Frequently, I come across clients who are looking for the right nurture cadence. More often than not, I’ve found companies choose a length of time between sends and stick to it. Maybe that’s once a week, where those who engage are accelerated and sent the next touch 2 days later instead. Or, many times it’s every X number of days, whether they engage or not.

There is no ideal number, and it all depends on the type of campaign you’re running, so let’s go over a few options.

Selling an event or product with a deadline

screen-shot-2017-01-09-at-9-24-44-pmI work with several universities on their automation and they all run this type of nurture over 6-8 months. That’s a long time. I find a slick solution to be to start of with emails sending once a week, then gradually taper off to once every two, every 4, every 45 days, then back up again to every 4, 2, every week, ect. As deadlines are approaching the frequency increases to push the prospects on awareness.

Think of it like the graph I’m showing here. I like this because it has a bit of life to it. It considers the timing of the emails and focuses attention on the touches it really needs to. The middle of this campaign may promote the school, the brand, the lifestyle, ect, where as the end would focus more on the program deadlines. Depending on your Automation platform, you may not be able to send automated emails on certain days (like Pardot for example), so keep that in mind when launching.

Cold Leads Sequence

Cold Leads CadenceThere are a few interesting things to consider with a cold leads sequence. Timing is certainly one of them, because realistically if you hit the list with lots of emails you’re going to increase the likelihood of an unsubscribe. But along those same lines, consider how many contacts you’re putting into the campaign at the same time.

Say of have a list of 100,000 contacts. With so many people who you haven’t heard from or sent to in a while, you’re best bet is to break that list into smaller numbers, only allowing maybe 5,000 at a time. Monitor your unsubscribe rates and bounce rates after the first few sends. If you’re not seeing any unusual spikes, push more contacts into the campaign. It’s crucial to remember that too many unsubscribes and spam complaints can get you in trouble with your ESP. Don’t get in trouble.

Regarding cadence, slow and steady wins the race. These leads have been deep in the abyss for however long, and there’s no rush to coax them out. A minimum of 1-3 weeks between sends is a good idea. In my Lost Leads article I have 4 days written in the wait steps. Realistically that’s assuming emails aren’t being sent on weekends, so you end up with once a week.

Top of mind sales cycle

Sine wave cadenceLet’s say you have a campaign built to focus on brand awareness. I’ve found the best method for the biggest impact is to structure the cadence to resemble a sine wave. Now think of each increase and decrease in frequency as a series—high and low. Outside of the emails, maintain a baseline of touched through other channels, say, paid social ads and retargeting. With each high series, align an increase in spending on those ads, then reduce it as the series returns to low.

This may look like 2 email every 10 days, then 2 every 6, every 3, then 2 every 6, then every 10, and repeat.

What does this do? It aligns the power of external channels with an increase in awareness through your emails. It helps to nag the prospect without sticking around long enough to really bother them. Slick, huh?

As always, the choice is yours

What other cadences have you experimented with? There are so many amazing ways you can leverage time to manipulate prospect awareness with automated campaigns. We can help talk you through your many options, should you need an extra set of eyes.

Categories: AutomationMarketing

Ryan Axford

Ryan is the founder and Principal Automation and Optimization Consultant at nurturelabs. Over the last several years he has been the face behind lead generation programs driving triple digit results for various software companies. He has experience managing the optimization of the content lifecycle, landing pages, and automation platforms both large and small. Ryan has written Pardot trainings, and has most recently worked with clients including the University of California and HPE Software, as well as clients across SaaS, Services, and Technology Hardware.

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