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The complete guide to nurture email campaigns that turn leads into sales

Duncan Elder Duncan Elder
· 17 min read · Email marketing · September 21, 2022
Mandar, Paid Advertising Specialist (left), and Rūta, Performance Lead (right)

How great would it be to have a team of top salespeople working 24/7 to make sales for your business? While that’s out of reach for many small companies, lead nurturing emails can have a similar impact, and they’re extremely accessible.

Lead nurture emails provide leads with useful information and explain how your product helps them achieve their goals. They are critical to the sales process as they push the lead down the sales funnel. And the best thing? You can use email marketing software to create workflows that automate the entire process.

This article will tell you more about lead nurturing emails, explain the different types you can use, and highlight some best practices to help you create the best campaign possible.  Let's get started!


What are nurture emails?

Nurture emails are the messages you send to leads to move them down the sales funnel. They build relationships with potential customers by helping them overcome challenges and achieve their goals. 

These campaigns can consist of multiple email types. At the start of the sales cycle, the messages contain informational content that introduces your brand and helps the potential customer solve problems. 

As the lead gets closer to the conversion stage of the funnel, the emails become more promotional. You can send discounts, free trial offers, or cart abandonment notifications. 


96% of website visitors aren’t ready to buy. But this doesn’t mean they never will be. Nurture email campaigns help turn leads who weren’t ready to buy at first into loyal customers. If you follow this long-term strategy, you’ll get more sales, revenue and profit. 

Consider two situations:

  1. A prospect signs up for a lead magnet and a few days later receives a sales pitch email requesting a demo call.

  2. A prospect signs up for a lead magnet and receives a series of emails with content that adds value to their business. 

Which of these examples do you think is more likely to result in a sale? 

When you use email to add value, establish trust, and teach the lead about your products, they are more than likely to become a customer down the road.

When to send nurture emails ⏰

Send nurture emails at all stages of the email funnel. Send your first message as soon as the lead hands over their email address and continue until they purchase. You can even continue the lead nurturing email sequence after the lead becomes a customer to encourage repeat buys.


Nurture email campaigns consist of many types of emails. They can be anything that builds trust with the customer and pushes them towards a sale. Here are some common examples to inspire your next campaign. 

A welcome email is a message you send subscribers as soon as they join your list. Use this first email to introduce your brand, thank the lead for signing up, and explain the next steps they can take to connect. If the person signed up via a lead magnet, include a link to the download. 

Get inspired ✨

This welcome email from MarketingProfs tells the recipient more about the company, points them towards useful links, explains how often to expect the newsletter, and has a subtle call to action for people ready to upgrade to a paid plan. 

Welcome email from MarketingProfs
MarketingProfs welcome email example

Educational emails provide information about a problem the lead is struggling with related to your product or service. By solving the problem, you’ll position yourself as a trusted source of information and increase the chances that they keep opening your emails. 

Get inspired ✨

The Ahrefs Digest contains a ton of helpful information for those who work in SEO. Some links are to stories on the Ahrefs blog, but others are links to external websites. This combination ensures readers receive useful content, no matter where it is published.

Educational nurture email example from Ahref
Ahrefs educational email example

Nurture emails are an excellent chance to introduce your product and highlight what it can do. When sending these emails, don’t just send a list of features—highlight how the features benefit leads. 

Get inspired ✨

This lead nurturing email example from Ezoic links to a blog post that shows how people can use the tool to host and display videos. The email is effective because it explains how adding videos to a website benefits the email recipient.

Product explainer email example from Ezoic
Ezoic product explainer email example

Feature updates and new product emails keep subscribers in the loop about your brand. These new additions may convince the subscriber to go from an interested lead to a loyal customer

Get inspired ✨

This nurture email example from Adalo introduces the app builder’s new features. It explains the benefits and links to landing pages with more information. 

Product update nurture email example from Adalo
Adalo product update nurture email example

Use your nurture email to find out more about the customer’s specific problems. There are three ways you can do this:

  1. Link to your preferences center so customers can choose which types of emails to receive.

  2. Group customers based on the links they click on in your emails. 

  3. Use survey blocks to ask customers questions and then add them to groups based on these answers.

Once you know each customer’s interests, you can send further content that addresses these pain points.

Get inspired ✨

This lead nurturing example from Brightly lets families choose to browse either books for tweens or books for those aged over 13. If Brightly tracks which link recipients click on, it could group people based on clicks and send them relevant content. 

Exploratory nurture email example from Brightly
Exploratory nurture email example from Brightly

Social proof is a powerful sales motivator. Take advantage of this by sending an email highlighting how other people use your product. 

Some ways you can do this include:

  • Add testimonials to your email

  • Link to reviews on third-party sites

  • Create and share in-depth case studies 

  • Embed social posts where people talk about your product

Try to use social proof that praises your brand while mentioning specific ways your product helps people similar to your lead. 

Get inspired ✨

This nurturing campaign example from Feedly highlights how the platform’s power users make the most of the tool. It blends social proof with specific benefits for different types of people. 

social proof nurture email
Feedly social proof nurture email example

Webinars are a great way to teach leads about an industry problem, which can position your brand as a trusted thought leader. And when people sign up for a webinar, you learn two super valuable pieces of information:

  1. A specific problem they are struggling with and want to overcome

  2. That they are invested in the process of learning about your brand

Use this information to send more content related to the problem and experiment with sending more promotional emails. 

Get inspired ✨

This email from Rock Content invites recipients to a webinar about a timely problem many marketing leaders are likely struggling with. The email and webinar position the company as an industry authority. 

Webinar invite nurture email
RockContent webinar email example

Discounts are an effective way to nurture leads at the later stages of the buyer's journey. If the person is almost ready to buy, sending an email coupon can cause them to commit. 

