This article will cover a common workflow that you can use to start empowering your marketing, specifically for lead generation and email marketing.
First, let’s have an understanding of what we are trying to accomplish with this automation. Here the goal is to:
- Capture a leads information
- Understand their preferences
- Segment those leads
- Serve those leads relevant content
- Book more demos
For the purposes of this article, we will assume that you are driving qualified traffic.
Let’s also assume you are trying to sell software and increase the number of scheduled demos. Traditionally, you would send traffic to a landing page which would grab 1-2 data points (name, email) in exchange for something of value (usually an ebook or a free trial).
The challenge is collecting as much data as possible from the lead without causing friction to the point of them abandoning the form.
The longer the form the prospect has to fill the higher the drop off rate.
Rather than using the traditional lead capture (as seen above) we present an alternative: Interactive content.
Interactive content is your gateway to further qualifying your leads and understanding how they fit in your customer journey while helping your sales team. Traditionally, leads fill out a form and wait 1-3 days before receiving a response and then the qualification occurs.
At this point, your lead is already seeking alternatives and browsing the options available. With interactive content, however, we can better gauge the areas in which they struggle the most.
In our example, we are pretending to sell software that helps companies better understand their conversion rates across various channels. The interactive content we created is an ROI calculator that demonstrates how much an organization will save using the software. Once the user completes all the questions they are asked to input their email and first name in order to receive the results.
With this quiz we can extract the following amounts of information:
- How much they are currently spending on advertising on a per channel basis
- What their current conversion rates are (the benchmark to beat)
- What channel they are struggling with the most
- Who the primary point of contact at that company is
In exchange for this information, the lead is going to know if our tool will generate a return on investment. More importantly for us, the quiz was interactive, not overwhelming and satisfied a real user query.
Just to summarize:
Before interactive content:
- Leads fill out a form and wait 1-3 days on average to get back to them.
- The sales team has limited knowledge of the leads pain points and reasons for wanting your product or service.
After interactive content:
- Leads are being actively qualified and now understand the impact your product or service has on their company.
- The sales team has rich first-party data that allows them to have a more meaningful conversation.
- Leads are receiving personalized content that corresponds to their interest in your product.
As the software company, we now possess rich and actionable data that can be used further in your marketing efforts. Here are some workflow options you now have:
- Sync your interactive quiz with your CRM
- Retarget leads that started your quiz but did not finish
- Sync the most qualified leads to your sales department so they can follow up
- Sync the lead results with a content strategy that is custom to them (lead nurturing)
What follows is a workflow that incorporates email marketing and audience segmentation.
Step one is complete, we now have an understanding of the leads business but more importantly what pain point we can solve for them.
In our example, the lead discovered that traffic coming from SEO efforts converted far less than other channels. This is the entry point that we can use to push the lead further down the sales cycle. This is known as email nurturing, which consist of automatically sending emails to a precise customer segment.
Let’s explore a content nurturing funnel in a bit more detail. The image below visualizes matching of content to the buying cycle. The idea is to put yourself in the shoes of the lead and address questions they will have with the final objective of having them book a demo.
When leads are at the early stage they are most likely still evaluating alternatives, asking questions and are requesting more information. The content that you would like to expose this lead to should be oriented to building trust. Selling to the lead at this point could result in failure since the lead has not yet understood the full value that your product has to offer.
Your content is also educating the prospect which will increase the chances that they read your next email since they are not being sold to. Early stage content gives the lead industry context and allows them to understand the problem that you are solving and why they should care about it. Once they understand the problem you can begin highlighting the features that your product has and how they solve them.
Most email automation software today tracks impressions, open rates and link clicks so you will have a solid understanding of who is progressing down your funnel and who isn't.
This is the mid-stage where we begin educating the lead on how to solve the problems you highlighted in the early stage. Content in the mid-stage can include:
- Consumer interviews with the product
- Webinars explaining the features at length (one webinar per feature)
- Customer testimonials and stories
Typically, you send one idea per email, you don’t want to overwhelm the lead with information. Staying top of mind every couple of days while explaining your solution in bite-sized email is a great way to continually engage and nurture the lead. Now it’s time to capitalize on this interest by having a call to action.
The late stage is where you can start to hand off the lead to sales. At this point, the lead has understood the problem, has an idea of how you solve it and has been exposed to your organization numerous times. This is where your call to action comes in to play, emails that get sent during the late stage include:
- A targeted promotion based on the content they were visiting. (remember: we know exactly what area he needs help in)
- Call to action for demo or trial sign up
- Personalized email to hop on a call with a rep today.
The type of call to action you send depends on your sales cycle and what kind of product you are offering. No matter the call to action, the sales team is now much more equipped to have a more meaningful conversation.
Here is how a potential lead nurturing campaign could work for our prospect:
- First email: Quiz results with a soft call to action to book a demo.
- Early stage: Blog articles on how the software product helps businesses increase their conversion rates for SEO traffic.
- Mid-stage: Case studies highlighting how one company made a great investment by buying the software.
- Mid-stage: Blog articles demonstrating tips that a business can use to increase their conversion rates from SEO traffic.
- Late stage: Request to book a demo to address any questions the lead may still have.
Here is how the workflow is currently operating:
Let’s recap what has been accomplished:
- The lead is now aware of how the software product can directly help his organization.
- The lead is now receiving actionable tips that correspond to areas in which he is struggling through an email content nurturing strategy.
- Our software company now has a scalable way of knowing where their leads struggle most (interactive content).
- The software company has now automated the lead capture, qualification and nurturing stages by having an efficient content nurturing workflow.
- The software company is now scheduling more demos and collecting rich first-party data that will help their sales force close and understand where their customers struggle most.
Although this workflow was specific to lead generation and email nurturing it still falls under automation, and with any automation, I always advise asking questions on how this campaign would impact your digital strategy as a whole. Here are some questions you can ask yourself while running this campaign:
- What content is being read the most? (Google analytics can answer this)
- Are there any common customer journeys that can be observed? (Autopilot + Google analytics can answer this)
- Where can I optimize this campaign to reduce the cost per lead? (Audience splitting and A/B testing can help you here)
This concludes a common workflow that is enabled and powered by marketing automation, by successfully integrating paid advertising, landing pages and email marketing we can now understand the efficiencies that exist in powering your lead generation efforts. This article was geared specifically towards a lead generation strategy, next is going to be ways of integrating dynamic landing pages to increase conversion rates.