Leads nurturing: what it is, its benefits, and how to implement it


Lead nurturing is one of the main steps regarding inbound marketing strategies. It is the first step after the company gets in touch with a potential customer, who has somehow shown interest in a brand’s content.

This involves following up on leads by sending, usually automated, emails or messages. It is a segmented approach that provides relevant content to the potential customer in order to move them along the buying journey.

What is lead nurturing?

Lead nurturing is the marketing process in which potential customers are fed relevant and educational content, with the goal of building a relationship and moving them forward in the process until they become buyers.

This approach involves sending emails or messages with interesting content, such as e-books, infographics, webinars, among other materials that add value to the lead.

Benefits of lead nurturing

Sending regular and valuable e-mails or messages represents the best opportunity for a company to continue to build a relationship with potential customers and later sell them a product or service which will solve their problem.

Some people are ready to buy the product right away, but most need to learn more about the brand and the product before they feel confident to move forward. If these leads are nurtured with useful and valuable marketing content, they are likely to remain interested in the company and eventually become loyal customers.

Some of the key benefits of having an effective lead nurturing process:

Increase of lead conversion into customers

It allows you to keep in touch, even with leads that are not ready to buy, in order to help them advance in the funnel, which allows you to get more SQL (sales-qualified leads). The content clarifies the lead’s topics of interest, generating better-informed contacts about the problems the company’s products help to solve. This makes the sales process smoother, not only by improving the conversion rate into customers but also by increasing the average ticket.

Reduction of the buying process duration

Lead nurturing can help speed up the buying process by increasing touch points, resulting in the potential customer building trust in the company more quickly.

Creation of long-lasting relationships

It helps build a relationship with potential customers by demonstrating that the company is willing to help them find solutions to their problems.

Increase in productivity

As it is generally an automated process, it does not require a lot of time to be devoted by the marketing and sales teams and is unlikely to be error-prone. This allows for a reduced associated cost.

Segmented approach

This approach allows you to have a high level of segmentation according to the lead’s interest.

Continuous improvement of the process

As a standardized and usually digital process, it is possible to have indicators for analysis. This allows to understand which emails and messages have the best results, to do tests, and to improve continuously.

How to set up a lead nurturing process?

After lead generation, the process of nurturing the contacts begins. In the nurturing process, two types of campaigns are generally used:

  • Sales campaigns – These are designed to close the sale with leads who are ready to make that step;
  • Nurturing campaigns – These are designed to maintain contact with the potential customer and build trust over time.

Both sales campaigns and nurturing campaigns are essential to grow the business.

The question is: which sequence should come first? You should start with the sales campaign and let it run and only then place the potential customers, who are not ready to buy, into the nurturing campaign to sustain and nurture the relationship. That is, you first give the customer something to accept or reject.

Both sales and nurturing campaigns are essential to growing your business. You should start with the sales campaign and let it run and only then place potential customers, who are not ready to buy, into the nurturing campaign to sustain and nurture the relationship.

The company has already earned the right to be heard with the website and the lead generator (magnet); it is time to propose the sale. And if the customer does not make a purchase, you sustain the relationship with the nurturing campaign so that they remember the company when they are ready to commit.

Both campaigns are usually automated through marketing automation or CRM (Customer Relationship Management) platforms/software that include this type of feature.

Sales campaign

A sales campaign is a sequence of messages with the ultimate goal of getting the customer to buy or ask to be contacted.

While a nurturing message or email tries to add value by solving a problem and adding a call-to-action at the end, a sales message will make the call-to-action its main focus. Its entire structure must serve one purpose: to challenge customers to buy.

To create an effective sales campaign, it is necessary to:

  • Focus on a single product or service: A sales campaign works best when it is focused on a single product. You can create multiple campaigns for multiple offers, but you should not confuse customers by offering multiple products in the same campaign;
  • Identify the main problem that the product/service solves: The sales campaign is not just about selling a product, it is designed to solve a problem, and the product is the tool that people will use to do this. The product can only shine if it helps the customer overcome a problem. Without the problem, the product is meaningless. It is necessary to decide what specific problem the campaign will help people solve.
  • Establish a time limit for the purchase: A time window should be created for the customer’s buying possibilities. The fact that time expires will force the action. When customers know they don’t have forever to make a choice, they are more prone to act.

