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How to Use Email Automation for Lead Nurturing

Using email automation to nurture leads is not a new idea, but there are so many benefits in doing so that it just can’t be ignored.

Let’s look at the stats:

    • 50% of leads are qualified but not yet ready to buy. (Source: Gleanster Research)
    • Only 25% of leads should advance to the sales team. (Source: Gleanster Research)
    • Nurtured leads produce, on average, a 20% increase in sales opportunities versus non-nurtured leads. (Source: DemandGen Report)


There is a significant business case for implementing a lead nurturing program for your company. However, 65% of B2B marketers have not yet established one. (Source: Marketing Sherpa)

But how do you do it?

Understand Their Needs

To get started, you need to understand and/or identify your funnel (or sales lifecycle). In it’s simplest form, the funnel typically consists of: Need Recognition, Awareness, Consideration, and Purchase. Determine what questions the prospect would have at each stage of the funnel to get a better understanding of their state of mind.


For example, let’s say you sell shoes. In the Awareness phase a question a prospect might have is, “What type of shoe is right for me?” Then, after you’ve selected a shoe, in the Consideration phase the question might be, “What are people saying about these shoes? Would they recommend them to others?”

Map Your Content to the Funnel

Once you have the funnel and key questions identified, you will have a better idea of what content is needed to support that stage. At this point you can map existing content to the funnel and identify gaps. You want to have compelling content that answers their questions and moves them along to the next stage.

Create Your Lead Nurturing Program

Now that you understand your prospects needs and content, you are ready to create your lead nurturing program. First, you’ll want to map out the process along with all channel touchpoints, and then determine where you can leverage email automation to insert value and support the program. Next, you’ll want to consider timing of messages and behavior triggers. Finally, you will develop your messaging and launch your program.

Most email platforms today have great automation tools, some more sophisticated than others, so make sure you choose a platform that is right for your needs.

If executed effectively, lead nurturing programs can make your company more efficient by better qualification of leads, better use of time for the sales team, shortening the sales cycle, and increasing the number of sales opportunities.

Below are two examples of basic automated email programs that Ciceron has developed for a client.

Example 1:


Example 2:


Launching an automated lead nurturing program can be very beneficial not only to your company but to your prospects as well. Just remember that this is not a “set-it-and-forget-it” program. As with any other automated program, you need to monitor the results, review the copy and modify or update as needed.

If you’re just starting to think about implementing a lead nurturing program, best of luck and let me know if you have any questions– you can email me at

If you already have a program in place, take some time to review your results and optimize where needed.

(All of the statistics in this post, and more, can be found on HubSpot.)

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