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7 Best Practices for Lead Nurturing Emails

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7 Best Practices for Lead Nurturing Emails


Lead nurturing emails allow you to build a relationship with your leads and move them down the sales funnel until they are ready to become a customer. It’s one of the best lead nurturing tactics you can use and an essential part of an email marketing strategy.

Why? Because lead nurturing emails radically increase the chances of your leads making a purchase. You no longer have to hope that they will buy your products. Rather, you’ll slowly warm them up until they make that decision.

In this post, you’ll learn best practices for creating high-performing lead nurturing emails to drive your leads to make a purchase.

How does lead nurturing work?

A potential customer may have several types of interactions with your business. They may add something to their cart, subscribe to a mailing list, take advantage of a promotion, or set up a meeting with one of your salespeople.

Lead nurturing refers to the process of staying in contact with your customer throughout each of these stages. You provide valuable resources, discount codes, or reminders to make a purchase.

Overall, to nurture a lead is to build and maintain a helpful, mutually beneficial relationship with them. The goal is to guide them toward making a purchase.

(Tip: If you’re unfamiliar with lead nurturing, we encourage you to take our free lead nurturing course.)

Are lead nurturing emails effective?

Yes. As social media has grown over time, using lead nurturing emails to market your business can sometimes feel like the less fun or hip option. But, it’s still an effective way to expand your market, convert leads, and connect to your target audience, especially if it’s done correctly. 99% of email users check their inbox on a daily basis, often multiple times a day or first thing in the morning. This makes using email a great tool to nurture a lead toward conversion.

As time passes, the lead may not click on your CTA, interact with your business, or make a purchase. Certain leads with an interest in your business will need ongoing engagement to continue down the sales funnel toward conversion. For that, you’ll need to create a lead nurturing email sequence.

Lead Nurturing Email Sequence

A lead nurturing email sequence is a series of emails that is automatically triggered when the lead takes a certain action. For example, once a customer adds an item to their cart, a lead nurturing email sequence could include a purchase reminder, a limited time offer, or a list of similar products they may like.

These sequences keep the lead engaged until they are ready to go forward with a purchase. See this example of a sequence after a lead has abandoned their cart.

lead nurturing email sequence for abandoned cart

The process of lead nurturing occurs over some time with your continuous effort. Building that relationship needs trust, understanding, and consistency. Using emails to nurture your relationship with potential leads can be highly effective. Follow these best practices to make them work best for you:

1. Provide valuable content with include expert insights.

The first priority is to make sure you have something valuable to teach your leads. Think of your lead nurturing emails as mini blog posts. For example, if you sell data backup software, your first nurturing email might focus on the “top six considerations to make before purchasing data backup software.” Remember, you are an expert within your industry. Continue teaching your leads something new, and they will be more than happy to receive your emails and continue engaging with your business.

2. Focus on one relevant topic per email.

Each nurturing email should be focused around one topic and include a call to action. Put yourself in your lead’s shoes when creating your emails, as they are bombarded by messages all day long. Keep the content of your email tied directly to the topic the lead initially converted on. For example, if your lead downloaded a FAQ white paper on data backup software, they are likely near the top of the funnel, researching a future purchase. Your first email’s topic could be “selling the importance of data backup software to your management team.” Speak directly to the problem your lead is trying to solve.

3. Keep it short.

This is not the time to worry about fonts, or adding images or custom HTML. The lead should be able to glance at your email and know within five seconds the value it provides to them. Information overload happens quickly in an email. Adding secondary calls-to-action or unrelated links will increase your unsubscribe rate and subtract from the effectiveness of your campaign. While data suggests that emails should be between 50 and 125 words, it’s okay to extend your message to fully connect with your leads. But keep it concise whenever possible.

4. Ensure the emails progress naturally.

Carefully planning the flow of your emails will help you create well-rounded campaigns that pull your leads through the sales funnel. The first email after the initial conversion might be educational, while subsequent emails should continue to educate while giving the lead an opportunity to convert a second time. This is a perfect opportunity to promote a free trial or the download of a demo. Work with your sales team to determine what qualifies as a “sales-ready lead” and craft your lead nurturing campaigns accordingly.

5. Test your emails and track key metrics.

Email testing is key to fine-tuning your campaigns. As you test your emails, be sure to track key metrics to measure the success of your efforts. Click-through-rate (the percentage of people who clicked a link in your email) and unsubscribe rate are two of the key metrics to track on a regular basis. A strong campaign will generally have an unsubscribe rate of less than 5%. If your unsubscribe rate climbs above 5%, it’s time to re-evaluate your campaign. Try testing new content or a stronger subject line, or adjusting the timing of your emails.

6. Personalize the emails.

You should be sending different emails to different types of leads and personalizing them to who they are specifically. This not only includes who they are as a consumer, but also what their interactions have been with your business thus far. Did they sign up for updates? Have they gotten an automated welcome email? Did they purchase from you once already? How long has it been since you acquired their email address or last had contact? Those are all things that should influence and change the content of the email.

