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May 4, 2010 // 8:00 AM

5 Best Practices for Lead Nurturing Emails

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Lead Nurturing is the process of building a relationship with your leads and moving them down your sales funnel until they are ready to become a customer.

Lead Nurturing Best Practices

1. Thought Leadership - The first priority is to make sure you have something valuable to teach your leads. Think of your lead nurturing emails as mini blog posts. For example, if you sell data backup software, your first nurturing email might focus on the "top six considerations to make before purchasing data backup software". Remember, you are an expert within your industry - continue teaching your leads something new and they will be more than happy to receive your emails and continue engaging with your business.

2. Stay Focused - Each nurturing email should be focused around one topic and include a call to action . Put yourself in your leads shoes when creating your emails , they are bombarded by messages all day long and are looking for an excuse to delete your email. Keep the content of your email tied directly to the topic the lead initially converted on. For example, if your lead downloaded a FAQ white paper on data backup software, they are likely near the top of the funnel, researching a future purchase. Your first email's topic could be " selling the importance of data backup software to your management team ". Speak directly to the problem your lead is trying to solve with your lead nurturing emails.

3. Keep It Short - This is not the time to worry about fonts, or adding images or custom HTML. The lead should be able to glance at your email and within five seconds know the value it provides to them. Information overload happens quickly in email, adding secondary calls-to-action or un-related links to offerings that your lead has shown zero interest in, will increase your unsubscribe rate and subtract from the effectiveness of your campaign.

4. Natural Progression - Carefully planning the flow of your emails will help you create well rounded campaigns that pull your leads through the sales funnel . The first email after the initial conversion might be very educational, while subsequent emails should continue to educate while giving the lead an opportunity to convert a second time. This is a perfect opportunity to promote a free trial or the download of a demo. Work with your sales team to determine what qualifies as a "sales-ready lead" and craft your lead nurturing campaigns accordingly.

5. Measurement - Like every other aspect of Inbound Marketing, email testing is a key to fine tuning your campaigns. Click Through Rate (the percentage of people who clicked a link in your email) and Unsubscribe Rate, are two of the key metrics to track on a regular basis. A strong campaign will generally have a unsubscribe rate of less than 5%. If your unsubscribe rate climbs above 5%, it's time to re-evaluate your campaign. Try testing new content or a stronger subject line, or adjusting the timing of your emails .

This post was a quick overview of five important aspects to consider but is far from a comprehensive list. Have you run a successful lead nurturing campaign ? What tactics have worked well for your organization?

This article was written by Shaun Pinney, a member of our consultant team at HubSpot. Check out Shaun's Bio .

Photo Credit: Jaynamana


Topics: Email Marketing Lead Nurturing Lead Generation

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