Maximizing Conversions: How to Set Up an Automated Email Nurture Stream

by Susan Mullin

laptop keyboard with an email button for setting up nurture stream

Most marketers understand the significance of the sales funnel and its role in converting potential customers. One key aspect of the sales funnel is nurturing this important audience to ensure they remain engaged with your brand and ultimately convert (or convert again!), whether that means making a purchase, signing up for a service or completing another desired action. In this blog, we will guide you through the process of setting up an automated email nurture stream to effectively engage your customers and drive more of the behavior you want.

1) Define your target audience

The first step to creating an automated email nurture stream is clearly defining your target audience. Understand their pain points, preferences, and motivations and tailor your content accordingly. 

You can easily gather this data from Google Analytics (GA4). Does your product resonate with a specific age or gender? Which website pages drive the newest leads? If users are coming in from organic search, the pages they land on indicate an audience need – they are looking for specific information and click through to your site page. In GA4, you can view the search keywords that drive these users to your site to understand what they are looking for.

If the users came through social media or an ad, they were interested enough in the content of your organic post or paid media to click through – another indicator of their specific interests. Study the attribution paths that are leading to conversions on your site in GA4 – even if the attribution is a simple site visit vs. completing a form or another specific action!

2) Get user info and consent

It might seem overwhelming to identify where to start with your nurture stream and, in particular, what triggers the first email to your potential customers. It’s actually not that complicated – you can begin the nurture stream once someone has opted in to receive communications from you or interacted with your brand in a way that gives you permission to reach out. 

What are some effective ways you can get that all-important user permission? “More information” forms, pop-ups (with a “10% off” offer for product-related sites), newsletter subscriptions and content download pages that prompt users for their email (with a clear statement that they give consent to future communication) are good ways to do this. Once they sign up, that will be the trigger to start your nurture emails.

As a staffing and recruiting firm, we obtain people’s information and consent when they apply for a job. Once they’re in our system, we enroll them in our nurture campaign to get additional information and keep them engaged while their applications are under review. If they are a qualified candidate for the job, we want them to ultimately “convert” by having a call with us to further assess their potential for a position. 

3) Determine the number of emails and optimal email timing

First, think about how many touches you’d like these users to receive. One way to start is to think about what content you have available (we offer suggestions below) and start with a smaller number like 5-7 and see what the response is like. Next, consider when you think it would be most helpful for potential customers to receive your first email and subsequent emails and set an initial cadence to test. It’s typical for customers to receive an initial introductory email within a day of their initial action (subscribing to a newsletter list for example). From there, you can test anywhere from 3-7 days after the initial email for the second touch, 10-14 for the third touch and so on. Timing depends largely on your audience’s appetite for more information and communication so you’ll need to watch open and click-through rates, unsubscribes and other replies and adjust from there.

4) The first email

Once you’ve gotten their email and consent, the first email of your nurture stream ideally paints a clear picture of your company, its mission and what you do. Remember that most people coming in most likely have very limited knowledge about you. The “About the company” part of your website comes in handy for the content of this email.

Be succinct and make sure to use your company voice. Imagery is also key – brand-friendly pictures, the logo, and some of your latest product launches help communicate important things about your company and products/services as well. If you have a new service or another important announcement, this is a good place to include it. Finally, make sure to include a call to action. Depending on your business, “Shop Now” or “Contact our sales team today” are always good bets.

5) Content for the next email touches

Marketers have a lot of content options in subsequent email touches with customers and it’s a great idea to test a number of different types to see what they engage with. Here are some ideas to start with:

  • Meet the Team: If you are in the service industry, your team is probably on the front lines and interacting frequently with customers. The second email is a great opportunity for a “Meet our Team” segment, introducing the key team members who will engage with your potential customers and help them put a friendly face to the name of the person who might follow up with them. You can even include a link to a short video segment with one of your leaders or the salespeople introducing themselves.
  • Informational resources: Providing links to helpful information and resources about the products or services you offer can be a great following email or two in your nurture stream. This could come in the form of case studies, blog posts, infographics and other helpful info designed to further pique the interest and provide background in what you are selling.
  • Reviews and testimonials: Reviews and testimonials are a great next step to add more trustworthiness to your brand and lead the customer toward conversion. Include reviews and testimonials from customers – as well as writeups from industry sources if they are positive. If you’ve received any awards or other accolades, those are great to promote as well.

6) Continuing the conversation

Once a customer has converted, meaning they’ve expressed serious interest, or purchased a product or service, don’t stop the conversation there! You want them to make another purchase or refer other potential customers. You could offer deals for loyal customers, referral promotions or continue helpful tips on how to best use your products and services.

7) When to lay off

And if customers haven’t responded or engaged with your emails in any way after four or five touches, offer them a promotional deal or discount to see if that convinces them to engage. If they still don’t engage after that, it’s a good idea to either reduce the frequency of emails (add them to a quarterly newsletter or once-a-year reactivation email for example) or stop them altogether.

8) Don’t forget the data!

While email nurture streams look different from company to company depending on the nature of your product, service and audience, they can provide tremendous benefits to your business when done well. You’ll likely need to experiment with different content, timing, subject lines and design to optimize your nurture stream and get the best results.

Successful email nurture streams provide value to customers and keep them engaged with your brand. Think about what information will help them stay connected and make their decision to convert easier and easier. And don’t forget to test and test again to see what works the best for your potential customers – it’s definitely not a one size fits all situation. Best of luck!

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Posted in , Content Marketing, Digital Marketing