Most visitors who land on your website aren’t ready to buy, but they are interested in what you have to offer. Customer nurturing campaigns are designed to attach to that interest and help it grow into the desire to become a customer and partner. That help, like sunshine on fresh seedlings, has become more important than ever because of the growth in competing products and social media entertainment that can pull customers away at any point. 

In 2021, a high-quality lead nurturing campaign may just be what’s required for you to overcome an increasing number of barriers to sales.

What’s a Nurture Campaign?

A nurture campaign is your customer-facing effort to provide the information a lead needs to progress through the buyer’s journey. Your aim is to deliver relevant information, often before they request it, to help a lead solve their problem or concern. Generally, it targets common pain points for your audience and educates them about broad solutions and your specifics.

In some instances, you may demonstrate expertise or awareness of what the customer is going through at that moment. Nurture campaigns are very proactive and look for multiple ways to reach customers. Some of the more common options include:

eCommerce Nurturing Targets the ‘What if’

In eCommerce, nurturing has become more critical because you’re now the window-shopping experience. Visitors aren’t necessarily looking to your store to purchase, even if they add something to a cart. They might be doing research, observing your hidden fees and shipping costs, or just passing the time to think about “what if.”

Intent is becoming harder to determine by traffic data alone. Nurture campaigns hope to address this more passive audience by offering them the chance to indulge in that brief “what if” and can potentially lock them into a desire to buy. That light interest that comes with daydreaming allows you to exchange a newsletter or coupon for an email address or app notifications. 

Customers then are present to receive future campaign messaging as you work to educate, inform, and problem solve. Nurturing, instead of pure sales messaging, gives you time to share the daydream. By targeting the “what if” feeling, you demonstrate knowledge of the customer and make it easier for them to achieve this ephemeral aim. That might be a feeling of connectedness in times of distance, reducing problems in days of increased stress, or a chance to experience something new.

The CNBC report linkedIn above notes that people are adding goods to carts for a wide range of reasons. Those are what your nurturing campaigns can target. Thankfully, it also notes that conversion rates are on the rise. 

Increased Importance for 2021

Most industries look quite different today in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic’s initial disruption. Some sectors have seen new groups of customers while others struggle to maintain the baseline sales they need. And, in 2021, it looks the economics of sales will continue to drive uncertainty and risk. Customer nurturing campaigns are emerging as a top way to help companies address one of the most significant expected changes: increased customer acquisition costs across all channels.

Shopify notes a few significant trends that are making acquisition more difficult across advertising and media:

  • Browsers are looking to get rid of third-party cookies, and more blocking is available.
  • An Apple iOS update will make it harder to use targeted, in-app ads that rely on Facebook data.
  • Customers are moving to some uncertain technologies such as voice-based commerce.
  • Digital ads are getting more expensive, and some pricing is above pre-pandemic levels.

Customer nurturing is essential in 2021 because it helps you reaffirm relationships and generate consistent revenue. Working on it first helps you build a buffer so you can experiment with new channels and techniques. Apply your nurture campaigns to new customers in the buyer’s journey and those who are still highly engaged after an order. 

3 Best Practices for 2021

1. Start with Welcome Messaging

Nurture campaigns need to set the stage for your relationship with a customer. Creating that relationship means they need to understand who you are. Welcome messages allow you to greet people, provide relevant information about what makes you different (you can personalize this with segmentation), and give people more ways to interact. Someone might want to follow you on social media, so you can embed relevant content and make excitement just a click away.

You’re working against some passivity and apathy on the part of today’s consumers. Give them a reason to pay more attention that resonates with who they are, their beliefs, or their interests.

2. Target Everything You Send

Segmentation should be a hallmark of your nurturing campaigns. It allows you to split groups easily based on their preferences and characteristics. Most companies will start segmenting audiences based on the products they look at, plus location, gender, age, and other elements you can determine.

The way to improve this for 2021 is to start incorporating an understanding of behavior patterns. Is there a customer segment that only looks at items on sale? Do some groups browse most of your products but in only one segment? Are your leads from Instagram focused only on what’s new and popular?

Analyze your data for these patterns. Adapt the content of your marketing for these specific groups and assign triggers based on behaviors. You may need newer automation tools for some of this behavior-based automation. Finding these triggers, however, can help you directly address new shopping habits.

What if you clicked on an ad and the product fell flat, but something else caught your eye? You spent 10 minutes on the page, added it to your cart, but then left. A short time later, you get an email with an offer for that product telling you to splurge or explaining why it’s more enjoyable than that first product. Wouldn’t it be a compelling reason to give it another look? 

3. Leverage Customer Support Teams

Todays’ customer support teams operate across most channels where your business operates, even beyond direct sales channels. They’re on your social accounts, attached to your website, answering emails, taking calls, and more. Every place you have a presence is a place where your customer support teams will need to act.

That connection provides a wealth of customer data for you to mine, much more than just pure sales and interest data. Customer support has the chance to spot trends, collect more feedback, and understand both the concerns of customers and their interests. Nurture campaigns should be informed by this information and regularly updated as concerns change.

Allow the direct input of your customers to drive your sales messaging. Find the “what if” that your customers are expressing. Nurture that, and you’ll be on the path to pushing people through the customer journey to greater sales even as eCommerce continues to change.


Jake Rheude is the Director of Marketing for Red Stag Fulfillment, an eCommerce fulfillment warehouse that was born out of eCommerce. He has years of experience in eCommerce and business development. In his free time, Jake enjoys reading about business and sharing his own experience with others.