What are some good lead nurturing strategies and proven tools? Great question…
In this answer, my colleagues Karan Sharma (from Hubsell.com) and Nolan Clemmons (Founder of Clemmons.io) joined me to create a much-more robust answer than I could have come up with on my own… Enjoy!
Here are the tried and tested 6 steps we recommend to execute a complete lead nurturing campaign for any audience.
Define your ideal audience
- SSL check-up API
- Sales Navigator
- LinkedIn Insights Tag
Here are some example persona’s and situations to help add context to this answer:
Example persona 1 – “if you are head of marketing/sales or the owner of a saas company and need to break into a new market. You can choose a software which you know users of would be ideal clients for your tool. Check SimilarTech, Datanyze or Sales Navigators’ tech filter to see if they can find you a specific list. SimilarTech and Datanyze will provide emails, SN will provide profile URLs, but you will want to enrich and verify that data regardless.”
Example persona 2 – “If you are an SEO agency seeking new clients, you could create a scrape for anyone without an SSL cert on their site (for example). In this example, you would define the audience as ‘anyone in ____ geographic region’ ‘with ___ visitors/month or higher’, a ranking below X page of Google for a keyword, or ‘without an SSL certificate on website’.
- You can use LinkedIn SN, AngelList, Crunchbase, Google searches, to get the website of the targeted companies and then push them through a SSL Check-Up API to find the ones with an outdated or completely absent SSL Certificate.
Refer to the episode on lead generation where we discuss in detail Sales Navigator vs LinkedIn.
Gathering and enriching that audience
- Sales Navigator
- Nolan’s list of the best sales prospecting tools
Use an inhouse team, (outsourced) virtual assistants, or data curation provider to compile a prospect set which includes contact info, categorical data such department, seniority, tenure etc, as well as LinkedIn profile and other social media URLs.
Your data repository, database, or the spreadsheet must be cleaned, validated and enriched. It should be sortable into segments, so that the content can be customized to them as a person and not as an account – it’s very important to make your message super focused, valuable and relevant content.
There is no one-size-fits-all message for your product or service, even if it it’s a matter of adjusting campaigns based on geographic location, industry, company size, role within the company or the role within the buying cycle (e.g. economic buyer, facilitator, end-user, champion, or influencer).
At some point, a human will need to scan through the acquired data to ensure quality, particularly for name and company fields, as often there are embellishments like ‘MBA’, ‘PMP’, ‘Esquire’ etc. that you wouldn’t want to use in conversation or message. Additionally, legal form of the company such a Pvt Ltd, inc etc should be removed from the content in the email.
*Make sure your cold email software has features making it easier for you to customize your cold emails using dynamic placeholders.
Load audience to ad accounts as a new audiences and launch ads
- Facebook / Instagram business manager
- LinkedIn ads
- Quora ads
“CRM Retargeting is a relatively new, highly effective marketing technique that allows you to reach your customers in online display advertising by using your offline customer database. … These audience segments can then receive highly targeted and therefore more effective display advertising.”
You can upload prospects as a custom audience into social media platforms, such as Facebook. You can then target this audience with a video awareness ads as a way to “warm-up” the audience prior to messaging.
Neil Patel: “If you take someone on a date and ask them to marry you, they will say no.”
From there, there are two paths to go:
A. Proceed with outbound messaging (email or LinkedIn).
B. Proceed with inbound by retargeting (Facebook) video viewers with a piece of educational content (video or blog article), and then follow-up with yet another ad to schedule an appointment or another CTA. This is known as Gary Vaynerchuk’s philosophy of “Jab, Jab, Right Hook”.
Continue to run perpetual retargeting campaigns, be sure that you are excluding certain leads and existing customers.
- Do not ask for the sale in the beginning.
- Always serve a thought leadership or credible impression before the email or message is sent.
Write out copy for your messaging sequence
- Sales Navigator
**Copy is going to make or break the success of your nurturing campaign. So do not be lazy with this step. Here are some tips..
