Lead Nurturing Drip Campaigns: The Complete Guide to a High Performing Sales Funnel
Our lead nurturing campaign was frozen, and I had no idea.
Our conversions dropped by more than half.
There were no notices or alerts, but I knew something was wrong.
Turns out, an invalid rule in our marketing automation system kept everyone at the first step of our lead nurturing funnel.
By fixing our lead nurturing campaign, we immediately recovered our trial to paid conversion rate.
Before I go too far into the shocking reality of NOT having a lead nurturing campaign, let me highlight the benefit.
An effective lead nurturing campaign has landed us deals that were over a year old!
The LeadFuze blog has hundreds of pieces of content. We don’t just blog for the sake of blogging and organic keyword rankings. We repurpose this content as part of a long term lead nurturing strategy.
With hundreds of posts, that’s a LOT of opportunities to slowly drip our content to signups. This drip funnel will last years. That’s one way we stay top of mind with our leads.
Does your business have a lead nurturing campaign?
Every business should have one, but many never put one together.
This guide will help you create multiple lead nurturing campaigns for the different segments of your funnel and the different attributes of your leads.
It will lead you step-by-step from creating your ideal client profile, to identifying the steps in the buyer’s journey, and on through testing your lead nurturing campaigns. Enjoy!
Engineering A Relationship: Lead Nurturing Campaign Best Practices
50% of leads are not ready to buy when you initially contact them.
What are you doing with the leads that don’t convert right away?
If your answer is “nothing,” you are missing out on a huge number potential sales.
By instituting a lead nurturing campaign sequence, you can guide those prospects through the buyer’s journey, while earning their trust and ensuring you reach them at the right time.
To help you along the way, here are some of the main the do’s and don’ts of a successful lead nurturing campaign.
Lead Nurturing Do’s
Segment your list
Use filters in your mailing list program or CRM to filter your leads by their buyer traits such as industry or job function.
This can help you create lead nurturing campaign sequences specific to each type of buyer.
You should also be segmenting your list by what stage of the buying funnel a prospect is currently in. By doing this, you can include relevant offers such as demos, free trials, or coupons to those leads who have progressed further into the funnel.
Use plain text emails
Consider staying away from HTML-based emails.
Plain text emails generally look more genuine to those receiving them during a lead nurturing campaign. Plus, you can save all that design time and put it towards producing amazing content for the emails, instead of just pretty pictures.
Along with plain text, use plain English.
Keep the written content concise and simple to understand. PrintWand suggests keeping your email simple enough to be understood by a 7th grader.
Not sure if your text is simple enough? Try editing it using the Hemingway App. This free to use tool gives your text a readability score. The lower the number, the easier it is to read. The app also give various suggestions on how to make your writing clearer, stronger, and easier to read.
Keep permission to stay in contact
Don’t lose the one thing you have going for you right now: your lead has given you permission to stay in touch.
This is a big deal. 53% of leads will stop responding as soon as the information becomes irrelevant.
Make sure you are sending your leads relevant and timely information that will keep them subscribed and opening emails from you.
Relevant lead nurturing campaign emails have 4 to 10 times the response rate of standard email blasts.
Couple email with other touch points such as direct mail, social media, and webinars to feed information in different forms.
Make your business a thought leader
Give your leads a reason to keep opening your emails.
Provide them with quality, thought-provoking content that shows you to be an authority in your niche.
Don’t stray too far from the product or service that got the lead to respond in the first place.
Instead, offer them heavy hitting guides and tools that they can use as they move through the buying stages. This is paramount to creating a great lead nurturing campaign.
Lead Nurturing Don’ts
Email leads every day
Be timely with your emails. Emailing leads every day is the fastest way to get them to unsubscribe.
Pay attention to how much you’re emailing your future customers during your lead nurturing campaign.
Now, this bears testing. In fact, LeadFuze DOES send daily emails the first 7 days before then slowly spreading them out to every days and eventually setting in on a weekly cadence.
We tested slower send times between emails, and saw a decrease in conversion. Does it piss some people off? Sure… but the numbers speak for themselves at the end of the day.
Send every lead the same email
This goes hand in hand with segmenting your list.
The same content won’t resonate with everyone. Make sure to differentiate your content based on who it’s being sent to.
Do more than just change the name and industry.
Try writing new emails designed specifically for each of your list segments. Click here to take a look at some great email templates.
