For me, growing up in the 90’s meant being a fan of Eminem. I learned many of his songs by heart, much to the disdain of my mother – although I had to be careful about where I repeated those lyrics.
What I couldn’t have known growing up was that one of his songs would foreshadow the arrival of the popular targeted marketing strategy known as lead nurturing that helps turn leads into customers. For those who aren’t familiar with this practice, it’s a series of personalized emails based on previous actions a contact has taken, sent to make leads sales-ready.
His song Stan is about a fanatical fan named Stan who sends Eminem letters, asking to have a conversation with his favorite artist. When Eminem doesn’t answer, the letters get angrier and angrier in tone. Finally, Eminem does respond by sending Stan an autographed hat.
Now, I’d never recommend sending a prospect an angry email. However, if you think of the autographed hat as a conversion or purchase (and ignore the violent imagery in the lyrics), you have an excellent nurturing campaign. It’s personalized, provides value, and is tailored around what Stan knows about Eminem.
There are many lessons on lead nurturing in Stan that marketers can apply to their own email marketing. Here are a few of the things I learned:
- Segment leads based on buyer persona – If you’re not sure how to do this, read my blog post here on how to create different segments. To effectively email your target audience, you need a clear understanding of what they do, how they behave and what you can do to help them. Creating a buyer persona helps you gain that understanding, so you can better tailor your marketing to increase the likelihood of a purchase. Then you can segment contacts by persona to better target your messaging.
- Show them how much you care – Nobody wants to be treated like just another lead. Speak to them on a one-to-one level by talking about a specific pain point that someone in their position is likely to have, or refer to a previous action taken. A phrase like, “CMOs like yourself often tell us that…” or “based on the blog post you read about…” will show your contacts that you’re paying attention and give you a better chance of increasing conversions.
- Make one direct request –Your readers have a short attention span, so whether it’s signing a hat for a fan or reading a blog post, the call-to-action needs to be simple or they’ll move on. When you’re communicating on a one-to-one level, make the request simple and direct. Include the link to your offer by the second or third paragraph so they understand your offer in a matter of seconds.
- Use an attention-grabbing subject line – Most of us get hundreds of emails a day and delete most of them. As a marketer, your email will likely be one of the deleted unless you grab their attention. For example, instead of using the title of the whitepaper you’re offering, consider a headline like “7 secrets you didn’t know about…” or use the person’s first name in the subject line to talk directly to the lead. Without an engaging subject line, your lead may never open the email, which means you’re missing an opportunity to convert and sell them.
- Experiment with an informal tone – With the emergence of LinkedIn’s messaging platform and the growing popularity of messaging apps for marketing efforts, marketers need to be willing to bend the rules of traditional email marketing and get casual. Writing in the first and second person encourages leads to perceive your emails as directed to them personally (in fact, we sometimes have leads who email our clients back asking to purchase!) so they are more likely to take the action you’ve requested. However, even opening an email with “hey” or being a little witty can help drive conversions in the right context. Don’t be afraid to test a casual email if you think your audience will respond to it.
Treat your leads like your favorite artist – but with kindness rather than anger – and you’ll be sure to get a better response rate. In today’s environment, with increased competition for your prospects’ attention and more spam than ever before, email marketing tactics will hold their attention. Who knows – they might write you back, and – even better – become a life-long customer.