The Innovative Marketer's Blog

How (and Why) to Segment Your Lead Nurturing

Posted by Max Traylor

Automated marketing technology allows us to gather lots of lead data. But at the same time, the amount of data we have at our disposal can be a bit overwhelming and marketers can content-funnelquickly lose sight of the goal: to give people what they want. Segmented messaging is key to moving prospects down your inbound marketing funnel without creating churn in your lead base. At a high level you want to nurture your leads with communications and offers that align with their needs and interests. This article shows how to segment your messaging based on the single most important lead quality—qualification—then create a workflow that automates your email messaging to that group. Once you get that down, you can move on to segmentation based on what leads are interested in. I will follow up with an "interest workflow" article.

The one thing you should always ask yourself when looking at your leads is: "Is this person here to consume helpful information or are they looking at my product as a potential solution?" Both have the potential to be nurtured to a point of sale, but to do so, you will need two very different sets of messaging.

So how can you tell who is on your site for learning and who is there for purchasing?

You need an offer that screams, "I want to see your product." As inbound marketers we were taught to provide informational resources that do not "sell" our products or services, but rather provide prospects with helpful information to establish trust and blah blah blah. However, you should always have a "Middle of the Funnel Offer" (MOFU) that is all about you.

Step 1: Create Your Product Tour

The easiest example is a "product tour." Take all the information in the "solutions" or "our product" section of your website and pull it all together into one offer and put it behind a form. Make sure you clearly articulate "who" your product was designed for and "how" it will help them solve their problems. This should be done on your MOFU landing page.

Step 2: Set Up Your "Triple Shot"

For consistency, you want to make sure that all your new leads get the same opportunity to take your middle-of-the-funnel offer. Remember, 90 percent of your leads are going to enter your inbound funnel at the top. They find a blog article and convert on a contextually-aligned "Top of the Funnel" offer: a white paper, for example.

When your new lead converts on that TOFU offer, you are given three chances to plug your middle of the funnel "product tour" without pissing them off:

  • Thank-you page
  • Follow-up email
  • The PDF
Each of these elements should contain a call to action for your product tour. Don't make it too overwhelming. Here are some examples of how we plug our middle-of-the-funnel offer, an "inbound marketing tour," when a prospect downloads a TOFU whitepaper on blogging:

#1: Thank-You Page

Thank you page 1

#2: Follow-Up Email

follow up email 1

#3: The PDF Whitepaper

premium content
Now, if you create the triple shot for all your TOFU offers then you can rule out the possibility of your leads NOT being exposed to a product-specific offer. Thus, anyone who takes the offer should be considered a "marketing qualified lead," a.k.a., someone that is ready for product-specific communication and some salesy info, and anyone who doesn't take the offer is only ready for more informational offers like helpful blog articles and whitepapers: an "information-qualified lead".

Step 3: Create Your Lead-Nurturing Emails

Your TOFU workflow emails (which go to information-qualified leads) will promote things like blog articles and whitepapers. While your MOFU workflow emails will promote product-specific offers and even point-of-sale offers, like a free consultation. NOTE: You will always be pressured by someone in sales or by your CEO to include salesy offers at the top of the funnel. Try it. What you will find is that the salesy emails perform like crap and cause unsubscribes. If you use the same exact email in the MOFU workflow you will get much better performance and almost no unsubs! I always start off with the same salesy offer in both workflows to prove this to my clients with hard data; it doesn't take long.
Before the last step: I am under the assumption that you already have some end-game bottom-of-the-funnel offer like a free consultation or something like that. Obviously, anyone who takes action there should be considered a sales-qualified lead.

Step 4: Automate 

Alright nerds. You have been patient. Here is a super-simple way to automate your email messaging based on your new "qualification based" strategy. These are a series of screenshots outlining the steps you need to take, IN ORDER, to automate your segmented messaging using HubSpot's "lists" and "workflow" tools.

Step 1 MQL List resized 600

Step 2  SQL List

The next two steps are optional. I like to put people into lists when they have gone through each workflow and have not made it to the next step of the funnel. I use these two "quiet" lists to send out monthly blog updates. This will keep you top of mind with good prospects who may develop a need for your services in the future.

step 3 quiet tofu leads resized 600

Step 4 quiet mofu leads resized 600

You will see that these lists are manually triggered as the last step of each respective workflow. 

step 5 tofu workflow resized 600

tofu workflow settings 001 resized 600

step 6 mofu workflow  resized 600

mofu workflow settings 001 resized 600

step 7 bofu workflow resized 600

bofu workflow settings 001 resized 600


So there you have it: segmented workflows based on qualification. This is something I build into all inbound funnels at the get-go. Segmenting your workflows based on what a prospect is interested in will be the next step to increasing email nurturing conversions and getting more people to identify themselves as marketing or sales qualified.

Please: If you have questions about workflows or automated messaging, feel free to reach out.


Topics: Lead Nurturing, Lead Generation, HubSpot