How to Create a Lead Nurturing Campaign Guaranteed NOT to Deliver Results

Backstory: I asked Matt Heinz to write a post on lead nurturing. He told me to look at some posts on the Heinz Marketing blog and I found 10 steps to a terrible lead nurture campaign. I enjoyed it, it was funnelholic-esque but I didn’t want Matt or the author Nichole McIntyre to do any work. So, instead, I took my favorites from the post and added some commentary.

I am about to go on a content rush on lead nurturing. We are hosting a webinar on the topic on December 4 at 10AM pacific with Mary Firme from Reachforce and Justin Gray from LeadMD: 7 Steps to Put your Lead Nurturing on Steroids. Overall, I am glad we get to talk about lead nurturing again. When marketing automation first came to market, it was all any was talking about. Now, the amount of content created on the topic has dimmed a bit. That’s a mistake. Now is the best time to talk about the lead nurturing process. We have learned a ton over the last couple years about what works and doesn’t work, but more importantly, we have learned that when done right, it is a game-changer for demand generation ROI.

Before we move on to the content, please enjoy this picture from grahamc99 — I chose it in honor of Nichole’s original title: “10 steps to a terrible lead nurture campaign.” Whenever, I think terrible, I think of Terrible’s casino for some reason. Whatever.

Lead nurturing, lead management

Again, kudos to Nichole McIntyre, marketing coordinator and lead management genius at Heinz Marketing.  Her post is a great and a fun read. All I can do is mess it up.

What I did was, I took direct quotes from Nichole’s post and added my three cents. I hope you enjoy.

1. No segmentation necessary – just throw all your contacts in one large bucket and assume the messaging still fits.

Funnelholic note:  The rule here is simple: The more relevant you are, the more likely you are to get a response. Not exactly rocket science. “Spraying and praying” is so dead and gone as a marketing tactic it’s not even funny.  That is a recipe for doom. Instead, first keep your database clean with as much data as possible, then segment based on your target buyer personas, and develop relevant customized campaigns for each persona.

2. Make your contacts fill out the same form every time – since we need to gather the same information multiple times and make them fill it out every single time. Tracking through clicks or blind form submissions is lame!

Funnelholic note: Time is the enemy of your buyer. When you talk to buyers, simplicity and ease of use are top criteria when dealing with vendors. You should make everything they do with you as easy as possible. Exhibit A: Only make them fill out the same form once.

 3. Don’t personalize it – make them feel unimportant.

Funnelholic note: Well played Nichole, well played. I love this: “Make them feel unimportant”. True story: I recently was nominated for an award. (yeah!) The email said: “Dear colleague”. (boo) Remember, it’s about them not you. Every touch you make with the buyer, make it as personalized as possible. Don’t just worry about making them feel unimportant, make them feel like they are the most important thing in your life.

4. Don’t try to lead score them – too much work. That’s what the salespeople are for.

Funnelholic note: The other day, I was working with an executive who said: “I get 12,000 leads a month, how can I handle that with 18 people.” Me: “Scoring”. Him: “Yes, you are right”. Another story: I was explaining scoring to my friend the other day. I said simply: “Basically, scoring makes you more effective because it tells you who you should probably spend more time with.” Scoring functionality exists in every marketing automation platform so why not use it?

5. Be sure the “from” address is a “noreply@” – because who wants to receive those obnoxious replies anyways?

Funnelholic note: Great call. Actually, most of your campaigns will convert better coming from a real person. Believe that.

6. Second time is a charm – After going through the campaign once, if they have not responded, send them through the exact same campaign again.

Funnelholic Note: The water torture technique is very effective form of marketing. Just do the same thing over and over and over…I jest. Please do me a favor, have some fun being a marketer and mix it up, try new things.

 7. Play hard to get – Provide an obnoxious 1-800 number to call in your signature. Works every time.

Funnelholic Note: People do this?

8. Emails only – Don’t incorporate any other channels.

Funnelholic note: Great call. First of all, adding calling to your nurturing campaigns can increase conversion by 5-10%. Also, social is a great nurturing channel. While it my not have direct conversions like email, surrounding a phone-email campaign with social branding will increase overall conversion. Oh and by the way, direct social conversion rates are rising for many people as well (see Marketo’s highly effective Facebook campaigns). “It don’t cost nothing” so add it to the mix.

That’s it – hope you enjoyed this one. Add your worst practices in the comment section below!

Lets talk lead nurturing:  Join our  webinar on December 4 at 10AM pacific with Mary Firme from Reachforce and Justin Gray from LeadMD: 7 Steps to Put your Lead Nurturing on Steroids. See you there!

Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic and a co-founder of Topo. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter

  • Steve Gershik

    9. Ensure your email design only works on a desktop browser. Don’t optimize it for mobile or create a responsive design.

    Because I really love trying to read your email when the text is arranged vertically like one of those word finder puzzles.

  • 10. Use a ‘choose your own adventure’ mentality but only provide them with your idea of an adventure. Oh, and make the “adventure” is 5 emails long… and then stop.

    How many marketers have come up with this concept for a “drip campaign” (God I hate that term), written 5 emails, built a success path based on the lead clicking the desired CTA and if they don’t, well the messaging just stops. Drives me nuts.

    • Your displeasure with the term “drip” campaign is classic

  • 11. Have conversion to revenue as the success criteria of each email. People being nurtured almost by definition are the “right contacts” but at the wrong time – and it drives me nuts when executives don’t have the right expectations. It’s the program itself that will drive revenue – not each individual email.

    How many different ways can you ask your list to “Buy Now?”

  • Keeping that database as clean and scrubbed as possible is crucial.You don’t want to be sending the wrong messages to the wrong people, having the wrong information about your customers, reaching out to prospects that you have already spoken with and so forth. Data DOES impact your customers, like it or not.

  • Paul Simko

    Segmentation is key. Madison Logic has a subscription based product that matches your content to your database based upon their content consumption behavior over the web. Every time new content comes out, your list is segmented in minutes.

  • Tamar Weiss

    12. Don’t even bother actually trying to have a target market or specific persona – hey, just waste lots of time and resources on marketing to everyyyyybody.

  • carmenhill

    Don’t QA your variable text. People will still get that warm, fuzzy feeling if your email begins with “Dear [FirstName]! (Yes, got that one yesterday. Very personal.)