How to Nurture Leads with Email Marketing
March 23, 2017
The Internet of Things (IoT) is radically changing the way people search and receive information. Luckily for businesses, this interconnectedness allows them to deliver content in different ways: social media, blogging, video, audio, and a host of other interactive platforms. Plus, let’s not forget email.
Email marketing is very much alive. It has withstood the test of time and remains a strong force to contend with in lead generation and management, as well as customer engagement. In fact, based on statistics from Campaign Monitor:
- More than 80% of B2B and B2C companies are still using email marketing technologies as part of their marketing strategies
- Email opens on mobile devices are hitting almost the 55% mark
- Marketers have experienced an astounding rate of 760% added revenue from segmented email marketing campaigns
- Email content is six times more likely to be clicked than tweeted content
- Facebook and Twitter are trailing email when it comes to acquiring new customers
- The ROI for email is approximately 30% compared with direct mail’s 7%
- In the United States, 6 out of 10 employees using the internet acknowledge the importance of email at work
The numbers, compiled by experts and practitioners in the field of marketing, are compelling indeed. Whether it’s about automation, mobile, personalization, engagement, or ROI, they are echoing the same point—email is still highly relevant in the modern age.
Personalized Email Marketing
No one appreciates generic or template-style emails, that’s for sure. People want to feel like more than just another sale to your company. To stand out from all the inbox clutter from other brands, you need to get personal to attract and retain your customers.
If you want your prospects to take notice of your message, you need to do so much more than just push your content. Personalizing your emails means you know your subscribers well enough to know what they’re looking for. Be ready to give it to them at the right time and via the right channel.
Here are some ways to maximize your personalized email strategies:
1. Practice Segmentation in Your Email Marketing
This means grouping your leads by their browsing activity, demographic information, and purchase history. This data can then be used to customize your email, making them more relevant to any particular group of contacts.
Putting segmentation into action enables you to track your leads’ activity according to what category they belong to. With this information in hand, you can come up with different customer personas such as those interested in demand generation, data management, or sales leadership, to name a few. Your next move should then be to provide relevant content that’s valuable to each persona group.
Another useful idea to help tailor your emails is to use your customers’ time and location information. Have you ever noticed how emails arrive into your inbox usually at 9 or 10ish in the morning? Businesses have identified it as the best time to send out marketing emails.
However, a more reliable time marker that you could use is your customers’ email open histories. With that information, you can personalize email deliveries to match the ideal time of your subscribers. It goes without saying that the content should cater to what those prospects are looking for right then and there, which brings us to the next element in email marketing personalization.
2. Offer Well-Tailored Content
You might be wondering how individually targeted your email content should be. First of all, you should know that marketers identified “creating relevant and compelling content” as both the most effective and the most challenging email marketing tactic. So, how do you work around this sticky situation?
First, you must gain mastery in the art of questioning. Asking the right questions can give you good insights as to what your customers’ priorities are.
For example, one of the most important questions you need to find an answer to is why a particular customer is visiting your website. If you’re an event organizer, and a lead checks out your “Party” page, they’re probably interested in getting you to organize their party for them. But there are a number of other questions you should be asking to get a more holistic understanding of their needs.
If it’s an anniversary party, for instance, you might want to know if it’s anything near the most cherished milestones like a silver or golden anniversary. You could use the answer to send out a targeted email with details about suggested themes or motifs that are most appropriate for the occasion.
Second, you can use personalized emails to direct your customers to a landing page on your website, which should have the same look and copy as your email, including CTAs. The idea is to identify your customer segments, write custom emails for each segment, and develop several landing pages for that particular segment. With this strategy, your leads will be able to recognize that you are giving them an integrated, personalized email experience and may feel more encouraged to convert as customers.
3. Automate Your Email Marketing
Marketers are under great pressure to generate, nurture, and manage leads, and you’ll be needing tools to automate the majority of the tasks involved in email marketing. Such tools are not only meant to make things easier for you, but you’ll be amazed at how they can scale things up in the personalized email department as well.
In case you didn’t know, social media leader, Facebook, is making use of automated behavioral trigger emails to increase engagement. One strategy involves sending emails to accounts that haven’t been active on the platform for some time, encouraging them to engage more. I’m sure you’ve received that “A lot has happened on Facebook since you last logged in” email and I’m sure it’s worked on several occasions. By simply telling users what they’re missing out on, Facebook can compel them to log in once again.
For your own marketing, you could use trigger emails for various purposes: as a welcome greeting, for up-selling or cross-selling pitches, or to send updates about your subscriber’s account.
The Nature of Marketing Automation
Marketing automation is both a challenge and an essential part of a modern business. Through marketing automation, you can sift through a huge amount of data to get to know your customers better and to use that understanding to deliver useful marketing content to them.
