Lead Nurturing 101: How to Turn Cold Leads Into Loyal Customers

Lead Nurturing 101: How to Turn Cold Leads Into Loyal Customers

The buyer journey is getting more convoluted by the day. For example, in B2B organizations, the sales cycle can last three to nine months — with up to ten decision makers involved before you get the sale.

Prospects flit in and out of the sales funnel, disengaging when you feel they should be converting.

At some point, you have multiple spreadsheets filled with contacts from leads that dropped off during the sales process. If you want to bring a disengaged prospect back on track, there’s one tactic you need to consider: lead nurturing campaigns.

In this guide, we’ll break down what it is, the types of campaigns you can use, how to create a lead nurturing strategy, and tips to make sure you make the most of it.

What is lead nurturing?

Lead nurturing is the process of building relationships with potential customers at every stage of the customer journey. It involves understanding what your prospects need and answering that through well thought out content—and nurturing funnels.

The goal of lead nurturing is not just immediate sales but also building trust and establishing a brand as a thought leader in the prospects' minds. This involves:

  • Educating the leads about the products or services being offered.
  • Engaging with them regularly to understand their needs and preferences.
  • Building credibility by providing valuable content tailored to their interests and awareness.
  • Staying top-of-mind through consistent and relevant communication.

Types of lead nurturing campaigns

Here are six types of campaigns that you can use to re-engage non-nurtured leads:

1. Educational campaigns

These campaigns are focused on informing prospective customers or email subscribers about what you do—and how you help them. The focus is on issues they face or challenges you help them solve.

They usually target top-of-the-funnel leads who are aware of a problem or need but are still in the research phase and not yet ready to buy. Drip campaigns fall under this category.

In the example below, Glitch offers several content assets that give users tips on how to use Glitch. This is perfect for those who might be considering Glitch and wondering how it really works. It’s also an excellent way to bring back inactive users to the platform without a direct “We hope you come back soon” message.

It’s not a glitch, it’s nurturing

2. Product-focused campaigns

Product-focused campaigns highlight your product’s features, benefits, and differentiators. These campaigns are aimed at middle or bottom-of-the-funnel leads who are familiar with your brand and are closer to purchasing.


3. Re-engagement campaigns

These campaigns are focused on re-engaging leads that dropped out during the sales cycle. The goal is to offer something interesting so they’re actively engaging with your offer. For example, an abandoned cart email helps bring back potential customers through a personalized campaign by putting the product of interest front and center.



4. Feedback and survey campaigns

It’s hard to create a product or service without customer feedback. While most people look at it from an offer development perspective, knowing what customers want to achieve with your offer is important. You can use that information to segment, personalize, or upsell campaigns.

For example, Descript uses a simple email poll to determine what customers want to achieve with their product. They send it right after signup when the product is top of mind, and customers can provide accurate answers.



5. Upselling and cross-selling campaigns

Acquiring a customer is a task—but making sure you increase their lifetime value is harder. That doesn’t mean it’s not impossible. If you have the right data, like reasons for investing in your offer, job role, etc., you can create targeted campaigns that gently nudge them to upgrade their investment.

Upselling focuses on moving on to the higher-end version of your offer while cross-selling focuses on promoting add-ons/complementary products.

In the example below, Otter uses an upselling campaign by honing in on the features its Pro version offers, especially for regular product users.



6. Event-based campaigns

Capitalizing on seasonal trends is an excellent way to make profits in a short period. For example, holidays, product launches, or even industry conferences are time-sensitive, adding a level of urgency to the offer.

Create email or social campaigns that provide limited-time offers like gift cards or promo codes so customers re-engage and invest in your offer.



How to create a lead nurturing strategy in 6 steps?

