Email marketing is one of the most important marketing tools for companies: according to the study „Email marketing benchmark 2022“ by DDV Deutscher Dialogmarketing Verband e.V. and Absolit Dr. Schwarz Consulting, Waghäusel 99% make use of email marketing to get in touch with customers. Email marketing is also highly suitable for customer acquisition. Apart from lead generation, in B2B, customer acquisition refers to the targeted development of users to the transferral to sales: Lead Nurturing.

Generally, lead nurturing means to approach a user continually at the right point in time, with the right channel and the right information in order to establish a relationship with him, which eventually will lead to a purchase. A study by forrester has shown that companies that ecxel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales at 33% lower cost. Marketing Sherpa has found out that 79% oft he marketing leads don’t convert into sales leads due to a rather frequent absence of lead nurturing. According to a study by Gleanster, lead nurturing does not only increase the ROI but also the turnover, as well as the number of sales-suitable leads and improves the collaboration between sales and marketing.

Email marketing is an optimal channel for lead nurturing

With lead nurturing, email marketing can show its full strength. Being the only digital marketing channel, email marketing allows you to engage in a completely individualised dialogue with each user, i.e. you can target him at the right point in time in his customer lifecycle with exactly the information, which matches his current requirements as well as increases his interest in completing a purchase. The lead nurturing process takes place completely individualised from the point of generating of user contacts to the transfer to the sales.

Turn users into newsletter subscribers

Prior to transferring a user to the lead nurturing process, the user must be acquired as an email marketing subscriber. You will find tips on how to acquire subscribers in the article “6 Tips on Address Acquisition in Email Marketing“. In B2B, content marketing is particularly suited to acquire new email subscribers. Very few B2B users subscribe to a newsletter with a specific purchase intention, most of them do it because they are looking for professional and industry-specific information. In order to individualise this information, insights of the users are needed, which can be obtained from personal data using different analysis methods.

However, the use of personal data in email marketing is subject to legal restrictions. Furthermore, in B2B it may be important to request information on a user’s company and position. This can happen via an optional form, which is displayed after a user’s subscription to a newsletter.

The beginning of the lead nurturing process

Once a user has been converted to a subscriber, the actual lead nurturing process begins. Only very few users are “ready” for a purchase at the time of the conversion. It is therefore important to get to know the user’s motivation first. As mentioned previously, B2B users, which have subscribed to a newsletter are usually looking for neutral specialised information:

  • industry analysis
  • success stories
  • studies
  • practical tips
  • case studies, etc.

At the beginning of the dialogue, you need to provide the right information to the user and position yourself as an expert while “incidentally” gaining insights of the user’s preferences.

Does the user show a particular interest in a topic? If this is the case, you could offer content on this topic, which is dealing with the typical related problems in a solution-oriented way without promoting your own offers too much. This may be a whitepaper or webinar. The general interest of users in a topic will be guided to explicit problems, which may have a solution with your own offers.

From follow-up campaign to transaction

At this point event-related follow-up campaigns are one option. When a user downloads, e.g. a whitepaper, this action may trigger the sending of a follow-up email after a predefined period, recommending e.g. a suitable webinar. If the user participates in the webinar, he will subsequently receive a personal email with an offer for a talk, if he doesn’t take part, he will be “reset” and will receive other content. In this way, the user can be developed through a flexible, response-specific campaign. This process is entirely automated.

Example of a lead nurturing campaign

Example of a lead nurturing campaign

The next steps consists in rating the potential of a user and transferring the most interesting users to sales. Read our blogpost „Turning Users Into Customers in B2B – From Lead Nurturing to Lead Scoring and Routing“ to get do know how this works.