic!
Source: Really Good Emails

Such an approach is more likely to hit the target and make the subscriber interested in further interaction with your brand.

Another example of a personalized email based on the customers’ behavior on the website:

Email lead nurturing campaign by Mack Weldon

You can send them a selection of products they were looking for, and add a bit of urgency by reminding them that they may sell out soon.

Test out different subject lines

The subject line has the power to make the subscriber open your email ASAP, or leave it unnoticed. 

The best subject line is usually short and descriptive enough to trigger the audience’s curiosity. Compare these lines –– which one could make you read the email?

  • Welcome aboard! Check the instruction for the new users inside this email
  • [Name], here’s a little something to get you started…

The second subject line is shorter, yet it manages to evoke curiosity. Due to personalization, it seems to be more attentive and “humanized”, while the first one looks just like a standard text. 

But, when planning your subject line, mind your target audience and use the individual approach. If you’re a serious company with the majority of your customers aged 60+, it might be inappropriate to crack jokes or use a casual, “buddy-buddy” tone of voice.

If you’re not sure about your subject line, A/B test two variants to see which one works best. Watch the open rates of each email in your lead nurturing campaign and test out some new subject lines to see if you can improve them. Otherwise, your email marketing efforts could go to waste  

Include the unsubscribe option

It is highly recommended to include an unsubscribe option in your lead nurturing sequence. It will help your leads feel more secure –– thus, they know if they don’t want to hear more from you, they may leave at any time.

Unsubscribe button in the Marketing Brew’s newsletter
An example of an unsubscribe button at the bottom of the Marketing Brew’s newsletter

Get feedback from your sales team

Don’t forget about the key purpose of your campaign –– conversion of leads into customers. Your sales team is the experts in this field and knows more about what it takes to convert customers. Before you launch the sequence, contact your sales team, let them check the sequence, and leave honest feedback.

Top nurture campaign examples

Let’s observe the 5 most attention-worthy examples of lead nurturing emails.

Casper

Email lead nurturing campaign by Casper
Source: Really Good Emails

At first sight, it seems that it’s just an ordinary abandoned cart email –– but Casper managed to add a fun twist to it. It asks the reader if they’d like to go back to a cart on the website, shows what they were shopping for, and includes two clear and obvious CTAs.

Sephora

Email lead nurturing campaign by Sephora
Source: Really Good Emails

A visual email for the visual brand. It immediately grabs readers’ attention with vivid bright images of products and a flirty greeting “Hey, good lookin’”. The CTAs are not so obvious and look unobtrusively so that you don’t feel obliged to click and buy.

Skillshare

Email lead nurturing campaign by Skillshare
Source: Really Good Emails

Gamification is a great tool when it comes to increasing subscribers’ engagement! If combined with a caring and attentive approach, it works even better. In this campaign, Skillshare shows how much they care about their customers and their emotional state and did it in a non-banal way.

Harry’s

Email lead nurturing campaign by Harry’s
Source: Really Good Emails

A perfect combination of hidden sales with educational content. Two CTAs look relevant and not annoying. Part informational, part fun, this email encourages its reader to enjoy reading it even if they aren’t planning to buy anything at the moment.

Duolingo

Email lead nurturing campaign by Duolingo
Source: Really Good Emails

A great idea to increase the users’ engagement is to show them their progress in numbers and images. Duolingo does it in a friendly and engaging way. Also, such an email is a nice reminder to go on and continue learning, drawing attention to the effect the product has on those who buy it.

Conclusion

Lead nurturing is a continuous process that requires much time and effort. Instead of direct sales, you are gently pushing the customer to make a purchase. It has a number of benefits:

  1. Cost-efficiency
  2. Increased leads’ quality and sales
  3. Better response rate

To create an effective lead nurturing sequence, you’ll need to take 4 simple steps:

  1. Outline the goal of the campaign –– do you need to increase sales? Or improve engagement? Or, maybe, you want to grow your digital marketing productivity? Define a purpose before you start.
  2. Determine your target audiences –– properly define your customer types and segment them before you start creating campaigns.
  3. Choose the channels to present your offer –– give your customers the option of choosing other possible means of connecting with you.
  4. Automate your campaign to save your time and effort, and make it more effective.

A good email nurture campaign has several characteristics:

  • It is personalized. This includes not only who your audience is as consumers, but also the ways they interact with your products and services.
  • It has an engaging subject line. The best subject line is usually short and descriptive enough to trigger the audience’s curiosity. 
  • It always includes the unsubscribe option, helping your leads feel more secure.

We hope that the strategies above will help you to create a lead nurturing sequence that brings you more sales and satisfied customers!

10 December, 2022
Article by
Valeria Shulga
A writer by nature, study, and trade with more than 7 years of experience. Contributor at Selzy wearing many hats: I create special content projects, write articles, and own Facebook and Reddit communities. My expertise lies in email and content marketing, but I also have experience with the topics of real estate and immigration. Outside of work, I like spending my free time learning foreign languages, seeing plays at our local theaters, and doing yoga.
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