Automation is marketing technology in action. It enables you to track the digital footprints of your leads, turn those interactions into insights about the customers’ sales journey, and help you craft better content to drive prospects towards a purchase decision.
However, automated marketing does not come without its challenges. Here are some of the major obstacles facing marketers and their brands:
- Marketing automation isn’t a cure-all. It requires proper buy-in from various stakeholders including the sales and marketing departments. Marketers need to know their automation objectives, what metrics to track, and how to analyze data to provide valuable insights. They also need to know which data matters most, like using behavioral data to identify target buyers and influencers to create personas and personalize content for each.
- Since marketers need to determine where ROI is coming from, there is a need to establish a good CRM model or system that will identify which campaigns are effective and which are not. Marketers should have a full understanding of how the marketing automation system and the CRM system work to help them predict which leads are the most qualified.
- Budget restrictions may be forcing companies to move automated marketing to the backburner. The best antidote here is to remember that marketing automation platforms have lead scoring capabilities that show which leads are better than others—saving marketers tons of time, effort, and resources as they focus more on prospects who are more likely to convert.
The bottom line on marketing automation is that it allows you to scale processes without removing the ability to segment and personalize.
Best Emails for Nurturing Leads
Email is indispensable to marketers, as it’s still one of the most convenient ways to communicate despite the presence of new other modes of messaging. However, marketing emails may be unwelcome to some because there’s plenty of clutter getting sent around and it can be a pain to filter through dozens of emails to find something relevant.
You can enhance your email campaigns by knowing which ones resonate well with customers. As a rule of thumb, the best email types are the ones that:
If your email can teach your prospects something about their pain points, or how exactly your products or services can help your customers deal with them, you’ve got a winning marketing tool in your hands.
By crafting educational content, you are asserting your expertise and value as a brand that people can trust and depend on. It might take a lot of time and effort to sustain the distribution of this type of email, but it’s the gradual, stage-by-stage process of educating your customers and earning their trust that makes this one special.
2. Establish Connections
The goal of any email marketing campaign should be to open a dialogue and create meaningful conversations between a brand and its audience. The closer you can get to your customer, the more engagement you can expect in return.
Be sure to give your customers the option of choosing other possible means of connecting with you. It may be via subscription to your newsletter, connecting on social media, or alerts to product development updates. Whatever the case, let the prospect choose the channel that suits them best.
3. Offer Something Relevant
Sending product offers to prospects may seem like a great idea, but you need to make sure that they’re getting more than that. If someone signs up on your website, for example, it means they are ready to explore your content, so you should give them what they want.
Instead of sending them a free trial offer for your product or service, you might want to first find out what pages or topics engaged them, and then send additional content that they might find valuable. As they consume more of your content offers, you can leverage the trust that you’ve established to deliver more brand or product-centric content, driving them towards a purchase.
4. Help Someone Improve
As you nurture your leads, keep in mind that one of your goals is to help them improve their everyday lives. Of course, you should keep your content consistent with your brand’s theme. For example, if you sell vitamins and your target audience is mostly made up of health conscious individuals, you could create content about how specific vitamins reduce the risk of specific diseases.
Your emails should have a similar slant that complements their goals and shows them how they can meet their objectives in a more effective manner.
5. Recreate Opportunities
You can’t expect things to be always rosy with your email marketing efforts. At one point or another, you will come across subscribers that aren’t responsive or those that just don’t click through.
To turn this around, you could request your subscribers to provide feedback regarding the emails you send in terms of frequency, content type, and quality, or anything about their experience with your brand or service. Whether or not you receive the feedback you were hoping to get, you’ll still be able to use these insights to address any areas of concern.
6. Have a Personal Appeal
This has been a prevailing theme in email marketing because knowing your customers’ preferences builds a special connection between your brand and your audience. A personal touch can be especially useful if you want to get past barriers in the sales cycle. Your customers will appreciate the extra effort you’re putting in.
Ways to inject a personal touch include checking in, saying thanks, remembering special events, and thinking ahead so that your customer doesn’t have to.
All the signs are telling us that email will never bow out of the marketing game. People won’t stop using email as a primary communication channel, and we can see this from how much it’s growing.
On a less serious note, here are a couple of stats about when people check their inboxes (via Inc):
- 70% of people check their email while watching TV
- 60% of people check their email while in bed
- 50% of people check their email while on vacation
- 42% of people check their email while using the restroom
- 18% of people check their email while driving
People are checking their email everywhere! So don’t be afraid to ramp up your email marketing efforts when it comes to lead nurturing because chances are, you’ll be pretty happy with the ROI if you’re doing it right.
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