Email Lead Nurturing Tips: What NOT to Do When Someone Acts on Your Email

The title of this blog post is about lead nurturing tips, which sounds positive and helpful, but in reality, prepare for a mini-rant. 🙂 Well, if you want the really ranty part, watch the video version below. Otherwise, skip to the true tips part.

What is Email Lead Nurturing? A Quick Refresher

When a random website visitor takes an action on a business website, like filling out a form to get a piece of content, the person goes from “anonymous” to “lead.” Since the person’s action suggests interest in the client’s business, the person will likely be entered into a custom email “nurturing” workflow. The concept: The person would receive a series of emails meant to engage them further and nudge them down the infamous sales funnel until they convert into a customer. (This is a VERY basic overview.)

Sometimes you don’t even have to take action on a business website to get entered into an email lead nurturing workflow. You could be the recipient of (or victim of, depending on your POV) a COLD email lead nurturing campaign. Yeah, spam laws, uh-huh. People still cold email and can skirt around laws if there’s some direct synergy between the business and the recipient. In theory. (Again, I’m not a lawyer! None of this is legal advice.)

For actual customers, meaning people who buy something from a client’s site, there are other email nurturing campaigns. These are more commonly known as customer retention campaigns. I’m talking emails sent to get people to come back and buy again or to stay engaged/subscribed. (Do you subscribe to a streaming service, like Netflix? Ever get emails saying, “Hey, we just added a new TV show you might like”? BOOM. That’s an example of customer retention campaigns at work.)

OK, enough of the overview. For the purpose of this rant post, I’m going to focus more on general email lead nurturing tips (for cold campaigns and ones that you’d be writing for clients’ businesses.)

Email Lead Nurturing Tips: Respond When Someone Answers Your Email

This is why you should always send the lead nurturing emails from a real person with a real email address, too.

Because here’s the thing: If someone takes the time to respond nicely to your email nurturing (ESPECIALLY IF IT WAS A COLD EMAIL), you better respond back. Otherwise, what are you doing this for?

This recently happened to me. A video production dude started sending me cold emails. I’m OK with this, as long as the emails are relevant to me (not spam). The guy owned a video production company and was looking for referrals and to make connections. So far, so good. I’m a copywriter. I work with videos pros, and I have clients who need video pros.

When I finally responded quite enthusiastically to his fourth or fifth email, he never responded back. I get that emails get lost and filtered. Anticipating this possibility, I ALSO went ahead and sent him a LinkedIn connection request (with a personal note, explaining he’d been reaching out to me via email and I finally had a chance to check out his site, and figured it would make sense to connect). He accepted the connection, but he never responded to my note.

OK, whatever.

But here’s where he REALLY fell down: He didn’t remove me from his lead nurturing workflow. I continued to get his emails asking for referrals and connections. It was like I had never emailed him or connected with him on LI. So, I pinged him on LI and said, “Hey, I’m still in your nurturing campaign, you might want to remove me, etc.” (I was very nice and friendly.) STILL NO RESPONSE. (I’d even mentioned that I had shared his info with a marketing firm I work with.)

Guess what? He’s lost my trust. I won’t be referring business to him moving forward.

BIG TAKEAWAY: Don’t run lead nurturing for the sake of running lead nurturing. Make sure you have a plan for any number of scenarios, including what happens if someone responds directly and positively to your email. At the very least, I should have been removed from the workflow. Maybe entered into a different one, but probably not in this case.

Unfortunately, this isn’t an isolated example.

I see this happen A LOT.

Too many businesses run lead nurturing campaigns because some marketing guru told them this is what they should do. The problem: Too often, no one thinks through things carefully and no one revisits the automated campaigns once set up. They just keep going and going and going. Good luck to the prospect who actually takes a specific action or responds directly.

Email Lead Nurturing Tips: If You’re a Writer, Speak Up

If you’re a freelance copywriter, you can have an extraordinary influence on this process and can help your client avoid looking dumb. When you write the lead nurturing emails, think through the logic. What happens if the person takes the action you’re trying to get them to take, like downloading a piece of content or requesting a demo? Marketing automation is awesome and it DOES work, but we humans have to program it and tell it what to do.

Email Lead Nurturing Tips: Err on the Side of Caution and REMOVE a Prospect from the Workflow

If someone does what you ask them to do, REMOVE THEM FROM THE WORKFLOW. I get it’s scary. Suddenly, this “lead” might not get any further canned communications! Oh, the horror! But honestly, this is OK! More than OK! They’ve done what you’ve asked. Enter them into a NEW workflow that reflects they’ve done what you’ve asked. If they’re still a prospect, the goal of this next set of lead nurturing emails will be to nudge them further down the sales funnel. If the prospect actually converts into a customer, they should be rerouted to customer retention workflows (provided that makes sense for your business).

This isn’t brain surgery. It’s not hard, but it can be tedious to think through and set up, and that’s what causes the missteps, I suspect.

But laziness isn’t an excuse for sloppiness.

OK, end of rant. For now. 😉

Got more questions about email lead nurturing or some other aspect of copywriting?

Check out my YouTube channel or contact me with your Q.