In our marketing automation system, we can actually change content within the same email based on different traits of our signups. For example, if you are already signed up for a trial, when we send a lead nurturing email for our blog content, we will not ask you to sign up for a trial to get 25 leads free.
However, if you have NOT signed up for 25 free leads, then our lead nurturing emails invite you to sign up for those leads.
LeadFuze is a software solution to help you build lists of accurate leads automatically, while integrating with sales outreach tools to allow you to contact those freshly verified leads.
Leave your team out of the loop
Your marketing team will be the primary task owner for your lead nurturing campaign, but you should still involve your sales team when designing the nurturing sequence.
Your salespeople can tell marketing the best way to approach your prospects’ needs and pain points.
Including them in the creation of your sequence makes it easier and more effective than if marketing does it alone.
Start lead nurturing without content to back it up
You should start generating content even before you have a lead nurturing system in place.
That way, when you do start your sequence, you’ll have plenty of ready-made items to include in your emails or social posts.
Your content can include blog posts, images, infographics, anything that you could send to prospects as a new source of information or knowledge.
Advanced Lead Nurturing Campaign Strategy
Before you can create your lead nurturing email sequence, you must first understand who your ideal leads are.
You can do this by creating detailed personas of your target market.
Think about how you can segment them into meaningful groups to make your lead nurturing campaign more personalized and poignant.
What are your ideal lead’s needs? Pain points? Goals? Do they hold a certain job title? Are there certain topics they are interested in?
Think about your persona when creating sign-up forms for your website.
What questions can you ask your leads to help you assign them the correct persona?
You obviously can’t get everything in a sign-up form, since quick and easy is expected, but you can glean some gems that will make it easier to segment them.
Once you’ve created your persona, zero in on the few properties that would be hardest to determine without being explicitly told. Those are the ones to put on your sign-up form.
Segment Existing Content
Segmenting your content is nearly as important as segmenting your list for your lead nurturing campaign.
The process is nearly the same as well.
Make a list of your existing content: blog posts, videos, webinars, white papers, industry news.
Anything that could be used to educate or entertain your prospect in some way.
Once you have your list, start assigning funnel sections to each piece.
Think about which portion of your sales process would most benefit from a particular piece of content.
If you were in the researching phase, would you want a webinar of the benefits of your service? Or would you rather have a white paper or blog post discussing why you need such a service in the first place?
You should also segment your content based on who would want it and what it addresses.
An industry analysis is probably more suited to someone in management or marketing, while engineering would appreciate a white paper on technical troubleshooting or research into an up-and-coming solution.
What pain points does your content address?
Does it offer solutions or just further insight into the problem?
Who would want to read or watch it? Is it for CEOs or IT specialists?
All of these questions and many more will help you figure out where your content belongs in your lead nurturing campaign sequence.
You should definitely be thinking about your personas when segmenting the content.
Ask yourself whether your ideal lead within your lead nurturing campaign would be interested in each individual piece of content.
If yes, add it to the list. If no, consider your other personas until you find one that fits.
If it’s not relative or informative to any of them, then leave it out.
There’s no need to squeeze all of your content into your lead nurturing campaign.
After determining where your content fits in the sequence, try as hard as you can to make all of your content available on your website, rather than sending leads to a third party such as LinkedIn or YouTube.
Sending them away from your website could lead to hours of cat videos instead of meaningful browsing of your site.
Decide on Your Timeline
If you’ve been in business for any decent length of time, you should have a good idea of how long prospects take to move through your sales funnel.
Use this knowledge to determine the best length for your lead nurturing campaigns.
For example, if top-of-funnel prospects generally move to the middle of the funnel or consideration phase after 2 months, your lead nurturing sequence for top-of-funnel should be 2-2.5 months long.
Knowing the length of your campaign in real time can help you decide the frequency and number of your emails.
A 2-week lead nurturing campaign will have fewer emails than a 4-month one.
Keep in mind the lead nurturing best practices we discussed last week.
The recommended frequency is between 6 and 45 days for longer campaigns.
Shorter ones will have an increased frequency, but in most cases, you probably won’t want to email prospects every day.
The last thing to consider with your timeline is how you will move your prospect through the funnel.
Your lead nurturing campaign should naturally lead the prospect to the next step in the sales process.
Craft calls to action that help you determine when the prospect is ready to move to the next stage, such as downloading content that you’ve assigned to the next funnel segment.