Eighty four percent of marketers agree that conversion rates improve when you allocate more time and resources to lead nurturing efforts. Here’s what you need to do to create an internal lead nurturing workflow:

Step 1: Understand your leads and their needs

Before you get started, marketing and sales teams need to achieve consensus on what a “good lead” is. If you don’t, it’ll lead to wasted time and effort. Ask questions like:

  • What are the pain points your leaders are looking to solve?
  • Who are these people? How can you categorize them? (The deeper the profile, the better the results.)
  • What kind of companies do they work for?
  • How do people who fall under your ideal client profile (ICP) use your product/service?
  • Are they solution unaware/aware, window shopping for options, or close to making a decision?
  • Where are they the most active or receptive?
  • When are they the most likely to respond?
  • What specific aspects are they looking for in the engagement?
  • How many buyers are involved, and do they have the same motivations?
  • How do they make decisions? Using logic, emotions, or a mix?
  • What’s the purchase trigger, and how can you emulate that?

Mallory Musante, marketing strategist and fractional chief marketing officer (CMO), recommends starting with the ICP and going through these questions. After that, she creates a content pillar funnel as explained below:

“I’ll think through how we can build our ‘Know Like Trust Factor’ with our audience. This typically comes in the form of a content pillar funnel, designed to have various types of content to help funnel people from brand awareness down into conversion. The pillars are Engagement, Educational, Connection, Social Proof, and Promotional. I pair them with brand messaging, and ICP needs to provide a guardrail for choosing content assets to strategically nurture my audience.”

Step 2: Plot the buyer’s journey for your company

Next, map the buyer’s journey, but make it specific to your company. The typical buying journey includes the following stages:

  • Top of the funnel (TOFU): Solution unaware
  • Middle of the funnel (MOFU): Solution-aware, consideration
  • Bottom of the funnel (BOFU): Decision, retention

Here’s an example of a funnel that Abhi Bavishi, a growth consultant, uses for his clients:


But it’s never that simple. Some prospects go back and forth and have over ten touchpoints before signing up for your product. On the other hand, others read a blog post and convert. You need to segment prospects based on their characteristics and behavior.

“I always prioritize understanding the personality types of the leads and categorizing them into distinct groups,” says Bavishi. “Based on this, I customize messages, timing, and frequency to resonate best with each category. I also go beyond just email campaigns for nurturing leads, using personalized images, personalized videos, and ice-breakers.”

Step 3: Map your content to the buyer’s journey

Sixty-eight percent of B2B companies focus on content to nurture leads, while 38% of B2C companies use content for the same. It shows the importance of having the right content asset for different stages of the buyer’s journey.

Start with a content audit. If you have a large content repository, it’ll be easier to collate those assets based on the segmentation exercise you’ve gone through.

“If you’re a mature company you probably already have the content—it’s just tucked away on a blog, or on product pages. But not everyone sees that content at the right time for it to be useful for them.”

“Nurture campaigns are really about getting it in front of the right users at the right time. And that’s where user analytics come in. You should have a very strong understanding around when users typically do certain high-value activities and use email and other nurture channels to make sure it’s seen at the exact right time.”

If you don’t have enough assets, create an editorial calendar to start producing them and passing them on to the sales reps. Remember: the content that wakes up sleepy leads are the ones that also act as excellent sales enablement content.

Next, map each asset to the buyer’s journey. Here’s a hypothetical scenario:

  • Prospect searches for the keyword “what is sales enablement”
  • They land on your blog and acts as the ultimate guide on the topic
  • They want to learn more > they sign up for your newsletter
  • You send them resources on sales enablement
  • They click on an article titled “Top Sales Enablement Tools.”
  • They stop engaging with your brand for 30 days
  • You send them a feedback survey email to understand their needs
  • Based on the response, you start offering similar educational content (including middle funnel assets)
  • They come back to your article on popular alternatives to a direct competitor
  • They’re convinced and sign up for a free trial

Notice how it’s not an immediate process? So, they have enough assets to satisfy the prospect’s need for education. And include them in multiple formats like webinars, whitepapers, research reports, and case studies.

Step 4: Create a multichannel lead nurturing campaign

That being said, your campaign shouldn’t just stick to emails. Create multiple touch points so you are top of mind using gentle nudges.

For example, reach them personally via email and re-target them on your channels of choice using resource-based ads. Or conduct webinars and invite them to attend it live. There are many ways to engage—so make it possible for them to do so without disruption.

It’s not about volume but the precision of your strategy.

