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Nurturing Campaigns: How To Turn Leads Into Loyal Customers

Nurturing Campaigns: How to Turn Leads Into Loyal Customers

by | Sep 19, 2023 | Blog

“There’s just something about them.”

These are the words typically spoken by a loyal customer when singing the praise of their favorite brand, after purchasing their products and interacting with their content across multiple channels for some time.

When asked to elaborate, they explain that the company made a genuine effort to understand them on a personal level. The brand listened to their needs, fears, and aspirations, and tailored their content to address them.

The customer emphasizes that the company consistently surprises and delights them with exclusive perks, rewards, and personalized touches that make them feel special.

They are constantly amazed by the brand’s attention to detail and unwavering commitment to exceeding expectations.

If you’re curious about how this mystery company transformed a prospect into such a loyal customer, the answer is quite simple: they took them through a nurturing campaign.

Nurturing campaigns are a powerful way to connect with your target audience and cultivate relationships with them.

Today, we are going to look into how you can leverage these impactful marketing tools to become a trusted partner for your customers, guide them through their user journey, and empower them to achieve their goals.

We will also cover:

  • A case study of a company that runs one of the most successful nurturing campaigns globally
  • The numerous benefits of nurturing campaigns
  • Strategies for identifying your ideal client and using nurturing language to turn them into loyal customers

1 – Implement the Key Characteristics of Nurturing Campaigns

illustration of the buyer's journey

Source: The Buyer’s Journey

Nurturing campaigns, also referred to as lead nurturing campaigns, are a sequence of marketing initiatives meticulously crafted to cultivate relationships and engage with potential customers over a period of time.

The goal of these campaigns is to guide prospects through the buyer’s journey by addressing their needs, providing them with relevant information, and ultimately increasing the likelihood of conversion.

It is crucial to develop tailored content for the various marketing channels that your ideal customer frequents, including email, social media, and content marketing, to take them further down your funnel and closer to becoming loyal customers.

Good marketing makes the company look smart. Great marketing makes the customer feel smart.

— Joe Chernov

In this golden digital era, marketing automation has made it easy for marketers to execute nurturing campaigns across multiple channels, cutting back on repetitive tasks.

To illustrate, let’s take a look at the key characteristics of nurturing campaigns that you can implement into your own marketing strategy by analyzing how Hubspot’s Marketing team does lead nurturing.

Segmenting and Targeting

First of all, you want to segment your prospects based on their interests, behaviors, demographics, or other relevant criteria.

HubSpot begins by segmenting its audience based on its region, personas, and job roles. For example, a marketing manager will not receive the same email sequence as an intern, even if they’re from the same company.

They leverage the data they have on their leads to create targeted segments, called workflows, that align with their buyer personas. This segmentation allows them to deliver more relevant, targeted content and messaging to each workflow.

Quick Fact: According to a Mailchimp study, segmented email campaigns had 14.31% higher open rates than non-segmented campaigns.

Content Creation and Personalization

At the early stages, most nurturing campaigns focus on delivering valuable and educational content to prospects. 

For instance, based on the identified segments, HubSpot develops a mix of blog posts, whitepapers, and webinars that address common pain points and challenges faced by their target audience. 

The content is personalized by tailoring it to the specific needs and interests of each segment.

Timed and Sequential Communication 

Nurturing campaigns involve sending a series of messages or content pieces in a timed and sequenced manner that aligns with the prospect’s stage in the buyer’s journey, gradually nurturing them towards conversion.

HubSpot leverages marketing automation to deliver a series of automated emails triggered by specific actions or milestones in the buyer’s journey. 

For example, when a lead downloads a particular content piece, they may receive an email introducing related content or offering further assistance.

Below is a table representing a sample schedule for communications at different stages in the buyer’s journey.

Buyer’s Stage Content Type Purpose
Awareness Blog Post Educate on a problem
Consideration Webinar Delve into possible solutions
Decision Case Study Provide real-world examples
Purchase Email Offer a special discount
Loyalty Newsletter Keep engaged with updates

Multi-Channel Engagement

While email nurturing is a primary focus for HubSpot, they extend their nurturing campaigns by incorporating other channels.