Create Your Drip Campaign Emails
You should create a variety of emails for your lead nurturing campaign that will keep your customers engaged and entertained.
Depending on where they are in the buying process, your leads will be interested in different things. Use this to craft emails that speak to them and their current needs.
Types of Lead Nurturing Campaign Emails
Use this type of email often, but especially in the early stages of your funnel.
Prospects in this stage are still researching the industry and are interested in learning what is out there, what they need to know, and what they should avoid.
These emails shouldn’t be overly salesy, but should show your company as a thought leader within your niche.
By educating your leads, you are building trust and familiarity that should make it easier for them to pick you when they reach the buying stage.
If there is long-form content presented in the email, include a small blurb about the content and why your prospect will like it. Then link directly to the content on your website.
This type of email is great for prospects in the middle of the funnel.
They know all they need to know about the industry, but are now looking for providers.
Asking them to connect via Facebook, LinkedIn, other social media or your blog helps them gain insight into your company practices and community involvement.
They will be able to see how you treat and respond to customers and how active you are in resolving issues.
By asking them to follow you, instead of seeking them out, you gain a valuable follower who is really interested in hearing what you say, instead of someone who is just following you out of some sense of reciprocity.
This one is most useful in later stages of your funnel when your prospect already has several providers in mind and is attempting to pick one.
Offer a free trial and you could that much closer to converting them.
These lead nurturing emails are necessarily sales oriented, but they shouldn’t be overly so.
Keep these emails scarce because you don’t want to inundate prospects with demos or promotions when they still aren’t ready to buy.
The best position for this type of email may be near the end of your lead nurturing campaign, when the prospect has had plenty of time to explore your services and other content.
Use this email when your lead has been unresponsive for a while.
Maybe they aren’t opening your emails as often or clicking through to the offered content.
Take the opportunity to ask them what they don’t like about the content or why they aren’t interested in it.
Best case scenario, they let you know what’s wrong, giving you valuable insight into the mind of your prospects.
Worst case scenario, they unsubscribe and you can dedicate those resources to more qualified leads.
Writing Emails For Different Personas
If you’ve segmented your content, this part should be easy.
It’s entirely possible to use the same email template for different personas. Just be sure to customize the text of the email and the content presented.
Below is an email template from Hubspot that can be used for almost any section of your funnel and any persona. If you’re stuck, use this as a starting point.
Having a quality drip campaign, is the most critical aspect of your lead nurturing strategy.
So let’s take a deep dive into drip email campaigns.
What Are Drip Marketing Campaigns?
Typically, a drip campaign refers to a series of marketing messages sent out to a list of subscribers.
However, lead nurturing requires a more personalized effort.
It is not about sending a series of marketing messages; it is about understanding whether a lead will benefit from your marketing message and whether that message will trigger engagement.
Advanced lead nurturing campaigns include automated drip campaigns, but these campaigns are triggered based on lead behavior and dynamic segmentation.
Dynamic segmentation refers to segmenting leads based on their behavior.
A lead behavior continues to change throughout the buyer’s cycle.
To understand which lead is moving down the marketing funnel, you can assign lead scores.
However, you can have a scenario where two leads exhibit similar total scores, but they will not engage with the same type of marketing message.
To understand the difference, you need to look at the browsing pathway.
It can be that one of the two leads spent a majority time browsing your pricing page and feature pages.
The other lead may have just browsed through all the pages, leading to a similar total score.
But it is evident that the former lead is closer to getting converted than the latter.
Lead nurturing practices require a lot of monitoring and tracking accompanied with efficient lead management.
Each lead takes up a different path and reacts differently to your marketing efforts.
So, the typical drip marketing has now evolved into behavior-based lead nurturing drip marketing.
Automated Drip Campaigns for Better Lead Nurturing and Conversions
Drip campaigns designed for lead nurturing are highly personalized.
Leads are segmented based on their demographics, firmographics, in-app and website behavior, and stages of the buyer’s cycle.
Based on these factors (and more), drip campaigns are automatically triggered.
It is wrong to believe that drip campaigns benefit only the marketers.
It is equally beneficial for the sales team.
I can say this because the whole thing goes back to the “mandatory” marketing-sales alignment concept even before you start thinking about implementing automation.
Critical Drip Email Marketing Campaigns
It is a fact that not all leads engage in the same way.
Some are pretty active, while others are too reluctant to take note of your emails.
