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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue ScientistTue, Jun 30, 2015 11 min read

11 Inbound Marketing Lead-Nurturing Hacks To Improve Conversions

Lead Nurturing TricksBefore I start writing an inbound marketing blog article on a specific topic, I like to look around and see what other people are saying about the subject.

Honestly, I was a little shocked to see what people are writing about lead nurturing. Personalize the email? Track the results? Don’t sell? Come on, is that the best you've got?

Today, I offer you 11 upgrades you can make to your nurturing campaign today. 

No, you probably won’t be able to make all 11 today, but grab one or two, use them today and then work your way down the list until you’ve got them all integrated in your campaigns. I hope these are a little less obvious and that even though you may have come up with one or two on your own, the others are all new to you.

Here’s how you take your lead nurturing results from modest to monstrous.

1. Make Them Remarkable

How many nurturing emails have you seen that start off with, “Thank you for downloading our whitepaper”? Yawn! Marketing is supposed to be creative. Stop with the canned email templates and create something remarkable. If you send a remarkable email, it’s going to get opened, read and clicked on. That’s the goal, remember? Also, it’s going to get shared, which means new people are going to see it, visit your website and maybe even download something. That’s what I call nurturing.

2. Consider The Power Of Three

As a company that’s executed more lead-nurturing campaigns than most, we've come to understand the power of the number three. There is magic in that number. When you’re getting your nurturing campaign together, keep it in mind. Send three, six or nine emails. Don’t send two, four or seven. For shorter sales cycles, schedule three days between your sends, not four or two. For longer cycles, try six or nine days instead of five or seven. Keep bullets in the email to three. I don’t know why this works, but once we started following it, our campaign performance improved by over 50%. Perhaps this article can explain it in more detail.

3. Map Them On A Whiteboard

Once you have a handful of offers on your website, nurturing often becomes a mess of tangled-up email copy. To keep it all organized, consider mapping it out on a whiteboard. For visual learners, like me and 60 percent of the population, this is one way to keep it straight. You get to see the delivery sequence and the offers, quickly identify any overlap and have a high-level overview of the frequency.

4. Use The P.S. Line

Everyone focuses on the subject line, but in reality, most people skip right to the P.S. line. Since that’s the case, make sure you include one and make it rock. Consider an extra offer or maybe a quote from a happy client. How about a sneak peak or VIP perk for those who are paying attention? Regardless of what you do, do something. Don’t send any emails that don't include a solid P.S.

5. Set Goals For Opens And Click-Throughs

Everyone talks about tracking the emails, but what about setting goals? What should the open rates and click-through rates be for nurturing emails? Again, the blogosphere doesn’t have a lot of definitive data on what the numbers should be, so I’ll share what we’ve seen.

First, you should be getting very few opt-outs – less than one percent. After all, these people opted in for this info. Open rates should be between 30 and 40 percent. This is dramatically higher than standard educational (air cover) emails. Click-through rates should be around five percent. Keep in mind, your prospects are busy, and these emails are competing against every other email in their inbox. And sometimes, just the act of reading your nurturing email is enough for them to keep you top of mind. Don’t freak out if your open rate is low. Just keep an eye on it over time.

6. Keep Sales Informed Via CRM

You’re going to want to integrate these emails into your CRM. All of your sales people should know what was sent, to whom, when and if there was any response. If a call comes in, your sales rep should be able to see if it was the result of a nurturing email that was sent out last evening. This means that your sales team has to use the CRM, be trained on it and rely on it when it comes to prospect action and behavior. Don’t cut corners here. You look bad when a prospect says, “I received an email from you," and your sales rep says, "What email?”

7. Monitor Social Media For Conversations

Did you know that you can keep tabs on conversations happening right now on Twitter? You might send out a lead-nurturing email that prompts your prospect to ask a question or make a comment on Twitter. Would that be good to know? You bet it would. There are tools that allow you to monitor social sites for keywords, alert your team and then allow you to get into the conversation. HubSpot does this very well.

8. Make It About Them, Not You

Resist the urge to talk about yourself in your emails. That means nothing about your trucks, your people, your experience, your products, your services or your discounts. Your prospects don’t care about you. Just focus your message on how you’re prepared to help them. Talk about their challenges, how you’ve helped others like them, how the information you’re offering is going to help them. Make it ALL about them, and you’ll see a major improvement in metrics.

Not sure? Try the Red/Blue Test. After you write your email, go through it and circle in red all of the instances where you talk about yourself ("our," "we," "us" or your name). Then go through and circle in blue all of the instances where you talk about your customers ("you," "your" or a reference to "customers"/"clients"). You should have many more blue circles than red ones – if you did it correctly.

9. Focus On Their Pain

You can move prospects deeper into the sales cycle by tapping into their pain. Most people know they have pain but resist doing anything about it because they don’t know what to do. You’ve heard about the concept of being "frozen with indecision." This is a real condition. By talking about their pain and providing a real solution, you move them from the Consideration Stage (middle of the funnel) into the Decision Stage (bottom of the funnel). Make sure this message comes along with validation. In the P.S. section of the email, you could mention a case study with information on a similar business that had a similar pain and how they resolved it by working with your company.

10. Consider Lead Scoring

Another way to get the most out of nurturing is to create a lead-scoring algorithm that includes response to lead nurturing. Then, you know who’s engaged and to what extent. This focuses sales team members on the best opportunities. The marketing continues to nurture those people who are not ready to engage with you directly.

11. Use Video

Ever get an email with an embedded video? What’s the first thing you do? Click on the video and watch it. One way to double your click-through rates is to add video to your nurturing. The trick is having VERY compelling video that tells a story in 90 seconds. Any longer, and forget it. We lose focus and our attention wanders. But, if you deliver a video that grabs prospects' attention, draws them in and tells your story, you’re in. Just make sure you think through your long-term nurturing messaging so that the videos enhance but don’t distract from your overall story.

Nurturing, when coupled with your generic educational emails, does a wonderful job of staying in touch with your best prospects. Over a 30-day period, you might end up touching them six to nine times (notice the "threes"). This give them plenty of educational content, reminder messages, cool stories and remarkable touch points with your business.

Start Today Tip – The best way to start is by thinking through your entire nurturing strategy. This is where the planning and whiteboard come in. Before you write your first word, you need the strategy. Then, map the messages, offers, content, P.S. lines and video content into the series of emails, and you'll have a solid nurturing strategy that you can work on building out over the next few weeks. You don’t have to wait for the entire list of emails to be done. Finish a single campaign for a single offer, and implement that. While it's running, you might learn something that will influence your future efforts.

 How To Integrate An Inbound Marketing Channel In 30 Days

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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist

Mike is the CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2. He is passionate about helping people turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For more than 25 years, Mike has been working hand-in-hand with CEOs and marketing and sales executives to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and remarkable sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.