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Follow My Lead: Creating An Email Strategy To Nurture Leads & Increase Conversion Rates

Posted by Adam Hyland

In our last blog, we discussed how the email campaign is the best friend a digital marketer could ask for when it comes to converting leads into customers. Proven to be a highly-effective way to engage with personas in a target market, and to nurture them until they are brought along the buyer journey to the point where they are ready to make a purchasing decision, email remains the king of the content types.

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Having gone into the reasons why email is so effective, we here take a look at the ‘what?’ and ‘how?’ of emails and workflows, showing what you can do to create content that accelerates your lead conversion process.

Before you create any of your email content, you need to decide what the goal of the strategy is for you, make sure it is clear and actionable, and can be measured. Once a visitor becomes a lead by subscribing to your blog, downloading an offer, or filling out a form, they need to be segmented based on their behaviour and given a structured experience that nurtures them towards that goal.

Now it’s just a matter of writing the email content people will not only open, but want to read. It can be tempting to create a long series of emails that cover any and all scenarios, but it is best to keep it simple, with around three or four emails per workflow. If you find that this number doesn’t work, you can always add to the sequence once you locate where in the workflow the leads are being lost, but to start off, three or four should do.

There are four different types of email you can send to your segmented leads:

  • Emails that establish trust – creating a relationship by showing relevance so that leads are inclined to open further emails
  • Emails that provide additional content, downloads, etc – serving to both educate your leads and give you insights into what interests them, what content they like, etc
  • Emails with a specific CTA that achieves a goal – the goal of the workflow is positioned as the next logical step for the lead to take
  • Break-up emails – not necessarily an ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ type of email, but this Dear John message outlines that it will be the last time a lost lead will hear from you, yet offering the chance for them to re-engage or at least tell you why your nurturing process didn’t work

Human behaviour

As leads come from a variety of different sources, from your website and blog to social media and email, it is important to establish a strategy based on behaviour: where the lead came from, what they did to get into your contact list, etc. This should be automated within your Content Management System, or Content Optimisation System if you use HubSpot.

Automated emails based on action triggers have been proven to be very successful in lead engagement, and yet relatively few digital marketers (20% according to an eConsultancy survey) use behavioural targeting, so if you do, you are already ahead of the game.

So how do you best go about it?

1. Track behaviour online – using HubSpot, every action taken across all of your platforms is recorded, creating a contacts database from which you can gain the contextual insights needed to create content that will appeal to your target market. 

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2. Determine the actions a visitor might take – when you think about it, it might seem a bit creepy to track every action of a lead, but we are now in an internet age when most people are savvy enough to know that their online activity will lead to certain results, and are willing to have the pay-off. If they download content, they know they will more than likely have to fill out a form with their details, and as a result, will sooner or later receive an email. Far from being intrusive, if they receive an email as a result of something they have done, they are more likely to open it because they are expecting it.

3. Start a conversation with them based on that behaviour – You first need to know what you want the reader to do, and ask yourself why they might want to read your email. Because your email is based on an individual’s behaviour, it must be personalised, and be contextual, ie, timely and based on the action they undertook.

Talking of being timely, you should also schedule emails to go out at optimised times. Research has shown that more emails are opened on Tuesdays, and between 9am and noon, so get them out in the morning, and don’t make the mistake of sending out emails overnight. The HubSpot Email Editor enables you to set email sends specific to different time zones, which is very handy indeed.

What should an effective email include, and what should you leave out?

  • It should have a compelling and contextual subject line, such as ‘You read our eBook on Creating Personas. What now?’ HubSpot Email Editor also allows you to use smart subject lines so you can create multiple variations to appeal to different segments, to nurture and convert leads or focus on specific characteristics of a list, using the same email content.
  • Compelling and contextual copy outlining that there is a next step to take, and how to take it, such as ‘Now it’s time to put your new knowledge to work’
  • Highlighted text to emphasise the important message of the email, ie, the value
  • A clear and compelling CTA that leaves no doubt as to what action is needed next, such as ‘Start A Free Trial Now’

Of course, personalised emails also need to be personable, not generic messages sent out to a list of people, so it is important that the person receiving it feels that they are getting an email from a real life actual human, as HubSpot explain in this blog about writing human-friendly emails.

Emails with personalised subject lines are more than 20% more likely to get opened. You don’t have to be like that over-personal, over-friendly guy you try to avoid at parties, but a well-placed first name and/or location can help grab attention when all you have are seconds of a person’s time as they scan for new emails.

What The F?

They also need to be easily viewable, with navigational cues that drag the reader’s view towards the content and CTA you want them to end up at. Consider having an image of a face, with their gaze directed towards the CTA or important content, and think about the ‘F’ pattern of conventional reading. That’s the path of vision we follow when we read, starting at the top and going to the right, then back, then scanning down the page, just like the shape of the letter ‘F’. If you can tailor your content so that the important parts follow this path, you are onto a winner.

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Psychology at play

Psychology plays a big part in how people act and react, and in what’s known as the Zegarnik effect, people have been found to remember incomplete tasks better than completed tasks, so use it to turn your email content into a series of emails that mean the recipient will not be finished engaging until they have received the last one.

Keep things simple. Avoid clutter or anything that does not directly lead towards lead conversion, and use a single CTA so there are no challenges to the reader’s attention and no confusion as to where to click.

You also need to inspire action, because at the end of the day, what you want the reader to do is act, to go further along the conversion path and become a customer. By urging the reader to ‘download now’ or ‘get started’ you create a sense of urgency and a likelihood that the desired next action will be taken.

If you continue to do this through your email workflow, the desired action of a final purchasing decision when that nurtured lead has reach the end of their conversion path and become a customer, is only a matter of time.

Discover how Get Focused can help you turn your digital marketing strategy into a lead generation and conversion machine that drives increased sales by booking a call with us.

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Author:

Adam Hyland

Adam Hyland


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