Whatever it is, email campaigns continue to be the most preferred communication channel.
Although marketers are adopting multi-channel marketing, emails still take the limelight. Hence, automated email drips are a mandate to nurture leads.
1. Welcome Drips
When you sign up or subscribe to a platform, immediately you receive a welcome email.
It consists of your first name (which is now very common in almost any email campaign), a short welcome message, an overview of the kind of experience you will have with the brand, and a small milestone to begin with.
The email will mostly be signed off either by the CEO/founder or maybe the marketing person.
Whoever it is, you will instantly know it is a real person (avoiding spam folders or worse).
This helps in building a bond with the brand.
You keep receiving emails from this same person which creates an online-relationship.
Later, when this person actually gives you a call, you can instantly relate.
Below is one such welcome email from Smart Insights that one of my colleagues had received.
If you look closely, it instantly tells you how Smart Insights will help you in ‘improving your digital marketing capabilities’.
To get things rolling, Smart Insights offers a customized recommendation and also an “alternative”.
Everyone wants to know their competitive ranking, which is why the green CTA with “See how you compare” words strikes the perfect chord.
2. Onboarding Emails
Welcome emails are usually followed by onboarding emails.
Onboarding email drips are designed to help you get acquainted with the brand and its various resources.
These emails are based on behavior-tracking, because often you might receive emails helping you pick up from the exact point where you got stuck while using the product/services.
Check out this onboarding email from Dropbox:
This email can also be tagged as a re-engagement email.
It tries to nudge users to download the desktop version of Dropbox while simultaneously telling the benefits of doing so.
The clean design template of Dropbox is my favorite kind here.
Another favorite is this email from Canva, a designing platform.
I received this email while I was designing wedding cards for my own wedding.
I continuously looked for wedding card templates and kept editing quite a few number of them.
And then I woke up to this email that clearly tracked my activities and sent me some handy tips.
My friends say it’s simply because it was wedding season around; I prefer to be logical!
3. Promotional Drip Campaigns
This is fairly popular.
I’m sure you have tons of emails announcing various promo codes and seasonal offers.
Come the end of the year, I’m sure you have already received multiple Halloween, Black-Friday, Christmas, and New Year promotional offers.
PS: Many find promotional emails annoying. I hated it when I received discounts after I upgraded to a premium plan of a particular landing page building tool. It was annoying. Also, emails that are clustered with images and bright colors hurt eyes.
Pro Tip: Ensure you are sending your promo emails to people who will engage with the same.
It makes no point to send a huge discount offer to someone who has already paid for that same service/product.
Also, nicely designed emails aligning to your brand proposition and the season work well.
For instance, look at this email from Urban Ladder. Oh! That lovely way of saying a Christmas Story. The story is about how ‘Grinch’ stole Urban Ladder’s furniture and what happened next.
Read the full story here.
This is by far the best Christmas promotional email I have received.
It may be long, but emails like this make you read the whole story and also check the offers (which is the main purpose of this email).
Yet, look at the way they connect with the Christmas Spirit.
Other Email Drip Campaigns That Trigger Higher Conversions
Educational and Awareness Drip Email Campaigns
These emails are solely targeted towards educating and creating a brand awareness after a visitor subscribes or signs up (usually designed for bulk sending).
However, certain lead behavior is taken into consideration while segmenting leads for these emails.
Some leads might require basic educational information about the brand, while others might engage with a more narrowed down content piece.
For instance, when you sign up with a brand, you receive emails on overall industry aspects.
Slowly as you start engaging, your email content narrows down as per your interests.
As more time passes and you start using the brand/upgrade to a premium version, you get emails that are industry related and are also concentrated on how better you can use that tool/services for better results.
You must have some leads that were once very active, but suddenly stopped engaging?
To trigger engagement, you need to know why they stopped being active in the first place.
Maybe they did not get what they expected. Or maybe the content in your last email was not aligned to their interests.
In such cases, creating a re-engagement drip campaign often helps in rekindling old connections in a smarter way.
You can conduct an A/B test with a handful of leads before you send to the entire list.
Transactional Emails (Mainly for B2C Brands)
Imagine you opt for a premium plan of an automation tool.
Your payment is done, your amount is deducted from your account, but you still haven’t received an email confirmation about the same.
Yep, it’s frustrating and your anxiety will rise in no time.
Transactional emails based on lead activity help in relieving your leads from these anxieties.
