“Nurture” is such a pleasant word. Think of lovingly caring for something so that it grows and flourishes. We nurture our children; we nurture our gardens. And as marketers, we can nurture our prospects so they grow into customers.
Lead nurturing is simply the process of communicating and connecting with prospects at every stage of the sales funnel.
The most efficient nurturing occurs using email drip campaigns.
What are drip campaigns?
At its most basic, a drip campaign is a series of emails sent out at strategic times to accomplish a specific goal. Like the drip irrigation systems they’re named after, you “drip” emails to the inboxes of your prospects and customers.
This kind of timed-release marketing is great for products and services with a long selling cycle. High-ticket products or complex services are perfect for nurturing campaigns.
The majority of people who visit your website, stop in your showroom, or contact you via any means for the first time simply aren’t ready to buy. How do you stay top-of-mind when these prospects eventually decide to buy? With a drip campaign, of course.
Using your understanding of your customers and how your sales funnel works, you can create emails that nudge a new prospect through the buying process. What search terms did he use to find you? What pages in your website did he visit? What did he download? What is he likely to respond to, based on answers to these questions?
The New Prospect
The New Prospect is a crucial stage when you’ll be sending the first message to your new lead. He was once a visitor browsing your site. Now he’s given you his email. Welcome emails give you the perfect chance to engage while he’s still “hot”.
Here’s a welcome email we received from Bitly.
As you can see, they provided info to get us started with their product.
Welcome emails are a great way to introduce prospects to your blog. Give them access to information that can help them make their decision to buy and create some goodwill in the process.
Follow up your Welcome email in a day or two to get them used to seeing your name in their inbox. Here you can offer something interesting or valuable they didn’t know before.
Here’s our follow-up email from Bitly. They are upselling, yes, but they are providing information we can use to make their product more applicable to our use.
After the follow up email your prospects should be moved from Prospect to Engaged Prospect.
The Engaged Prospect
At this stage, continue to drip emails that your prospects can find useful, interesting or informative. Here’s where you can send them newsletters, “exclusive” content to appeal to their egos, limited time offers to get them moving, “feel-good” emails to build rapport and make them feel appreciated, holiday emails that, of course, are in the spirit of the holidays and not about selling, news about industry-related events, educational emails that detail why your services and products are better than your competition’s, etc.
Remember, there’s a reason why there’s a torture named after drips of water that never end. A constant flow of emails that are not related to your audience’s interests is more annoying than anything else. And annoyed recipients will unsubscribe in a hurry.
The New Customer
When you first close a prospect, you can make sure they receive the most value from their new kitchen or bath. Using a drip campaign, you can keep new customers engaged and introduce them to the best ways to take care of their new cabinets, countertops, floors, etc.
A thank you email is first. Then ask for reviews. In your message, provide links to the sites where you want reviews to appear. Read more about how to ask for reviews and why they are important here and here.
The Customer for Life
It’s seven times easier to retain a customer than to acquire a new one. Customers for whom you have completed jobs get moved into their own list segment and receive emails from your drip campaigns less frequently than those you are actively trying to sell. Anniversary emails are good. “It’s been a year since we finished your kitchen.” Send them invitations to showroom events to let them know you’re still thinking of them. Ask, in a subtle way, of course, for recommendations of friends and family who might be in the market for a new kitchen. And you wouldn’t miss the opportunity to ask if they’re interested in a new bath or office re-design, would you?
Re-Engage Inactive Prospects and Customer
Keep leads that don’t close in their own segment and do a drip nurturing campaign to keep them warm. When they’re finally ready to buy, you’ll still be on their radar.
Email marketing is still one of the best ways to communicate with an audience, even after all these years. Email is the most direct way to get specific content to a specific lead, but effective emails need to meet certain criteria:
Automate your drip email campaigns
Sending the different types of emails we looked at here to various list segments at specific times can be overwhelming and labor-intensive if you try to do it manually. You need to have a marketing automation program to help you identify, categorize and target your prospects and customers. This kind of campaign is where marketing automation really works, especially when it comes to reducing effort and boosting overall results.
There is no lack of programs on the market to perform these tasks for you. A simple search for “drip marketing” produced more ads than links to articles. We’re not recommending any of these, per se, but they are the ones that came up at the top of the list.
Today's customers have access to all the product information they need to make informed buying decisions. What they are really looking for is someone they can trust and have an on-going relationship with. Providing helpful and relevant content at strategic times is one of the best ways to nurture trust and build a relationship with prospects.
Using an email drip campaign, you can provide content and build relationships by matching your emails with where your prospects and customers are in your sales funnel.
The process begins from the moment they first express interest. And guiding them through the buying journey will convert them from prospects to loyal customers when the drip campaigns are run correctly.
For additional reading on this topic, try these.
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