10 Tips for Crafting an Automated Lead Nurturing Program

May 28, 2020
4 min

An automated lead nurturing program, when done right, can successfully strengthen your marketing campaigns and more efficiently convert marketing qualified leads into sales qualified leads.

5 Key Benefits of Nurturing Programs

  • Performance: Higher email open rates result from a thoughtfully targeted message sent to a more engaged audience
  • Consistency: Consistent messaging along the educational journey for all qualified targets
  • Accountability: Visibility of performance data and leads allows sales and marketing teams to have greater accountability to campaign performance and work together to achieve common goals
  • Efficiency: Automated content delivery and simple auto-responses improve the efficiency of sales and marketing teams and increase conversions
  • Standardize: Easily create a process for your digital call to action and standardize the response of the sales team to reach campaign goals.

Below are 10 tips to help you create your own successful lead nurturing program. Use these tips to create your own content journey in your internal marketing automation ecosystem, or with a media partner.

1. Narrowly define your target audience

A central part of any strong lead nurturing program is a clearly defined target audience and a personal message to that audience. Consider building a buyer persona to take a deeper look at their specific profile and needs before you craft your central message. Then write “to” them, in their voice, and with their needs in mind. The more relevant your message and call to action, the higher your conversion rates. Personalize your message with your prospect’s name whenever possible.

The more relevant your message and call to action, the higher your conversion rates.

2. Choose the right lead magnets

Selecting the right lead magnet for your identified target audience is one of the most important steps in crafting your lead nurturing program.

Your lead magnet should meet the following criteria:

  • Highlight something of high value to your target
  • Communicate helpful information without being too “sales-y”
  • Provide broad high-level, top of funnel educational or informational value
  • Prove a differentiating factor of your product/ service
  • Is free and easy to access
  • Self-serve access (doesn’t require a call or communication with a rep)
  • Has a simple, clear call to action that doesn’t require education or a complex explanation to understand

3. Make sure your internal lead handling process is rock solid

It’s no good for marketing to generate leads if nobody is working them. Here are a few key tips for a strong lead handling process:

  • Make sure sales and marketing are aligned on the lead handling process from start to finish. For example, identify what qualifies a lead as a marketing qualified lead (MQL) and set rules for what keeps them in a nurturing funnel.
  • Decide who on the team can see the MQLs and what action they should take. Perhaps an inside sales team participates in nurturing warm MQLs.
  • Identify what trigger converts a lead into a sales qualified lead (SQL). Create a notification process for sales to ensure these SQLs don’t fall through the cracks.

Finally, use dashboards and reports to create transparency and accountability based on your identified process.

4. Maintain standard performance reports

Your marketing team should have easy access to reports on email open rates, click through rates (CTRs), and lead conversion rates. These stats should be evaluated at every step of the nurturing process for landing page and email optimization. A/B testing should be employed as often as possible. This data will enable marketing to continuously improve campaign assets while the campaign is in progress.

5. Create clear, specific calls to action

Don’t just use existing landing pages for your nurturing campaigns. If you’re reusing, duplicate and tweak. Better yet, create new ones that contain more relevant content and calls to action that align with your campaign goals. Make sure your emails all have secondary calls to action that allow a prospect to indicate a higher level of interest and more buying intent.

6. Create evergreen content

If you’re creating new content for your journey, try to create evergreen content that you can continue to use after the campaign has concluded. Avoid references to time or time sensitive topics within the content. This will make creating your future nurturing programs faster if you can reuse existing content.

7. Don’t start from scratch

If you’ve already created a nurturing sequence that performed well in the past, replicate and tweak it for your new target audience. If you’re sending to an audience that’s never seen it before, you don’t need to recreate everything.

8. Build accessible dashboards for sales

Create dashboards or reports for sales that allow them to easily see what leads they should be working from the campaign, how many of those leads are in the opportunity pipeline, and how many have converted to sales. Provide goal metrics at the beginning of the campaign and reflect the sales progress toward the goal in the metric reports. The team shouldn’t have to hunt to find the leads you’re creating for them, and performance should always be both accessible and real-time.

9. Track performance of your top of funnel channels

If you’re using multiple channels to drive enrollment into your nurturing campaign, create a different landing page and form for each channel to enable campaign opt-in tracking by channel. For example, you may want to separately track and compare how many enrollments you get from your in-house email marketing, social media marketing, sales team prospecting, and performance by media partners. This will enable you to track performance by channel from lead generation all the way through sales performance. It takes an extra few minutes to set up, but the intel is well worth it.

10. Implement auto responses

Consider implementing auto-response emails for steps of the content journey where prospects take an action. For example, if a prospect downloads a lead magnet, implement an auto-response email that looks like it comes from their sales representative. The message can thank them for their download and provide them a direct link to the content they’ve just engaged with. That way, it’ll be easy to reference it in the future. You can include a secondary call to action to schedule a meeting within the auto email. These small steps can help convert!