Think outside of the inbox: a quick guide to nurture campaigns

Adam Boddy
Adam Boddy

How do you create nurture campaigns that won’t just annoy your leads? We take a look at how buying has changed – and how marketing automation can help with nurturing.

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Nurture campaigns remain a great way to generate sales-ready leads. But to nurture leads properly, you need to move with the times. Let’s explore how nurture campaigns have evolved, from canned drip campaigns to tailored campaigns supported by marketing automation tools.

What is a nurture campaign?

A nurture campaign (also known as lead nurturing) is a marketing process that focuses on building a relationship between brand and customer. For the brand, the goal of a nurture campaign is to stay top-of-mind with a prospect. This is achieved by targeting potential quality leads with relevant, timely content that offers them useful information and, ultimately, leads them to a purchase.  

Nurture campaigns can have a linear structure, allowing your prospects to progress along one campaign path. Or they can have a multi-path structure that presents different paths for prospects to follow based on their personas, behaviours, and interests.

As we’ll discuss in more detail below, nurture campaigns are now the most prevalent type of marketing automation campaign carried out. These campaigns are most commonly seen as an annoying string of emails that you didn’t ask to receive. But research has shown that companies that excel at nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads at a 33% lower cost. This festive campaign for Panasonic generated great engagement, achieving a 38% email open rate and 49% CTR. 

Think outside of the (in)box: Approaches to nurturing

The benefits of effective nurturing are clear. But what makes for an effective nurture campaign in today’s buying environment?

One important thing to note when approaching nurture campaigns is that they do not need to be limited to email. Nurturing campaigns can be carried out across assets as varied as social media, video, infographics, paid media, and even human interaction. For example, at BIBA 2019 we used a scratch card incentive to bring brokers to the Hiscox stand and interact with the team.

In each instance, what should be prioritised is the user experience. Is the content being sent to prospects tailored to their interests? Is it giving them the information they need at their current point in the buyer’s journey?

We should be thinking beyond the inbox – and specifically, beyond the canned drip email campaign – because the buying environment has changed. As more media platforms have become easily accessible, people have come to access information in a totally different way. Today’s buyers are always online, using multiple devices, and in a digital environment where purchasing decisions can be made instantly. That creates a need for instant gratification. Although we are consistently told that people hate to be sold to, buyers’ responsiveness to cheap sales pitches shows us that they still love to buy.

The evolution of nurture campaigns

So how have nurture campaigns evolved in response to the changing buying environment? We can detect three types:

  • Canned

Here, the nurture campaign is placed on a set track that is rarely altered and has a definite goal in mind.

  • Fresh

Offering more flexibility than the canned campaign, this is a generalised campaign that changes based on circumstances. It is primarily used in content marketing or for products with quick cycles.

  • Individual

Requiring a marketing automation tool (or tools), this is the most recent and most flexible stage in the evolution of nurture campaigns.

Let’s explore this third phase in a little more detail as a method to navigate today’s complex buying environment. Nowadays, marketers can use a variety of tools to find out useful information about a prospect. This can include everything from their job title and location to their preferred purchasing methods and level of engagement with your social media. This information can be used alongside your ability to track interactions through marketing automation means, giving you a lot of segmenting and scoring power.

For example, it is possible to send right-time communications with marketing automation. This hugely valuable strategy involves using data to identify not only the right person to target, but the right channel to reach them on and the right moment to send your content to them. Activating content based on user behaviour – also known as behaviour triggers – is similarly a hugely valuable and powerful nurturing option (albeit one that can seem a little intrusive!) that combines data and marketing automation.

Final Thoughts 

Nurturing has moved far beyond the days of canned, robotic email chains. With the rise of more powerful and intelligent tools that exist for gathering data and automating marketing actions, it’s possible to reap the rewards of effective nurturing in today’s buying environment.


Need help nurturing – or generating – your leads? Get in touch with us to discuss how we can help.

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