Lead nurturing programs are the backbone of many marketing programs. Also known as drip campaigns, these programs are aimed at continually engaging leads in the hopes of them become a customer. Drip campaigns automate processes that send a set group of messages and/or content to sales leads. This constant and consistent engagement moves the leads through the sales cycle which reduced effort on your behalf. A good lead nurturing program not only touches leads at the right time, it also provides tailored, relevant information.
You will want to use drip programs for ongoing marketing campaigns and to nurture leads that may not be sales-ready. With sophisticated tools you will be able to determine and set the readiness of a lead so that your engagement with them is at the right level. For example you may call a lead that sends you a request for information via your online form, but a lead that downloads a datasheet may not be ready for direct contact.
While there are some great tools out there, such as Pardot, to help automate your lead nurturing programs, we’ve also put together some tips and tricks to make sure you execute the best possible program.
Let’s begin where most marketing initiatives start, setting defined goals.It’s important to have a clear idea of where you’re going and what you would like to accomplish.
- Target leads/prospects via email nurturing campaigns with relevant content based on previous actions
- Move quiet leads through the funnel by re-engaging them
- Increase click rate on emails by x%
- Increase the number of “hot” leads by x%
Tip: While the first two above examples are good to define, be sure to have quantifiable, measure goals as wells such as examples three and four.
Identify Content and Paths
This step is surprisingly difficult for people. The desire to cram the drip campaigns with every piece of content under the sun, send 15 emails or to segment out the wazoo are the biggest culprits. Look back to your original goals and make sure your content and paths reflect it. Paths should based on the audience. For example, if you sell 5 different products be sure that when a lead enters it is flagged with product interest. The drip program they are part of should have content that talks about their product interest.
Tip: Start at the end and work backwards. Determine what factor will trigger an action from your sales team and figure out what information your leads may need to reach that trigger.
Create a Checklist
Before you start building your drip campaign, a checklist should be created to outline all of the necessary materials, steps and/or stakeholders.
- Confirm sales rep trigger with head of sales department
- List all content items
- Assign content to possible paths
- Create landing pages
- Tag URLs (using custom redirects and UTM parameters)
- Draft email templates
- Determine drip campaign email lists from existing lead list
- Update CRM/Marketing Automation Solution to tag income leads with necessary information to funnel them into the appropriate campaigns
Tip: Having a checklist will also help with time management and staying on track!
Build the Program(s)
When it comes to building your lead nurturing campaigns below are a list of things to think about.
- Choose names for your drips that are scalable, and easy to remember
- Think about your audience’s time zone. If you are selling internationally, think about language too!
- To help you out, use tags for information like product interest, language, and geography
- Know who your audience is, and who it isn’t (use suppression lists to keep certain people from getting drip emails, great for ensuring competitors don’t get your emails)
- Tag recipients who pass certain stages so you can identify what kind of content they engaged with. This is great info when you are reviewing and making improvements.
Tip: Take the time to write well thought-out emails. Provide relevant, intriguing subject lines and content. By keeping emails short and to the point you reduce the risk of losing your lead’s interest. Be sure that the emails position your company as a resource that recipients shouldn’t be afraid to approach with questions, your ultimate goal it to make a sale or at the very least open the door to a conversation which will result in one.
Review and Adjust
Post launch, you’ll need to evaluate to see if there are any areas that need improvement. Be sure to refer back to your initial goals as well as dive deep into each touch point.
- Why are click-through rates higher in one email than the other?
- Where do people stop engaging or start to fall off?
- Are we meeting our goals and can we do better?
- Is there a certain type of content that performs better than the others
- Are there characteristics of our audience we can attribute to success/failures?