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What is email contact nurturing?

Put simply, email contact nurturing is building a continuing relationship with your customer or prospect base.  Why would you want to spend time on this?

As with most sales related activities, to be successful, its all about building trust.

Trust takes time to build up, studies have shown that someone typically interacts with a new organisation seven times, before committing to a purchase. Hence, the so-called “Rule of Seven“.

A person will look to their foundational influences as the basis for building trust. After these influences have taken root, less solid influences, such as marketing and advertising can have an impact.  To be successful, these influences need to build on the foundations. This is why personalisation and correctly targeting your customer is so important.

Building trust

How do I nurture contacts?

Obviously there are many different ways, some involving alcohol, but we will focus on the role of email marketing to nurture contacts.  According to a survey, 49% of email marketeers send weekly emails. A further 30% send more than one email per week. Of course this survey includes consumer and retail, which tends to market more aggressively. Sending too many emails will increase your unsubscribe rate and eventually lead to fewer clicks.

At Marketwise, we focus on the scientific community and in general, our customers either have a new product or service, a subscription service to sell or an event to promote.

Product or Service to Launch

Strategy: Initial promotion and subsequent nurture.

  1. Introductory message
  2. Product/Service feature highlight message
  3. Repeat for further highlights
  4. Benefits summary

If applicable, the final message can include a “last chance discount” message.


Subscription Service

Strategy: Promotion plus regular nurture to match tempo of the subscription, eg, monthly, quarterly.

  1. Introductory message
  2. In this months issue preview
  3. Your second months issue highlights
  4. In your final months issue

After three nurtures and no call to action, its likely time to admit defeat.


Event to promote

Strategy: Initial promotion and subsequent nurture countdown as the event  deadline approaches.

  1. Introductory message
  2. 45 days to go
  3. 15 days to go
  4. Last chance to attend

Discount rates for early registration can help get early clicks.


How frequently should contact nurturing messages be sent?

There is no single answer to this question. Different industries and different needs demand different email frequencies. Lets look at a few examples of contact nurturing that works.

After an initial promotional message

Marketwise has seen good results with the following messaging structure.

  • Day 1 – initial promotion message
  • Day 3 – adding new information to build on the initial promotion
  • Day 6 – further information
  • Day 8 – last chance to act message
Subscription service

Marketwise has supported publishers of monthly journals looking to build new subscribers.

  • Day 1 – initial promotion
  • Day 15 – new details from this months magazine
  • Day 31 – the next months issue details
  • Day 45 – last chance to subscribe + new detail from month 2 magazine
Informational Newsletter – Monthly

One of the most common forms of marketing communications.  Roll up of significant news and blog posts. Newsletters have a relatively low open rate, so anything more than monthly is likely to drop off quickly. Conversely, a well written newsletter, that an audience expect each month can be well received and build trust.

Blog  – Weekly

Used to build engagement, interest and eventually trust. Should not be overtly “salesy”, or will be ignored. Must be relevant and interesting to the recipient. Blogs often cover a wide range of topics, so its important to remember the critical “be relevant” message. Irrelevant and frequent blog messages will lead to unsubscribes.

News Roundup – Daily

Used by those trying to build a loyal audience that will rely on a daily briefing email for the latest important relevant news. Unless this is carefully done, it can simply lead to clicks on third party websites. Marketwise does not recommend this frequency rate.

How much does email contact nurturing cost?

Contact nurturing pricing is deeply discounted compared to our “Promote” pricing. This allows you to nurture frequently and have the best chance to still meet your return on investment goals. Please remember that our nurture service only applies to contacts that you have already paid for with a promote package.


Nurturing contacts has been shown to work, it will improve your total open rate and total clicks. Remember to look at overall metrics. Individual nurture messages may not look like they are performing well, but they should be regarded as improving the original promotional message’s overall metrics.

As always, the key is to be relevant, interesting and useful.

For further tips on email marketing, please visit our main page here.