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How to Run an Email Nurture Campaign

Published: September 30, 2014       Updated: May 13, 2024

4 min read


Running a nurture marketing campaign is a lot like being a personal shopper – it’s true! Both require thought, patience, and persistence in order to get the desired result. For the shopper, that’s finding clothes for your clients that make them feel confident and beautiful. For the digital marketer, that’s engaging with your prospects and developing those relationships into leads.

What is a Nurture Campaign?

If you’re not familiar with nurture campaigns, they are a type of email marketing tool that allows you to engage with your audience over a longer period of time than an asset download or purchase. The idea is to create a stockpile of content written for your readers and then send that content out over a period of time.  You don’t, however, bombard your email subscribers with all the content you’ve ever written. Instead, you look at how they interact with your brand and send content based on that information.

If, for example, you see that the last three emails you sent to a prospect went unopened, that’s a good sign that this person isn’t interested in receiving more info from you. Rather than improving the relationship, sending more emails could actually damage your chances of salvaging the prospect. Nurture campaigns are all about context clues.

What are Some Different Types of Nurture Campaigns?

The most general nurture campaign is one whose purpose is simply to stay in touch with your prospects. This includes emails like, “I noticed you downloaded asset A and thought you might like this as well” or “Saw you watched part one of our video series – part two is available now.” The one caveat here is to remind people that they’ve interacted with your brand before – consumers are wary of spam and might banish you to the junk folder if they don’t immediately recognize your company. These types of campaigns can also help reengage prospects who have fallen out of contact.

There are also more specific nurture campaigns, like a promotion for a big sale or event. These are quite popular among B2C brands – in fact, you probably have at least one nurture email in your inbox right now! These types of campaigns typically offer a discount in each email, along with reminders to get shop the sale or register for the event.

How Do I Execute a Nurture Campaign?

Now that you know what a nurture campaign is, it’s time to learn how to build one. The easiest way is to go through your marketing automation platform. In fact, this is almost impossible to do with a MAP because of all the moving pieces.

Here are the six steps:

1. Establish Your Goals

Knowing what you expect to get out of the campaign will help you determine what type of nurture emails you need to send, the ideal timeline for the campaign, and what content to offer, which leads me to my second point…

2. Give Your Contacts a Reason to Click

Advertising your latest ebook is not a reason to send a nurture email. Offering an ebook that expands on the last asset a contact downloaded, however, is. Remember, this isn’t the time to blast out every piece of content you’ve ever made. Keep it streamlined.

3. Create an Editorial Calendar of Sorts

This can be wildly helpful for keeping all of your content straight. Make sure to include the title of each asset, a brief description, and how it fits into your overall campaign. You can even go more in-depth and add information about the email that will include the asset, like its subject line, intro message, and CTA message.

4. Establish a Timeline

This should be fairly easy once you’ve established your goals. If this is a promotional campaign, you should layout all of the content you plan to include and schedule them the appropriate time length apart. For a general campaign, you can spread your emails out over a longer period of time.

5. Send Your Emails

This is the best part of a marketing automation platform – you can schedule your emails, either for a specific date and time or on a trigger-based system, and then not have to think about them.

6. Study the Results

Finally, you need to analyze the campaign reports to see what worked and what didn’t. This will give you insight into future email nurture campaigns, help you see what content is the most effective and, of course, send your leads further into the sales funnel and, ideally, produce new clients.

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