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Nurture Campaigns: What Are They and Why Should You Care?

So, you've created a valuable piece of content, like an ebook or a white paper, that directly assists your target audience solve a critical problem. Through your advertising and social campaigns, they have landed on your site, given you their contact information, and received this valuable content. Now that you’ve gotten their attention, you don't want this to be the end of your conversation. You need to continue cultivating their interest to a point of conversion.

After thought and consideration, you’ve decided that email marketing will be one of the ways you’re going to engage and retain your target audience. That’s wonderful. You’ve designed your template, crafted your first email blast, properly segmented your lists, A/B tested subject lines, and finally hit send. Now what?

Well, you could just kick back and hope that sending one follow-up email is enough to get your target audience to convert. But what if they aren't in that stage of the buyer's journey? In many cases, it is better to “nurture” them toward purchase by providing them a series of useful and relevant pieces of communication based on their original problem or download. This series is known as a nurture campaign.

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Nurture Campaigns, Defined

What exactly is a nurture campaign? Nurture campaigns come in many sizes and flavors, but they all have one common goal: To lead your target audience down a path to the next step in their journey. Whether this path is to a conversion point where you’re going to make a sale or it’s to further qualify these potential customers as leads to pass along to your sales team, your nurture campaign is there to lead your target audience from awareness to consideration or consideration to decision.

Creating Paths

A successful nurture campaign starts with (1) understanding the end goal you want your subscribers to achieve (e.g. completing an interest form, requesting a demo, purchasing a product, etc.) and (2) understanding how your target audience has behaved or is likely to behave when presented with different conversion options or opportunities for additional information. With this information, you can begin mapping the intended flow of subscribers through the nurture campaign based on both the progression of time and specific subscriber actions.

The best place to start diverging the path your subscribers may take is between Openers and Non-Openers. If someone opens your campaign, what does that mean in reference to how qualified of a lead they are? What is the next action they need to take to qualify even further, or get closer to the point of conversion?

If they don’t open your campaign, do you plan on sending them another follow-up email to gauge their interest? What happens if they don’t open that follow-up email? When do they fall off your radar as someone not to be pursued further?

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After this first path divergence, you’ll need to look at all of the possible actions someone can take within your first email. If there are two links in your message, how does the buyer's journey for someone clicking on link one differ from that of the buyer's journey behind link two? What are the actions that justify splits in your paths? Remember, the more paths you can split your campaign into, the more specifically you can tailor the message to your target audience based on their actual behavior.

Putting It All Together

It’s important to remember that one size does not fit all when it comes to nurture campaigns. Just because one of the paths you’ve created has converted many qualified leads for that target audience segment does not mean that the same path will do the same thing for another campaign or audience segment. Taking the time to customize the desired pathway map for your target audience is critical to nurturing highly qualified leads to the point of conversion, saving you and your team time, effort, and revenue slippage while generating better conversations.

The time between sends, actions that prompt changes in path for each subscriber, and length of the campaign are important factors to consider against the demographic and psychographic characteristics of your target. Your goals are to proactively provide your target the information they need as they potentially consider the competition to solve their problem and determine whether your product or service is best for their needs.

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Do you have experience creating nurture campaigns? Have you been sent one you’ve found extremely successful, or one that made you ready to hunt down the sender and give them a piece of your mind? Maybe you’re just starting to consider nurture campaigns and want to throw some ideas around? Regardless, we’d love to hear from you!

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