For example, they use retargeting ads on social media to display case studies, reviews, and third-party articles that demonstrate to their prospects that their solutions are helping people like them.

By providing a cohesive and integrated experience across channels, they strengthen their relationships with leads and provide multiple touchpoints for engagement.

Lead Scoring and Tracking

HubSpot implements lead scoring to track and evaluate the engagement and readiness of their leads. They assign scores based on interactions such as email opens, clicks, and website visits.

This helps them identify the most engaged leads and prioritize their sales efforts accordingly. By tracking these interactions, HubSpot gains valuable insights into lead behavior and adjusts its nurturing strategies accordingly.

For example, if a lead sets off a trigger by viewing the pricing page, they receive two personalized emails addressed by a marketing executive, happy to answer any questions they may have.

OnDigitalMarketing has an evidence-based step-by-step guide curated on design thinking principles to help you understand your customer’s user journey and build an effective and efficient nurturing campaign.

You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new.

— Steve Jobs

2 – Identifying Your Target Audience and Conversing in Their Language

At OnDigitalMarketing, one of our core beliefs is “Know thy user.”

In order to create and execute a successful email nurturing campaign you need to strip away your assumptions about what your customers want and shift your focus to being in service to their needs.

The key to achieving this is embracing empathy as a driving force in understanding and exceeding customer expectations.

Design thinking helps you think through all the touchpoints your customers have with your brand, allowing you to improve the user experience by gathering information and solving problems through user personas.

User personas serve as powerful tools for gaining a deeper understanding of your customers. 

By incorporating both demographic and psychographic data, user personas help create narratives that humanize your customers and remove the abstraction that can develop when focusing solely on quantitative aspects.

illustration between demographics and psychographics


By developing user personas, you can spark ideas on how to emotionally connect with your customers and enhance their user experiences for them.

Let’s illustrate this with an example of an ideal customer for an online fitness platform: Meet Sarah Johnson, a 32-year-old marketing manager who lives in Chicago. 

As a busy professional, Sarah values her health and fitness but struggles to find time amidst her hectic schedule, long work hours, and multiple responsibilities. 

She is very active on Instagram and LinkedIn and regularly checks her emails and mobile notifications. Her primary challenges include:

  • Limited time for traditional gym visits
  • Lack of motivation and accountability
  • Difficulty finding tailored workouts that fit her needs

As a marketer for the fitness platform, you can run Sarah through a nurturing campaign that acknowledges her time constraints and provides her with practical solutions that fit her busy schedule.

Additionally, you can prompt her to follow your brand on Instagram, where you share time-saving tips and hacks for incorporating fitness into a busy lifestyle.

Your campaign can foster a sense of community by providing access to online fitness groups, forums, or live workout sessions. 

Sarah can connect with like-minded individuals, share experiences, and seek advice, fulfilling her desire for support and a sense of belonging.

The table below summarizes how strategic campaigns can address Sarah’s specific challenges.

Challenges Campaign Strategies
Limited time for traditional gym visits Provide time-saving workout solutions
Lack of motivation and accountability Promote community engagement and support
Difficulty finding tailored workouts that fit needs Offer customized workout plans and guidance

In OnDigitalMarketing’s textbook, there are three chapters under the second section that focuses on understanding and empathizing with your target audience. 

These chapters offer lessons on leveraging tools such as user personas and keyword analysis to enhance other aspects such as user experience, optimized content, and search for your future nurturing campaigns.

3 – Why Are Nurturing Campaigns Important?

A well-executed nurturing campaign requires time, patience, and careful attention to detail.

illustration of buyer's journey

Source: Lead Nurturing With HubSpot

You need to ensure the following happens in your nurturing campaigns in order to convert high-quality leads into loyal customers:

  • Ensure that each touchpoint feels seamless and tailored to your prospect’s needs.
  • Provide content that resonates with customers on an emotional level, shows empathy for their situation, and speaks directly to their needs.
  • Provide effective solutions and recommendations that foster your prospect’s success in overcoming their challenges or achieving their goals.