7. Stay consistent to your brand.

Your business has an image, a voice, and a brand. The emails that you send to leads should continue to represent all of those things about your business. Continuing to establish your brand to a lead helps build a relationship that pushes them toward becoming a customer. The familiarity over time will build valuable trust and brand loyalty.

Before you start writing a lead nurturing email, focus on who your lead is and what your goal is for contacting them. Spamming leads with countless emails is more off-putting than it is nurturing. So, ensure your content is worthwhile for leads to read and for your business to send. Follow these tips to get started:

1. Choose a purpose.

Have a goal in mind for your message, whether it is answering an FAQ, delivering on a promised reward, introducing a new product, offering a discount, or sharing other content to engage the lead.

2. Personalize the greeting and subject line.

An attention-grabbing subject line and a personalized greeting are the initial hooks of a lead nurturing email.

3. Address pain points.

How can this product or service improve this lead’s life if they were a customer? Point out a problem that they have that you can solve.

4. Include testimonials.

Knowing that someone else was pleased with your product or service grows the lead’s trust in your business.

5. Share a knowledge bomb.

Including a striking piece of information or research will give your lead something that they’ll remember later on their path to becoming a customer.

6. Use a CTA.

Encouraging your lead to interact with your business through a call-to-action pushes them toward a conversion.

7. Include an unsubscribe button.

Leads that have no interest in your business, product, or service can’t be nurtured into customers. Allow those to unsubscribe so that you can focus on the good-fit leads.

8. Follow up.

Once the email is sent, track what happens next. Did the lead click on your CTA? Did they continue interacting with your business? Did they do nothing? Use that information to determine the effectiveness of the email and to influence what you send to them next.

Make a Seamless Lead Nurturing Strategy

A potential customer’s first interaction with your business is just the beginning. As they proceed down the sales funnel from lead to repeat customer, you will need to continuously engage them. Lead nurturing emails build trust between leads and your business. The sales funnel you create through nurturing emails should smoothly guide your leads into doing business with you.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in May 2010 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.


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ActionIQ rebrands and launches CX Hub

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ActionIQ rebrands and launches CX Hub


Enterprise customer data platform ActionIQ has announced the launch of a new product, CX Hub. The company has also rebranded as AIQ. The CX Hub is designed as a set of modules offering self-service access to customer data, allowing users to build audiences and orchestrate experiences at scale.

After eight years of growth as a CDP serving B2C, media and other sectors, the changes represent a “new approach to our product and brand,” said CEO and co-founder Tasso Argyros in a release. The modular framework will ingest data from any source, integrate with any activation channel, and also allow components to be used with a third-party CDP.

The modules. CX Hub is comprised of four solutions:

  • Customer data platform.
  • Audience center.
  • Journey management.
  • Real-time CX.

The Hub is also designed to be accessible to business users with a friendly UI and extensive automation capabilities.


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Why we care. This is a significant development in the CDP space — a space that has been transforming rapidly, with many of the early established CDPs being acquired and ingested by more extensive suites such as digital experience platforms.

ActionIQ, one of the leading B2C CDPs, is now describing itself as “the leading CX solution.” It seems to be future-proofing itself by extending its capabilities across orchestration and execution channels, not by acquiring or building those solutions, but by seeking to provide modular integration between its (or a third-party’s) customer data management tool and orchestration and execution channels.

Sometimes we wonder how many independent, traditional CDPs will be left standing a year from now.

Read next: Deep changes in the CDP space


About The Author

Kim Davis is the Editorial Director of MarTech. Born in London, but a New Yorker for over two decades, Kim started covering enterprise software ten years ago. His experience encompasses SaaS for the enterprise, digital- ad data-driven urban planning, and applications of SaaS, digital technology, and data in the marketing space.

He first wrote about marketing technology as editor of Haymarket’s The Hub, a dedicated marketing tech website, which subsequently became a channel on the established direct marketing brand DMN. Kim joined DMN proper in 2016, as a senior editor, becoming Executive Editor, then Editor-in-Chief a position he held until January 2020.

Prior to working in tech journalism, Kim was Associate Editor at a New York Times hyper-local news site, The Local: East Village, and has previously worked as an editor of an academic publication, and as a music journalist. He has written hundreds of New York restaurant reviews for a personal blog, and has been an occasional guest contributor to Eater.



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Old Navy to drop NFTs in July 4th promo update

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Old Navy to drop NFTs in July 4th promo update


Old Navy will update its yearly Fourth of July promotions by saluting the metaverse with an NFT drop, going live June 29.

In honor of the year they were founded, the retailer will release 1,994 common NFTs, each selling for $0.94. The NFTs will feature the iconic Magic the Dog and t include a promo code for customers to claim an Old Navy t-shirt at Old Navy locations or online.

