Marketing Strategy

5 Tips on Writing Lead Nurturing Emails That Don’t Suck

By December 21, 2015 One Comment

Email: It’s not dead. We promise.

Since there are always shiny new toys in the marketing world, some pundits are quick to announce the demise of whatever happens to be less trendy. But whoever said email marketing was dead was probably a little quick to speak.

How do we know? Because you still can’t do anything online without an email address. And if you have to give out an email address for anything, you’re giving someone the opportunity to market to you.

We get hundreds of emails a day. I know people who have literally thousands of unread emails in their inbox. Even more people (try everyone) are way more likely to open an email if it’s something that sounds compelling to them…something that, you know, doesn’t suck.

If you’re writing lead nurturing emails, you want to make sure you maximize the possibilities of your audience opening those emails. You have to have content that is compelling enough to open, and even more compelling to click through.

How do you maximize that potential for your emails? A few tips:

1. Segment, Segment, Segment

First of all, you have to segment your audiences. Don’t just keep acquiring email addresses and sending the same email to all of them.

Email tip: Segment your audiences. Don’t just keep acquiring email addresses and sending the same email to all of them

Start with the obvious ones: leads versus current customers. Then start segmenting based on the actions those consumers took.

For example, if you have leads, it means they signed up for something. What else did they do? Did they download an eBook? Segment. Did they sign up for information on your product launch? Segment. Did they click through an email? Segment.

What about your current customers? If you have a product that requires repeat buying, do you have customers who have only purchased once and never again? Segment. Do you have customers who haven’t purchased in a long period of time—maybe 90 days or more? Segment.

Maybe your customers only purchase once—that doesn’t mean you want to lose touch with them. So, segment based on time that has passed or questions they’ve had. Has it been a week since they received your product? Segment them to check in.

You can’t write effective lead nurturing email campaigns without segmentation. If you don’t segment, it’s like you’re pulling together a whole company of people, but you only wanted to talk to the C-suite. Your messages should be tailored to their audience: that’s why you segment.

2. Use Various Email Types

Your emails, like your web and social content, should never be entirely self-promotional. No one wants to read email after email about how great your company is or what your new product is.

Instead, seek to provide value to your email list with different categories of content.

As you can see from this screen grab, when I do a quick search for emails that HubSpot has sent me, there are several categories of content.

I’ve received gated content downloads, product reviews, free valuable content that will help me in my own marketing efforts, and thank yous for actions I’ve taken. Each email also includes a call to action. So, I get regular communication that keeps me interested.

You’ll want to do this to make your lead nurturing emails stand out: provide education, invitations, free things, calls to action, and more.

3. Be Personal

No one wants to feel like the recipient of a copy-pasted message with no real personalization. One of the worst things you can do is leave out a personal touch.

Even worse than that is forgetting to fill in a personal field, so the email reads, “Dear Customer” or “Dear First Name.” You have the technology—import the right information!

I received this thank you email from Orderly Health for signing up for their beta app. By using my name and making it a more personalized thank you note, it carries more weight when they need me to do something, which in this case is finishing the application process.

4. Know Your Voice

It’s important to develop a comfortable voice that matches your branding, and then use it consistently. That voice is the essence of your brand, and people will come to associate it with you.

I laughed so hard when I saw this email from Drizly, the alcohol delivery app, that I opened it immediately and then tweeted about it and talked about it with everyone I knew.

Drizly knows their voice and they know their product—they also knew that getting in on the catch phrase “Netflix and chill?” would hit home with their particular demographic.

By knowing that this is the time of year when those of us who like cozy sweaters, pumpkin spice lattes, and hot apple cider are made fun of endlessly, Drizly was able to capitalize on an existing trend with some tongue-in-cheek language in their email.

If your brand’s voice isn’t that personal, don’t worry: use the voice you’ve developed. You just need to know who you sound like so that you can speak the right way to your audience.

And don’t try to step outside of that voice—if people like your brand, they like your brand’s voice, and it needs to stay consistent.

5. Use Effective Calls to Action (CTAs)

Always stay one step ahead of your consumer. Put more simply, what do you want them to do as a result of reading your email?

I once had a boss who told us that we should never hang up the phone with a client before securing our next appointment to speak with them. This is great advice, even in email.

Know what you want your email list to do, and then ask them to do it.

GrubHub—another company that knows their voice and employs it consistently—sent out this email after they launched their new website. (Note: National Redesigned Website Day is not a thing, but it was an excellent way to pull a “made you look” on their email list.)

You can see in the above screen grab that the first call to action comes in the graphic: a personified website that’s asking the reader to look at it.

The graphic is followed up by incredible copy, written in GrubHub’s distinct voice, that very clearly tells the reader what to do next.

Again: 1) distinct voice, 2) simple explanation of the information they need you to know, and 3) four CTAs in a row. (“Wanted: humans,” “try the new GrubHub,” “we’d love your opinion, so here’s a link,” and “you’ll help us, yeah?”)

GrubHub clearly explained exactly what they want the reader to do as a result of this email. The best part is that even if the reader only adheres to one of the CTAs, GrubHub still got that person to do what they wanted.

If you’re looking for how to write good calls to action for your email copy, we’ve got you covered.

When someone has an inbox full of emails that never get opened, it says less about the email user and much, much more about the emails being sent to them. People are busy, and you want to make sure your email gets read, so you’ll need it to be important to them.

Know who you’re talking to, have several types of conversations, be yourself, and ask for what you need, and you’ll be on your way to being clicked through!

Danielle Bilbruck

About Danielle Bilbruck

Danielle is a former sales and recruiting leader turned freelance inbound marketer, using her background in sales management to drive the bottom line for marketing efforts. When she is not directing high-level strategy, blogging, or at networking events, you can find her watching way too much TV with a nice glass of red wine.

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