Creating Content for an Email Nurture Series

May 2, 2013 | Posted by

Over the past couple of years, implementing email messaging series that strive to nurture contacts with the goal of turning a prospect into a customer, or an existing customer into a more valuable customer, have become more widely adopted.  Generally, a nurture series would consist of 3-6 messages delivered to a new email subscriber over the course of a few months. The simplest form would include one path of messaging but more sophisticated programs can include several different streams that target based on profile segments and behavioural triggers.

In speaking with different marketing managers about this messaging tactic, there is a consensus that this type of email messaging series is effective and is worth the effort to implement. Why then are there still brands that aren’t doing this type of messaging?The most common barrier I hear marketers complain of is content creation. When sharing examples of effective nurture series messaging with marketers, the potential challenges can sometimes drown out the opportunity. Typical objections include statements like, “my products are different from this example, I wouldn’t have anything relevant to say” or “I don’t know enough about my prospects’ interests to message them about solutions”.

EVERY brand has something relevant to say to prospects and can benefit from a nurture email series. I won’t attempt to make one-size-fits all suggestions for what to say, instead here are some suggested places that have been valuable in helping marketers find some inspiration for content:

1.       Your brand

Introduce and differentiate your brand. Whether you’re a globally known brand or a small start-up, everyone needs an introduction. Even if you think prospects are already aware of and educated about your brand, this starts a dialog and reinforces a connection with your brand. Email is a much more personal medium compared to mass channels where a customer might have heard about your brand in the past. Focus on how you are different from competitors and emphasize the value you bring to customers.

2.       Your products/solutions

A prospect who has subscribed to receive email from you has already indicated some level of interest in your brand. Think about what education they might need about your products and help them to identify (or at least narrow down) the product set that would be most fitting for them. Ask questions if you need to so that you can profile contacts. Prospects are likely to give you some of their personal information only if they see a benefit so be sure to tell them upfront why you’re asking for it.

3.       Customer research

Chances are you’ve executed focus groups and surveys for both your existing customer base as well as prospects. When crafting a message series targeted to prospects, it seems obvious to go to insights from research that has been gathered from your prospect base. That’s a helpful place to start but don’t ignore what your existing customers have to say and remember that they were once prospects too. Insights from existing customers about what their perceptions/misperceptions of your brand and what they might have found confusing when they were a new customer is helpful context.

4.       Leverage existing assets

For a B2B organization, what is the most popular webinar or whitepaper content that your customers are engaging with? Share that with your prospects early on to show off your expertise and relevance.

For any organization, a review of your web analytics and most popular website content can provide some inspiration. Online tools like savings calculators, catalogs, and anything interactive can often be popular content for prospects. 

5.       Special promotions

A nurture message series should be relational in nature but everyone loves a great deal, right? Be careful not to hit people over the head with promotional content right from the get go but, adding a deal sweetener to the mix around the third communication or so can often be effective. The key with promotional content is to be targeted and relevant.

Comments are welcome; add a post below for other suggestions of where you find inspiration for content creation.

 

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