Do not rely on email alone. Always include a social message – LinkedIn message is preferred, but you can also do a Facebook message or Twitter DM.
You already have the data the data which, if it is high quality, must have taken resources to acquire, then why not maximize the return on it by using it across different channels.
The copywriting process is akin to sculpting, where you are removing (not adding) information that it is not vital to obtaining an initial response. Aim to have your entire message readable on a mobile phone.
One benefit of cold email outreach is that sometimes the only reason a recipient has replied to your email is if they are genuinely interested (besides being polite), or if they indicate disinterest, which is still a win from the SDR’s standpoint. That does not mean that you should be reckless in how you approach strategic accounts, however. Working your network for introductions can help you move up (or down) to the decision-maker’s level, and even lend some credibility, depending on the relationship.
The number of follow ups, the level of customization of the content, and channels through which you target your prospects need to fit your unique situation. Let’s say you’re targeting the one of the Nations in the EU which is an Opt-Out requirement state (e.g. France), and let’s you’re targeting a market that is typically on LinkedIn but not on Twitter, and let’s say that the email noise is relatively high but the snail-mail space is untouched. And finally, let’s assume that the market is prone to respond if the outreach is seen. Based on all of that, I would suggest a 7 step campaign where you start by:
- Visit the LinkedIn profile,
- 2-3 days later, send a Connection request,
- A day later, send the first email with something valuable (an insight or source of information relevant for them),
- Then, send a LinkedIn message,
- Send a follow – up email to provide additional information,
- Break-away or ‘feedback’ email,
- Finally, possibly a physical letter.
- In this case you only go to step n+1 if the prospect didn’t convert at n.
**Of course, the reason we do multi-channel outreach is because it has a much higher-conversion rate than a single-channel campaign.
Choose mediums, load sequences and send.
- and any more…
For this discussion, we will focus on outlets you can automate using tools available to us all.
Refer to this episode for a full list of tools which will both gather data for you and allow you to set up cold outreach sequences (with detailed pros/cons for each):
- Make sure the platform you choose is setup specifically for cold outreach.
- Add a social platform message to this sequence in the beginning – before your cold emails go out. Reason: this message is both a low-intrusion message and it allows the prospect to look through to your profile and get to know you a bit before your email lands. The caveat here is you must look good online – listen to our other episodes where we discuss “thought leadership” for more on this.
- Send through your own mailbox (e.g. Gmail or Outlook) and do not send through the third party servers because the message that arrives in the inbox of the recipient will have the message details e.g. sent on behalf of and sent from. So when you’re sending it via a third-party server the recipient knows it’s a message sent from a third party server. AND it’s a spam signal. So what you’re effectively doing by sending it from a third party server is a) lowering the open rate and b) breaking the spell that it’s a hand type message that was drafted and sent by a human.
Tip: Use Zapier to set-up triggers for email opens and replies
Some tools can include videos or custom images, which for our case could be used to include a website audit in the initial email.
Note: If your CRM allows it, turn on notifications for when people land on your site. If they do enter your site and (for example) start an intercom or drift chat with you before they have received your cold email sequence – then make sure to take those people out of the cold sequence. In this situation, it would be a manual effort.
The metrics you should analyze first are open and click rates of each message. But, you may have some good downstream metrics to focus on like a demo request or registration.
The LinkedIn insights tag can tell you which companies have visited your website based on the visitor’s profile, and LeadFeeder can also determine, based on IP and Google Analytics data, companies that are visiting your site (which will sometimes yield hotels & internet service providers).
A/B test every message you are not certain about.
Test a LinkedIn connection request without a note against a connection request with a note.
Analyze who converted, who didn’t and learn from that. Go all the back to the segmentation and iterate on that as well.
- Make sure you are accurately and completely enriching your data.
- Always serve a thought-leadership-showing piece of content in your retargeting ads to this audience before you reach out with a message.
- Be as human-like as possible with regards to the timing, medium and copy.
To find Nolan:
Course: B2B Sales Lead Generation through Email Marketing Automation (CODE10)