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Guide to Building A Successful Lead Nurture Campaign For Your Startup

Founder of Orchid Agency
Mariya Finkelshteyn
June 10, 2021
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Over the last 16 months, we’ve worked with over 30 seed-stage startups, and some that recently exited via an acquisition. We’ve noticed one thing their marketing have in common—they all need better nurture campaigns.

So what exactly is a nurture campaign and the connection to revenue generation?

A nurture campaign is intended to take customers through a unique and personalized journey by delivering the right message to the right target audience at the right time, and not land in spam ( 4 tips to avoid landing in spam). It involves reaching out to the right leads and engaging with them throughout the purchasing process, with the primary aim to foster and strengthen a relationship with them so that they convert to loyal customers.

While its definition sounds simple, you would be surprised at how many startups and mature businesses alike are struggling with creating engaging nurture campaigns.

Here are the top 4 reasons why companies have a hard time building their nurture campaign:

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1. Wrong Segmentation

Not knowing which segment of the market to target has got to be one of the most common and costliest mistakes companies make when it comes to creating their nurture campaign. It’s not enough to simply assume that people would go and buy your products—it’s important to categorize a more general market into smaller groups of prospects who share the same interests and pain points. This is called market segmentation, and this strategy is helpful in establishing and understanding your prospects so that you could better address their specific needs.

Remember, a market that is too broad might put you at a disadvantage as you will typically have lower engagement (get the 5 tips to help boost engagement now) throughout your campaign as it will be too generic and too broad. You may start by organizing your market segments into market-focused groups and eventually develop it into being a market-focused business model. Never execute a marketing plan without researching your market segment first. Back it up with empirical data, and only then will you be able to develop a marketing plan or nurture campaign for the target market you have identified.

2. Wrong Message or Storyline

Part of doing lead nurturing properly is by crafting a message that is intended for the right people, through the right channels, at the right stages of the sales funnel. Uniquely crafted content that is tailor-made for your prospects’ needs allows for better targeting, generates more qualified leads in the long run, and differentiates your business from the rest. 

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In the image above, all channels in the customer journey require messaging one way or the other. For example, in the Awareness phase alone, you have to have relevant and clear-cut messaging that are well-stated in your email drip campaigns, pay-per-click ads, or PR material to invite prospects to try out your product. Once they get to the second stage of the funnel, Consideration, your social media ad messaging, blog, and media content all come into play to further influence the prospect’s purchasing decision and answer their questions.

Messaging is still critical throughout the funnel and nurture campaign because in order to retain customers and boost loyalty, they have to have something to advocate your brand to other potential buyers, whether through word-of-mouth, referral programs, or personal social posts.

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3. Wrong Tools

Using the wrong tools, or lack thereof, can derail your nurture campaign. You need an automated way to nurture leads and make sure that you are sending out personalized emails regularly and consistently. A solid email marketing automation tool provides a systematic, repeatable way to attract, activate and engage with your customers.

Your emails (and social posts, too) should be consistent with your voice and branding, and nowadays when being mobile-friendly is crucial in reaching your audiences, integrated CRM tools will help you craft mobile-ready content through various design templates, which are often available for free if you are on a tight budget. Furthermore, marketing automation tools are important for maintaining high engagement rates as they allow you to perform deliverability tests on your emails before sending them out, so you could avoid going straight to the dreaded spam folder.

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4. Inability to Measure Performance and Success

Before you can successfully convert prospects into paying customers, you must first strengthen each stage of the buyer journey that you will provide to your leads. Email marketing metrics play a key role in this, but revenue is still the ultimate indicator of your nurture campaign’s effectiveness.

In identifying your key metrics, begin with answering questions like, what does “engage” mean in the context of the buyer journey? Which actions from the prospect’s end fit the criteria of qualified engagement? Once you have the answers to these questions, you will have more direction and it will be much easier for you to go forward and lay the groundwork for your lead generation efforts, with your interpreted data supporting your whole nurture campaign.

Top 4 Things You Need to Launch a Successful Nurture Campaign

Here are the four things you need to have to address and avoid committing the mistakes we have mentioned above.

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1. Segmented Audience

Here are the common market descriptors that you must be familiar with in identifying your segments:

  • Geographic - customer group based on specific areas of residence, be it state or country
  • Demographic - customer group based on age, gender, occupation, religious beliefs, nationality, etc.
  • Decision Makers - customer group based on their authority within a given organization to decide on purchasing your product or service
  • Behavioral - customer group based on usage level of a product (frequency of use)
  • Distribution - customer group based on where they acquire and buy your product (brick-and-mortar stores, online stores, etc.)

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2. Unique Story

Telling a compelling story when introducing your product to potential buyers puts you at a better advantage of capturing their interest, especially when it’s something that resonates with them. It’s also something that your sales representatives will have the pleasure of talking about over and over as a unique and relatable story is what would set your brand apart from competitors.

Building rapport with companies’ key decision makers is also a good way to generate more leads, particularly the ones in top management and those in the C-level. This is where account-based marketing (ABM) can be infused into your lead nurturing campaign. Incorporating pursuit marketing into your ABM strategy through targeted messaging, as well as brand-specific promotional tools are what would eventually help you win deals.

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3. The Right Automation Tools

In choosing the right automation tools for your nurture campaign, pick those that will enable you to design, Q/A, post and schedule emails. Below are some examples of popular marketing automation tools that let you do all these:

  • Pardot - comes with a lead management system, tools for setting up your domain, and marketing analytics; predictive lead scoring and behavior scoring available in the Advanced and Premium versions
  • SendGrid - includes a suite of tools for creating email campaigns such as email automation, design, statistics such as open and click rates, deliverability testing, and a sign-up form generator
  • - offers email personalization and automation features, a rules-based visual workflow builder, an audience segmentation engine, and third-party integration
  • Hubspot - catering mainly to early stage startups Hubspot includes features for marketing automation, email analytics, scheduling, website development and optimization, and dynamic lists for sales follow ups. 
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4. Integrated Marketing Approach

In order to have a cohesive nurture campaign, all of the channels you will use must work together in stride for the purpose of marketing and promoting your products and services. Your overall strategy should be aligned and consistent with your brand’s persona and messaging, including your content across all platforms, so as not to confuse and inhibit prospects from engaging with your business.

To build an integrated marketing campaign, first establish the goal of your campaign—is it to introduce a new product or service? Is it to attempt a brand overhaul? Next align these goals to the email marketing metrics for your specific campaign.

After you have identified your goals, the next step is to select the marketing channels that would help you achieve them. Would you need paid ads? Is combining email and social media marketing the best option? Would direct marketing work? Try getting your message across by combining different channels, and don’t quit testing them out until you get the perfect formula for your strategy.

Converting Leads through Nurture Campaigns

For startups and enterprises alike, nurture campaigns are important in supporting prospects throughout the whole buyer journey so that they convert to loyal customers and drive quicker ROI. Do you need guidance with creating your lead management strategy but you’re not sure where to begin? Talk to us today and we’d be happy to help!