Nurture campaigns are the foundation of any modern marketing strategy. But creating nurture campaigns that convert requires a delicate balance of head and heart—and a lot more complexity than you might think, believes Lara Barnett (Vandersluis), Head of Marketing for Logicalis Australia in Sydney, Australia, an expert at building out multi-layered email nurture campaigns.
“What makes a great marketer is empathy — being able to step into your customers' shoes, see through your customer's eyes, think through your customer's mind,” says Lara.
Start by stepping into your customers’ shoes
The starting point for creating an email nurture campaign that works is developing a deep understanding of the customer. “Before you start building out a nurture campaign, think about if you were in this person's position—whether that’s an HR manager, IT manager, or CEO. What would your concerns be? What would I be thinking about at this point in time? Who would I want to hear from? Where would I be looking for that information?” says Lara.
“If you can answer some of those questions for yourself as a starting point, then you know a good path to figuring out the right journey.”
Validate your assumptions with data
While empathy allows marketers to craft compelling content at every stage of the journey, data is a crucial tool for validating your hypothesis and refining your nurture campaigns over time. “You do need to be able to confirm your assumptions with data,” says Lara.
“The first thing to do would be to look at a previous customer who fits your ideal customer profile and figure out what their journey was—what steps did they take to get to where they are, what intent signals did they show as they moved down the funnel and went on to purchase and become loyal customers and advocates,” says Lara.
Intent signals could include behavior on your website, such as viewing case studies or pricing pages. “That’s a massive intent signal right there,” says Lara. “That information can really tell you a lot when combined with your own hunches as a marketer.”
Building out multi-layered nurtures
It’s not enough to build a single nurture campaign anymore. “Don’t just build a single drip campaign when you send a customer one email then another every week on the same day and at the same time,” says Lara. “You need to add more complexity to the journey.”
If a prospect shows intent, they should be funneled down a different path, says Lara. “If someone has opened all your emails, or filled out a form and downloaded an ebook, pull them out of the initial nurture because they’re not at that point in the journey anymore,” she says. “And once they’re in a new journey, if they show intent based on that messaging, then you need to put them into another nurture again.”
Lara suggests creating multiple ‘layers' to your nurture campaigns, where prospective customers drop down a layer as they make their way further down the funnel each time they show buying intent. “There are countless decisions you need to make in regards to how many layers you need to nurture a customer to achieve your goal or goals, what the content might be, and when to trigger a new journey,” says Lara. “These decisions should be based on your knowledge of your customer, your industry, product, service, brand, and more, as well as being combined with your instincts as a marketer.
Striking the right balance
At the end of the day, “marketing is an art and a science”, and nurture campaigns are no exception. “You need to have that empathy and that imagination to be able to step into your customer's shoes,” says Lara. “I think that’s a skill that good marketers have naturally. “
Andrea Warmington is a content strategist and writer, who has been working in content for 10+ years. She started her career as a journalist before moving into the world of content strategy, for both B2B and B2C businesses. She has a lifelong love of storytelling and believes in taking a journalistic approach to all of the content she creates. In recent years, she's developed a real passion for leading transformative content projects that establish tech businesses as thought leaders and reputable publications in their own right.