You can add special offers, product reminders, tips, best practices, etc in these transaction emails to make them more beneficial.
Welcome to Cross Drip Marketing!
I’m sure you will agree that whenever someone talks or writes about drip marketing, the entire focus is concentrated over drip email campaigns.
Well, I am not against it, but there is another kind of drip marketing that people talk less about – push drip campaigns.
What Are Push Campaigns?
Push notification campaigns can be awesome.
I agree that emails have a great one-to-one communication feeling, but push notifications are much more personalized.
It sits silently without disturbing you or forcing you to take a look.
Yet, thanks to the prevalent use of dynamic content in these notification campaigns, push messages are highly eye-catching.
These are short and crisp, accompanied by a short link that will not require you to visit the website or launch the app.
When you haven’t viewed your notifications on phone, they silently keep adding up over your app icon. Something like this:
Push Drip Campaigns
You can run an email drip, push drip, and an SMS campaign together.
Based on lead behavior, score, and activities from each campaign, you can trigger another campaign.
Sounds complicated, doesn’t it?
Let’s say you create a drip email campaign for leads that upgrade to a premium plan from free trial.
When they finish the purchase, you send an email.
If they leave mid-way, you automatically bucket these leads for two campaigns — you send a push notification urging them to opt for the premium plan to get certain benefits instantly.
You provide a link directly for completing the process.
This message is followed by another email after two days urging for the same action but in a more elaborate way.
This way, you can cross drip multiple campaigns across many channels.
Like I said, using dynamic content within push messages has increased the credibility of this marketing channel.
You can choose to turn off all push notifications on your phone or from your browser settings.
By using dynamic content, you can show your leads same message in various ways.
For instance, multiple language support helps in showing your message in local language based on your lead’s location.
Or, the same offer is shown to two leads in two different ways based on buying pattern.
Behavior-Based Lead Nurturing Campaigns Are the Key to Higher Conversions
Consumers are pretty conscious these days.
You cannot feed them any random information and expect them to engage.
Your leads have ample information at hand, all thanks to the internet that’s a gamut of information.
Hence, centering all marketing strategies on lead behavior and lead engagement is the root to getting more conversions.
If you are not tracking and connecting with your leads on a emotional level, they will ditch you in no time.
By emotional connection, I am not saying you start exchanging poems over SMS (one of my colleagues did think this to be a viable way!!!).
Every brand has a unique proposition that solves a particular pain point.
All you need to do is grasp that painful chord and suggest an easy solution for the same.
When you know what your leads want, it becomes easier to draft marketing messages. And with the right kind of message, your lead nurturing drip campaigns will stir engagement and create higher conversions.
Still with me? Well, now it’s time to get these lead nurturing drip campaigns rolling…
If you’ve followed along to this point, your lead nurturing campaigns should be ready to go.
All that’s left to do on this side is to activate them.
Use whatever CRM you have to set up your defined segments and campaigns.
Then integrate them with the different sign-up locations on your website.
Make sure the in-content sign ups lead to the funnel you assigned them to, and that you have precautions in place to avoid sending your leads repetitive content suggestions.
Evaluate Your Lead Nurturing Campaigns
Once your lead nurturing campaigns have been active for a while, you’ll have a wealth of new information to pour through to make them even better.
What Isn’t Working?
Find the individual emails that aren’t performing well and attempt to figure out why.
Use a combination of split tests and multi-variant tests to increase the CTR and open rates and bring these emails back in line with the rest of your campaign.
What Is Working?
Likewise, pull out those emails that seem to be performing above average.
Think about what makes that particular email special and use split testing again to verify your hypotheses.
Once you know why it works, you can replicate that feature or design across your campaigns.
You should always be testing and aiming to make your campaigns and your conversion rate better.
What works now might not work in 6 months or a year.
Even if you aren’t continuously updating, you should still be checking your stats regularly so that you can catch a drop in open rates or CTR quickly, and start testing a new draft.
How To Pick The Best Content For Your Lead Nurturing Campaign Emails
An important part of creating a successful lead nurturing campaign sequence is the content that you provide within it.
Educate your prospects and you’ll put your business at the front of their minds when they are looking for providers.
But picking which content to include in your sequences can be a daunting task.
Here’s how to make it easier:
Segment By Funnel Position
Not all of your content is suitable for every stage of your funnel.
In fact, the best content should focus on a single stage.
