The idea of “Nurture Marketing” has really hit the mainstream. Just Google the phrase “how to nurture market” and you’ll be amazed at all the so-called experts offering tips or best practices on how to do it properly. You’ll get a few results offering rock solid advice, but the majority will be complete nonsense. So if you read just one “super awesome best practices of nurture marketing,” don’t bother reading the others.

Typically, you’ll find some version of this list talking about:

– Targeting
– Content
– Strategy
– Scoring
– A Call To Action (CTA) to hire the company

Nurturing leads is not as simple as a 4-point plan, however. There’s a whole campaign development process that should be followed for maximum results.

Think through your entire nurture series from start to finish:

– Who is your target audience? Have you built personas and segmented your database?
– What content will you use – Whitepaper, case study, eBook, article, something completely different?
– How will you design the campaign flow and what is your overall messaging?
– Have you implemented lead scoring, so you know when you have a sales-ready lead?
– CTAs – Will they be direct and to the point (Call me), or lead the prospect to something educational (Download this white paper)?

Prospects are looking for solutions to roadblocks or problems. So create a series of emails that will aid prospects in their search for answers; show that you understand their pain points. Offer simple tips to address the pain NOW, or a multi-step solution for more complicated issues. The trick is to not sprint to some imagined goal but to provide relevant information at a steady pace, with each step guiding the prospect and building trust in your company.

True lead nurturing takes at least 3 to 6 months. In the real world, not many companies can wait that long – the mandate is to show results NOW! This pressure leads many companies to take the idea of “Nurture Marketing” and try to condense it down. They’ll incorporate multiple messages and calls to action in one email. This does nothing but confuse a prospect – too many distractions and they end up taking no action at all. So formulate your campaign strategy ahead of time and follow it through. This doesn’t mean you can’t tweak things as you go along, but don’t take one campaign strategy and try to incorporate it into another, in hopes of getting faster results. That is a recipe for disaster.