The message sequence can be adapted to each type of business. But here follows an example of a structure for a sales sequence, after the lead has downloaded the lead generator (magnet):

1 – Deliver the content

Short, nice message without selling anything. Thank and deliver the lead generator content and add a summary sentence describing how the company can help the lead solve their problem.

2 – Talk about the problem and solution

In the second message identify the problem that the company intends to solve for the client. Once you identify the problem, you must empathize with the pain points and then introduce the product or service as the solution that will solve that problem.

3 – Share a customer’s testimonial

One way to increase customers’ confidence and make them feel safe is to show that more people are involved. This is one of the reasons why customer testimonials are so important. Find someone who has experienced success with the product or service, and record that experience. Use short testimonials.

4 – Overcome an objection

Many customers already want to buy but have a question holding them back. In this message, you should help customers overcome a common objection that people have about the product. By helping to overcome this objection, you will also help to overcome the emotional resistance to buying the product or service.

5 – Trigger a paradigm shift

Many customers will feel that they have already tried whatever you are selling. If customers feel that they have already used the product or service and it didn’t work, they will not buy. It is necessary to show how the company and the product differ from the competition. It is an important tactic to make people reconsider the purchase.

6 – Sell

In this sixth email, you need to focus on the sale. At this point, the customer should only focus on accepting or rejecting the product. This is the time to discuss the offer within a limited timeframe, encouraging the customer to act.

Nurturing campaign

Nurturing campaigns are designed to continue nurturing the relationship with a potential customer. They are also called drip campaigns, because they slowly deliver information to customers over a long period.

In these campaigns, the company provides information to customers on how it can solve their problems and thus offer them value.

As already mentioned, the reason why a nurturing campaign is important is because most customers don’t want to buy the product right away. They often have to hear about a product five or six times before they are willing to make a purchase.

People do not trust strangers, and hearing about the brand several times and in different contexts builds trust. By sending messages and emails, the company increases contact points and builds a trusting relationship much faster.

Nurturing emails are a way for the company to keep in regular contact with the potential customer. Sending a periodic e-mail ensures that when the customers decide to buy, the company is in their minds and not a competitor.

It is absolutely essential to send the email sequence consistently, with content that is consistently valuable. This sequence, unlike the sales sequence, does not need to come to an end. You can send relationship-nurturing messages or emails to a potential customer for several months or even years before the customer makes a purchase.

If the company shares valuable content, potential customers will still want to receive the messages, even if they are not interested in purchasing right away.

Characteristics of a good nurturing email

  • Offer value: Offer information or tips to customers regarding how you can help them get what they want.
  • Focus on solving a problem: Tell customers about the problem you solve to make sure it sticks in their memory.
  • Remind that you have a solution: A problem should only be mentioned if the company can position itself as the one that solves it. Point out which product can solve the customers’ problems and make their lives easier.
  • Position the company as a guide: The campaign must allow the company to be positioned as an authority or reference in its industry. This way, the customers will see the company as a guide that can help them find a solution.

Even if the purpose of a nurturing message or email is not to sell the product, a reference to the product should be included at the end of each message. This mention is just a small reminder that lets customers know what the company does and what products it creates that can solve their problems. Also, direct calls-to-action should always be included next to the product: “BUY”.

You need to find a reason to email customers every week so that they will remember the company.

One type of weekly email that can be sent is a set of tips that will improve customers’ lives when it comes to the products and services the company sells.

Another possibility, is to share information about new products or about special promotions. If the company releases new products frequently and consistently, the nurturing email can simply be a catalog-like page showing what’s new. The key to presenting products regularly is to make sure that you are always informing customers about something new and exciting.

You can also send e-mails about how the products are made, or tips for their best use. This will add depth to the offering and add personality to the brand.

Other types of weekly nurturing emails: calendar of upcoming week’s events, special discounts of the week, or testimonials of how customers have solved their problems with the company’s product.

Best practices for creating and sending nurturing emails

There are several best practices that can help get this lead nurturing process off the ground.

How many e-mails or messages to send?

Weekly frequency was mentioned, but the company can choose another periodicity. The company can send as many emails or messages as it can, as long as they add value and interest the customer. There is no magic number.