Either you are educating, entertaining, or selling, but it’s hard to effectively do more than one of those things in a single piece of content, so don’t try to.
As you are writing new content, think of who you are writing it for and what they would want out of a post on the subject you’re considering.
Top of Funnel
Posts that focus mainly on your industry, as opposed to your company, will be best for top of funnel.
Here, prospects are still researching the types of services they want and the benefits they need.
Examples of top of funnel posts include things like “What is CRM?” and “Why you need a social media manager.”
Middle of Funnel
You can also use a variety of different content styles, like guest posts, ebooks, tip sheets, and infographics.
Middle of funnel posts should concentrate on the features and benefits of your business.
They should still be educating the customer, but should focus on deeper issues that your company solves.
Middle funnel content is your opportunity to build a relationship with your customer.
An example of middle of funnel content is “How to build and manage a virtual team.”
Again, you have a variety of content to choose from including webinars, case studies, demos and buying guides.
For prospects at the bottom of the funnel, content should focus on getting them to convert. They are ready to make a purchase, so your job at this stage is to handle and dismiss any final objections they may have.
Bottom of Funnel
Bottom of funnel content may include things like free trials, follow-up consultations, and offers or discounts.
Include testimonials from current customers if you’ve got them, and focus any email marketing or blog posts on niche specific problems, rather than broad industry topics.
Segment By Topic
Another very useful method of segmenting your content is to do so by topic.
Think about the interests, needs or pain points that each specific piece of content addresses and who would be most likely to benefit from it.
This approach is similar to segmenting by funnel position because different people will be looking at your content for different reasons.
You can often determine at least some of these reasons by knowing which stage of the funnel your ideal prospects will start from.
An IT specialist, CEO or upper level manager will probably start near the middle of your funnel, as they most likely have a good deal of understanding about their problem and are looking now for possible solutions.
Conversely, a project manager, engineer, or other staff may begin their search at the top of the funnel. They have most likely been assigned the problem and are looking for a mountain of information before working on a course of action that they can introduce to higher-ups.
Repurpose Existing Content
Making sure that you have enough content for all funnel positions and personas doesn’t mean that you need to continuously generate tons of new content.
You may be just as well off repurposing some of your existing content.
Could you take a few of your how-to posts and turn them into a downloadable ebook? What about turning some list posts into an infographic?
Do you have a rockstar client testimonial that would make a great case study?
Could you record one of your webinars and use it as a lead magnet?
There are many ways to repurpose existing content. All it takes is a little imagination and a little more time.
Use Google Analytics (or whatever analytics you have) to find your best-selling content.
Think about how you could repurpose that piece or duplicate that type of post with a new subject.
Picking the right content for your lead nurturing campaign emails doesn’t have to be so hard.
Consider what you already know about your prospects and your funnel to build sequences that appeal to each of your ideal personas.
Repurpose existing content into a new format and consider using the new format exclusively for your list subscribers or as a lead magnet. Doing so can make old information exciting and fresh again.
Other Lead Nurturing Ideas
Harness the power of social media
Hopefully, you have social media fully integrated into your strategy — whether it’s a Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn, you should be putting your name out there on social media.
However, aside from posting content and targeting with ads, you should be using it to nurture leads.
There should be a wealth of new posts floating around from leads in your CRM.
Make sure you interact with these posts — a like, comment, or even a feature on your own page will do wonders for your image, and the next time they want to buy, they’ll come to you.
Make sure you’re also responding quickly to private messages and making any negative experiences a priority to fix.
Having an active community will do some of the work for you in terms of organic marketing, but you need to nurture it as well by being responsive and relatable.
Social media is also the ideal platform for retargeting. Experiment with your sponsored posts based on what your leads engaged with. See if you can draw them in again.
This type of retargeting is a little more high-level, and takes some engineering, but it can be really effective.
For this to work, you need to think about what those leads are doing on your website, what they’re interested in, and why they’re interested. Then you need to create specific funnels that retarget based on those interests and needs.
Someone who visited your home page and then clicked away does not fall into this category.
“Lead Nurturing” for Customers?
This whole guide has been for people who have NOT yet purchased.
But lead nurturing campaigns to existing customers can be just as valuable, if not more profitable, than those who have not yet bought from you.
Using these lead nurturing strategies can lead to more repeat purchases.
12 Ways to Nurture Customer Relationships After a Sale
You did it!
You closed that deal you have been working on for a month.
