Lesson #6 - Lead Nurturing Emails [Video with transcript]

Automated, lead nurturing emails are required to move a lead through the funnel process. In this video you will learn:

  • Content best practices for a lead nurturing email.
  • Design tips for increasing email open rates and lead engagement.
  • Considerations for email scheduling.


Now we're going to talk about lead nurturing campaigns.

Of course, lead nurturing is done via e-mail, and all it really consists of is a series of carefully timed out e-mails that provide additional resources and opportunities for conversion to that lead who has filled out that contact form on your website.

What I want to do right now is go through a standard lead nurturing e-mail and the essential ingredients that go into that e-mail.

And remember, there are different types of lead nurturing emails.

There are e-mails that are meant to just provide resources.

There are also e-mails that are meant to drive an actual-- may be a purchase, or maybe that bottom of the funnel offer that's eventually going to propel that person to a purchase.

So remember that not every lead nurturing e-mail looks exactly the same, and we are going to go through some of the different types of lead nurturing emails and where they fall on that timeline.

But these are generally best practice components that you're going to want to have on almost every lead nurturing e-mail, and I'll identify the ones that maybe you could possibly take out in some different types of lead nurturing emails.

Okay, so starting at the top here, the first thing you want to include is your front line.

You want to make this personal.

So the best practice is to make this, if possible, your name.

This should be an actual person's name.

So in my example here, I have this e-mail coming from shannon@jinbound .

So they know it's Shannon, and then also who is Shannon in relation to me.

Why is this person sending me an e-mail?

Hopefully, since they've interacted with jInbound - they've made that initial download, or they filled out the form on whatever page it may be - they're going to recognize the name jInbound.

Your subject line.

Also, obviously, really, really important.

We don't have too much time to spend on e-mail subject lines.

I encourage you to do a little bit of research if you're not familiar with best practices and if you need some ideas.

But remember that your subject line is really that first impression that you get.

When you show up in someone's inbox, the subject line is absolutely the make or break - or one of the make or breaks - of whether or not they're going to click through, open, and hopefully, convert on your e-mail.

So your subject line should be both compelling, also relevant and honest about what that person is going to find within the e-mail.

So, for my example here, my subject line is, "How Recycling Saves Lives," because this lead nurturing e-mail is sent with the intention of informing and getting someone to convert on downloading a recycling e-book.

So, now that they have clicked through, they read my subject line, let's talk about what we want to include in the actual body of the e-mail.

First up, of course, is your "Hello.", your "Hi. Hey." Whatever it may be - this greeting to the person.

Whenever possible, you're going to want to personalize this to their actual name.

So, "Hi Shannon. Hi Mike." I think this is to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

So I would want to say "Hi Mike." We can use a name token for that.

Next up, we have our body.

In a lead nurturing e-mail, you're going to want to stay brief, and this is a recurring theme that you'll find in inbound marketing.

A lot of times it's harder to be brief and concise than it is to be thorough and in-depth.

However, you're going to want to try to keep this, I don't want to say as short as possible, but pretty short.

Wherever possible, break up your text into smaller blocks as opposed to writing a full on paragraph; as you would for, say, an essay.

This is an email, this is conversational.

So break apart those sentences.

If possible, include bullet points if you can.

And very, very importantly, you're going to want to include an actual visible link to-- in this example, this is a content download lead nurturing e-mail, so we're going to want to include a link to the landing page for that content download.

If this were a lead nurturing e-mail for scheduling a consultation, we would be including a link to that landing page.

I wouldn't necessarily say this is a must-do, this is something that I like to do.

Actually, make your link blue and underlined, so people can very clearly see that this is a link.

You can also bold it, you can make the font just a little bit bigger there so that it really calls that reader's attention into that link.

Of course, don't just call it "Link," call it whatever your offer may be.

So this would be called, "The Complete Guide to Recycling," or whatever my e-book is called.

But make sure that that person is really getting their attention drawn into that link.

And then from there, you can close it up.

Tell them why this is going to be valuable to them, what they're going to get out of clicking on this offer, link, whatever it's taking them to.

Be personal.

Again, when you're closing it, don't say-- or I would try to avoid saying something like, "Thank you," or "Goodbye." Wherever you can, try to add in those little-personalized notes; something like, "Looking forward to having you join me on the mission to save planet earth;" for this recycling book, or whatever it may be.

