Column of the Month: An 8-step road map for a successful lead-nurturing campaign

Column of the Month – Geralda Wickel, Contentspecialist, Netexpo

Half of the leads that first come into contact with your company, services or products are not yet ready to make a purchase. What is certain is that the majority eventually do make a purchase. So, how do you hang on to them? Lead-nurturing campaigns, as part of your online marketing strategy, offer a solution. What is lead nurturing and how do you design a campaign in 8 steps?



What is lead nurturing?

A lead can be described as a path to a new customer. Lead nurturing means that you follow a lead during the buyer’s journey and you feed him or her the right content at the right moment until the lead makes a purchase. Lead nurturing works as a sieve – it filters the great mountain of leads down to those that are really interested in the solutions your organization offers. The effectiveness of your sales team will increase if they go after only these leads. Sales opportunities soar!


Determine the trigger

To start a lead-nurturing campaign, an unknown visitor to your website has to reveal him or herself. You do this by, for example, offering relevant content in exchange for a completed web form with contact details. An example of relevant content is a whitepaper on the subject about which the visitor wants to learn more. By making the online request, the visitor identifies him or herself as a lead. This is the trigger, or the starting signal, for the lead-nurturing campaign that follows.


Design a lead-nurturing campaign in 8 steps

E-mail is the tool of choice to use as a means of communication for lead-nurturing campaigns. It’s quick and economical, it can be monitored (opened mails and clicks) and it is the choice of recipients. After all, communication via e-mail requires consent from the recipient, according to the Dutch Personal Data Protection Act. Consent is thus an indication that a lead is genuinely interested in your content.


Below you’ll find an 8-step road map for designing a lead-nurturing campaign, which you’ll use to pleasantly guide leads through their purchase process.


Step 1: Determine your campaign objectives.

Your online marketing strategy provides comprehensive objectives. How many leads and how many new collaborations/deals do you want to attract via the new campaign?


Step 2: Determine the content need for each purchase phase.

Research which information your target group needs during the purchase process. Generate new content for your campaign if needed.


Step 3: Put your story out.

What happens after the trigger? Define the planned stream of campaign messages (e-mails and/or other means of communication). Which message do you put out at which time? Do the messages connect to each other logically?


Step 4: Personalize your messages (e-mails).

With your Customer Relationship Management system in order, you can use personal data to show only that content that makes the recipient happy. Personalization starts with the proper greeting and name. Within an e-mail campaign, you can have the displayed content depend on indicated interests, location information, time of opening or historical ordering information, for example.


Step 5: Set up the campaign.

If all the content is ready and you have determined the desired personalization, set up the campaign in the (e-mail) marketing automation program. Be aware of other parallel campaigns. A lead can trigger multiple campaigns if he or she has filled in several web forms on your website in exchange for content. This doesn’t mean that he or she would love to be overloaded with e-mails as a result. Think about how you deal with this.


Step 6: Test.

Never start a campaign without first testing it. Test with several colleagues and ask colleagues who know nothing about the campaign to join in. Monitor for technical issues, such whether the campaign launches after the trigger and whether all links in an e-mail work. Also think about the story line: is the structure logical and does the content fit the defined buyer’s journey?


Step 7: Measure KPIs.

You have determined Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for the objectives in order to measure the success of the campaign. How do recipients react to your messages? Are they read? Are they clicked on? Print progress reports regularly and analyze them.


Step 8: Improve.

Based on your analyses, determine whether you have achieved the desired impact. The marketing and sales team periodically evaluates whether the quality of the leads matches expectations and whether the content used satisfies the need of the leads. As a result of the findings, adjust your campaigns.


Better sales opportunities

Due to the wealth of online information, a lead moves through 60% to 90% of the purchase process on his or her own before wanting to speak to a salesperson. Lead nurturing enables an organization to keep track of a lead early on, but the sales team only approaches this lead when the lead is ready. This allows the efforts of the sales team to be effectively deployed and sales opportunities and success rates to rise.


You can read more about lead nurturing in the free e-book ‘Lead Nurturing in 8 steps’.



Column of the Month – Geralda Wickel, Contentspecialist, Netexpo