Poor Results From Lead Nurturing? Reconsider Your Inbound Marketing Plan

Written by Fes Askari

Mar 16 2016

lead nurturing inbound marketing blog image

Nurture With Email Workflows To Increase Conversion

Your content is published, your social messaging and digital channel promotion is in place - and you've started to see relevant leads coming in around your content hub.

But that's no guarantee of purchase. Before those leads go to your sales team they need to be qualified. Lead Nurturing, especially for organisations with long sales cycles of 6-18 months or more, is key to progressing prospects through to purchase qualification.

79% of marketing leads never convert into sales. Lack of lead nurturing is the common cause of this poor performance. - MarketingSherpa

5 Steps To Effective Inbound Marketing Campaign Workflows

Nurturing with email workflows builds relationships with leads and, in turn, boosts conversion rates by keeping your brand and solution at the forefront of your Persona’s mind throughout the sales cycle. 

To achieve an effective Inbound campaign workflow:

1. Define the Persona You Are Targeting

Remember, detailed persona development forms the base of a successful Inbound campaign. At the inbound campaign planning stage you will have developed content around your  specific persona’s challenges. You need to send this right information (addressing those challenges) to the right persona, at the right time, for that content to resonate. To do this:

  • Develop a workflow of lead nurture emails (these should have been planned as a part of your content hub in your editorial calendar) within the context of your  persona's challenge. This is fundamental to maintaining relevance, increasing CTR and boosting conversions of quality leads.
  • Segment your content (by challenge, topic or niche) to ensure you can address the right persona’s challenge (you may be targeting multiple personas at once).

buyers journey lead nurture workflow

2. Consider Your Campaign's Goals

Consider the specific goals of your campaign and workflow. In an Inbound campaign, goals must be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely; often abbreviated to ‘SMART’ goals. Whether you are aiming to increase leads, boost brand awareness or better nurture leads, typical workflow campaign goals are to:

  • Build trust/ thought leadership with prospects in the early stages of the sales cycle.
  • Progress leads through each Buyer’s Journey Stage: from Awareness to Consideration to Decision/Purchase.
  • Re-engage stagnant leads or qualify leads who were unqualified at an earlier date
  • Keep your brand engaged with current clients to develop further business.


Remember to monitor the click-through rate of your workflows and assess the effectiveness of your content to ensure you’re reaching your goals.

3. Buyer Map Your Content

When you created your editorial calendar, you should have mapped each content type against an appropriate Buyer’s Journey/purchase cycle stage. The same is true of the emails in your workflow. As a type of content, they should also be mapped and segmented to suit not only the appropriate persona, but also to the right Buyer’s Journey stage.

For example if you have a generic ‘Marketing Director’ persona and a ‘Vertical Specific Marketing Director’ persona, ensure that you only send vertical specific content to that persona, and recognise their position in the Buyer’s Journey to send the right messaging at the right time.

Any content gaps can be identified and adjusted as you go through this process.

An example of three typical workflow emails you might send at the Consideration stage of the Buyer’s Journey are shown below:

email workflow nuture campaign 

4. Understand Your Sales Cycle Length

Each workflow stage should be designed to compliment one another and map to your sales cycle length (this is a common mistake that is often forgotten, and results in stagnant leads).

For example, if it takes an average of 6 months to convert a lead into a customer, you need to have enough content in place, and plan your lead nurture campaigns and workflow emails to match that timescale.

  • Keep in touch with your Persona by building timely workflow emails containing relevant information on their requirements and your solution (i.e. product/service).
  • However don’t confuse email ‘frequency’ with timing, or ‘cadence’ when developing a content workflow. Your content needs to be relevant throughout the workflow, not just regularly sent.
  • Don’t forget your current clients! Correctly scheduled email workflows also allow you to further nurture current clients, providing industry news, new product information/updates which could lead to further sales.

5. Personalise Your Email Content

Now with marketing automation, social media and content management tools, the approach to nurturing is increasingly more personalised and sophisticated making the identification of your target Persona all the more important - Weidert

It’s important that the email recipient (your target persona) feels that the email is for them personally. When creating your workflow emails, make sure each:

  • Is addressed personally (using a first name term) to the recipient. Do not use generic titles e.g. “Dear Marketing Director”, otherwise it will be ignored as another sales email and deleted - even if offers a wanted solution.
  • Ensure the recipient knows who you (the sender) are, and where the email is coming from. When setting up the email template, ensure the ‘from’ field shows your name and is not an ‘info@’ address. This is a giveaway and shows the message is not personalised to them.
  • If appropriate and relevant, include an image in the text. This could be a chart, a photograph, or perhaps a statistic. Ensure it reflects the context of your email.
  • Include a Call-to-Action (CTA) in your email, particularly if you want to direct the recipient to an eBook, blogpost, whitepaper etc.
  • If appropriate and relevant, include social sharing buttons at the end of your email.  This will enable your prospect to connect with you and share your content with others.
  • Be sure to test and monitor all emails in the workflow before sending.


In isolation, none of the five steps above are effective. However, when used together to target the right persona, at the right time, with the right content in the right format, lead nurture workflows can be more successful.

B2B Marketing Zone