And then, your signature.

Your signature, wherever you can, include a headshot.

This is going back to that idea of helping this person to understand that this e-mail comes from a real, living, breathing person.

So include a headshot. Include your name, your title, obviously your very basic stuff - your signature.

If possible, I would encourage you to include maybe some social media networks here that they can click to further engage with you and probably a link back to your website as well - just your homepage.

Moving over to the other half of this e-mail.

Two other really important components.

One is visual.

Very obviously this is an e-book, so I'm going to include the e-book cover.

If this were something like a consultation or an assessment, it's a little bit harder to capture visual identity for that, but find some sort of visual aid which helps them to understand.

And then also something that I like to do, or I guess two sort of quick tips that I like here, in your image be sure to edit your alt text; so that if someone doesn't download the images initially when they open your e-mail, the alt text can tell them what that image is, and that can compel them to actually download the images and see it, or even just click on it .

This, for example, this is my recycling e-book, so I would probably make my alt text, "Complete Guide to Recycling e-book." That way someone knows what they can expect here.

It also sort of helps to ease that tension where, sometimes people think-- they see images in an e-mail, and if they're not super familiar with who it's coming from, they might assume that it's spam.

So that's one helpful way to get it clicked, or looked at, I guess we could say.

The other tip that I like to do is actually hyperlink this image to your landing page.

Different people have different mannerisms and different ways of digesting and engaging with e-mails.

Some people are going to go straight to this link that looks like a link.

Some people are going to just click here because to them a picture looks like something I should click on.

So I really encourage you to make that interactive as well.

It's just another way to make it easier and give people more opportunities to get to your landing page.

And then finally we have social sharing buttons.

These are the same social sharing buttons that you would have on your landing page.

It's just giving people the opportunity to share this piece of content.

And you'll see that I have usually written under my sharing buttons, and that's because if this is something further down the funnel, as we call it, something like a consultation, an assessment, maybe even a coupon or a discount code, if this is something more personal to them that you don't necessarily want or need them to share on their social networks, you don't need to include those social buttons there .

What we're going to do really quick now is run through a very, very basic timeline of what a lead nurturing campaign might look like.

This would really just be the lead nurturing campaign for one portion of the inbound funnel.

We know we have those three stages - our top, middle, and bottom funnel.

In a complete inbound strategy, you would actually have three of these, but we're just going to go through one.

Before we make it through that timeline, I just want to remind you of the absolute, important big picture things to consider in every lead nurturing campaign, and also in every specific lead nurturing e-mail that you send out.

I want you to think about these three things every single time you craft an e-mail.

What is the intent of your e-mail? Do you want people to be informed, and you're providing them with a resource? Do you want people to complete an assessment with you, and have you walk them through their website? What is the purpose of this e-mail? I know that that sounds fairly elementary.

You're probably like, "Of course I have a purpose.

I wouldn't write an e-mail for no purpose." But you would be amazed at how helpful this can actually be to really, really break it down and just bullet these things out for every e-mail you write.

That way we're making sure that we're not accidentally glazing over any of them, and we're making the e-mails crystal-clear, and really straightforward - in a good way - for that user.

Also the recipient.

I don't just mean my recipient This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

I mean, bigger picture, the persona that this recipient falls into.

If it's This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., what is Mike's job title? What are Mike's pain points? What are Mike's overall goals? So not just thinking about who it's getting sent to, but painting that picture of who it's getting sent to, and of course, speaking to those different things wherever we can throughout our e-mail.

And then, finally, the goal.

So this would be a little bit bigger picture than your intent.

Your intent is probably something like, "Get the conversion on the download," Move them through the funnel.

Get them to schedule a consultation.

Whereas, I want you to think of your goal as something bigger.

You could even categorize these as "Is this a builder?" or "Is this a driver?" Do I want to build more people, say, to my social followings to build up the total reach of my brand, or is this a driver that's actually driving sales? I know usually we want goals to be really specific, but try to think about the general goal of this overall campaign.

Is it to drive a sale? Is it to drive engagement? Is it to drive advocacy? You're going to want to outline that.

Now let's go really quickly through just a sample timeline of a lead nurturing campaign.

Generally, a lead nurturing campaign should break out over about 30 days.

It starts on day 0, being the day that that person filled out the form on your page, and it wraps up, whether it's day 21, or day 30, or day 15, wherever you want to end it.

