Valuable content? Check. Converting readers into leads? Double-check. Lead nurturing emails? Stay tuned.

Cutting through the inbox clutter and ‘beating’ the competition is not an easy feat. Some of your recipients might not even be ready to make a purchase yet. But… this is the beauty of lead nurturing emails – staying connected, nurturing leads and building trust. 


“A sales team
owns the sales funnel. But, as an email marketer, you feed the top of their funnel. ” – EmailOut 

Any email marketer worth their salt is well aware of the need to engage with the target audience and generate leads. In fact, for almost 70% of marketers, generating leads is a #1 marketing goal. Lead generation and lead nurturing are lengthy processes that require crafting highly targeted lead nurturing emails built with the help of data, analytics and research. Furthermore, lead nurturing is one of the most essential and successful marketing techniques for securing new subscribers/customers.

This article covers the following topics about lead nurturing emails:

  1. What is lead nurturing?
  2. Lead nurturing emails & their importance
  3. 7 lead nurturing email examples
  4. Lead nurturing emails best practice

Ready to dive in?

Email marketing is widely used in lead nurturing as it offers a high level of flexibility and allows marketers to craft various types of email campaigns depending on the end goal.

Without lead nurturing, you risk people spending their hard-earned cash elsewhere or, even worse, putting them completely off making a purchase from your brand. 

Lead Nurturing: What Is It?

In the simplest terms, lead nurturing is the process of building and securing strong relationships between brands and customers. 

The more complex definition. Lead nurturing is the process of developing and reinforcing relationships between brands and customers at every stage of the sales funnel by focusing your marketing and communication efforts on listening to the needs of your leads and delivering the information necessary to build trust, boost brand awareness and, ultimately, convince your target audience to make a purchase.

Lead Nurturing Email Campaign

A lead nurturing email campaign is a series of emails sent at specific stages of a lead’s onboarding cycle based on their behaviour and needs. Such an email campaign delivers timely, relevant, targeted and highly personalised content that will help guide the prospect through the sales funnel. 

Simply put, a lead nurturing email is an automated, highly personalised, specifically focused, uber targeted campaign used by marketers to take people on a journey that will impact their decision-making process and buying behaviour which will (hopefully) result in a purchase.

In lead nurturing email campaigns, specific behavioural data (i.e. the number of times a lead visited your website and which product/service/guide/article they are interested in) is paramount to delivering value to the prospect while also encouraging engagement and conversion (in the form of a purchase).

You won’t pull out your wallet until you’re ready, right? And you won’t be ready until you have all the information you need. Cue, a lead nurturing email.

The Importance Of Lead Nurturing Emails

You can’t just go from lead generation to conversion. It doesn’t work like that. You’ll be jumping the gun and missing what nearly 60% of marketers agree to be the most important and vital piece of any marketing strategy – lead nurturing. 

Why should you actively use lead nurturing emails? 

  • boost in sales – stats point out that nurtured leads bring in 50% more sales
  • cost-efficiency – email marketing has an ROI of 42:1 (the highest in digital marketing)
  • automation opportunity – with the right email marketing software, you will be able to set up lead nurturing email sequence(s) once (with occasional tweaks and a tinker of course) and witness smashing results

Lead nurturing emails are a ‘must-have’ for every brand because rather than delivering a hard sales pitch, they allow you to have a more subtle, softer approach and gently nudge prospects to making a decision and buying your product/service.

7 Lead Nurturing Email Examples

If you are wondering what’s the best design for your lead nurturing emails, draw some inspiration from these seven examples divided into seven industry sectors.

B2B 

You’ve signed up for a Pinterest Business account but… for some reason, you haven’t created an ad to promote your products/services or taken any other action for that matter. Yet, Pinterest knows you want to do something and it’ll give you a nudge – a gentle reminder.

Lead Nurturing Emails: What You Need To Know | EmailOut.com

The reason this lead nurturing email is great is that it’s direct, tactical and to-the-point with succinct and clear copy, 3 short, easy solution steps and one very hard-to-miss and eye-catching call-to-action.

Product Marketing 

Writing email copy can feel like a Herculean task. You need to be friendly, concise, helpful and straightforward. However, the guys and girls at Typeform seem to have hit the nail of the head with this lead nurturing email.

Lead Nurturing Emails: What You Need To Know | EmailOut.com

Their email campaign is relatable, honest and fun while also taking advantage of the user’s inactive status as a reason for the outreach. Furthermore, their secondary CTA is so subtle and barely asking much of the reader which is what makes it perfect. 

Services 

The team at Handy has nailed crafting lead nurturing emails. From the clear and prominent CTAs to the relevant service info and great choice in imagery, this email is uncluttered and effective. If you are wondering why the smiling people image is effective and a very smart move, the reasons are two – 

  • it draws the attention and emphasises the effect buying a product/service has on people – making them happy
  • photos with people in them deliver 95% higher conversion rates compared to photos of objects

Lead Nurturing Emails: What You Need To Know | EmailOut.com

Ecommerce 

People buy from people – 80% on the advice of other people, even if they don’t know them personally. Thus, your product/service is only as good as its reviews. Most customers will seek a review or testimonial before they commit to making a purchase. In their cart abandonment lead nurturing email, Casper includes not only a bit of fun customer testimonials but also social proof to cement their greatness.

