The Nature of Nurture: Create a Conversation

The first part of our blog series on lead nurturing explored ways you can collect data to use in a journey and steps to follow before you get started. Now it’s time to talk messaging. Lead nurturing is, at its best, a conversation with your leads. Follow the steps below to make sure that conversation gets to what’s really important to your prospects.

1. Ditch the pitch.

There is nothing worse than stepping into a store and being bombarded by salesmen with one thing in mind: making sure you buy — fast. Remember this when using email marketing as part of your nurture journeys. Don’t just sell; educate your contacts and offer real value. Tailor your content so that when your contacts see an email from you, they want to open it because they know they will learn something relevant to their goals and challenges. Remember, if your content is too sales-heavy, contacts will put their blinders up and lose interest in opening any emails from you (or, worse, unsubscribe). Keep in mind, though, that there is such a thing as being too conservative in your messaging. If you completely refrain from promoting your product or service, you may miss out on your end goal.

2. Speak their language.

Marketers often make the big mistake of communicating to their contacts using language that doesn’t mimic how people actually speak. When you place an order at a coffee shop, you don’t say, “Greetings! Please provide me with a delightfully hot caffeinated beverage.” Of course not! You probably say, “Hi! I’d like a cup of coffee, please!” You want your content to be authentic so it will ring true. Don’t use big words for the sake of using big words; instead, focus on communicating a clear message that will resonate with your audience (and that they will understand). You want your content to be authentic so it will ring true.

3. Be relevant.

Personalize, personalize and personalize some more — and remember, personalization is not just about using the contact’s first name (“Dear Jim” versus “Dear Prospect”). It’s about really considering the type of content, messaging, timing and marketing tactics your contacts best respond to. So, like I mentioned in the first part in this series, let’s say you’re trying to market an iPad to both a Fortune 500 CEO and a stay-at-home mom.

  • The CEO may respond best to an email with hard stats on how companies that leverage tablet technology increase their productivity by X%.
  • The stay-at-home mom may be more likely to respond to an email about using an iPad to help teach her school-aged children math.

4. Don’t be afraid to be different!

Don’t be afraid to experiment and try new messaging streams that are outside the typical lead generation approach to connect with your contacts. Some out-of-the-ordinary messaging streams include:

The “We miss you!” messaging stream:

  • Designed to re-engage your leads after a period of inactivity, the “We miss you!” messaging track requires you to know two things about your contacts:
    • Where are they in the pipeline?
    • Why did they stop engaging with you in the first place?

The “Welcome!” messaging stream:

  • Give brand-new leads the red carpet treatment, with offers designed especially for them — special discounts, white paper downloads, etc.

The “P.I.” messaging stream:

  • Referencing back to the information-gathering strategies outlined in part one of this series, use analytics and reporting to “go undercover” and find the holes in your data. Build a nurturing track that will allow you to get to know your leads (e.g., forms, surveys, calculators).

Lead nurturing should be designed as a conversation between you and your prospects. You can’t have a good conversation unless you’re saying something relevant and meaningful. The more you learn about the person you’re talking with, the more relevant and engaging you can be. The conversation will continue to evolve, as the prospect increases their engagement with your organization and eventually becomes a loyal customer. So, never stop engaging!

But while engaging with drip nurturing (i.e., the “send email – wait – send email – wait” cycle) is a good start, it isn’t enough. Relying solely on these types of emails to engage your leads is like using a toothbrush to clean the Empire State Building: It’s just not effective. Stay tuned for part three of this blog series, where you’ll learn how to utilize multiple marketing communication tactics to truly engage your audience.