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What are lead nurturing emails? Examples + best practices

What are lead nurturing emails? Examples + best practices

min read

Despite constant changes in the marketing world, email is here to stay — no matter how much forecasters and LinkedIn thought leaders claim it's "dead” or “on its way out.” 

It’s still here, and stronger than ever. In fact, 79% of marketers list email as one of their top three most effective marketing channels. It’s less invasive than text messaging, yet still mainstream enough that nearly everyone will see your message in their inbox the same day you send it.

Perhaps the most powerful aspect of email marketing is automation. With a little setup, you can send personalized emails that are triggered by your leads' actions. These are often called "lead nurture emails," and they're the backbone of marketing email communication.

What are lead nurturing emails?

Lead nurturing emails are emails sent to people who have shown an interest in your product or service but have yet to make a purchase. They're used to build brand awareness, create initial relationships, and bring recipients to a spot where they're ready to buy.

Lead nurturing emails are typically sent automatically by marketers using an email marketing platform, such as Mailchimp or Streak. Most email campaigns are triggered when someone requests some type of information, such as:

  • A free trial
  • An informational or content download
  • A product demo

Some marketers even make the emails themselves the end product, such as a daily newsletter that people could opt-in to receive.

Why are lead nurturing emails important?

Lead nurturing emails work so well because you can send the right message, to the right person, at the right time — and have it done automatically. 

If someone has a question about your brand or product, they can fill out a quick form on your website, and then immediately receive more information in their inbox. It doesn’t tie up your phone lines or chats, and it’s a no-pressure step new prospective customers can take. 

Many companies will offer different information in their email campaigns based on the action taken and information provided. If a lead downloads a white paper about real estate trends, for example, the email cadence deployed to them should focus primarily on real estate. Because nurture emails are written ahead of when they're sent, marketing teams should take their time creating them and hone in on a message that'll resonate.

It's no small feat to get a well-crafted, finely-tuned message out to the right person, as soon as they ask for it. But it's worth it. Some companies earn an average of $36 - $40 for every $1 spent on email marketing.

What is a lead nurture email campaign?

A lead nurturing email campaign is a series of lead nurturing emails that are sent out over a period of time. These emails usually build on each other to provide information, answer objections, and bring leads closer to a sale.

Think about it like this: Let’s say you sell cookbooks. Someone calls you to ask about your cookbooks, and you have a 20-minute conversation that goes really well. You tell them why you started doing cookbooks, why they’re important to you, what’s special about your cookbooks, and then you explain a sale you have going on.

That would be effective, right? However, having those sorts of conversations at scale would be incredibly time-consuming. Plus, there are a lot of interested people who just aren’t ready to get on the phone with you yet about buying a cookbook.

Now imagine that you send an email nurture campaign that looks like this instead:

  • Email #1: Introduces you and your vision.
  • Email #2: Explains why your cookbooks are unique or helpful.
  • Email #3: Shares five reviews from other buyers who rave about your cookbooks.
  • Email #4: Gives a 25% off coupon.

This email sequence can give the same information you provided on the phone call, except now there’s no limit to the number of people who can get this information. You aren’t limited by how much time you have, and no one has to sit around and press “Send” on each message.

Lead Nurture Email Examples

The right email marketing platform offers incredible flexibility and easy ways to build out dozens of trackable, successful email cadences. Let’s explore four types of emails companies often send as part of their lead nurturing strategy.

1. Emails to welcome new subscribers

Good email nurture campaigns should always start with a welcome email. This is the first email a new lead gets that introduces them to your brand and starts the relationship-building process.

Here’s an example of a welcome email from an influencer-run business:

sample email template of a welcome email

2. Emails with discount offers

In certain industries, like eCommerce, your leads expect some sort of coupon upon subscribing. Delight your new subscribers with a discount or coupon code to remove one more barrier blocking them from becoming a customer. As a bonus, these are simple emails to create; you can present your offer front and center — no one will think you’re too direct or sales-y offering a coupon.

Here’s an example of a discount email

sample template of a discount email

3. Emails with abandoned cart reminders

When a potential customer adds items to their cart but doesn't complete their purchase, send them a quick reminder email within a day or two of the cart abandonment. These emails are more effective than you think; they're opened nearly 50% of the time, which is unheard of for most marketing emails.

