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Seven steps to effective email nurture marketing

In today’s multi-device, always-connected world, buyer behaviour has changed, and with it, the opportunities for marketing have also metamorphosed. With more researching time spent on ‘search and social’, communication gaps with businesses have widened.

For marketers, it is now about how to fill those gaps. Marketing automation technology has evolved along with consumers’ behaviour allowing brands to incorporate sophisticated data such as buyer behaviour and preference into their campaigns. These forms of personalised ‘nurture marketing’ are a way to ensure brand preference and loyalty is developed both before a sale and between purchases.

However, many marketers still tend to rely on more generic newsletters or content that are now outdated. We found a great guide penned by Silverpop, a global marketing software company, and thought we’d share their top seven tips for developing effective email nurture marketing campaigns.

1)     Get started

It doesn’t have to be perfect straight away. Some marketers delve into the almost infinite possibilities for personalising content across multiple channels and feel paralysed by the extent of options. If this has happened to you, maybe try thinking big and starting small. For many, this means starting with something small where each email recipient receives the same content incorporating product news, upcoming events or the like. Once you’re off the ground, it is easier to slowly introduce layers of sophistication over time.

2)     Collect the right data
If you want to add sophistication, you’ll need the right data to drive it. So, ramp up your efforts to collect important information from your prospects and customers, such as industry, company size and biggest challenges (for B2B) or age, location and interests (for B2C).

Rather than asking for all this information up front, employ progressive profiling to gradually gather more insight and information. Using a progressive Web forms builder, you just prioritize the list of questions you’d like to ask your prospects and customers and indicate how many should be addressed during each exchange.

In addition to this “explicit” information, you’ll also want to employ tools such as web tracking to capture prospect and customer behaviours. These behaviours will enable you to gather “implicit preferences” regarding your contacts’ interests. Put another way, whether a contact clicked through on an email, visited a specific web page, or did both multiples times within a week can speak volumes about their intent – and how you should nurture them.

3)     Use dynamic content in emails to add personalisation
Once you have demographic and behavioural information, you’re ready to get started. So, you could:

-Provide content based on browsing behaviours. This means incorporating content blocks that shift based on what pages the recipient browsed on your site.

-Provide resources based on a person’s industry or role. This sort of content that matches what people do for a living and who they have to report to is a good way to nurture and provide useful tools.

-Showcase dates or expirations. Ensure your contacts don’t miss out on an opportunity or aren’t inconvenienced, and at the same time drive revenue.

4)     Consider the benefits of multi-channel marketing

Nurturing via email is a great way to engage contacts, but it’s not the only option. It might be worth incorporating ‘snail mail’, phone calls or SMS into the mix.

5)     Take a persona approach

Who are your customers and what journey do they typically take to becoming a buyer? Most companies have a few subsets of customers, each with unique resource needs and communication preferences. To make sure you’re contacting these persona groups with the right contact at the right time, understand what is important to these people, and what their challenges are. If you’ve compiled both explicit and implicit data about these persona groups, you can build specific nurtures around their different needs and adjust communication programmes and contact based on how they interact with your messages.

6)     Know your content matrix

Once you’re clear about your persona groups, take a look at your existing content and align it with each persona. Don’t be surprised if you have an abundance of content for one or two personas, yet very little for others that are part of your buying cycle. That’s a common challenge many digital marketers face, so don’t panic. You just need to work to create additional thought leadership geared to the personas where you are lacking.

First, examine existing content to see if anything can be freshened up or repurposed to fill the gaps. As part of this process, think about breaking longer pieces of content up into “snackable” smaller pieces that leverage a different format. For example, can you take the statistics from a detailed research paper and turn that into an eye-catching infographic? Or, can you have a paper author introduce the piece in a video?

Lastly, make it a priority to invest the budget and resources to fill up any remaining holes in your content framework where you have no content or your pieces are not in the right format to be attractive to the right audience.

7)     Mirror the email nurture experience on your website
If you have a content management system integrated with your digital marketing platform, you can build content blocks within your website that display unique content if a visitor matches certain rules. In other words, you can enhance the personalised messaging engine you’ve created and extend the nurture beyond email to your website.
This a massive opportunity to drive interactions and revenue. Instead of treating web visitors the same whether they’re new prospects, recent first-time buyers or repeat purchasers, try building “smart content” logic into your platform that matches web content to the visitor’s buyer persona, where they are in the customer lifecycle, or both. Examples might include:

• “Thanks for registering Vanessa – as a valued member you now have access to (LINK)”

• “Bob, looks like you haven’t updated to the new version – click here for information on the release!”

• “A.J., as a ‘Premium’ member with 400 rewards points, we think you’ll like our new Plus program.”

By customising your corporate website to better align with your email nurture, you’ll find that visitors will stay on your website much longer, engagement rates will climb, and you’ll qualify more leads.

What are your thoughts? What does your content plan look like? Have you used any of these ideas and had good results? Let us know your thoughts.