The skies have parted, the birds are singing — you are the man (or woman)!
Does life get any better than here in this moment?
Enjoy your 15 minutes of office fame and then get ready for the hardest part — customer retention.
It’s not enough to collect your commission check and jump to the next prospect (though that certainly is the enjoyable part).
You need to develop a great rapport with your customer that will keep them coming back for more.
Don’t rely solely on the efforts of the marketing team to keep the customer happy.
As the point of contact you should be working to nurture those relationships as well.
Even if you hand over your new client to the account management department it doesn’t mean you can’t still maintain a relationship.
Think of creating that positive customer relationship like courting someone.
For the millennials out there, that’s the act of impressing and winning over the object of your affection.
It’s this crazy little thing our parents and grandparents once did.
It’s okay… I’m technically a millennial myself 🙂
Check out these 10 tips for nurturing customer relationships and you can once again go back to celebrating your sales rockstar status!
1. Gain and Maintain Trust
Of course the key to a great relationship is trust.
You wouldn’t surround yourself with questionable people in your personal life, right?
If a customer isn’t 100% sure that you are trustworthy, your relationship isn’t going to be a healthy one.
So how do you accomplish this trust?
Building a relationship means giving advice when it isn’t an attempt to close a deal.
It means listening to the client and developing yourself as an expert in their eyes.
While your goal is of course to maintain a professional relationship, it doesn’t mean you can’t joke, laugh or act like an actual person when you are speaking with your customers.
No one likes a sales robot, don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through.
Editors Note from Josh Slone: On a personal note, I know for a fact that this works.
While working for a company as a long time client of a popular email platform, I attended 6 years of sales conferences where I had the chance to meet up with my sales rep.
He was funny, personable and made me love the company more.
I looked forward to clearing my schedule for a call because I was always learning something from him!
Every sales call with him after that initial meeting and his follow-up afterwards, I related to him on a more personal level, trusted him when he offered additional add-ons and continued to reach out with questions I came across.
Point of the story = be a person, not a sales robot and your customers will love you for the personal touch!
2. Over-Deliver Always
It’s no wonder that as long as we have been in the workforce we have been beaten over the head with the cliche “under promise and over deliver.”
When it comes to keeping customers happy, this should truly be our anthem.
Maintaining a great relationship once you’ve closed the sale, means that the result of the purchase needs to live up to expectations.
This is where over delivering comes in.
You never want your client to feel like you mislead them to believing they were getting something wonderful when really the result is so-so.
The older under promise over deliver method is not the best method.
Under promising isn’t going to help, in fact, it could actually hurt but over delivering should be something you strive for each time.
Every salesperson can deliver what’s promised but you will stand out when you prove you are more than a service provider.
Exceed expectations always and your customers will keep coming back again and again.
3. Create Google Alerts for Their Company News
If you are working with a larger company, the easiest way to make sure you are up-to-date is to create a Google Alerts notification.
If you haven’t done this before, it’s actually really simple, as this Google Alerts guide shows you.
Google News allows you to customize the news that you see.
Say your client is American Airlines for example. You create an alert for American Airlines news and you will be notified anytime news is reported on the company.
This makes staying up-to-date with company happenings as easy as simply checking your notification.
Next time you talk to the customer, you’ll be knowledgeable about any new direction they may be going and it may even offer you an opportunity to upsell!
4. Keep Consistent Contact
Don’t be afraid to reach out periodically. Maintaining consistent contact with your customers is a good way to stay front of mind.
A word of warning on this however.
There’s a fine line between consistent contact and bothering someone.
Know your customer and feel it out.
Chances are, they are just as busy as you. Don’t sabotage your efforts by driving them crazy, but certainly checking in now and again is not going to cause any harm.
Be aware of the messaging and frequency with which your account management or marketing department is reaching out and follow up when there is a new update or product rolled out.
Coordinating all your customer touch points will greatly help your relationship in the future.
Additionally, every time you close a sale, be sure you are connecting on LinkedIn. This is the easiest and most professional way to maintain contact without interrupting their daily lives.
5. Continue to Learn with Each and Every Interaction
When you really begin to listen when a customer talks, you will learn what’s important to them.
Finding mutual interests is a great way to engage in discussions not solely related to work. You both have the same favorite sports team? Perfect.
Having a common ground to start from will help nurture your relationship.