Here’s a simple yet effective example of a cart abandonment email:

sample template of cart abandonment email

4. Emails featuring testimonials

A staple of any lead nurturing sequence is sharing social proof. Everyone wants to know what others have to say about your product, often making this the most impactful email in your entire campaign.

Here’s an example of an email with customer quotes:

sample template of an email featuring testimonials

Lead nurturing best practices

With a few simple strategies, you can easily increase the effectiveness of your lead nurture campaigns.

Give leads what they want immediately

If your lead subscribed because they were promised a 10% off coupon, don’t make them wait until email #3 to get it. Or, if they want a white paper about your software, be sure to include a download link in the welcome email. 

Delivering what they’re looking for is an easy first step that builds trust between your company and your leads.

Message your leads daily

Many marketers are afraid of coming on too strong, so they only send a couple of messages per week. What they’re forgetting is that the lead asked to be contacted; they want more information. You’ve got their attention right now, and you’re top of mind. They don't mind a high email frequency at first because they're still actively researching your brand.

You don’t need to message daily forever, but it’s especially important at the beginning to do so.

Keep your messages short (usually)

Here's a general rule of thumb: Keep your emails under 150 - 200 words. Most brands don’t need more than that for effective communication. 

People don’t give emails a lot of time, and one with giant blocks of text will usually cause your readers' eyes to glaze over. But there are exceptions, so you need a firm understanding of each email's purpose within your email strategy; sometimes longer emails are warranted.

Understand your brand

As with all marketing communication, you need to understand your voice and how you want that to come across in email. For example, Intel is going to communicate to leads very differently than Pizza Hut. 

This goes for the length of your emails, too. Target shouldn’t write whole paragraphs in their emails — people want to see products and deals. But if you’re an influencer sending your latest travelogue, it’s okay to send a 1,500-word email. 

Segment your emails

Great segmentation means grouping your leads into buckets and sending them emails pertinent to their situation.

For example, you don’t want to send a sales email about your core product to people who have already purchased it.

Effective segmentation can include grouping your leads by:

  • Location
  • Purchase history
  • Age
  • Interaction frequency with your emails (e.g., open and click rate)
  • Those who took an action vs. those who didn’t (e.g., those who downloaded a report)

The options are nearly endless, and most email marketing platforms make segmentation simple to set up.

How to write a great lead nurturing email

Let’s talk about the different components of a great lead nurturing email and how to create them effectively.

Subject Line

Did you know that 69% of recipients report spam emails solely because of the subject line? In other words, your subject line needs to be interesting and avoid deceptive practices.

For example, you’ve probably seen subject lines like this:

  • RE: urgent calendar date
  • FWD: did you see this?

They’re trying to make it look like they responded to an email you sent or are forwarding from another person. It’s obvious they’re trying to get opens and clicks through trickery rather than through a captivating, creative subject line.

You’re usually better off being straightforward, honest, and relatable rather than deceptive in any form.


It’s okay if you don’t have the design chops to make something bright and moving. You can either download a template (your email marketing service almost certainly has them), or just use a simple logo at the top.

It’s perfectly fine for most brands to write a simple, plain-text email that still delivers killer value.

Personalize your emails

A great way to delight your leads is to start your email with their first name. Setting this up inside an email marketing platform is easy, and it helps endear leads to your brand.

Some brands go above and beyond with personalization, such as the famous Spotify Wrapped experience that shows you your listening habits from the entire year.

Write personal copy

If there’s one thing that has changed in business communication in the past ten years, it’s that everyone likes to be talked to like they’re a real person.

Even buttoned-up content for CEOs can be written in a way that connects. You don’t have to be hilarious and silly or overly serious either; you can write your emails to be personal, clear, and relatable.

Call to action

Every email needs to have a point. Here are a few ideas of actions you can invite your leads to take at the end of your emails:

  • Make a purchase
  • Download a report
  • Schedule a call
  • Watch a video
  • Follow us on social media
  • Read a blog post

The more actions you can get your readers to take, the more they’ll feel connected to you in the long run.

Use Streak to send lead nurture emails inside Gmail

Streak, a CRM for Gmail and powerful mail merge tool, is perfect for marketers like you who want to upgrade their email marketing practices.

With Streak, you can send mass, personalized emails to segments of your contacts without having to use the Cc or Bcc fields. In addition, you can set up automated sequences that will send out lead nurture email campaigns based on specific actions to reduce your manual workload and increase conversions.

Try Streak for free today, and see how it can transform your email automation capabilities. 

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