Host: Jen Spencer

Lead nurture campaigns can seem a bit tricky. After all, there are a lot of elements, like creating great copy or choosing the right frequency, that you need to get right in order to convert leads.

But don’t worry — on the latest episode of SmartBug on Tap I shared my guide to addressing each of those elements to create a great lead nurture campaign. 

Here are the eight steps to creating that great campaign — and how to get those steps just right. 

Step #1: Establish the stage of the buyer's journey. 

Understanding where your lead is in the buyer's journey sets the stage for what your workflow is actually going to offer. 

For example, a campaign for an Awareness Stage offer should not start with a call to action that's "request a demo." That just doesn't make any sense. 

Instead, if I'm a lead in the Awareness Stage, I will need a lot more nurturing to get me closer to the demo. 

Step #2: Identify which persona it is that you're targeting. 

Buyer personas really should affect everything you do in marketing. 

That includes your lead nurture campaigns. 

Your messaging, your emails, and your personalization tactics should all be targeted to a specific persona in the buyer’s journey.

Imagine you sell red shoes to the public. Maybe you have two personas, Running Reid and Dancing Darla. You're not going to want to nurture these different personas in the same way. 

By segmenting your personas and delivering the right content to them, you’ll help sales obtain more qualified leads. 

Step #3: Set goals for the nurture campaign. 

Not all lead nurture campaigns are created equal. 

That means your goals should not be the same for every campaign.

For example, if you have a very soft Awareness Stage offer, like a worksheet, and you enroll leads that download that offer into a campaign, the goal should not be to get them to request a demo. 

It's too soon for them. 

It would be more worth your while to get those leads to convert into a Consideration Stage where you can then nurture their more specific needs. 

As marketers, we tend to think the Decision Stage matters more than any other stage in the buyer’s journey. 

But it's important to try to get out of that mindset, because it’s not quite right. 

Just because you want someone to advance to the Decision Stage doesn't mean they're ready. An Awareness Stage lead will become a Decision Stage lead in good time, but it's not necessarily going to happen overnight. 

Focus on working through the steps in this process and you’ll be sending qualified leads to your sales team soon enough. 

Every stage of the buyer’s journey is important. 

So, handle each stage with the same level of care.

Step #4: Map your nurture campaign strategy.

Once you've nailed down your personas and your goals for your nurture campaign, you want to map out the content that you're going to be delivering in the campaign. 

Think about the path that will get your lead from Point A to Point Z following your buyer's journey. 

You also need to identify when your lead is going to be taken out of your campaign should they become inactive, submit another form, or anything else that might happen in your particular buyer journey or sales process. 

Map out the content that's needed throughout the entire process, and then what content, if any, is going to interfere with this campaign. Then, think about how to make sure to adjust for that in the settings. 

Step #5: Decide on the number of emails and their types. 

The number of emails in your campaign will vary greatly based on what stage of the buyer journey your lead is in. 

As an example, an Awareness Stage lead will most likely have far more emails than a Decision Stage lead in the campaign.

But here's something to keep in mind — no campaign should have more than eight emails. 

If you haven't gotten to the point in eight emails, you probably want to rethink your strategy and rethink the goals of the campaign. Look for ways to break the campaign down into smaller bite-sized pieces. 

After you decide the number of emails you'll be sending, decide on how to best represent your company in these emails. 

Is it going to be plain text from a salesperson? Or more of a marketing type email with really beautiful graphics? Maybe it's a mixture of both?

There's no right answer to this step — it all really depends on the goal of the campaign, how you brand yourself, and how your leads respond to various kinds of emails. It might even differ by persona. 

Step #6: Plan the timing of each campaign. 

We frequently get asked this question: "How long should I delay my emails?"

But there isn't one concise answer to give you. 

It really depends on your sales cycle, the type of campaign you're running, and what your leads typically respond to. 

So, you probably want to test out a few different options before deciding on timing that's going to work best for your company.

I recommend that you start by separating the emails in two day delays. And if that doesn't work try and space them out a little bit more. 

Just be sure you never send more than one email per day.

Step #7: Test the nurture campaign before you launch it. 

It never hurts to have a second, third, or even fourth set of eyes look over content before you send it out to your customers. 

Double check the links, look for typos, and make sure your messaging is clear.

And ask your colleagues what they think of your strategy and messaging. 

Step #8: Run, analyze and tweak your campaign. 

You really want to take the time to think about how your campaign is going. Is it meeting the goals you set? 

Analyze the performance of your campaign with some key metrics and benchmarks. Look at your click through rate, your conversion rate for each landing page, and your unsubscribe rate. 

While conversion rates will vary, your click through rate should be between 3 to 5% at a minimum and your unsubscribe rate should be less than 1%. 

Consider adjusting things like subject lines, frequency, body copy, your value proposition, or even your offer to make your campaign more effect. 

So, while it seems like there’s so many elements to think about when creating a lead nurture campaign, if you work through these eight steps you’ll be on your way to executing a great lead nurture campaign.

Tweet me or SmartBug at @jenspencer or @smartbugmedia to share your journey.

Never want to miss an episode? Check out this podcast and subscribe and review on Apple PodcastsStitcherSpotify, or Soundcloud.

Jen Spencer

About the author

Jen Spencer leads SmartBug's sales, marketing, and brand strategy. Over her career, Jen has built several demand generation and sales enablement programs from the ground up and has experience working within tech startups, publicly traded companies, mid-market organizations, and the not-for-profit space. Jen subscribes to the notion that “we’re all in this together,” and great communication leads to great partnership. She loves animals, technology, the arts, and really good Scotch. Read more articles by Jen Spencer.

Subscribe to get our new podcasts delivered right to your inbox