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4 Lead Nurturing Mistakes that Annoy Your Prospects

By March 16, 2016May 13th, 2019

About a month ago, I submitted my name and email address online in order to download an eBook I was interested in. Because of my work in inbound marketing, I expected that I would now be on this company’s email mail list and possibly in some sort of lead nurturing campaign.  I was OK with that. I liked the eBook I received and I was interested in learning more.

And then it happened.

Over the course of three days I received nine, yes I said nine,  emails from this company.  I was so shocked by this, that I actually responded to one of the emails and told them, that while I was interested in receiving their emails, getting three per day was a bit over-the-top.  To their credit I received a response, unfortunately, what they said was that basically, that was the way they did things and I didn’t have to open them all.  My response…*unsubscribe*.

On the surface, this company was doing the right things;

  1. They had a blog with lots of educational information.
  2. They had written a stellar top of the funnel eBook offer.
  3. They created a CTA for this eBook and put it at the bottom of  blog post
  4. They then promoted this blog on social media with a catchy headline.
  5. Through this great blog, CTA,  offer, and by using an appropriate form they captured my basic info.
  6. This info was then put into an email lead nurturing campaign.

Sounds great, right. But then it all went wrong.

It’s hard as a fellow marketer to see such a great start end in flames. But with all things in life, there are lessons to be learned from mistakes, even when they are not ours. Here are four ways to make sure you don’t risk annoying your prospects and risk them never turning into customers.

1. Don’t put someone on your email subscription list and forget them

Nurturing your prospects through email is really important. When someone offers you their info that means they like what you had to offer.  By sending the lead nurturing emails out,  it entices them to keep moving through the funnel. The next step is usually in the form of a middle of the funnel or consideration stage offer.  Sending a series of these emails over a period of time is shown to get the best results. It’s up to you to determine the number of emails per offer and the length of time in-between, but the one thing you should remember is that it shouldn’t be a set-it and forget it thing.

If you’ve sent X number of emails every Y number of days apart and your prospect hasn’t taken any kind of action then make sure that after a certain point you add them to your quiet list.  If you continue to send a continuous barrage of emails, the same number of days apart from the point of first contact to the end of time, you will have one of two things happen: they will unsubscribe or mark you as spam.

2. Make content offers appropriate for where prospects are on their buyer’s journey

After my experience with the over-emailer from above, I began to notice other trends with the companies I had given my email to. Don’t worry,  it wasn’t  getting three emails per day from anyone else -this company still wins on that. But, I realized that after downloading one little eBook I would receive lead nurturing emails almost daily from many other companies. And everything they offered was a bottom of the funnel or decision stage offer. It felt like I had gone on a great first date and then instead of a lovely courtship, I was proposed to over and over again without anyone listening to my response of – HEY, we just met.

Sending the right offer, at the right time, to the right lead doesn’t take luck, it just takes having a good  plan in place with the right offers and the right marketing automation software .

3. Don’t ignore buyer personas

When you are lead nurturing knowing and focusing on your buyer persona is important.  But you might think, One size fits all right? Well sure. Except when it doesn’t. Just as no two snowflakes are alike, you shouldn’t expect all your leads to be the same. According to the Custom Content Council, 61% of consumers say they feel better about a company that delivers custom content are also more likely to buy from that company. Providing content that doesn’t match a persona or where your lead currently is in the buyer’s journey increases disengagement.

4.  Don’t over email

I said it above but it can’t be overstated. Don’t over email. Instead, choose a certain number of emails you will write for a certain offer and then decide how long you will wait between sending each email. I can’t tell you what that number is, because in reality it will probably look a lot different for every company. But there are some ways to find the sweet spot.

  • Ask your buyer personas. It’s OK to ask your personas their tolerance levels on emails. What finally pushes them over the edge to hit unsubscribe or mark an email spam.
  • Testing during campaigns is  a great way to see how your prospects respond. During one campaign send 6 emails spread three days apart, the next campaign try sending  three emails six days apart – you get the idea.
  • Once you’ve done a few tests, study the success or failure of the campaign to find which gave you the best results.
  • Don’t forget that once a certian number of emails is sent – whatever number you choose – those prospects should be placed on a quiet list that is only engaged once a month or so.

You work hard to get your prospects to see you content. Not to mention getting them to submit their info so you have someone to market to. Once you get that info, don’t blow it by annoying them with these common mistakes.

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Larry Levenson

Larry is passionate about inbound marketing and is a HubSpot Certified Trainer. He's learned the "secrets" of leveraging HubSpot to make marketing hyper-effective and customizes that information to help our clients meet their goals. Larry lives in Prescott, AZ, and when not at work, he is hiking or hanging out with teenagers as a volunteer with Boys to Men USA.