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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue ScientistWed, Jun 24, 2015 9 min read

What’s Perfect Timing For Inbound Marketing Lead-Nurturing Campaigns?

Inbound Marketing Lead NurturingInbound marketing teaches us that today’s buyer journey is self-directed. When people are ready to buy, they’re going to present themselves to you – but not a second sooner. It won't be until they're interested in actually talking to you or one of your sales people.

If that’s the situation we’re all dealing with, how do we remain front and center, or top of mind for prospects, while they work through their individual buyer journeys? More important, how do we create a system that allows us to stay relevant with ALL of our prospects regardless of where they are in their buyer journeys?

The answer is lead nurturing. The real trick is creating the rhythms and defining the content that turns leads into customers.  

One-To-One Lead Nurturing

Today, marketing is moving toward a one-to-one approach, with content that is personalized for the individual. Content should be specific to a prospect's role, industry and stage of their buyer journey. You can even customize content based on pages they visited or actions they took on the site. The more personal you make your messaging and delivery, the better the conversion rate is going to be and the more leads you're going to get for your business.

Set up the one-to-one nurturing based on the length of your sales cycle. Longer sales cycles need longer nurturing programs. If, for instance, your sales cycle is 30 days, consider doing a series of three lead-nurturing emails directly after an action ...

Your prospect downloads your whitepaper or e-book, and they get a delivery email that has the content. Three days later, they get another email  a personal one that's ONLY to them  with three relevant blog article links that are directly related to the topics in the e-book they downloaded. Three days after that, they get a link to register for an upcoming webinar on the topic discussed in the e-book. In three more days, they get a final email with a bottom-of-the-funnel offer, like "No-Risk Website Review With 3 Upgrade Recommendations In Just 30 Minutes."

In addition, they also get your general email. So, in that time period, you’ve touched them four times – in a way that's educational, helpful and focused on moving them through the process. If they don’t respond after that, their pain is NOT acute. They should be nurtured in a more general way until they surface again and take another specific action.

One-To-Many Lead Nurturing

In the previous section, we mentioned a general email. We believe that one-to-many marketing still has a place, and email is a great way to nurture large quantities of leads in a very efficient and economical way. To this day, we get prospects who tell us, “I’ve been reading your emails for a year, and now I’m ready to talk to you guys.” While email marketing is very maligned these days, and click-through rates are at an all-time low, it still works when used in conjunction with other inbound tactics.

One way to make it work is to change it up. We send a video out once a month, as well as a general educational email that links out to other new and interesting offers on our website. Email marketing has only one goal: to get people back to your site. Keep in mind that people spend 10 to 20 seconds reading an email, so anything long or wordy is destined for the recycle bin. Keep it short, keep it educational, make it highly interactive.

The Power Of Three

This is a real idea that comes into play when you’re executing inbound marketing  and nurturing specifically. There are so many examples of how three is a magic number: We’re the third planet from the sun; people typically like three choices (small, medium and large); and don’t forget the Three Stooges, the Three Musketeers and the three Rice Krispies guys  Snap, Crackle and Pop. For more objective data on the power of three, click here.

So, keep "three" in mind when you’re setting up your nurturing. Our own research and client performance support the idea that a series of three emails works best. Emails delivered three days apart perform better than those sent closer together or further apart. If you have a longer sales cycle, consider the number three in some way. Sending six emails, every three weeks, should work nicely.  

Using Content To Make Them Feel Safe

The less you sell and the more you educate, the better your prospects are going to feel about you and your company. I know you want to sell. I know you’ve been trained to “always be closing.” But, you have to break that habit. Asking for a meeting, asking to send pricing or asking to put together a proposal is the best way to send that prospect deep undercover. When they’re ready, when they feel safe  that's when they will ask you to go to the next step. Not before then.

There is a way to be more aggressive and more proactive. Use content to move prospects down the funnel. The bottom-of-the-funnel offer that I mentioned at the top of this article ("No-Risk Website Review With 3 Upgrade Recommendations In Just 30 Minutes") is for people who are almost ready to buy. No one is taking the time to talk with us about their site if they’re not seriously considering a new website project. It’s up to us to educate them on how marketing works so that they move from a website redo into an inbound marketing engagement.

Tracking And Testing

One of the most exciting parts of inbound is the data you get on all aspects of your marketing. If you use marketing automation and inbound optimization to manage your nurturing, you get real-time performance data on all of these emails, even those personal ones based on personas, pages visited or actions.

Now, you can tweak your campaigns to squeeze even better performance out of them. This increases conversion rates and lead flow into all stages of your sales funnel. Over time, you end up with a remarkable experience that people talk about. Whether they do business with you or not, the experience they had with your company becomes a sustainable competitive advantage. You just can’t put a dollar value on a business asset like that.

Start Today Tip – The best way to start this work is to create a nurturing map on a whiteboard. Identify the groups by persona, action or other criteria. Map out the nurturing sequence first. Then, go back and add the messages, stories, images and copy for each email. Add the content to be delivered and the action you want people to take as result of each email. Once you launch, wait 30 days to collect enough data to be relevant. Review the data and make adjustments accordingly. Now, you have an active lead-nurturing program.

 How To Integrate An Inbound Marketing Channel In 30 Days

Square 2 Marketing – Leading The Reality Marketing, Inbound Marketing And Inbound Sales Revolutions!


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.