Buyers aren’t what they once were. Remember the days of buying a car before the internet? You would go to the dealership, gather information from the sales person in the form of a brochure, go home to study the brochure to understand the different models and features, and then return to the dealership a week later ready to purchase the vehicle. But in today’s information-rich, digital environment, buyers have all the information they need to make an informed decision, making the salesperson’s role less educational and more transactional.
So where does that put today’s marketer? Well, we are now the stewards of the buyer’s journey. We are responsible for walking each prospective customer through their own personalized and relevant content journey, making sure that they get all their questions answered on the road to making a purchase. Now, more than ever, we need to understand our buyers down to their behaviors, core demographics, wants, and needs. That’s where lead nurturing comes in.
Lead nurturing is the process of building effective relationships with potential customers throughout the buying journey. Now before we dive into lead nurturing best practices and tips, let’s set the record straight that there is a difference between drip marketing and lead nurturing. A drip marketing program sends (drips) communications at a specific cadence set by the marketer, but it does not consider who that lead is, what their behaviors are, or what segmentations they might meet. Lead nurturing is adaptive, segmented, based on activities (or inactivities), and is extremely personalized for each lead. Think of it like a conversation. Drip marketing is like a monologue whereas lead nurturing is having a 1-1 conversation.
So how do you create hyper-relevant email marketing conversations through lead nurturing? What are the important ground-rules for building a nurture program that scales? Here are 5 tips for making your lead nurturing emails stand out in the inbox.
Tip #1: Write Subject Lines That Beg to be Opened
Since the subject line is the first thing a recipient sees, it would be silly not to discuss techniques that work. After all, your email doesn’t matter if no one opens it! Not every subject line needs to be a literary achievement, but there is power in a subject line that is magnetic. At Marketo, we use The Four U’s of Subject Lines, a very helpful acronym that we picked up from Copyblogger to help determine if our subject lines are ready:
- Useful: Is the promised message valuable to the reader?
- Ultra-specific: Does the reader know what’s being promised?
- Unique: Is the promised message compelling and remarkable?
- Urgent: Does the reader feel they need to read it now?
To take it one step further, here are 5 subject line techniques that really work: