It’s time to focus on the “nurture” part of lead nurture campaigns

In a period of economic uncertainty, a personalized lead nurture campaign (LNC) can help you keep leads warm while waiting out the storm. Messaging and frequency may change, but the importance of reaching out never will.

We all know of lead nurture campaigns as a way to communicate with prospects in order to inform, educate, and qualify. But the obvious and overarching goal is to build relationships. While you may think this period of upheaval is a time to cut off regular communications with prospects, the opposite is true. Rather, this is the time to show that your interest extends beyond a prospect’s legitimacy as a lead. It’s time to nurture those relationships and show you care.

Only 2% of consumers say brands should pause content delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic
From a survey of 2,500+ consumers in the US, Canada, UK, Germany, Singapore, and Japan by Unruly, March 2020.

More than ever, lead nurturing requires a solid plan and great patience. The strategic goals of your prospects have likely shifted, and sometimes, the most you can hope to tell them is that (a) you’re still here; (b) you care about them; and (c) you stand ready to help when the time is right.

Plan for success

One way to show you care is by offering unique insights and information that can help your audience right now. Think creatively about what content will be most valuable. This may mean you need to segment your list differently to be sure you reach the right people with the right content. Brainstorm topics that each specific audience needs. For instance, restaurant owners would benefit from a report about third-party delivery like this excellent (and current!) one from Service Management Group or this article about how restaurants are coping, from Bon Appétit. Fill your calendar with bi-monthly topics that will appeal to each audience, but resist the urge to write your emails too far in advance, because things are changing so quickly.

Get personal

Kick off your new campaign with an honest message about your own work life adjustments. Reassure prospects about your staff being present, your work hours being unchanged, or whatever you are doing to be available to them during this time of transition. Extend empathy for the uncertainty we all share. Include a hopeful message about the future of business relationships and the exciting prospect of innovations to come. Share a spirit of partnership and optimism. And then introduce the helpful, educational information you’ll be sharing in the weeks ahead, with a summary or outline of upcoming topics.

Deliver something different

Write emails that briefly touch upon a timely subject, and then invite your audience to webinars, offer to answer urgent questions, or provide consultations to follow up. How about a free trial for your product or service? Share articles or research that are relevant to each particular industry or title. Keep the content in the email brief, but refer them to a blog post, an article, a download, or a contact form. Be helpful, not demanding. Be hopeful, not cynical.

Respect the moment

No doubt you’ve noticed, everyone’s inbox is overflowing with COVID-19 messaging. Make sure the content you’re sending has value, or don’t send it at all. If your typical LNC deployment schedule is aggressive, this would be a good time to scale it back. You can be a thoughtful and consistent presence without being a constant one. The key is to be deliberate in your motives and actions; to focus on relationships over sales.

Above all, you can be certain no one is doing business as usual, and they don’t expect business as usual from you, either. Make a commitment to serve your audience better, right now. With relevant content, appropriate tone, and careful attention to how recipients are responding to your emails, you will find that some relationships will not only survive, but will actually thrive during this tumultuous time.

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