Who reads email anyway? No one actually responds to emails anymore! Why should I waste our department’s time/energy/resources on email marketing?
Well, before you start listening to the haters and the naysayers, let’s get one thing straight: Contrary to popular belief, email marketing is not dead. It’s very much alive and well.
When someone says: “email marketing is not worth our time!” you need to remind that person of these two handy-dandy facts:
There are 3.9 billion daily email users (that’s just over half the global population!) 35% of marketers send their customers three to five emails per week (so, spoiler alert: you’re not the only marketer on the block trying to stand out in your prospect’s inbox.)
But here’s the other thing you need to get straight about email marketing: you’re probably doing it wrong.
Email marketing is more than sending out mass emails for new product announcements. Heck, even bigger than your monthly newsletter or blog digest.
To do email marketing well, you need to think beyond one-off mass emails. You need to have a well-thought-out approach to making sure that you are consistently keeping in touch with your contacts, guiding them to a purchase… otherwise known as email lead nurturing.
But let’s be frank; very few marketers take the necessary steps to make the most of email lead nurturing. In fact, most attempts at email lead nurturing suck.
With so much cutthroat competition, it’s vitally important to make sure that you’re sending out the very best email content to nurture your leads. Remember, you’re trying to build trust and nurture the start of a long-standing relationship.
You don’t want to turn off potential prospects with emails that are too salesy or offer no value to your contact. Nothing will send them running to a competitor or the unsubscribe button faster.
So with all of that context in mind, check out the list below to see why your HubSpot lead nurturing strategies are failing and how to fix them (before you lose your audience for good!)
And if you really want to dive in and revamp your lead nurture strategy, you need to watch our latest IMPACT+ course: How to do HubSpot lead nurturing (that isn't terrible)
4 reasons why your HubSpot lead nurturing campaigns are failing
1. You have no goal
So many marketers just want to stay top of mind (and top of inbox.)
Their only “goal” is to ensure that their company name flashes across their prospect’s inbox at least once a week so that when the prospect is ready to buy, their company’s logo is the first thing that comes to mind.
And while that may be your organizational objective — to use email to push the needle on sales — the cold hard truth is that “staying top of mind” is not a goal that is meaningful (or trackable!)
Your emails need to have a specific, measurable goal. If you forget to set a measurable goal, you might as well be throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks. You won’t know if what you’re doing is really working.
And don’t let yourself off the hook by settling for higher opens. (A killer open rate doesn’t pay the bills!)
Try to measure metrics that demonstrate stronger engagement, such as repeated website visits, length of session, or number of pages viewed.
Make sure your goal has a specific metric you’d like to reach, such as “increase re-conversion by 15%” or “increase our session to contact ratio by 0.5%.”
Ultimately, we need to show that your lead nurturing efforts lead to a higher conversion rate or increased sales. When set up the right way, your lead nurturing approach should be able to provide a clear picture (complete with campaign attribution, influenced contacts, and influenced revenue) to show the full value of your lead nurturing efforts.
The fix: Take a step back and write down exactly what you’d like to accomplish. Be as specific as possible. Add key performance indicators. And hold yourself accountable to meeting the mark on these metrics.
2. Your content is all “Look at me! Look at me!”
No one likes that guy at the party that can’t stop talking about themselves.
They go on and on about their endless accomplishments — how they made the All-Star team in High School, how they graduated at the top of their class in college, how they landed that prestigious internship (with only a little help from Dad!)
Ugh. Seriously. No one likes that guy.
So ask yourself… is your lead nurturing doing the same? Is it too much about you? Are you the email marketing equivalent of that horrible dude at the party?
If the answer is even somewhat close to yes, you need a lead nurturing intervention ASAP!
If you want to succeed at lead nurturing, it can’t be all about you (your new products, your five-star online reviews, your great customer service.)
Social proof is all well and good, but the truth is that your prospects have bigger things to worry about. They want content about them; content that addresses their core challenges. They have problems they need to solve and they’re looking for the right partner to solve them.
Here at IMPACT, we like to lead with an educational approach.
Our lead nurturing strategies regularly focus on how we can better educate our prospects and ensure that they have all the answers they need to make the best decision possible when it comes to improving their approach to digital sales and marketing.
