A Guest Post by Adam Root, Inbound Marketing Strategist at SevenAtoms, Inc.

You already know that lead nurturing is an indispensable tool for converting leads into sales, and for retaining existing customers. It helps to keep your brand squarely in front of prospects and top-of-mind. And, because most of the process can be automated, it allows small business owners to focus on what they do best – running their business. Unfortunately, lead nurturing is something that small businesses often struggle with. Here are three common small businesses lead nurturing fails and how you can avoid them in your email marketing efforts:

1. Spamming Leads with Promotional Offers

Email is a powerful marketing tool, but it must be handled with care. It’s too easy to fall into the trap of sending out emails that sing the virtues of your offering but that don’t provide any actual value to the recipient. Emails should help educate and inform your contacts, not hammer them with a sales pitch every couple of days.

To ensure that your email isn’t too salesy, keep your content simple, to-the-point, and helpful. Also, try to keep the design of the email straightforward, as if it was sent from a real person. Refer to your email recipient by name and use your own name as the sender, in order to build a more personal relationship with them.

You can tell if you are sending spammy emails by keeping tabs on certain metrics, such as your open and unsubscribe rates. If you are seeing a dip in your open rate and an increase in your unsubscribe rate, then your content may be too promotional or not valuable enough.

 2. Failing to Segment Leads Properly

Small businesses sometimes think that segmentation is only relevant for large organizations. They are somehow under the impression that segmenting contacts only makes sense when you have giant contact lists. However, by properly segmenting leads, small businesses can get more out of their contact lists.

The easiest way to ensure that you are crafting content that is appropriate for your audience is to create buyer personas. These provide you with a clear snapshot of your ideal customer, from their behaviors and motivations to their job industries and hobbies. Developing buyer personas ensures that your email content is more targeted, and therefore more relevant, to your audience. There are plenty of resources available that can help you identify your buyer personas, but also keep in mind that you will need to refine them over time.

After you have created your buyer persona, further segment your lead nurturing campaigns by factoring in the buyer’s journey. This will allow you to craft content based on where a lead is in the marketing funnel. For example, you can provide top-of-the-funnel leads with informative content about the topic they have shown interest in. Also, you can provide bottom-of-the-funnel leads with case studies about your product or service.

Remember that the more information you flesh out about your audience, the better you’ll be able to appropriately tailor your content.

3. Sending Out Emails Too Frequently

One of the most common mistakes small businesses make is sending too many emails in a short time period. Take into account the other email campaigns you already have running, as well as the additional email volume you will be adding, and ask yourself: “Will it overwhelm the prospective customer?” In other words, if a contact already receives two to three emails per week from your business and then receives an additional two emails a week after downloading an asset from your site, they may quickly become tired of your brand.

Instead, plan out how many emails you want a prospect to receive every week and every month to help guide them down your marketing funnel. Your content should remain focused and on-point to ensure that you always have something fresh to offer readers.

Don’t be afraid of lead nurturing fails. Focus on coming from a place of informed understanding of your customers, and they’ll feel like you’re speaking directly to them – earning you their business.

About the Author

Adam Root is the inbound marketing strategist at SevenAtoms Inc. When he isn’t busy writing blogs, developing eBooks, or managing inbound campaigns, he can usually be found drinking unhealthy amounts of coffee and discussing the latest episode of Game of Thrones. Reach out to him on Twitter