Get inspired ✨

This nurture example from Uber Eats contains a tempting £10 discount. The offer is made even more tantalizing by the inclusion of images from four local restaurants.

Discount nurture email from Uber
Uber discount email example

Cart abandonment emails are automated messages that go out when someone starts the checkout process but abandons it before finalizing the purchase. These emails are a super effective way for e-commerce stores to get the buyer back to the checkout so they can complete the purchase.  

Get inspired ✨

This cart abandonment email from cosmetics firm Rudy’s stands out because it explains that the recipient has to buy soon to take advantage of free shipping. It also highlights products the customer was interested in and includes a call to action button that takes buyers back to the checkout page.

Cart abandonment nurture email
Rudy's cart abandonment lead nurture email example

Example nurture email sequence
Example nurture email sequence built on MailerLite

Here’s an example of how some of these emails could fit together into a nurture email sequence. 

This sequence is for an imaginary software company. It is triggered when someone downloads a lead magnet from the website. It then provides more information about the problem the lead has shown an interest in before inviting the lead to a webinar. 

The series consists of four different emails:

  1. Welcome email that includes the lead magnet download link

  2. Educational content that discusses topics related to the lead magnet

  3. Social proof email that shows how customers are using the tool to help with their problem

  4. Webinar invitation email that provides further information about the topic

Anyone who signs up for the webinar will be added to a new group for people who have shown a deeper interest in the product. These people will be targeted with a more sales-focused automation.

Start with email automation

Build automated email sequences to nurture leads and generate sales.

Sign up today

1. Make contact fast

People who hand over their email addresses want to hear from you. Their interest is high, and they are willing to start building a relationship. Make the most of this interest by sending a welcome email as soon as they sign up for your list. 

This doesn’t mean you have to be constantly on the lookout for new subscribers. Instead, create an automation so the email goes out without your input. 

With MailerLite, you can do this by connecting an email automation to your signup form. People who fill out the form will instantly receive the message.

2. Know your audience

Nurture emails are most effective when they target the specific needs and challenges facing a lead. 

It's impossible to know every person who signs up for your email list on a personal level. But you can segment your list into groups based on interests or behaviors and send relevant content to each one. 

With MailerLite, you can add users to different groups depending on how they interact with your sign-up form or campaign. 

Here are some ways you could do this:

  • Group users based on the offer they sign up for 

  • Include interest groups inside your sign-up forms 

  • Group users based on the links they click on from within your campaign

  • Use a preference center to let leads tell you what they are most interested in

  • Use survey or quiz blocks in your campaign

Once you have set up your groups, create content and emails targeted at each one. Read this article for more tips about email marketing segmentation

3. Provide value

Nurture campaigns shouldn’t be promotional unless they specifically target bottom-of-the-funnel prospects. At all other stages of the funnel, you should focus on giving subscribers value. 

When you provide value, people are more likely to continue opening your emails and interacting with your brand. 

Use surveys to discover what customers want 👇

Consider using email surveys to discover your customer's needs and challenges. You can easily embed surveys into your emails using the MailerLite survey block. Find out more about creating survey emails here.

4. Use automated nurture email sequences

Automated nurture email sequences are an easy way to keep in contact with leads. Instead of continually creating new emails, create an automated series of emails based on triggers and reuse it for every signup. 

A welcome series is a common example of a lead nurture sequence. A typical welcome series workflow could include:

  • A welcome email

  • A follow-up message introducing the product’s key features

  • Social proof that shows how other people are using the tool

  • An email linking to the company's social media profiles or communities

  • An offer to use a free trial

Your automated campaign doesn’t have to stop there. Going ahead with the free trial could trigger a new sequence that contains onboarding information designed to help them use the tool and convert to a paid customer.   

5. Test your email performance

A/B testing your emails helps you create more effective email nurturing campaigns. 

Things you can test include:

  • Subject line: Test different versions and see which leads to a higher open rate

  • CTA buttons: See which CTAs cause people to click through to your landing page

  • Offers: See which offer results in more people clicking through to your site

  • Personalization: Using the recipient’s personal information can increase click-through rate (CTR). Test emails with different types of personalization

  • Email content: Discover whether images, videos, social media embeds, text or headlines impact your CTR

MailerLite makes it super easy to run A/B tests. Create different versions of your email, choose which metric you want to test, and then choose the percentage of your list that will receive each email.

The tool will then automate the test and send the winning email to the remaining proportion of your list. 

6. Use newsletters for long-term nurturing

Even the most complex nurture sequences end. But you don’t want to ignore people when they reach the end of your automated series as they may still be interested in your product. 

Continue the lead nurturing campaign by sending a newsletter to all your subscribers. Use this to keep the lead up-to-date with your brand while sending helpful information that can help with their problems 

The MailerLite newsletter summarizes our latest blog posts to provide subscribers with actionable tips and insights they can use to improve their email marketing. We also add information about product updates, courses, and support videos to keep people in the loop.

Nurture email example from MailerLite
MailerLite newsletter example

An effective nurture email campaign builds the relationship with the reader and provides the information they need to become a customer. It’s an essential part of an email marketing campaign as it helps turn people from subscribers into customers. 

Our final tip is to remember that you’re unlikely to come up with the perfect strategy right away. Keep experimenting and testing nurture email campaigns to see what works and what doesn’t. 

Get this right and it won’t be long before you’re creating effective emails that target your audience’s needs and challenges. You’ll build trust, stronger relationships, and make more sales in the long-term. 

Duncan Elder
Duncan Elder
I’m Duncan, a content writer at MailerLite. I love building websites with no-code tools and writing about what I learn. I created my first site in 2011 with Blogger—it’s safe to say that website builders have improved a lot since then!
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