Step 5: Focus on multitouch attribution to gather data

With a multichannel strategy, you must attribute conversions to each channel. Tracking which touchpoints your customers are coming through can also help you design better campaigns. Tools like HubSpot make it easy to tag and monitor these activities.

For example, a lead that goes from a general blog post to a product-specific webinar showcases a deeper interest than someone who skims the initial article.



Here’s an example of how Garfinkel from Mindful Conversion used multitouch attribution to create a lead nurturing strategy:

“While working for one of the world’s largest video streaming services, I was part of a small team tasked with driving users into our paid subscriptions. We conducted an analysis that showed if a user completed at least three of our seven high-value actions on our website the likelihood of them becoming a paid subscriber was magnitudes higher. It became our north-star metric.”

So, he designed a nurture email series for those who signed up for his client’s free offer to help customers discover the platform’s value through such high-value activities. And it worked. The email series saw incredible engagement and pushed more users into the paid subscription tiers.

Step 6: Continuously maintain and update the content library

After you’ve created your strategy, bake in constant updates into your workflows. These campaigns are not a one-time task, so having a set workflow will prevent you from starting from scratch every single time.

In terms of content updates, review your assets every six months and check for relevance, accuracy, messaging alignment, and effectiveness. If you flag something that needs to be updated, slot that into the content calendar as soon as possible so that sales get what they need in time.

Check out our guide for more details on conducting audits and updating assets.

Keep an eye out for specific patterns, too. You might notice that your prospects like video case studies instead of written ones. So, use more of that in your campaigns.

4 tips to increase ROI from lead nurturing campaigns

Nurturing campaigns is tricky because most companies blast their email list with random assets. Use these tips to stand out from the pack:

1. Conduct audience research regularly

Customer behavior is constantly changing based on newer options in the market or needs they’ve recognized. To conduct regular audience research either through tapping into internal data sources like website analytics, social media comments, or surveys/feedback forms.

Alternatively, you can use tools like Sparktoro to find out how customer behavior is evolving and create targeted campaigns based on that,

2. Score your leads to reach the right prospects

Lead scoring involves assigning a value to each lead based on internal criteria. That can look like content engagement, demographic details, etc. When you use this tactic, you can hone in on the highest value leads first—driving results in the short term.

Jenny Maglio, director of marketing automation at Laughlin Constable, says, “We have found that email marketing automation with lead scoring is a highly effective lead nurturing strategy.”

“Because an initial interest is shown, but a lead may not be ready for purchase, email helps to communicate, educate and engage while lead scoring can assist in elevating the lead to a sales or service team due to their readiness. This creates impressive ROI due to the cost effectiveness of email and the ability for sales/service teams to be efficient with time, focusing on the hottest leads.”



3. Align marketing, sales, and customer support teams

Sales and support teams are the closest to your customers. So, make friends with key stakeholders from these departments to create content aligned with actual buyer needs, not ones you’ve thought of.

Meet with them regularly, create shared goals, and use collaborative tools like Content Camel to get everybody on the same page.

For example, if anybody wants to request a piece of content, they can use the Wishlist feature to provide more context on what’s needed—and it automatically gets added to the marketing team’s workflow.


Let internal teams send requests using Content Camel’s Wishlist feature

4. Create personalized and helpful campaigns

Only 27% of marketers say their company’s email marketing tactic is personalizing messages. That leaves a massive gap in the market for those who make the effort to do so. So be one of those 27% by investing the time in segmenting and curating personalized emails or other assets.

Create, store, and monitor content assets to meet buyer’s needs

Nurturing qualified leads requires the perfect balance of art and science. It’s not just a random email blast but a well-orchestrated series of campaigns that offer value first—without directly asking for anything from your customers.

If you haven’t used this strategy yet, employ the process, tools, and tips we’ve provided to get started with these campaigns. The goal is to be the first choice when prospects are ready to purchase.

And if you need a tool that lets you catalog content assets so your internal teams know what’s in hand, take a tour of Content Camel. Historical data on content assets is hard to find, but we resolve that issue for you because you don’t just have access to content but also granular analytics on its usage and past performance.