But this is all easier said than done, so we’re going to look into the importance of nurturing campaigns and the benefits they present for you, your brand, and the customer:

Establish Your Brand as the Go-to Industry Expert

Initiating a lead into a nurturing campaign that offers well-researched solutions and recommendations through educational content is key to establishing your brand as a trusted resource. 

Your content positions you favorably and increases the likelihood that prospects will choose your products or services when they’re ready to make a purchase.

To better understand how different types of content influence lead nurturing, let’s look at the table below.

Content Type Purpose Impact On Leads
Case Studies Show real-world applications and success stories Increases credibility and tangible proof of efficacy
Educational Content Empowers leads with knowledge related to their industry Boosts trust, positions brand as an expert
Industry Insights Provide latest updates or trends in the industry Demonstrates brand’s in-depth knowledge, keeps leads informed

To illustrate, imagine you recently subscribed to a software company’s email list.

Shortly after subscribing, you receive a series of well-crafted nurturing emails that provide insightful tips, case studies, and educational content related to your industry’s challenges.

These emails consistently demonstrate the company’s expertise and unwavering commitment to helping you succeed. Over time, as you acquire valuable knowledge and witness a tangible impact, you develop a high level of trust in the company. 

When the time comes to make a purchasing decision, you are more inclined to choose them because of the established trust and their ongoing dedication to educating and empowering you.

Think About This: In the world of digital marketing, trust is currency. Make sure you’re building up your wealth by providing valuable content to your leads.

Increases Your Customer LTV (Customer Lifetime Value)

Customers may forget what you said, but they’ll never forget how you made them feel.

— Maya Angelou

Nothing incentivizes and encourages your customers to make repeat purchases like a well-executed nurturing campaign that makes them feel valued and appreciated.

Imagine you’ve designed a nurturing campaign for an online retailer specifically targeted toward its existing customers. This campaign provides exclusive offers, personalized recommendations, and early access to new products or promotions. 

The overarching goal of the campaign is to reward customers with the highest customer LTV the VIP treatment, providing them with an enhanced shopping experience and access to benefits that are not available to non-customers. 

Customers who enjoy these exclusive perks feel a stronger connection to your brand, fostering loyalty, encouraging repeat purchases, and making them more likely to refer friends and family to your brand.

Creates Opportunities for One-On-One Interaction

Imagine you’re running point on a nurturing campaign for prospects who sign up for a trial of a project management tool. 

The email series you send contains targeted and personalized emails that offer step-by-step guides, video tutorials, and best practices to help users maximize the tool’s capabilities. 

Additionally, you provide customers with access to a dedicated customer success manager who checks in regularly via email to address their specific questions and ensure they’re making the most of the trial period.

By the end of the trial, your customers will have developed a strong rapport with your company and feel confident in your ability to meet their needs. As a result, they decide to become loyal customers and continue using the product beyond the trial.

Expert Tip: If you have other products that prospects might be interested in, you can have one of your salespeople handle a call addressing any queries your customers may have, providing an opportunity to potentially upsell or cross-sell them.

Nurture Like a Pro Using Design Thinking Principles

You now have the tools to create effective lead-nurturing campaigns to turn leads into loyal customers.

By incorporating the key characteristics of nurturing campaigns into your marketing strategy, targeting your ideal audience, and using the right channels, you can create campaigns that help you build close relationships with your prospects and convert them into paying customers.

OnDigitalMarketing has successfully taught design thinking fundamentals and tactics that have resulted in our clients generating $350 million in revenue.

We are dedicated to providing top-notch tactical and real-world education that has undergone rigorous peer review by industry experts.

Be sure to sign up for our email newsletter today to gain exclusive access to insider tips, one-of-a-kind content, and evidence-based worksheets and textbooks.

Jake Cook


I'm a forever curious entrepreneur that works across ecommerce, analytics, and AI. I've been creating and teaching courses on ecommerce, design thinking, and data science at Montana State University and University of Montana since 2007. Most recently, I've been lecturing and assisting with research and case study development for Harvard Business School.


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