Lead Nurturing Emails: What You Need To Know | EmailOut.com

What makes this email perfect is – 

  • clever and to-the-point copy
  • showing the product the customer added to their cart
  • asking the recipient to revisit their cart (if they want to)
  • strong contrast, bold text and plenty of whitespace
  • two clear call-to-actions (CTAs)
  • a fine example of minimal email design

Retail

I’ve used Chubbies as an example for great email marketing several times and their emails never disappoint. With more than 1.6 million Facebook likes and followers, the brand puts the social and extremely fun aspect of content first. Chubbies’ newsletter serves as a hub for user-generated content, awesome promos and all-around entertaining and cheeky humour.

Lead Nurturing Emails: What You Need To Know | EmailOut.com

In this lead nurturing email, the brand is delivering 50% information and 50% fun making the campaign a read subscribers will enjoy even if they don’t plan to buy anything. Here’s why this email is great – 

  • relatable copy
  • on-brand visuals
  • multiple CTAs
  • fun Memes

Food & Beverage 

Have you heard of the picture superiority effect? Simply put,when you hear or read something, you’ll remember 10% of the content 3 days later. But, when that content is paired with relevant imagery, you will remember 65% of the information 3 days later.

The guys and girls at Thrive are well aware of this theory and have taken full advantage of it in their lead nurturing email campaign. Their products are highlighted subtly and attractively with a sufficient amount of content and prominent, strategically placed call-to-action. 

Lead Nurturing Emails: What You Need To Know | EmailOut.comTravel 

People (even if they won’t admit it) are consumed by wanderlust. Airbnb’s email takes advantage of that need and gives its target audience exactly what they want. 

The email design is simple, clean and to the point. It has a clear, well-placed call-to-action, highlights gorgeous, fun and picturesque travel destinations, and, the best part, it does not ask for much of the reader. Furthermore, anniversaries are always a clever way to reach out to your target audience without coming across as intrusive or pushy. The whole lead nurturing email feels personal and carefully curated.

Lead Nurturing Emails: What You Need To Know | EmailOut.com

Lead Nurturing Emails Best Practice

To develop a successful lead nurturing email marketing strategy that will effectively drive interested leads towards becoming paying customers, you should follow best practice.

Personalisation

You can make your email marketing even more powerful by using all the information you’ve gathered about your audience to personalise your lead nurturing emails from top to bottom.

You may think Hell, I already know enough about email personalisation. But… do you? Simply because you use a lead’s first name in the subject line or email copy does not mean it will result in a conversion. 

You’ve devoted countless hours to create an email campaign. You’ve included several offers and special deals. The body copy is full of information you think might be of interest to your audience. You unleash the campaign to your email list(s) and nothing. Why do you think that is?

Now, think about this… 

You’ve taken advantage of all available tools the right email marketing software can provide and created a highly targeted, uber personalised, relatable, beneficial and relevant lead nurturing email campaign. You sent this smashing campaign to your target audience and conversions are pouring in. Why do you think that is?

Hint: because you’ve personalised your email from the subject line and email body copy through to segmented email lists – even the imagery is relevant and curated.

Top 10 Email Personalisation Techniques >>> 

A/B Test Campaign Content

There is no default approach on how to convert leads into customers. Depending on your industry, you will nurture leads differently. Thus, no two lead nurturing emails are the same.  You should always try out different content, offers, layouts and CTAs to determine what works best for your brand. And the best way to do so is to A/B test (a.k.a split test) your emails.

A/B testing will help you figure out which out of the two versions of your lead nurturing email campaign works best without having to commit to either one. A small % of your total audience will receive both versions – half will get Version A and the other half, Version B. Afterwards, your email marketing software of choice will run the split test and swiftly track important email marketing KPIs such as open and click-through rates to figure out which version is delivering the most success. 

Top Split Testing Tips >>>

Monitor Email Marketing KPIs

The best email marketing decisions are data-driven. When it’s all said and done, it matters not how effectively you’ve optimised your lead nurturing email campaign. Nor does it matter that you’ve implemented all known best practice. If you do not see boosts in your performance metrics, all will have been for nothing.

By monitoring your email marketing KPIs (i.e. open & click-through rates, deliverability & conversion rates, and bounce, unsubscribe & complaint rates), you can make adjustments to your campaigns to dive deep into what interests your target audience and deliver even better email campaigns next time. 

Email + Digital Marketing Channels

I’ve been going on and on about nurturing leads through email marketing campaigns, however, any marketer worth their salt knows the best way to convert leads into customers is to use multiple marketing channels.

Some people prefer one channel over the other. Therefore, you must be present anywhere and everywhere people are most likely to engage with your brand. So, if social media is where “the action” is, that’s where your lead nurturing should be happening. If email has proven to be the best channel to nurture leads then make sure you’re doing your very best to deliver smashing lead nurturing emails.

Remember, each marketing channel has its benefits – although only email allows you ‘ownership’ of your digital audience i.e. email cannot switch you off, unlike a social media company.

Final Thoughts

Lead generation is crucial for your brand’s success. Yet, without lead nurturing, most prospects will go “poof” – gone. Why? Because we’re only human and want to feel special and appreciated, lead nurturing emails do a wonderful job at that – they tell your target audience that every single one of them matters to your brand.

Besides, lead nurturing emails are an extremely effective, efficient and successful way for businesses to make an impact on their prospects, build trust and develop long-term symbiotic loyal relationships that drive sales.

Remember, the more loyal the audience, the higher the potential for growth opportunities!

Highly recommended further reading – 

1) How To Embed Video In Email (make your email captivating & fun)
2) Email Design Best Practice
3) Lead Generation Tips
4) Email Marketing Campaign Checklist (PDF version here)

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