There’s one thing that all marketers have in common: email. Whether you use it to communicate with your customers, run a campaign or stay connected with colleagues, there are many reasons why an email nurture campaign is worth considering.

So you’ve got a list of contacts from newsletter subscriptions, lead forms, previous sales etc. but not sure how to capitalise on all those email addresses with a captivating and engaging email nurture campaign?

You’re not alone, between all the other things marketers have to focus on these days, in an ever-increasingly digital landscape, taking the time to construct a chain of emails that are personal, relevant and timely, can seem like a daunting task. Especially if you don’t have the groundwork laid such as a clearly defined buyers journey or a clear ideal customer profile or buyer persona. And whilst those things are important to an effective nurture campaign, there are some quick ways to get started and do some of the supporting work on the go.

Types of Email Nurture

Why is Email Nurturing Important

Getting all the leads in the world is pointless unless you can find a way to connect with your contacts and show them how you can solve their problem or meet their need.

In this day and age, the typical office worker receives up to 15,000 emails per year. So quality of quantity is the golden rule of email nurturing, how can you build trust and provide meaningful content to the right people at the right time.

"“email marketing is the king of the marketing kingdom with a 4400% ROI and $44 for every $1 spent..”"

How to Create an Email Nurture Campaign

1. Define your Goal

First off, decide the goal of your campaign or nurture sequence, this will give you direction on who to send it to, when and why. Your goal should be specific and aligned with a stage in the funnel, you might focus on driving traffic to a specific landing page for top of the funnel leads or increase secondary purchases from single purchase customers or provide content to the middle of the funnel leads to help them make a decision.

Whatever it is, there’s no sense contacting someone without a clearly defined goal. This leads to poor engagement and a high unsubscribe rate. If you can keep your unsubscribe rate below 5% then you’re doing a decent job at segmenting your audience and personalising your content.

2. Define your Target Audience

Next, work out who you’re planning to contact and why. This will help you make the content specific and timely for your contact.

The buyers journey looks at the path the buyer takes before purchase, it recognises that the buyer goes through a series of interactions and decisions before making a decision to purchase, these stages can be grouped into the awareness, consideration and decision phase.

  1. Awareness Stage: These are TOFU (top of the funnel) leads where the buyer first becomes aware of a problem they have. Usually these won’t be sales ready and need help identifying how they can solve their problem.
  2. Consideration Stage: These are MOFU (middle of the funnel) leads where the buyer researches solutions to their problem. They need help considering different solutions to their problem.
  3. Decision Stage: These are BOFU (bottom of the funnel) leads where the buyer compares and decides who will best solve their problem.

3. Define your Content

Studies show that 41% of consumers switch businesses due to a lack of personalisation.

There are multiple methods to personalise content, depending on the sophistication of your CRM you should have enough data to send content that your contact has shown to be interested in. For example, if you have a contact who subscribed to your wicker chair newsletter then you know not to send them promotional material about your new bed linen range.

But the goal here should be to take this a step further, sending triggered emails when a contact completes a behaviour that you can associate with the next stage in their buying journey, you can send timely and personalised content. For example, you might have a list of contacts who haven’t purchased anything yet but click on a link in an email more than once, you might then associated that action with someone in the consideration stage and so you can be a bit more direct with aligning your product or service to meet their need.

1. Personal Email – If you can clearly define where your contact is in their buying journey then a great way to move from the middle of the funnel to the bottom of the funnel is a personal email, either from customer service or sales. This can show that you’ve listened to their previous enquiries and gives them a chance to ask questions. Personifying your business starts to build trust and shows that you care about their interest. 

2. Educational Email – Better for middle or top of funnel contacts, you can show the value proposition of your business. You might have a series of educational emails for these contacts, each one focusing on a unique selling point. You can even tailor this content based on what you know about the contact already.