6. Offer Advice When You Can Help
Relationships flourish when your clients look to you as not just a salesperson but an authority in your field.
Become an adviser whenever possible. One great trick that is often underutilized in sales is referring your customers to other customers when you can.
Part of building relationships is learning more about your customers.
Keep a collection of business cards (or something more high tech if you like) and when you hear of a need one company has, refer them to another.
You have a client who builds homes but doesn’t paint them? Well, refer them to a handyman who does business with you.
Now you are nurturing two relationships at once!
7. Utilize Referral Incentives
As salespeople, we rely heavily on referrals to grow our customer base.
Not everyone is going to give you contact information at the drop of a hat but when you offer referral discounts, this sweetens the deal just enough.
Everyone has their own take on the best referral methods but the type of incentive you offer must match the type of business you run.
Makes sense, right?
The best way to discover the right referral incentive is to test and then test some more.
This could mean offering a certain percentage off, including an upgrade or credit toward future purchases, or really anything that would pique the interest of your customer and make them want to take advantage of the opportunity.
Above all else, don’t forget the importance of a good old fashioned thank you once the referral has come your way.
8. Use the Upsell Opportunity
Knowing your customer will naturally lend itself to the ability to upsell.
When you see areas of a client’s business that you can improve upon with a product or service you offer, you have the best opportunity to upsell.
When done strategically, your customer will appreciate your suggestions and once again, look at you as more than a service provider, but an adviser as well.
9. Manage Expectations
One of the very first aspects of building a relationship is managing customer expectations.
Find out exactly what it is the client expects from you — it’s as simple as that.
Throughout the process you will have the ability to get to know your customer even better and learn their priorities and what it takes to make them happy.
Make realistic promises of how you can be of assistance and offer consistency.
There are too many variables in every company, when it comes to purchasing from you, companies appreciate getting exactly what they expect. It’s a stability that they can count on.
10. Target the leads based on what motivated them to buy the first time
Yeah, it sounds simple when it’s all spelled out like that, but it’s surprising how often this doesn’t factor into the lead nurturing thought process.
The holidays are bound to be filled with impulse buyers, so see if you can reel them in again with another tempting impulse sale. Did they click straight through from an email campaign to buy? Try to replicate a similar campaign with your newest offerings.
Maybe they were a social media shopper. Did they love the free shipping on orders over $50 that you advertised to them on Facebook? Show them a new round of products with a similar deal and see if you can get them to engage again.
Whatever convinced them the first time, see if it will work again with other related products.
12. Don’t Underestimate a Thank You Note
I don’t care what year it is, as long as we still have paper and pens available to us, a handwritten thank you note will continue to go a long way during your lead nurturing campaign.
Yes, emails may be faster but in our digital society, actually sending a snail mail note is unusual and therefore is noticed.
Whether it’s after closing a deal with a customer or in response to a referral, take the time to write that thank you note.
A little bit of time and effort on your part can go a long way during your lead nurturing campaign relationship in the long run.
If you forget all else, remember this — when in doubt, act like a human.
Simply put, consider the lead nurturing campaign relationships you have with the most important people in your life.
Sure, they all have different dynamics that make them work but they rely on the same basic principles — trust, respect, consistency, gratitude, and compassion.
Hopefully, this guide can help you put together a killer lead nurturing campaign. The whole lead nurturing process can be broken down into 7 distinct steps:
- Create personas for your ideal leads.
- Segment your existing content by funnel location and what issues it addresses.
- Decide on your timeline, frequency, and call to action.
- Create a variety of emails to educate and entertain your prospects.
- Start running your campaigns
- Evaluate the results.
- Rinse and repeat.
If you’re stuck on any of these lead nurturing campaign steps, check out the following posts for more information:
- What Content Should You Use In Your Lead Nurturing Emails from Hubspot
- Recipe for Rockstar Lead Nurturing Campaigns from Savvy Panda
- Lead Nurturing Examples: The Good and The Bad from Brainrider
- 6 Lead Nurturing Emails Every Business Should Be Sending from Hubspot
What we didn’t dive into is how to implement lead scoring as part of the lead nurturing process. Read that link to learn more about lead scoring, but in a nutshell…
Once you’ve nurtured leads long enough, they will reach lead scoring benchmarks you’ve set up. Reaching a high enough lead score means they should be handed over to your sales team.
This goes into the next step of the sales process. We’ll wrap up this guide on lead nurturing right here. 😀
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