Lead nurturing is the process through which marketers provide leads in the sales funnel with more information about products and services. The idea is to remain in contact with a lead and guide him or her towards the buying stage of the sales funnel. Most marketers rely on email marketing for most of their lead nurturing, but they do run into one major problem with email marketing: being labeled as spam.
The true question is where is the line drawn between nurturing and spamming. You want to keep up with your subscribers and send them good information that will help them along in the buying process, but sending too many emails can lead people straight to the spam button. If your lead nurturing email campaigns are going straight to a spam bucket, then your work is being wasted.
So how can you nurture leads without spamming them? Here is our essential guide to lead nurturing – the right way.
Build your email list
Before you being nurturing leads, you have to have actual leads to nurture. There are one of two ways to go about getting leads: you can either pay for a subscriber list of emails or you can ask website visitors for their email addresses (referred to as the opt-in method). One may be quicker than the other, but just like the tortoise and the hare, slow and steady will win the race in the end.
Avoid buying email lists at all costs. These people have not asked to receive emails from you, and they will gladly mark your messages as spam. You also have no idea how old these addresses are or whether or not they’re actually real. Faking an email address and IP address isn’t all that difficult, so even if you purchase a list of a million email addresses, chances are you’re not going to generate many strong leads.
Spamming can have a truly detrimental effect on your business and marketing ventures. Spam complaints can also put your IP address on a blacklist. Many email providers keep a running tab on IP addresses from questionable sources. If your IP address is on one of these blacklists, your emails will be blocked from their inboxes. This can be increasingly stressful if email providers such as Google and Yahoo start rejecting your emails.
The best way to get leads is to give them the opportunity to sign up for your e-newsletters via the opt-in method. These leads will be more interested in what you have to say and will be more likely to open up the emails you send.
Establish a mailing pattern
A mailing pattern is a great way to help leads anticipate you emails and assure them that you’re trying to help, not overrun them.
To start, send an automated welcome email to anyone who signs up for your emailing list and outline how often you will be sending out emails. The welcome email is a great introduction, and it reminds receivers that they did sign up for your service. Sometimes people forget and mark emails that they signed up to receive as spam. The welcome email is a gentle reminder, but you will need to continue to send regular emails to subscribers.
This is why a mailing pattern is so important. Having a pattern builds expectancy and a bit of anticipation. If subscribers know that they should be getting daily emails from you, then it won’t feel like spam. Create a schedule and stick to it. If you plan on altering your your schedule, tell your subscribers in advance so they can be given the chance to opt out of your subscribing list.
Though you may not want to give receivers this opportunity, it’s better to give them the option rather than having them all hit the spam button. Remember, it’s no use to market to someone who doesn’t want to hear your message, so let them opt out and keep focusing on those who matter.
Provide quality content
Your goal as a marketer is to put the right information into the hands of those who will be most likely to use it. When people start subscribing to your emails, you’re making a promise to them to provide quality, relevant content that is useful and informative. Not all of your emails should be about discounts and new products.
Here are some easy tips to keep in mind when designing great emails:
- Avoid making impossible or implausible promises in subject lines. If your subject line promises makes highly unbelievable promise (“lose 10kg in three days”), then subscribers will probably think it’s spam. Do not randomly capitalise letters that do not need to be. It looks fishy.
- Keep text in paragraphs clean. Your emails shouldn’t have unnecessary paragraph breaks or have more unnecessarily capitalised letters. Spell check all your copy and have someone else look at it before you send it. Copy with excessive amounts of grammatical errors look unprofessional, and your subscribers might not want to receive information from an unprofessional source.
- Address the receiver personally. You’d be surprised how effective personalised emails can be. By implying that more effort went in to directly address the subscriber, they will feel less like just another email address and more of a real person to your company.
- Make sure the FROM address is real. A bounceback from your email address does not look good to your subscribers. They’ll be more likely to assume that no one’s there and that they’re just receiving spam emails.
- Make the unsubscribe option obvious. If a user can’t find the unsubscribe box, they’ll hit the spam box. Losing a lead is not good, but it’s better than losing more than one lead because your emails are being considered spam. Put the unsubscribe box right where people can easily see it and click it.
Marketing nurture campaigns can become identical to spam campaigns if marketers aren’t careful. While you won’t be able to stop every spam complaint, you can have a successful lead nurturing strategy if you continue to practice good email marketing techniques.