5 Lead Nurturing Best Practices From The Pros
As with everything in life there is more than one way to do just about everything. That being said, it isn’t always a great idea to do so. A personal favorite example of this is Sam Carpenters thoughts on the right way, and wrong way to put toilet paper on a roll in his book “Work The System”.
Following suit with my previous post about marketing automation best practices (check it out here). I’m following up with one on lead nurturing best practices. To do so I will be analyzing some of the best in the biz. Specifically Ramit Sethi, Derek Halpern, and Darren Hardy. If you haven’t heard of these folks I highly recommend their work and will include links at the end of this article.
1. Always Deliver Value
When you are sending emails to your prospects you always need to deliver value. Like most best practices this seems really, really obvious, but almost no one adheres to it. Instead they just send “stuff” and hope for the best. This tactic is backed up by sayings like “a prospect needs 12, 20, etc touches before they buy”, and other fancy sayings.
For a lazy marketer or business owner this puts the focus on quantity over quality. What’s more putting the focus on quantity over quality means if things aren’t working the obvious solution is we need more emails when the sad truth is your emails suck and no one is reading them.
Expert Example: Derek Halpern
Check out these subject lines from Derek Halpern to get an idea of what I mean:
- Guarantees boost sales. Here are 39 you can copy and paste
- Write better sales copy with this ONE tip…
- 7 tips on how to create (and sell) online courses
Each one is heavy on the value… I know what I’m going to gain in exchange for my attention before I even click. And to those of you thinking, “yeah but I have a business and a product to sell” realize that Derek does too, but before he does so Derek Halpern is selling you Derek Halpern.
In your market there are likely competitors who offer the same or similar products and services. Maybe even at a lower price point. If you are adhering to the lead nurturing best practice of “always delivering value” you will stand out and be the go to when they are ready to buy. Heck, they will owe ya one!
2. Establish a lead nurturing rhythm and stick with it
For this example I’m going to use Darren Hardy. Shortly after reading his new book, The Entrepreneurial Rollercoaster I wisely signed up for his newsletter, Darren Daily. After signing up I have received an email with some tip every weekday morning without fail. After receiving a few I was trained now expect them every morning.
If Darren was to switch this up it would be akin to missing a shift and grinding the transmission. While this is useful if you want to boost an open rate for a promo (a separate tactic for a different day)… For your general lead nurturing you want to use the same intervals and be consistent.
Darren is an overachiever, sending them every day. You would be well served to start with:
- A weekly email
- Emails on Tuesdays and Thursdays
The beauty of marketing automation is you can always add and subtract from your sequence and measure your results. A daily email might be okay for Darren, but I urge the common man to start with a slightly less aggressive approach. ; )
3. Create A Curiosity Loop
This lead nurturing best practice really reminds me of the first email marketing secret I learned. I figured out that if I started my emails with this specific question my click through rate rose by 30%… Just like magic! You see in each email I’d simply ask the prospect whether they…
Click here to find out the question
The above is an example of a curiosity loop. It paints a picture, lays out some benefits all hinging on a simple secret. A secret that you can’t have unless you give in and do what the marketer wants. Think Rodale Press, “This simple ingredient in your spice rack doubles your testosterone and burns belly fat like a furnace.”
A desired action could be simple like:
- View an article
- Watch a video
- Share a link
Or longer term like:
- Attend a webinar or event
- Download a lead magnet
- Or even buy a product!
I highly recommend using this in all of your emails. At least the ones you want people to click. I’ve seen this used in the body, or even the P.S. with great success. The key here is to deliver on the promise when the visitor clicks your link, otherwise expect high unsubscribes as you frustrate your list.
4. Always Offer The Next Step
As part of your solid overall marketing automation strategy (you do have one, right?) you should have set actions you want prospects to take as they flow through your funnel towards a purchase. In each of your lead nurturing emails it is definitely a best practice to offer the prospect a chance to ascend to the next level through an offer.
When I say offer I do not mean a discount, I am talking about an offer to learn more and move down the funnel closer to becoming a customer.
On the flip side you should never let people back out of your funnel by offering something from a previous lifecycle stage. As an example… If you are nurturing a prospect who has consumed a resource guide you offered, downloaded your comprehensive eBook, and then registered for a webinar for god’s sake do not send them another resource guide!
I like to picture it this way in my mind. Each lifecycle stage is a piece of land accessible only via a bridge. Once you cross that bridge to the next island I’m blowing up the bridge behind you! One way street buddy, you can have a taste of the free stuff but you’re going to have to make a decision at some point in our relationship.
Many a hopeful marketing automation expert set up their “machine” only to build a pinball machine that knocks prospects around confusing them instead of a well oiled money generating thing of beauty… But that is another rant for another post. 😉
5. Always Relate Your Email Content To Your Personal Story
Remember back to the first lead nurturing best practice “always deliver value” and Derek Halpern selling himself. This is important because people don’t buy from companies, they buy from other people. Often times other people who have had the same problem and figured out the solution to it. Nothing is more relatable than a personal story told in the first person.
Because of this personal stories relating to your product or service, why you created it, how you overcame obstacles, etc are extremely effective… And terribly underused by businesses.
Check out this excerpt from an email of Ramit Sethi’s
“This happened to me just a few years ago.
* * *
A few years ago, my life changed.
For first time, I realized I had a successful business — something bigger than I’d ever imagined. We’d launched Earn1K and generated something like $500,000 in a few days, blowing away my expectations. It seemed like a good time to step back and take stock of what I’d created.
Suddenly, I realized my business was bigger than I had ever thought it would be. I felt happy for about 2 days…until I realized I had no idea what to do next.
Do I just stop here? I was making more than I ever thought I would. Shouldn’t I just be happy?”
“I realized I had no idea what to do next to grow my business.”
People don’t want to buy from the faceless CEO who spends his time sailing the world on his yacht while his minions toil endlessly to make him more money. They want to buy from the scrappy, inventive entrepreneur who rose from adversity, kicked the problem in the teeth, and is now helping others do the same.
Even if your CEO is travelling the world on a yacht, write your emails as a personal story from their point of view and watch the results.
In conclusion I think best practices are huge. In both my professional and personal life I try my best to be a humble critter, and open to learning always. Digital marketing is an ever changing landscape, and if you aren’t willing to change I am absolutely certain you will be left behind.
If there are people who are having success that you want to have in your business, life, or profession pay attention to the things they are doing in that respective area.
To quote Anthony Robbins, “Success Leaves Clues”.
Looking for more on the experts I mentioned? Find their website, and my favorite book of theirs I have read:
Website: Social Triggers
Have more great lead nurturing best practices I missed?
Let me know in the comments below!