My approach to building a nurture email program
Being a demand generation director for an email company I often get asked, “What’s your approach to building nurture email campaigns?” There are lots of articles on how to, best practices, etc. so I thought I’d share a real behind-the-scenes look at how I initially approached our nurture programs.
- What’s the story you want to tell and to whom?
My first step was to reconcile/audit our prospect database (those who have opted in) against the reality of who are the people in our database and what do they want to really know.For example, we might want to tell the story of how email will be transmitted to the moon, but as we don’t have any astronauts in our database – it’s not a story anyone in my database will probably care to hear. Based on my analysis, I determined the people who have opted in for information could gain the most by receiving information on our learned insights from the companies we service – how to scale email to send thousands to millions of messages, how to increase customer engagement and revenues (thru improved delivery), best practices in sending/building personalized email programs.
- Determine if you have more than one nurture program present.
Once I had a sense of the relevant stories for my database audience, I then further segmented the database into two groups – those who are looking for general information and awareness and those who are in active discussions with our sales reps and could benefit from a deeper dive into our product and how it can help them succeed. I then divided the database into two buckets – and what became two nurture campaigns – “awareness” and “consideration.”
- Start out by saying ‘hi!’
For the awareness nurture, I ended up building out a two-staged approach. The first stage is what we call our “welcome series.” Following on email best practices, we start by introducing ourselves to anyone new to our database (it’s always nice to start a relationship by saying hi!)Following the initial ‘welcome’ email, I send a couple of follow-up emails in a more rapid succession sharing some of our best performing content. My hope is to really engage with the individual right off the bat so they can get a fair sense of the type of knowledge and insight we have available. After the rapid succession of our welcome series, we slow down our cadence by only sending a small amount of information monthly such as a guide, a webinar, or a link to blog post. The goal here is to keep people updated on some of the latest tips and tricks so that when someone is ready to take the next steps to improve their email platform – they recognize that we have lots of knowledge that we’d be happy to share.As for the consideration nurture campaign, as I stated previously, I recognize that a person in this segment is in an active engagement with a sales representative and is taking an active interest in improving their current email process. At this stage, I like to share more in-depth insights and knowledge on how other customers like them have used our solution to make the most out of their solution via case studies and white papers. But as they are in discussions with us I leave out the welcome series and try to minimize the cadence of sending so they do not feel overwhelmed.
- Tweak and repeat
For each of these campaigns I look at our stats on a regular basis such as, what are the emails and pieces of content that people opened and click on the most? If a certain email isn’t performing too well I try to determine why. Sometimes I’ve found that the email subject line just doesn’t really convey what the topic is about (simple fix). Other times I’ve found that what I’ve found interesting may just not be interesting to the masses and I kill it from the program. What’s great about email is that you can set up tests and refine, refine and refine.
As SparkPost.com, our self-service platform, continues to grow, I am constantly looking at my original assessments about the database and relevant stories and seeing where they can be improved.