How Much Lead Nurturing Is Too Much Lead Nurturing?

Yes, 6 Lead Nurturing Emails Per Day Is Probably Too Much

I like to use our blog to share observations from the world of sales and marketing. As a student of sales and marketing, and as someone who is constantly learning what works and what doesn’t work so well, I see a lot of bad execution. Lately, I’ve noticed lead nurturing gone horribly wrong. Specifically, I’ve seen companies sending multiple emails per day to get my attention.

If this is you, then you should consider pausing your program and rethinking it. The sheer number of emails is not going to get me to engage. Discount offer after discount offer is not going to get me to engage. Extending my free trial is not going to get me to engage. When you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail. That’s not marketing.

In fact, it’s worse because you’re burning up a significant part of your brand equity every time I delete one of your emails. So, if I delete three or four emails today, I’m more annoyed than if it takes me two weeks to delete three or four emails from your company. Eventually, I’m going to be so upset that I block you, or worse, flag you as a spammer. But that’s not the worst outcome for your brand. The worst outcome is I’m telling everyone about you and how you’re a horrible company. That is life threatening for your business.

Here are some of the tips and techniques for lead nurturing best practices we use with our clients when it comes to strategically planning email campaigns and understanding what the right frequency should be.

Understand The Click-To-Close Cycle

Before you start planning your lead nurturing strategy, you had better be intimate with the prospect’s buyer journey. Is it six months or six days? Are they looking at six options or just yours vs. do nothing? How much questioning is there before purchase? Or in other words, how complicated is the process associated with buying from you? Is the journey different based on role, industry or what they’re buying from you?

Once you’re clear on the actual journey prospects are taking once they visit your website for the first time, then you’re ready to identify key triggers for a lead nurture and you can also create key offers that strategically push people through the funnel and along in their journey. For example, if everyone always asks the same questions (such as “how long does it take to start seeing results?”), you should plan on proactively answering those questions for them before they ask.

If you do this well, you can create value-oriented lead nurture campaigns that people appreciate instead of loath.

Give The Prospect Time To Breath (And Do Their Own Research)

You probably know about the pregnant pause people use to make a point during a conversation or speech. The pause allows the other party to consider the commentary, let it sink in, reflect and get ready for what comes next. It’s used strategically, and you should consider using it in your nurturing as well.

For example, people are almost always looking at more than one option when making a significant purchase decision. By being transparent and introducing the idea that you know they’re looking around, and by giving them the questions to ask other providers or suggesting how to do the comparison, you’re showing confidence in your position and helping them make a safe purchase decision.

Make sure your emails are never selling and always helping. The better you are at understanding your prospects’ journey and position, the better your emails will perform and the better they’ll do at turning leads into sales opportunities and new customers.

What’s Your Story? Don’t Send Emails Without A Story

Your prospects don’t want to hear about you, your product, your product features or any sales incentives. They want to hear stories about how people like them used your product/service and realized the results you’re promising. They want to read stories. They want to share stories. They remember stories and they emotionally connect with stories. Make sure your emails are stories, with a beginning, middle and end. That’s how you’ll get them engaged, compelled to work with you and emotionally connected to you and your company.

Don’t Send Any Naked Emails

What’s a naked email? It’s an email without a piece of supporting content (either attached or a link). Email marketing has only one goal — to get a click back to a page on your website. That’s it. If you thought it was something else, it’s time to reset.

If that is the goal, don’t send any emails without a link (or a variety of strategic links) or an attachment that you need them to open. For example, for companies considering a number of inbound marketing or demand generation agencies, we’re sending the “10 Secret Questions Other Agencies Don’t Want You To Ask” as a content offering when our prospects are in the consideration stage of their journey. Do you think that gets opened, clicked and downloaded? Yes, it does.

What Kind Of Metrics Signal Successful Lead Nurturing

Only a handful of metrics indicate whether this is working right or not. The first is clicks. The only reason to send emails is to generate clicks back to landing pages and content pages on your website. This includes additional downloads, opens or views for content that continues the conversation with your prospects.

Open rates are important but not as important as click-through rates. Remember, email systems with a preview option will show an email as being opened when there are no guarantees that anyone saw anything other than the first line of the email.

The most important metric is how effective the email is at moving prospects through the funnel. If a lead is an MQL and through lead nurturing becomes an SQL, that becomes a viable sales opportunity and finally the sales opportunity that turns into a new customer. While in some cases lead nurturing won’t be the only variable moving prospects from stage to stage, it should be obvious in your CRM system that your nurture activities are contributing to higher close rates and shorter sales cycles.

Email marketing is not free. That’s the first fallacy we need to retire. The cost to write, design and send might be negligible, but if that return isn’t high, you’re wasting your time. Worse, there’s a high cost to your brand if you’re sending so many emails that your best prospects are annoyed. If they’re deleting your emails or sending back nasty replies, you have an issue that needs to be corrected immediately.

Finally, keep in mind the time investment required to keep sending these emails out, either in an automated way with technology or sales-rep-focused emails. Don’t keep sending simply because one person out of 100 replied. Even a blind squirrel will find a nut eventually, but that doesn’t mean rooting around aimlessly is the right approach to marketing.

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Source: Mike Lieberman

Mike Lieberman

Co-founder, President and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2 Marketing the only inbound marketing firm in the world that has cracked the code on how to use inbound marketing to generate leads for their clients.

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