It's going to wrap up with an offer for them to "Keep in touch" with you.

The goal of any lead nurturing campaign - let's say throughout this, we'll call it a middle funnel - is to get this person to convert to something.

If we're in the top of our funnel, the goal of that campaign is going to be to get them to convert down to the middle of the funnel.

If we're in the middle of the funnel, the goal is going to be to get them to convert down to the bottom of the funnel.

And in the bottom of the funnel, we want them to convert down to some type of sales interaction, where we're actually getting in touch with them and our sales team.

Or maybe you are your sales team, and that's fine too.

But a general timeline of what you want to be talking about in each one of these e-mails.

E-mail one, like we said on day zero, this is your "Thank you"e-mail.

This is just saying "Thank you for downloading," whatever that content offer may be.

This is generally-- I like to provide people with access-- or links to my social networks - hopefully not access to my social networks - links to your Twitter, your Facebook, whatever networks you're on.

Letting them know different ways that they can engage with your brand.

They're just sort of dipping their toe in the water right now of getting to know you, so you want to provide them with as many opportunities as possible to do so.

Also in a "Thank you" e-mail, even though they've already made it to their "Thank you" page and they've had the opportunity to download that offer, we also like to share that offer again in the "Thank you"e-mail.

So provide them with a link to the "Thank you" page again, just in case they lost that link somewhere along the way, they said they were going to come back and read it later and then they never did.

Just be a resource to them and say, "Hey, you can check it out here in case you forgot, or in case you misplaced the link." E-mail two.

On this timeline, we have this on day five.

This is where you're going to provide an additional resource related to that initial download, or that initial interaction.

So this could be a blog post, it could be your blog post, it could be someone else's blog post.

Absolutely preferably it's going to be your blog post because you want to drive them back to your site.

You want to have a CTA at the bottom of that blog post that's going to engage them further.

If you don't, that's okay too.

The really big picture on these number two and number three e-mails is just going to be providing information to this person, and letting them know that you are here to help them, you are here to answer their questions throughout any resource you have that could be valuable to them, which relates back to that initial interaction they had with you .

E-mail four is where we're actually going to shoot for that conversion.

So like we said if we're in the top of the funnel we're shooting to convert them down to the middle of the funnel.

So that's going to be through an additional download.

That could be another e-book, that could be a case study of things that your business has actually accomplished, that could be that consultation or assessment.

Whatever it may be, that e-mail is going to look like this one, and it's going to say something to be effect of, "You downloaded offer A a few weeks ago, I thought you might be interested in offer B;" except of course you're not going to call it offer B, you're going to call it something more compelling and engaging, "The Complete Guide to..." or whatever it might be.

But that's where you're going to be providing that person with the option to convert down to the next stage of your funnel.

And then finally in e-mail five, this is our "Keep in touch"e-mail.

So this is where we're going to accept the fact that they chose not to convert if they didn't.

If they chose not to convert on this conversion e-mail, we're going to say, "Hey, if you'd like to continue receiving resources from us please subscribe to our newsletter, subscribe to our blog, follow us on social networks."

Give them those ways to stay in touch with you, but this is where we sort of accept that we're not going to continue e-mailing this person into infinity trying to get them to convert on something they don't want to convert to.

The whole point of lead nurturing campaigns is that people arrive at the bottom of the funnel when they are ready to purchase when they are ready to partner with you on whatever the nature of that partnership may be.

So we're not going to try to force it. We're not going to keep pushing e-mails out there forever and wasting our time.

We're going to let people naturally convert as they choose to.

So if they do convert, in this conversion e-mail we would have set up a trigger that drops them into our next campaign, which would be our middle of the funnel campaign.

But if they don't convert, they're going to get that final "Keep in touch"e-mail.

So hopefully this makes sense to you.

I know there's a lot of moving parts within lead nurturing campaigns.

So do play around quite a bit with your campaign manager within the lead nurturing component, and get familiar with the different ways that you can set triggers to move people throughout campaigns, whether it's through filling out a form, whether it's through converting on an e-mail.

Whatever it may be, make yourself really comfortable and familiar with it.

Definitely, start with just one, that initial lead nurturing campaign, and then, of course, as you build up more content, as you build up your funnels, you can start playing with moving people around throughout those campaigns.

Let us know if you do have any questions on lead nurturing and we look forward to seeing your lead nurturing campaigns really take off.