“This launch is Old Navy’s first activation in web3 or with NFTs,” an Old Navy spokesperson told MarTech. “As a brand rooted in democratization and inclusivity, it was essential that we provide access and education for all with the launch of our first NFT collection. We want all our customers, whether they have experience with web3, to be able to learn and participate in this activation.”

Accessible and user-friendly. Any customer can participate by visiting a page off of Old Navy’s home site, where they’ll find step-by-step instructions.

There will also be an auction for a unique one-of-one NFT. All proceeds for the NFT and shirt sales go to Old Navy’s longtime charitable partner, Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

Additionally, 10% of NFT resales on the secondary market will also go to Boys & Girls Clubs.

Support. This activation is supported by Sweet, who’s played a major role in campaigns for other early NFT adopters like Burger King.

The Old Navy NFTs will be minted on the Tezos blockchain, known for its low carbon footprint.

“This is Old Navy’s first time playing in the web3 space, and we are using the launch of our first NFT collection to test and learn,” said Old Navy’s spokesperson. “We’re excited to enable our customers with a new way to engage with our iconic brand and hero offerings and look forward to exploring additional consumer activations in web3 in the future.”

Read next: 4 key strategies for NFT brand launches

Why we care. Macy’s also announced an NFT promotion timed to their fireworks show. This one will award one of 10,000 NFTs to those who join their Discord server.

Old Navy, in contrast, is keeping customers closer to their owned channels, and not funneling customers to Discord. Old Navy consumers who don’t have an NFT wallet can sign up through Sweet to purchase and bid on NFTs.

While Macy’s has done previous web3 promotions, this is Old Navy’s first. They’ve aligned a charity partner, brand tradition and concern for the environment with a solid first crack at crypto.


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About The Author

Chris Wood draws on over 15 years of reporting experience as a B2B editor and journalist. At DMN, he served as associate editor, offering original analysis on the evolving marketing tech landscape. He has interviewed leaders in tech and policy, from Canva CEO Melanie Perkins, to former Cisco CEO John Chambers, and Vivek Kundra, appointed by Barack Obama as the country’s first federal CIO. He is especially interested in how new technologies, including voice and blockchain, are disrupting the marketing world as we know it. In 2019, he moderated a panel on “innovation theater” at Fintech Inn, in Vilnius. In addition to his marketing-focused reporting in industry trades like Robotics Trends, Modern Brewery Age and AdNation News, Wood has also written for KIRKUS, and contributes fiction, criticism and poetry to several leading book blogs. He studied English at Fairfield University, and was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. He lives in New York.



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Are you still using spreadsheets to manage your work? Take our poll

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Are you still using spreadsheets to manage your work? Take our poll


Earlier this year, revenue orchestration platform LeanData released a report suggesting that lead management remains a “heavily manual” process. Based on a survey of more than 1,700 sales, marketing and operations professionals, the results showed that, despite all the talk of digital transformation, the number two challenge for revenue teams was too many manual processes and not enough automation (the number one challenge was insufficient pipeline).

LeanData, which partnered with Sales Hacker, Outreach and Heinz Marketing in conducting the survey, is interested in that result, of course, because lead management is precisely the process they offer to automate. We were struck by the contrast with Scott Brinker’s recent statement that we are arriving at a post-digital-transformation era: “(C)ompanies are no longer planning to become ‘digital.’ They are digital.”

And then we got the results of our 2022 MarTech Career and Salary Survey. Among the surprising nuggets to be mined from our findings was that 77% of respondents identify spreadsheets as the tool they spend most time (10 or more hours a week) working with. That doesn’t mean that spreadsheets are a marketer’s most important tool, but it does suggest that manual processes remain a key part of daily life for marketing managers and staff.

We wanted to extend the opportunity to all our readers — B2B, B2C, agencies — to give us a reality check on spreadsheet use. MarTech is marketing, we like to say, and certainly today’s marketing is fundamentally data-driven and digital. But is it too soon to say that marketers are working in a digital and largely automated environment?

Download the 2022 MarTech Career and Salary Survey here


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About The Author

Kim Davis is the Editorial Director of MarTech. Born in London, but a New Yorker for over two decades, Kim started covering enterprise software ten years ago. His experience encompasses SaaS for the enterprise, digital- ad data-driven urban planning, and applications of SaaS, digital technology, and data in the marketing space.

He first wrote about marketing technology as editor of Haymarket’s The Hub, a dedicated marketing tech website, which subsequently became a channel on the established direct marketing brand DMN. Kim joined DMN proper in 2016, as a senior editor, becoming Executive Editor, then Editor-in-Chief a position he held until January 2020.

Prior to working in tech journalism, Kim was Associate Editor at a New York Times hyper-local news site, The Local: East Village, and has previously worked as an editor of an academic publication, and as a music journalist. He has written hundreds of New York restaurant reviews for a personal blog, and has been an occasional guest contributor to Eater.



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