The goal of the email sequence is to keep customers engaged and it is generally recommended to send at least one email per week. However, if the company has something interesting to say, it can send it more frequently. It is only necessary to ensure useful topics.

It can also be interesting to hear the voice of the customer to understand if the frequency set matches expectations.

What is the best time to send emails or messages?

There is no magic formula here either. Studies state that the best time to send emails depends on the industry, the business, and above all, the target audience.

It is necessary to test and measure to determine the best time to send these messages.

There are two phases involved in understanding the best times to send emails to a company’s audience:

  • Send on the best days and times identified in studies (test the various times that are on the top of these studies);
  • Analyze the test data to figure out which ones got the best results and draw conclusions.

Tips for the email subject

The email subject is one of the main drivers for their opening. Some tips that can help you select the best title:

  • Use the subject matter as inspiration: How to make {theme} that will {benefit} | {number} ways to grow your {theme};
  • Let the recipients know about what’s in the email for them: {number} reasons why you should {theme} | {number} best {theme} for {benefit};
  • Show the recipients who they can become: Get to know how {name/company} does {theme} | How {name/company} got {desirable number/result} in {number of days};
  • Make the recipients move quickly: Stop now {current undesirable state} | Find the {solution} that will change your life today.

How to master the art of writing messages and emails?

How to master the art of writing messages and emails? Some tips that may help:

  • Read the subjects of emails you receive from other companies and figure out which ones grab your attention and why;
  • Write in a conversational tone;
  • Always think about the customer: “What problems can I help the reader solve?”, “What value can I add” and “How can I show empathy and authority to the potential customer?”;
  • Use short words, sentences and paragraphs and read the e-mail aloud to test if it is simple and clear. Using big words and complex language can puzzle customers;
  • Use active language to make sentences more interesting.

How to measure the interest of leads?

At any point in the nurturing campaign, a potential customer can advance to the buying stage or to a meeting request. However, some customers will not make this step if they are not encouraged to do so. But the handoff of leads from the marketing team to the pre-sales team should only be done when they are properly qualified. Therefore, there is a need to define criteria for their handover.

Lead scoring

There are several ways to measure the leads’ interest in the product or service. The easiest way to do this is by setting up a lead scoring system in marketing automation software or CRM.

Lead scoring is a way of rating potential customers with points, which are used to determine who is ready to buy. Once a lead receives the score that is deemed acceptable by the company, it is handed over to the pre-sales team to finish the qualification.

This score is defined based on the leads’ profile in comparison with the company’s ideal persona and also according to their actions during the buying journey. The closer the lead’s profile is to the ideal persona, the more points it gets. Interactions with the company also count as points, as they show interest.

Types of criteria to use:

  • Profile: function, age, location, company segment, number of company employees, company turnover, or other;
  • Interest: type of content downloaded, emails opened, site pages visited, or others.

It is important to note that lead scoring is an iterative process: you need to define the criteria and weights, see the results, and adjust, improve, and refine.

For the initial design of the lead scoring system, three types of analysis are generally taken into consideration:

  • Analytical analysis: Analyze historical data to find out which marketing efforts lead to more conversions across the funnel;
  • Commercial teams’ opinion: Sales representatives are in the field and communicate directly with leads that become customers or not. They tend to have a clear idea of what activities and marketing materials help encourage conversion;
  • Customers: Carry out some interviews with customers to understand what they think was responsible for their buying decision. Ensure that you interview customers who have had both short and long sales cycles, to get diverse perspectives.

The pre-sales team will then be responsible for dealing with the pre-qualified leads that have already gone through a large part of the marketing funnel. Here the approach is no longer segmented, but personalized and tailored to the context.

The pre-sales team must have specific training because classic sales tactics can hinder the approach to this type of leads that originated in inbound marketing.

The importance of lead nurturing for business growth

In short, lead nurturing is a digital marketing strategy that aims to keep potential customers interested and in touch with the company or brand by providing relevant and personalized content.

Lead nurturing can significantly impact the business as it increases the conversion rate of leads into customers, reduces the buying cycle time, helps create long-lasting relationships, and reduces the cost of customer acquisition.

Benefits of lead nurturing

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