So rather than playing the “look at me!” card, keep your content customer-focused. If you sell metal roofs, show them the pros and cons of installing a metal roof on their residential home. If you sell HR software, address their fears about hiring the wrong culture fit for their team.
Remember, it’s not about you. It should always be about them. And by alleviating these fears, you’ll build trust and move one step closer to closing the sale with each email.
The fix: Stop making yourself the hero that’s swooping in to save the day. Your prospect is the hero. Focus on making your brand the helpful guide, willing to educate them and help them solve their problems to make your lead nurturing more effective.
3. Your timing is way off (i.e. you’re not acknowledging where the buyer is on their buying journey)
Timing is everything in life, and this is painfully true in lead nurturing.
As we discussed above, you want to make sure your email marketing content has a clear goal (that benefits your prospect) and that the content is focused on the recipient.
However, when it comes to content, one final thing to keep in mind is that your lead nurturing strategy needs to send the right message, at the right time. This means you need to know where your prospect currently stands and if that’s not ready to buy, you can’t rush things along and try to force it.
Whether it’s a new car or a new pair of shoes, everyone makes purchasing decisions at their own pace.
Even if you’re doing the right thing and sending out helpful, educational content, if that content doesn’t match the needs of the prospect at their particular stage of the buyer’s journey, they’re going to tune out (and possibly even unsubscribe!)
But fear not — there’s an easy fix.
The fix: Lean into that funnel, baby! Figure out how to send the right message, at the right time, to the right audience by asking your prospects exactly what kind of content would be most relevant to them at their current stage of the buyer’s journey.
Check out this example from our client Sheffield Metals. In this “Choose Your Own Adventure” style approach to lead nurturing, the Sheffield marketing team literally asks: What do you want to learn about?
By offering up three suggestions (that cleverly correspond with different stages of their buyer’s journey) the team can ascertain exactly what matters most to their potential customers, and ensure that they deliver the right content, in the right moment, every time.
4. Your strategy is stale, predictable, and downright boring!
Sometimes clients ask me: What’s the right way to send automated emails?
My typical answer is: There is no right answer, but the process should mirror your buying process and track with the overall customer journey.
Think about how long it typically takes a potential customer to make a purchasing decision.
If it’s a simple, relatively low-cost impulse buy (such as lipstick from Sephora) then kicking off a 12-week lead nurturing campaign with top-quality educational content to help the buyer make the best decision is probably overkill.
You need to match your lead nurturing strategy to your existing buying process.
If your prospect is considering a bigger purchasing decision (such as buying a new CRM platform), every touchpoint matters.
Think outside the box when it comes to setting automated workflow triggers. Don’t just plan to send three follow-up emails, exactly two days apart, after a prospect downloads a whitepaper.
Get creative! Mix up the content with more personalized language or a friendly casual tone (maybe go a little crazy, and include some one-to-one video outreach.) Small details like this help you stand out in the overcrowded inbox. No one wants to get lost in the shuffle (or the SPAM filter!)
It’s all about how you “show up” in someone’s inbox.
Do you want to be the boring, pre-templated follow-up message from Joe-Schmoe Sales Rep asking prospects to book a time to see a live demo? Or do you want to be the funny, creative newsletter that provides real value and educational prospects to your audience?
Both options are technically considered “lead nurturing” — but as you might have guessed, the latter approach is wildly more successful.
The fix: Ask yourself, is my strategy boring? Am I sending the best message, at the right time, that’s actually meeting my potential buyer’s needs/expectations? By fine-tuning your content, you can make sure you stand out in any overcrowded inbox.
The bottom line
By now you’ve (hopefully) realized that email lead nurturing isn’t dead, you’re just not doing it right.
But with a clear goal, some helpful content, the right timing, and the right delivery strategy, you too can start designing a lead nurturing strategy that is set up for long-term success.
If your lead nurturing strategy needs a serious overhaul, don’t worry! We’ve got you covered. This article is just a taste of all the help that IMPACT has to offer. Head over to IMPACT+ and check out Carina Duffy’s course on How to do HubSpot lead nurturing that isn’t terrible.
She’ll break down why most email nurturing campaigns are so stinking bad and how to create an effective email nurturing strategy for your company that avoids all of those terrible mistakes.