You’ve done it.
You created an amazing marketing campaign, and you’ve got thousands of new contacts stacked up in your marketing automation suite. Great!
What’s next? How can you move these contacts down the funnel, get them to know more about your company and offering and eventually convert them to customers?
What you need is a lead nurturing program. A sequence of well-crafted experiences and messages, delivered via relevant marketing channels in a perfect timing, each one complementing the others and together, playing in harmony in order to push the contact into falling in love with your brand.
The benefit of such a program is that you set it up once and can optimize on the fly while it is running. This saves time and money and you can actually focus on creating appealing content, the thing marketers like to and should do.
There is also less room for human error when you run your campaigns via an automation. The only human error is if you screw up the technical setup. Therefore, you always need to test your work before activating your nurture program. Make sure to have a test group ready in order to see that all the dots are connected; from landing pages, to forms, to filling profile attributes (like preferences), to adding data to specific nurture groups, exclusions, reactions on emails, timeframes, event triggers etc.
Where should you start? Here are 11 things to consider when building your lead nurturing program:
In a recent article, we discussed the importance of segmentation. While the segments are different for every organization, the goal is similar. It is all about making your messages as personalized as possible. Once you’ve figured out your segments, it is time to create relevant and engaging content for each of them. Since this process essentially can create dozens of different messages to target each and every segment, you should use marketing automation to ensure the right message is sent to the right audience at the right time.
Many articles talk about nurturing contacts once they submit a form. That is indeed an option. But using automations is not only for that purpose. You can nurture any type of audience at any stage. From the moment they enter your database as a new lead to the point where you want to move a hot lead further down the funnel so that it becomes a valuable customer. Or when you want to upsell products to existing customers or even trigger 'sleeping audiences'. There are many purposes for using a nurture program.
There are many different attributes you can segment your audiences on; geographic location or demographics, contextual data or behavioral data and even lead scoring data. It all starts with data. The first step is to decide which audience you want to target. If you’re doing automations for the first time, start with your smallest audience. In that case, if things go wrong, you won’t damage your brand image to your whole database.
3. Objectives and goals
Set objectives and goals on what your nurturing program should accomplish; increase lead score, increase sale of products, target test audience for new product launch, lead generation to get opt-ins (see Thomas Cook case study), target new leads with welcome nurture to introduce your brand (see Media Company case study) etc. This would help to make sure that the program is aligned with your marketing KPIs.
Once you have decided on the audiences you’d like to target, make sure to personalize the content, ready for each audience. You should also take into account the objective of the program. For example, if your goal is lead conversion, your message or offer should be relevant and action leading.
Choose an email template that is neat, clean, short and clear to communicate. Stick to one CTA (call-to-action) per email and make sure your emails are responsive.
- Note: you should also consider ‘Email Accessibility’ to remove barriers for subscribers with disabilities.
If your organization has access to a marketing platform that supports messaging across different channels, you can add a multi-channel approach using sms, in app messaging and even social media within your automation flow. Depending on the channel preference of the contact, taking into account this data is available in your CRM. You should use the channels that prove to be (cost-)effective in terms of conversions and reaching the target audiences.
If applicable, set a realistic timeline to communicate your messages, taking into account your sales cycle. Don’t overcommunicate as this could come forward as spammy. Make sure to consider other campaigns that can run simultaneously. You can then set priorities or exclude audiences in order to avoid different messages sent at the same time to the same audience.
8. Automation type
Automation flows can be triggered based on a time or an event. A time-based flow sends messages at a certain date and time and works its way through to the end. An event-based automation flow, on the other hand, sends messages based on behavior. For example, when someone opens an email or a sms message, downloads an asset or a adds a product to their favorites on their profile, this can trigger a message to be sent.
9. Have an exit strategy
It is important to plan when a contact should be removed from the flow. For example, let’s say someone receives the third wave of a nurture campaign. After that the contact converts, this contact should be taken out of the nurture. If it isn't, this could result in an opt-out which you don’t want. Also, when running multiple automations, you should think of a way that once a contact enters a nurture program they can’t participate in any other nurture program until it has finished.
10. Measure results
Monitor your nurture programs and evaluate against the set objectives and goals (point 3). Check the OR (opt-in rate), CTR (click-through-rate), conversions, etc. Track behavior to provide a more personalized experience to your audiences. If you see some content is not working, then change or optimize it. This could be subject lines, CTAs, visuals, assets, offers, channels you are using, anything.
11. Choose the right software vendor
Choose the right vendor based on your organization's needs and capabilities. There are many marketing programs out there, but only few can really ensure the multi-channel customer engagement for your database. Also make sure the vendor is capable of connecting the software to your CRM so that all the responses from your nurture programs will be added to a contact’s profile. Sales will like this very much!
Now, all this becomes even more exciting when you connect data from a Data Management Platform (DMP). All the data coming from various source, flowing back into your database and enriching your data, finding look-a-like audiences to extend your reach, and enabling you to do a better job on segmenting your audiences will result in better targeting and increasing ROI.
Mapp has the ability to enable you in setting up all that is necessary to get started with email, social, web and mobile marketing in an automated way. All, in one platform. We call it Customer Engagement Platform (CEP) which has a DMP integrated. What else do you need…? If you want to see more then check out our online demo videos or get in touch with one of our experts.
See how you can build automation flows to nurture leads that will become high value customers.
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