1. Why do you need email nurture campaigns?
As a B2B marketer you are painfully aware that gaining trust from your audience is hard work and B2B sales takes time. That is why we need lead nurture campaigns to establish a relationship with potential customers.
Email nurture campaigns will not only decrease your sales cycle, it will make you a hero in the sales team.
Let's get started, shall we?
Say your Buyer Persona has problem A, and your product is a solution to problem A.
If you were to walk up to your Persona out of nowhere and say, "Hey stranger, I got this solution to A, want to buy it?"
They would most likely be hesitant.
Even if your product is great and all, you haven't earned the trust yet. If you are very lucky, they will take their time to look you up, do their due diligence.
Is it likely that you are able to actually solve their problem? Because the cost is too high for them to be wrong, especially in B2B.
Instead of relying on being lucky, we want to be prepared and have a plan.
In this case, Problem A also consists of 3 smaller sub-problems: B, C and D.
So what you want to do is this:
"Hey there stranger, I wrote this guide on how to solve B, and this case study that shows you how to solve C, and in this ebook you can get the full answer to D. And you get it all for free in my emails."
Now you have shown that you know your field. You have expertise and authority.
You are now trustworthy because of the content you wrote and shared. At this point the Buyer Persona is much more likely to have a chat with you about that solution to A, and give you their money.
To come up with sub-problem B, C, and D – you need to do your homework and really understand your target audience.
2. What is email lead nurturing and conversion sequences?
The goal of the email nurture is to stay top of mind with your leads about your business and the problem that you solve. By providing them with educational content you gain trust and authority. To do this you need to produce educational, non-salesy content that provides real value.
2.1 The nurture sequence
The nurture sequence is an automated series of emails sent to every new lead submitting their email in exchange for some value you provide, usually in the form of a downloadable asset. I will come to the contents of these emails later in this article.
2.2 The conversion sequence
The conversion is an automated series of emails based on a high-enough lead score in a Marketing CRM system.
Based on how the lead engages with your content from the lead nurturing sequence it will either qualify or not qualify for the conversion sequence.
The conversion sequence is designed to make the lead to book a demo, sign up for a trial, or get on a phone call with you. But you don’t want to put everyone into this sequence at the start because you have not gained their trust yet.
Remember problem A and sub-problem B, C, and D? This is that theory put into practice.
2.3 When to start the conversion sequence?
Say you got a lead from a lead magnet (a downloadable checklist, for instance). Modern CRM systems, like HubSpot, work in a way that they label the contacts with “Lead”, “Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)” and “Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)” based on a scoring system you define.
So if a lead reaches 50 points it qualifies as an MQL and 100 points makes it an SQL, as an example.
5 points: Signs up for newsletter
5 points: Opens 5 emails
5 points: Visits your website more than 5 times
10 points: Downloads “Checklist lead magnet”
15 points: Downloads “Product white paper”
When they reach 40 points: Kickstart the conversion sequence! *
* Remember that these numbers are simplified examples, you should define your own based on your content and your audience research. Let me know if you need help.
4. What email marketing automation tool should I use?
You can use any tool that enables automatic email workflows based on contact attributes (tags, scoring etc). I work with HubSpot and ActiveCampaign for more advanced sequences, and AWeber works well for just sending out email sequences based on tags that I set manually.
5. How to capture emails for the nurture sequence?
In B2B there are a couple of ways, in most cases you will have a form submission where the lead gives their contact information in exchange for some quality value-adding resources.
Usually these are a downloadable asset such as a checklist, a template, an industry trend report, a guide or any other material that is of such high quality that the lead feels it worth exchanging their email for.
Once they have filled out the form you will send them their content piece and automatically put them into a nurture sequence that will continue to send high quality content that matches their interests.
If you are operating towards the European market make sure you follow the GDPR guidelines when it comes to marketing emails.
One of my favourite ways of capturing emails from my leads is a retargeting campaign on any social media platform using a Lead Form ad that captures their contact information without them leaving the platform (makes it cheaper and reduces friction). You can then hook up the Lead Form to your CRM system and continue your drip campaign from there. Neat huh?
6. Nurture and conversion sequence email content
You want to start with addressing their pains, then crush their beliefs one by one by offering proof that you solve each of those pains.
Then when they know your product can solve their Pains, you need to start building a Relationship with them by offering exactly what they need to read and hear from you based on your audience research and buyer persona.
The whole point with the nurture sequence is to convince your target audience that they need your solution.
The nurture and conversion sequences can be distilled down to one question:
What does your lead need to believe before they will buy your product or service?
In other words, what content do you need to deliver to them? What do you need them to understand before they buy?
You have to bring them through their journey. Every email should not be too far from their comfort zone. Use what they are saying from your research, empathize with it, and show them a new way.
Fill your nurture sequence with proof, “I am going to help you through this [roadblock] like I did with Company X, see Company X’s example here”.
Keep doing this until you get to the end of the nurture sequence. Map it all out.
You will use these content nuggets in the nurture sequence to map out the buyer journey of your target audience. How you design your funnel depends on the knowledge you gathered in the persona research phase.
As they continue to move through your content and engage with your brand you continue down the nurture sequence following the system you have created, all the way to conversion email sequences and sales landing pages.
6.2 Digital Marketing Key Content Pillars
When you reach the mid/end of the customer journey it is important to establish a relationship with your audience. In order to establish a good relationship there are a few cornerstones that need to be included.
Let’s start with the fundamental pillars of B2B lead conversion.
6.3 Personalized Content Journey
The specific beliefs of one Persona which is inexperienced in the field is not the same as the beliefs of an experienced Persona.
Similar to how you create content with customer personas in mind, you need to create strategic email content that installs these beliefs in order. And each piece of content you make should install beliefs in the prospect’s own language or style.
By mapping your leads beliefs out this way, you know exactly what beliefs you need to install in what order. By the end the customer will believe in your service or product.
This step will help you understand what you need to put into your nurture email sequence and content so that you can get your audience to make calls to action.
What we want to do now is to map out what it takes to change a lead’s beliefs, from being unaware of your product/service to actually wanting to purchase it.
Let’s call it a Personalized Content Journey.
A Content Journey is a way of structuring the beliefs your Personas have, and how you will deal with those in your email and content.
Select one of your Personas (based on the level of knowledge) and create steps of roadblocks which that Persona needs to pass in order to become a customer.
You cannot change someone’s belief without meeting them at a belief they already have.
Based on the data you have collected for the persona research, arrange those beliefs in a sequence from small to big in a table (see below).
7. Email template and example sequence
Here's an example for my Google Ads service translated into a Personalized Content Journey (shameless plug, I know =P).
You can think of the Beliefs as different stages in the buyer journey of your service or product. What do the lead need to believe in order to progress to the next stage in their buying process.
8. Frequency, subject lines and open rates
8.1 Frequency of emails
The frequency of how often you send your emails is as important as your email content. For that, apply waiting periods between emails.
Don’t bombard your new leads with too many leads early on in the cycle, maybe 2 days are good when you are selling an online course for $99. But if your service is a $100K deal, maybe use longer periods between the emails, 14 days for instance.
Not sure if you’re sending too many emails? Companies see highest open rates when sending 2 emails per month.
8.2 Subject lines and open rates
Keep the subject lines short and sweet.
This study from Backlinko shows that Personalized subject lines boost response rate by 30.5%. Therefore, personalizing subject lines appears to have a large impact on nurture campaign results.
A study by Experian found that email subject lines with an emoji increased open rates by 56%, as compared to text-only subject lines.
47% of email recipients will open your email based solely on the subject line.
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