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HubSpot essentials for marketers II: Lead nurturing

In the past couple of years, there has been a trend that pushed email marketing to the sidelines a little bit. However, just like with video not killing the radio star, other marketing tools did not kill email marketing.

When it comes to nurturing, there are a few steps to ensure you do it. That's right, just do it. Don't overthink it. Don't think of complex "if this, then that, but if that, then this" type of rules. 

Lead nurturing concepts just need to be created, and then they can exist and keep your leads happy (and hopefully help them move through the funnel).

We like to move leads, move leads. We like to move leads!

Here, we will be focusing on lead nurturing: in other words, nurturing that focuses on moving potential customers further through the buyer's journey. 

Nurturing is a great way of helping customers in their onboarding, re-engaging churned customers, or just keeping existing customers happy throughout their customer journey. 


Before you start heading over to the workflows in HubSpot or whichever tool you may use, it's a good idea to do a content audit first. 

It may feel like a tedious task, but hear us out anyway: Having a content map as the outcome of an audit will save you tons of time, and annoyance going forward.

View your content through the eyes of an auditor

First up, content management and audits.

Everything you create should have its place and function. All too many times, content marketing strategies highlight creating content just for the sake of publishing new content. 

However, the hard truth is that most content produced in B2B companies is going to waste. It's like eating only half of a delicious meal you just spent hours making.

Audit your content, unpublish everything that is irrelevant, list all the high-quality content you have, and keep the list updated. The audit should look at: 

  • Every blog post
  • Every factsheet
  • Every e-book
  • Every webinar
  • Every solution page
  • Every customer reference
  • Every pillar page and any supporting content

Also, make sure to include what kind of form (if any) the page uses, what topic cluster it's a part of, and where it is along the buyer's journey.

You should ensure you have relevant content (of good quality) for every step of the way: from the time someone is vaguely searching for something on the interwebs to when they’re ready to buy. 

And don’t forget to delight them with great content even after they buy. You want to build relationships here!


Here are a few simplifications that will help you along the way:

When it comes to forms, have three separate forms as the basis, and add other forms if you need them. Make sure to set up progressive fields on the form to collect additional info for people where you know the basics already. 

The reason for this is that forms are like the currency of the digital world. Talking about forms that could almost be a whole separate blog (to gate or not to gate, that's the eternal question of marketers these days). 

Let's make it all more straightforward than it is and assume you decide to balance your content and use forms for valuable content. You then need to adjust the length of your form, how much you want someone to "pay" for the content, to the value of the content. 

Determining the “value” of forms as a currency

A rule of thumb could be that an e-book is 'less expensive' than a webinar. This leaves you with these types of forms. 

  • Short forms (email): Newsletter
  • Medium-length forms (email, country, company): E-book
  • Long forms (email, country, company, phone number): Webinar, contact request, demo request

While B2B sales is not always that straightforward as we in marketing often wish, there's no 3-step path to instant success and gaining customers. It's more like a really long stairway to heaven, especially if you factor in enterprise sales. 

But, for the sake of simplicity, you can look at your customer journey using the pirate funnel:

The what now? 👀

The (A)AARRR funnel aka pirate funnel was introduced in 2007 by Dave McClure to help companies gain a better understanding of the funnel behind acquiring and retaining customers. It enables you to effectively identify bottlenecks along the conversion funnel, and optimize accordingly. So, here goes the pirate funnel (A-A-A-R-R-R): 

Awareness: Getting the audience to your website. 

Acquisition: They are aware of your solution and are in the consideration stage. They are also willing to give their information to you in exchange for more value. 

Activation: People are using your product and are experiencing the value you promised. They are still in the consideration stage but are closer to making a decision.

Retention: Users are now coming back and using it several times. It’s decision time!

Revenue: Users subscribed to your tool. They are now your paying customers. 

Referral: They love it enough to start sharing it with their peers.

In your nurturing, you can set these up to move people from acquisition to activation. For example, if you have someone who fills out an e-book, you want to move that person to the next phase by providing references, webinars, and so on. 

This is also where you use the lifecycle stages. It's not black and white, but roughly: people in the awareness stage might be leads or subscribers, consideration is likely to be an MQL and decision SQL. 

Now, if you've done it all, you have your content audit, where you see all content you have by stage and form length. You can think of the content with forms as entry criteria. And map a workflow from thereon. 

From this point on, whenever you create content, you should also add nurturing after this piece of content. As always, stay helpful to your prospect.

Wondering about customer lifecycle management in HubSpot?

Here is a blog post that tells you all you need to know: HubSpot essentials for growth marketers: Lifecycle management


The best nurturing emails are helpful and not a nuisance

It’s also the reason why your nurturing program should be spaced out over a long time instead of spamming your prospects with new emails every day.

Otherwise your entire email list will likely unsubscribe before you can say “email marketing strategy.”

We won’t go deeper into how to create an actionable lead nurturing strategy here but lead nurturing has a special place in our hearts. 


Want to know more?

This was just a quick and straightforward overview of how to nurture your leads using the pirate funnel. There's more where this came from!

We also happen to offer HubSpot implementations, websites, and services — as well as continuous development

If you're interested in knowing more about how we can help you with your growth marketing efforts (and maybe do some of that on HubSpot!), just let us know. We're here for you.