3. Promotional Email – Not to be used too often, a promotional email can drive action very effectively. Used sparingly, promotional emails can move people from the bottom of the funnel to take action. Try not to spam people with these, instead focus on a targeted approach for contacts you know you’ve engaged with for a while and have shown some behaviour like repeated visits to your site. Otherwise, the contacts email client might start sending your emails to their junk folder, and your open rates might start suffering.

4. Define your Success Metrics

How do you know your emails are successful? Start by seeing what data sets you have access to, if you’re using a CRM or email delivery tool like Campaign Monitor or Mail Chimp then you’ll have a set of quantitative data to measure on each email.


Open Rate

Email open rates look at the percentage of contacts who received your email and opened it. This is the best place to start to see how well your email is performing, if you can compare one iteration of an email to the next then you can see if it’s performing better overall or worse. 

This can be a bit misleading however, depending on your goal, you might see a lower open rate but a higher click rate or even more sales. It’s important to align your analysis with your initial goal and then try to improve over time.

Here are some tips to improve your Open Rates:

  • Try changing your subject line, try something a bit shorter, relevant to their interest or time based like an event or sale.
  • Try different preview texts, this should give an indication what the email is about without writing everything, this should entice the contact to want to read more.
  • Personal emails help with open rates, these should be sent from a real person, like [email protected]… rather than generic [email protected]… emails
  • Poor audience segmentation can lead to lower open rates, sending the shotgun blasts without defining your audience won’t entice your contact to open your email.

Click Rate

The Click Rate is the percentage of people who were sent  your email and clicked on a link within it.

This is a great way to drive the desired behaviour and allows you to serve additional content in form of a blog or landing page.

Here are some tips to improve your Click Rates:

  • Use an email signature that has links to your website in it, people are more likely to engage with a human than a generic email.
  • Test different subject lines to boost open rates.
  • Include links to your social channels.

Clickthrough Rate

Clickthrough rate, like Click Rate, looks at the total number of clicks but only for those who opened your email.

This is particularly important to measure when you have large email lists as the volume of people you email can skew the click rate in a positive or negative direction. You  might find you email 1000 contacts and have a Click Rate of 1%, which doesn’t sound too good but if your Clickthrough Rate is much higher then you know of  the people that opened the email, a good number were engage with it’s content.

Here are some tips to improve your Clickthrough Rates:

  • Use an image with a link to your website, especially if it has a promotion or special offer.
  • Keep each email to one purpose at a time. Don’t confuse the reader with multiple messages, this has been shown to reduce Clickthrough Rates.
  • Vary email length, depending on your industry and your content, longer or shorter emails may have a good impact on Clickthrough Rate.

Unsubscribe Rate

The unsubscribe rate is the percentage of contacts that unsubscribe from your email or your mailing list.

Here are some tips to improve your Unsubscribe Rates:

  • Let contacts update their subscription preferences.  This allows them to unsubscribe from specific lists and just receive the emails they want.
  • Survey contacts who unsubscribe, keep it simple but it is good to find out why they unsubscribed. Make this an optional survey after they have unsubscribed, you should make it as easy to unsubscribe as when they subscribed in the first place. 
  • Send a re-subscribe email immediately after they unsubscribe in case it was a mistake or they want to come back in the future.

Bounce Rate

Email bounces are when an address you’ve emailed either doesn’t exist, the contacts email server  is blocking  incoming emails,  your IP reputation is poor or the email has spam content.

If you can keep your Bounce Rate below 2% then you’re doing well. 

Here are some tips to improve your Bounce Rates:

  • Create engaging and relevant content
  • Clean your email lists often, if someone hasn’t opened any of the last 5 emails then remove them from the list.
  • Authenticate your domain

Bonus Tip

Test, test and test. Do not assume that one successful email means they will all be equally successful. And do not assume that your emails are performing as good as can be. There’s always room for improvement and it’s only by making small changes over time and reviewing the data can we move the needle forward. If your CRM or email platform has an A/B Testing feature, use it religiously.

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