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Not all leads are created equal. Chances are, you're doing a great job of creating valuable content to drive tons of new visitors to your awesome website and converting serveral of them into leads, but some people just aren't ready to buy. For these customers, lead nurturing is a great way to keep your leads engaged as they inch closer to the buying decision.

But it does not work like magic. Like all other marketing intiatives, it is imperative to utilize best practices to make sure you see the fruits of your labors. One great example is the email you see below. This company was able to attract over 250 additional engagements over the course of the lead nurturing campaign, simply by following best practices! Here's how they did it:

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1. They offered something. The offer can be something as simple as an invitation to join a LinkedIn user group, as was the case in this lead nurturing email. Anything that allows a lead to further engage with your company qualifies as an "offer".

2. The email is clear, direct, and tells the reader what to do. Notice how the subject line, banner, and link all directly call on the reader to perform the same action: join the user group on LinkedIn. The content is unambiguous and related. Not a whole lot of confusion, is there?

3. They tell the reader why they should do it. Immediately following the link is a brief description of the group, how people use it, and what type of content is featured. Why should people click on your offer if they don't know how it can help them?

4. The action requested of the reader requires little effort. If your "offer" actually entails your reader to work in order to reap the benefits, you will not see results. Show your prospective customers that you know their time is valuable by not hustling them for personal information or time commitment.

This email was a smashing success, achieving a 16.18% click-through rate, the industry average is around 6-7%. It also paved the way for a remarkably successful lead nurturing campaign. Of the 250 leads who converted throughout the entire campaign, almost 70 clicked through this particular email!

But alas, for every yin there is a yang. Those that deviate from lead nurturing best practices will unfortunately fall into the world of low click throughs and high unsubscribe rates. Oh, the horror! The email shown below only got opened 1.5% of the time and was unsubscribed from by 1.72% of recipients, more than twice the average marketing email. Here is what to avoid:


5. Enormous blocks of text , otherwise known as obnoxiously long paragraphs. Email are like Powerpoint presentations: more text means less audience engagement. Their eyes will gloss over and quickly turn to something else. If you have a lot to tell them that's great, but be sure to present that content in an easily digestible format, such as a list or a chart. And remember, Smartphones will make a paragraph look like a book.

6. No links or calls to action. If you do not include either of these things, then what exactly are you offering? There isn't a single link or call to action in sight, and the result is simply a recycled company description. Your prospective customer already knows this (after all, they converted on your site!) and there is no clearly outlined next step for them to take.

7. Putting the onus on the reader. Aside from not being especially compelling, it conveys to the reader that they hold the responsibility of initiating further contact. Not very nurturing.

One of marketing's toughest challenges is continuing to keep potential customers interested in what you have to offer, even if they are far away from the buying decision.

What have you done to nurture your leads?

Originally published Jul 15, 2010 2:05:00 PM, updated October 20 2016


Lead Nurturing