Create Winning Email Nurture Program in 10 Quick Steps

January 26, 2023
November 9, 2023
Demand Generation Strategy
"Create Winning Email Nurture Programs in 10 Steps"

How do you make a winning email nurture program in this day and age? I’ve said it before and I will say it again, email is dying. So, how can I now write an article about successful nurture programs?

This subject is even more important now in the COVID-19 world, than ever before. Poorly thought out nurture programs and mass emailing are what is killing email. Engagement is dropping as we are all inundated with too many emails that we don’t want. So why not drop email all together? Well, despite this fact, many statistics still say that even in 2020, email is still a very effective conversion tool. Some have reported that 78% of marketers experienced an increase in email engagement over the last 12 months. This just means you need to get creative with your email efforts to see this return on investment.

How do you create a winning email nurture program?

A winning email nurture campaign is a combination of appropriate timing, aligned content, and personalization. There are many formulas that one can follow, but no article knows your readers better than analysis of your own data.

Your own data will reveal: engagement, optimal time, A/B testing results, pipeline influence, sales influence, etc. That being said, it is always a good idea to look at email benchmark data, broken down by industry to give you an overall sense of what you should aim for.

10 steps to winning email nurtures

When designing your nurture program, there are really 10 steps you should follow:

  1. Narrow in your target audience. What type of nurture program are you making. Is it a new subscriber nurture? A re-engage nurture? A specific event? Past customers? Determining the target audience of your nurture is really important for personalization. You need to stop emailing your entire database with the same messaging. 
  2. Map out the content. What would you like the journey to be? Decide what the end goal will be and how much content you will need to guide the recipient on a journey. If they read every single email, what would leave them excited for the next email? Is the content for top of the funnel, middle of funnel or bottom? Make sure that you use that content to guide them through the funnel.
  3. Determine your gaps. What content do you need? What do you already have created that can either be used as is or repurposed? Turn a white paper into a checklist, take a powerpoint and make it into a video. Use both pieces in the same campaign, but place them where appropriate. 
  4. Look at segmentation options. How can you use your data in your favour to personalize the experience further. Whether you want to break it out based on demographic information like titles, purchasing authority, or how they align to your personas it is important to develop content that will resonate and really make the reader feel like this content is designed for only them.
  5. Build out your nurture and testing options. Subjects, headlines, images, layouts, calls to actions, images, button colour are all things you can test. Determine which elements resonate the best with your audience. Be careful when testing, though. You can’t test everything all at once. Keep your tests very targeted with one element per test.
  6. Think outside of the inbox. Add a social and/or retargeting campaign to take the experience out of the inbox alone. You can use email addresses in social media ad lists or retargeting code in actual email to get your message in front of prospects in more than one location.
  7. Be authentic in your messaging. Not salesy or gimmicky. Stick to your brand and your story.
  8. Assign scoring. Ensure that you have lead scoring setup to help you determine lead status and success. If a reader performs the desired outcome, such as clicking a specific link, you can increase their score. Conversely, if they don’t, then you can subtract or not add points to their score. Lead scoring is a great tool to determine engagement and  easily communicate that with sales. 
  9. Send leads to sales. Following up on the above point, when a lead hits a certain score, or behaves in a certain way, we can happily grant them an MQL status and hand them off to sales for follow up. When you hand them to sales, use automated alerting to summarize the leads behaviour to receive this score.
    - What nurture content have they received? 
    - How many emails have they engaged with?
    - What content did they download? 
    All of this information gives sales a warmer approach to follow up with the leads.
  10. Report success. But what is success in a nurture campaign? This obviously will depend on your organization, but a good rule of thumb to follow is to speak the language of the people you are reporting up to. Generally this is going to be around revenue. So, break down your influence by contribution to pipeline and revenue, time to close a lead. If your organization is focused on Account Based Marketing (ABM), maybe look at fit like what percentage of leads fit your Ideal customer personas.

People know they have a problem with email. But aren't ready to commit.

I have been surprised at the number of conversations I have already had this year with organizations wanting someone to help with their email programs. This shows me that people are aware that there is a problem and they have decided that they need to do something about it. That being said, they aren’t ready to commit to a full demand generation strategy, unfortunately. Email is more than just email. You need to think outside of the inbox in order for your email campaigns to be successful. Email Nurture Programs really are a comprehensive marketing campaign that spans social media, paid, content marketing, CRO, and sales.

Ready to learn more? Let's connect and talk about your email marketing needs! Book me for a call here.

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