ead nurturing, email marketing, the importance of email personalization, personalization in email marketing, email personalization for lead nurturing

How Email Personalization Helps Marketers Acquire and Nurture Leads

In Market Research by Shelly KramerLeave a Comment

Acquiring leads is pretty much always a marketer’s goal, but as you’ve likely discovered, it’s only half the battle. Leads are one thing, marketing qualified leads another, and sales qualified leads (that means folks who are ready to buy), an entirely different situation. That’s where email personalization comes in. Email personalization is one of the marketing tactics you can use to move leads along the path to purchase, and build relationships. Email personalization is one way marketers can help move and nurture leads from buying stage to another. And that “nurturing part”? That’s really critical.

Why is lead nurturing so critical? Data shows that almost 50 percent of leads aren’t ready to buy right away, but that around 75 percent of them probably will be ready to buy within about 18 months. So, what do you do between now and then? You treat those leads like the people they are, and you work on building relationships, trust, and credibility. Nurturing the leads you have is going to play a big role in not only the strength of the relationships you’re building, but also the number of conversions—and sales—you’re ultimately likely to see as a result. One of the most effective ways to build relationships and nurture leads is to personalize your interactions with prospective customers. Here’s why it’s so important to take this step, and how you can get started.

Why Personalization Is a Necessity Now

Marketers have been gradually realizing the importance of personalization over the last couple of years. Why? Probably because they’ve realized personalized content that answers an audience’s specific questions is more infinitely more valuable to consumers than generic content that has nothing to do with what it is they need to do their jobs, solve their problems, grow their businesses. If you’re hoping to grab your audience’s attention and get them to click, you have to show you have what they need and that they can trust you to deliver. Personalizing your content will do that.

Increasingly marketers are realizing this, which is why targeting/personalization was in the top three of the most popular digital marketing trends to focus on in 2017—and it’s not going away in 2018. If turning a focus on personalization isn’t on your list now, shift that in your 2018 marketing plan.

Customers Expect a Personalized Marketing Experience

Consumers now expect a personalized marketing experience. One study found that 74 percent of people online get frustrated when websites present them with offers and ads that are not relevant to them. Think about your own experiences and let them play a role in how you approach this. I do this all the time as we’re developing campaigns for clients—I think like a customer. The things that irritate me are sure to irritate prospects as well, so I take that into consideration as I think about the experiences we’re creating.

For example, I get frustrated when I receive emails and/or LinkedIn InMail messages that offer me the very same services that my team and I sell. I think about how little effort it would take to vet and verify a prospect list, and how the people who are bothering me with their pitches clearly haven’t taken the time to do that. These are the emails that I gleefully send to spam, which doesn’t help those senders with email deliverability and domain credibility, so keep that in mind when you’re developing and fine-tuning your prospect lists. The things that piss you off as a consumer are likely to irritate your prospects as well. Avoid them!

So, personalization is expected. They expect you to know them, and serve up content and experiences that are relevant. If you want to keep consumers’ eyes on your content—and of course avoid upsetting your leads—personalization is critical. So where do you begin?

Develop Buyer Personas

Your first step toward personalization for lead nurturing is to create buyer persona profiles for your audience, including both current customers and leads. You can use this guide to create buyer personas based on factors like income, profession, hobbies, education, and more.

You can get this information by way of a few different methods. Looking at your metrics from Google Analytics and similar tools is a start, since it will tell you the data you need to know about your audience. Some brands also have success by simply asking their readers about themselves, such as with pop-ups asking what they’re looking for. Regardless of how you get the data you need, segmenting your leads will help you create content that’s valuable to your audience, which will improve engagement and eventually increase your conversion rates.

Get Personal with Email

Once you know which details you want to use to segment your leads, start personalizing the emails you send them. After all, email marketing is still the most effective lead nurturing tactic, and personalized emails can result in six times higher revenue than generic emails. Similarly, personalized emails have achieved an increase of 14 percent when it comes to the click-through rate, as well as a 10 percent increase in conversions.

Start personalizing emails to your leads by simply putting their first name in the subject line to grab their attention. Then, personalize the content inside the email and focus your content on providing value, not selling. Here are some ways you can personalize emails:

  • Send a “thank you” email after your lead downloads a white paper, eBook, or report.
  • Offer another white paper or similar resource that complements their recent download.
  • Nurture that lead by sending other relevant content over time, that might be of interest and valuable to them.
  • Provide content that relates to any links they clicked or pages they viewed on your website.
  • Send product recommendations based on what they’ve searched for or purchased from you.

These are just a few ways to personalize emails. You can use the same tips to personalize online ads and any other content you want your leads to see. As you can guess, the better you know your leads, the easier it is to personalize content for them and gradually move them through the funnel. Start by collecting and analyzing lead data, and then put together relevant content they’ll appreciate in order to establish their trust and convert them in the long run.

Do you personalize content for your leads? If so, what’s worked best for you? What secret tips do you have to share that I might not have covered? If email isn’t yet delivering for you, what is your biggest challenge? I’d love to know more.