Tell Me: How Do You Handle Non-Responders in B2B Demand Generation Nurture Campaigns?


Let’s identify alternatives for nurturing non-responders.

My first thought on this topics is: never stop nurturing. I rarely elect anyone out of nurturing unless, of course, they opt out.

Even if a target hasn’t responded to 4-6 touches over several months, the fear is that you could be removing a potential gold mine. They simply may not have a need in the timeframe you chose to market. Knowing when the need will arise is not easy to predict in most cases.

However…continuing to poke a prospect with offers, content or messages they simply don’t respond to is a waste of your time and theirs—and can even alienate potential buyers. The simplicity of email marketing has made this trap of autopilot communication easier to fall into.

But imagine if each touch were a phone call or an in-person visit instead. Would you visit a prospect twice a month, for 6 months to a year if they always refused to let you in the door?

If so, you have more guts than I do. And as my friends and colleagues will attest, I’m pretty bold!

Here are a few alternatives to breaking off communications with a non-responder altogether.

Slow down.

Decrease the frequency of your communications to the non-responders. For example, if you’ve been tapping them every two weeks, switch them to a schedule of every two months.

To prevent this from creating  unworkable and expensive inefficiencies in your implementation processes, outline your non-responder strategy upfront. Because, let’s face it, there will always be non-responders—it’s more than safe to plan for them, it’s smart!

Change the channel.

I like the way Eloqua Best Practice Consultant Andy Worobel encapsulates this shift:

“Try mixing up the channels—introduce new tactics such as direct mail, phone outreach, or social media if you’ve not previously. If your benefit-focused campaign has exhausted all enticement, invite them to subscribe to your e-newsletter or some less-specific content in order to preserve the relationship without the burden of creating additional content.”

Again, this is the kind of action you want to plan for, not introduce midway through your campaign.

Ask for opt-out.

This is another Andy suggestion, but I don’t entirely agree with it. I’m not a fan of posing ultimatums to people I’m trying win over.

I’d rather try a new channel or message or type of content than effectively tell a prospect we don’t want them if they don’t want us.

In any case, Andy offers some good food for thought on lead nurturing stop signs.

I’m especially curious to hear your thoughts on the subject. Has it caused controversy in your marketing department? Have you seen good results from any of the three actions put forth above?

Let’s chat in the comments.

3 Responses to Tell Me: How Do You Handle Non-Responders in B2B Demand Generation Nurture Campaigns?

  1. kevin cohen says:

    Test a different headline…focusing on a different emotional trigger.

  2. Marylada says:

    What I find so inetesritng is you could never find this anywhere else.

  3. A very good practice is to double-down by inspecting your Subject Lines. Try a completely different approach. Appeal to humor or emotion. Use brackets to highlight message offer, ie ‘[Video] Rest of Subject Line’.

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